How is fabric made?

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When we think about the clothes that we wear, we usually think about whether the colors match or if we’ll be too cold or too warm in them. We tend not to think about how they are made. Fabric is made by weaving threads or yarn together. If something is knitted, there is usually just one piece of yarn involved, but most fabric is made from many threads thread traveling in two directions.

It can be made by hand, but usually, fabric is a made on a machine called a loom, which is a big framework that holds all the threads in place.

There are two “W” words to think about when talking about weaving, and they are warp and weft. Warp threads are threads that run up and down the length of fabric. There are many of them and they run side by side, very close together. Weft threads run sideways across the fabric, they go over one warp thread and under the next, then over another warp thread and under the one after that. They go over and under, over and under all the way across the fabric. This holds all the threads together!

Weaving thread has been around for over 5,000 years. People probably figured out how to do it because it is very similar to the process that is used to weave baskets, which had already been around for thousands of years.


by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Paper Weaving!

    Try making a placemat out of construction paper. Using safety scissors and with a grown-up watching, cut one piece of construction paper into strips about an inch wide.

    Take a second piece and fold it in half. Starting at the folded edge, cut slits across the paper about an inch apart almost all the way across the paper to the edge. Don’t cut all the way through or your paper will fall apart!

    Now weave your strips of paper through the slits in your second piece of paper. Do you need glue or tape to hold your placemat together or does it stay together on its own? How is this like how the fabric in your shirt is held together?

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