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What is a Fibre? And List of Fabrics
A very thin, thread-like strand from which cloth is made is called fibre. Fibre is called ‘tantu’ or ‘resha’ in Hindi. Fabric means cloth (kapda or vastra). Fabric is produced by weaving or knitting long, twisted threads called yarn made from fibres. We use various types of fabrics for making our clothes. Our school uniform, shirts, pants (trousers), blouses, skirts, shorts, sarees, shawls, blankets, bed- sheets, towels, table cloth, curtains, dusters, etc., are all made from different kinds of fabrics. Even the school bag, and gunny bag (used for storing foodgrains) are made from a type of fabric.
Variety in Fabrics
If we go to a cloth shop in the market, we can see a large variety of fabrics (or cloth). Some fabrics are made of cotton, others are made of wool or silk whereas still others are made of synthetic materials (or man-made materials). Thus, the various types of fabrics which are commonly used by us are :
- Cotton fabrics,
- Woollen fabrics,
- Silk fabrics, and
- Synthetic fabrics.
We usually wear clothes made of cotton fabrics during the hot days of summer season and woollen clothes are worn in the cold days of winter. The clothes made of silk fabrics and synthetic fabrics are the most comfortable when the weather is neither very hot nor very cold.
Before we go further, we should know the meaning of the term ‘yarn’. Yarn is a ‘spun thread’ which is used for weaving (or knitting) fabrics. In most simple words, yarn is a long thread which is used for making fabrics (or cloth).
What are Fabrics Made of ?
Fabrics are made of ‘yarns’ which are, in turn, made from ‘fibres’. This will become more clear from the following discussion.
If we look at any fabric (or cloth) casually, it seems to be a ‘continuous object’. If, however, we look at a piece of fabric closely (or through a magnifying glass), we will find that a fabric is made of a network of threads (or yarns) going along the length and breadth of the fabric, at right angles to one another [see Figure (a)].
Let us now find a loose yarn (or thread) at one of the edges of the piece of cotton fabric and pull it out with our hand [see Figure (b)], If no loose yarns are visible, we can pull out the yarn from the fabric’with the help of a pin or needle. We can go on pulling more and more yarns (or threads) from the piece of cotton fabric. In fact, the whole piece of cotton fabric can be pulled into a large number of pieces of yam (or thread). This shows that a piece of cotton fabric (or cotton cloth) is made up of cotton yarn (or cotton threads) woven together. In general we can say that : A fabric is made up of yarns (or threads) woven together.
We have just learnt that fabrics are made of yarn (which is a spun thread). We now want to know what are these yarns made of ? Yarns are made of fibres. This is discussed below.
Let us take out a yarn from a piece of cotton fabric. Place this piece of yarn on the table. Now, press one end of the yarn with the thumb of left hand and scratch the other end of yarn along its length with the nail of right hand thumb [see Figure (a)]. We will
find that the piece of cotton yam splits into thin strands of cotton [see Figure (b)]. This shows that the cotton yarn (or cotton thread) of the fabric is made up of still thinner strands of cotton. These thin strands of cotton which make up the yarn are called cotton fibres. This means that ‘cotton fabric’ is made of ‘cotton yarn’ which is made from ‘cotton fibres’. From this discussion we conclude that : Fabrics are made up of yarn, and yarn is made from fibres. Another way of saying this is that: Fibres make yarn, and then yarn makes fabrics (or cloth). This means that the basic material for making fabrics (or cloth) are fibres. So, we will now discuss the fibres in somewhat detail.