What is fabric?
• You all know that food, clothing and shelter
are the three basic needs of life. You eat food
to survive and protect yourself from diseases,
you need a house to live in. Why do you wear
clothes? You wear clothes for protection
against climate, for modesty and beauty, and
also to show status. The material that you use
for clothing is called fabric.
• If you go to a shop to buy fabric for
your dress, you would see a variety of
fabrics there. Do you wonder what
these fabrics are made of? How you
get variety in fabrics? Why are some
materials warm, some soft and
others rough? Why do some
materials go bad after washing while
others remain the same?
• Do you know what fabrics are made
of? Take a cloth and pull out a thread.
Untwist to loosen this thread. You will
see that it is made up of smaller
threads or hair like strands. Pull out
one of these. This single hair like
strand is called a fibre.
• A fibre is a hair like strand from
which all fabrics are made.
• Some fibres are obtained from
natural sources, that is, from plants
and animals. Fibres from such
sources are called natural fibres.
• Some examples of fibres from
natural sources are cotton, Jute,
silk, wool, etc
• The other type of fibres are obtained from
chemical substance. These are called
manmade fibres. They are rayon, polyester,
nylon, acrylic (cashmilon) etc.
• Classify the following fibres as man-made and
• (i) Nylon (ii) Wool (iii) Cotton (iv) Silk
(v) Polyester (vi) Rayon(vii) Acrylic (viii) Jute
State whether the following are true
or false and correct the false
• (i) Fibre is the basic unit of all fabrics.
• (iii) Jute is the outer covering of coconut.
• (iv) Silk is prepared from the stem of a plant.
• (v) Polyester is a natural fibre.
• Wool is obtained from the fleece (hair) of
sheep or yak. Silk fibres come from cocoons
of the silk moth. Do you know which part of
the sheep’s body yields fibres? Are you
aware how these fibres are converted into
the woollen yarn that we buy from the
market to knit sweaters? Do you have any
idea how silk fibres are made into silk, which
is woven into saris?
• Wool comes from sheep, goat, yak and some
other animals. These wool-yielding animals
bear hair on their body.
• Why do you think these animals bear hair on
• Feel the hair on your body and arms and those
on your head. Do you find any difference?
Which one seems coarse and which one is
• The hairy skin of the sheep has two types of fibres
that form its fleece: (i) the coarse beard hair,
and(ii) the fine soft under-hair close to the skin.
• The fine hair provide the fibres for making wool.
Some breeds of sheep possess only fine under-
hair. Their parents are specially chosen to give
birth to sheep which have only soft under-hair.
This process of selecting parents for obtaining
special characters in their offspring, such as soft
under hair in sheep is called selective breeding.
• The fleece of sheep is not the only source of
• Wool is also obtained from goat hair. The
under fur of Kashmiri goat is soft. It is woven
into fine shawls called Pashmina shawls.
• The fur (hair) on the body of camels is also
used as wool.
• Collect pictures of animals whose hair is used
as wool. Stick them in your note book.
Steps to Commercial Fiber Processing
• Shearing – shaving the hair from the sheeps
• Scouring -the removal of all impurities from
grease wool, using water, detergent, and
sometimes a mild alkali.
• Drying- The amount of water held by the wool
is reduce to below 15%.Moisture in wool is
removed by hot, dry air blown through the
wool prior to being exhausted from the dryer.
• Sorting: The hairy skin is sent to a factory
where hair of different textures are separated
• Carding: The woollen fibres are disentangled
and straightned into a continous form.
• Combing, spinning and weaving
• Do you remember pulling a thread from a cloth
and opening it? Yes, you found hair like fibres.
That thread which was made of fibres is called
yarn. Yarns are made up of a number of fibres
twisted together. Fibres are thin and small and
cannot be made into a fabric directly. So they are
first converted into yarns which are longer,
thicker and stronger. We use these yarns to make
• A yarns is a continuous strand made up of a
number of fibres which are twisted together
• The process of making yarns from fibres is
called spinning. Here the fibres are not only
twisted but also pulled out or drawn.
• The spinning process helps to hold the fibres
together and makes the yarns strong, smooth
• Spinning can be done by using a takli (spindle),
a charkha or a spinning machine.
State whether the following are true
• Yarn is made of a number of fibres.
• Spinning is a process of making fibres.
• Spinning increases the strength of yarns.
• Twisting increases the strength of the yarns.
• Smoothness of a yarn depends on the twisting
of the fibres.