Textiles and Clothing
by Kate Heintz Watson
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Textiles and Clothing














Copyright, 1907 by Home Economics Association

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London All Rights Reserved.



Professor of Household Science, University of Illinois. Author U. S. Government Bulletins, "Development of The Home Economics Movement in America," etc.


Assistant Professor of Home Economics, School of Eduction, University of Chicago; Director of the Chautauqua School of Domestic Science.


Instructor in Home Economics, Simmons College; Formerly Instructor School of Housekeeping, Boston.


Director Chautauqua School of Cookery; Lecturer Teachers' College, Columbia University, and Simmons College; formerly Editor "American Kitchen Magazine;" Author "Home Science Cook Book."


Professor Diseases of Children, Rush Medical College, University of Chicago; Visiting Physician Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago; Author of "Diseases of Children."


Professor in Home Economics in Hartford School of Pedagogy; Author of U. S. Government Bulletins.


Formerly Instructor in Domestic Economy, Lewis Institute; Lecturer University of Chicago.


Editor "The Mothers' Magazine;" Lecturer Chicago Froebel Association; Author "Everyday Essays," "Family Secrets," etc.


Graduate Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Teacher of Science, Woodard Institute.


With the Panama Canal Commission; Formerly Instructor in Practical and Theoretical Nursing, Training School for Nurses, Presbyterian Hospital, New York City.


Director American School of Home Economics; Member American Public Health Association and American Chemical Society.



Author "Cost of Food," "Cost of Living," "Cost of Shelter," "Food Materials and Their Adulteration," etc., etc.; Chairman Lake Placid Conference on Home Economics.


Author of U. S. Government Bulletins, "Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking," "Sale Food," etc.


Professor of Physical Education, Columbia University.


Professor of Physical Diagnosis and Clinical Medicine, University of Minnesota.


Special Investigator, McLean Hospital, Waverly, Mass.


Author "Dust and Its Dangers," "The Story of the Bacteria," "Drinking Water and Ice Supplies," etc.


Architect, Boston, Mass.; Author of "The Five Orders of Architecture," "Letters and Lettering."


Secretary Lake Placid Conference on Home Economics.


Professor of Home Economics, James Millikan University, Decatur.


Instructor Rush Medical College, University of Chicago.



Director American School of Home Economics.



President of the Board.


Founder of the first Cooking School in Boston; Author of "Home Economics," "Young Housekeeper," U. S. Government Bulletins, etc.


Co-worker in the "New England Kitchen," and the "Rumford Food Laboratory;" Author of U. S. Government Bulletins, "Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking," etc.


Special Commissioner sent by the British Government to report on the Schools of Home Economics in the United States; Fellow of the Royal Sanitary Institute, London.


Honorary President General Federation of Woman's Clubs.


President National Congress of Mothers.


Past President National Household Economics Association; Author of "Hostess of To-day."


Chairman of the Pure Food Committee of the General Federation of Woman's Clubs.


Vice President of National Household Economics Association.


Government Superintendent of Domestic Science for the province of Ontario; Founder Ontario Normal School of Domestic Science, now the MacDonald Institute.


Primitive Methods 3 Weaving 14 Fibers 29 Cotton 29 Wool 37 Flax 43 Silk 53 Modern Methods 59 Weaving 69 Weaves 72 Bleaching and Dyeing 78 Printing 81 Finishing 83 Cotton Goods 85 Linens 86 Woolens and Worsteds 88 Silks 90 Names of Fabrics 94 Bibliography on Textiles 103 Hand Sewing 107 Ornamental Stitches 114 Hems 123 Tucks and Seams 128 Plackets 135 Sewing on Bands 138 Fastenings 141 Patching 149 Darning 155 Mitering Embroidery, Joining Lace 158 Machine Sewing 162 Dressmaking 167 Patterns 171 Making Seven-Gored Skirt 172 Making Shirt Waists 182 Lined Waist 186 Sleeves 194 Collars 198 Seamless Yokes 200 Pressing 201 Construction and Ornament in Dress 203 Ornament of Textiles 212 Color 214 Children's Clothes 216 Care of Clothing 219 Cleaning 221 Repairing 225 Bibliography on Sewing and Dressmaking 229 References: History of Costume; Ornament and Design 234 Program for Supplemental Study 236 Index 241


[Sidenote: Origin of Textile Arts]

Spinning and weaving are among the earliest arts. In the twisting of fibers, hairs, grasses, and sinews by rolling them between the thumb and fingers, palms of the hands, or palms and naked thigh, we have the original of the spinning wheel and the steam-driven cotton spindle; in the roughest plaiting we have the first hint of the finest woven cloth. The need of securing things or otherwise strengthening them then led to binding, fastening, and sewing. The wattle-work hut with its roof of interlaced boughs, the skins sewn by fine needles with entrails or sinews, the matted twigs, grasses, and rushes are all the crude beginnings of an art which tells of the settled life of to-day.

[Sidenote: Primitive Methods]

Nothing is definitely known of the origin of these arts; all is conjecture. They doubtless had their beginning long before mention is made of them in history, but these crafts—spinning and weaving—modified and complicated by inventions and, in modern times transferred largely from man to machine, were distinctively woman's employment.

The very primitive type of spinning, where no spindle was used, was to fasten the strands of goats' hair or wool to a stone which was twirled round until the yarn was sufficiently twisted when it was wound upon the stone and the process repeated over and over.

[Sidenote: Spinning with the Spindle]

The next method of twisting yarn was with the spindle, a straight stick eight to twelve inches long on which the thread was wound after twisting. At first it had a cleft or split in the top in which the thread was fixed; later a hook of bone was added to the upper end. The spindle is yet used by the North American Indians, the Italians, and in the Orient. The bunch of wool or flax fibers is held in the left hand; with the right hand the fibers are drawn out several inches and the end fastened securely in the slit or hook on the top of the spindle. A whirling motion is given to the spindle on the thigh or any convenient part of the body; the spindle is then dropped, twisting the yarn, which is wound on the upper part of the spindle. Another bunch of fibers is drawn out, the spindle is given another twirl, the yarn is wound on the spindle, and so on.

[Sidenote: Spindle Whorl]

A spindle containing a quantity of yarn was found to rotate more easily, steadily and continue longer than an empty one, hence the next improvement was the addition of a whorl at the bottom of the spindle. These whorls are discs of wood, stone, clay, or metal which keep the spindle steady and promote its rotation. The process in effect is precisely the same as the spinning done by our grandmothers, only the spinning wheel did the twisting and reduced the time required for the operation.

[Sidenote: Distaff]

Later the distaff was used for holding the bunch of wool, flax, or other fibers. It was a short stick on one end of which was loosely wound the raw material. The other end of the distaff was held in the hand, under the arm or thrust in the girdle of the spinner. When held thus, one hand was left free for drawing out the fibers.

[Sidenote: Wheel Spinning]

On the small spinning wheel the distaff was placed in the end of the wheel bench in front of the "fillers"; this left both hands free to manage the spindle and to draw out the threads of the fibers.

The flax spinning wheel, worked by means of a treadle, was invented in the early part of the sixteenth century and was a great improvement upon the distaff and spindle. This it will be seen was a comparatively modern invention. The rude wheel used by the natives of Japan and India may have been the progenitor of the European wheel, as about this time intercourse between the East and Europe increased. These wheels were used for spinning flax, wool, and afterwards cotton, until Hargreaves' invention superseded it.


Someone has said that "weaving is the climax of textile industry." It is an art practiced by all savage tribes and doubtless was known before the dawn of history. The art is but a development of mat-making and basketry, using threads formed or made by spinning in place of coarser filaments.

[Sidenote: The Heddle]

In the beginning of the art the warp threads were stretched between convenient objects on the ground or from horizontal supports. At first the woof or filling threads were woven back and forth between the warp threads as in darning. An improvement was the device called the "heald" or "heddle," by means of which alternate warp threads could be drawn away from the others, making an opening through which the filling thread could be passed quickly. One form of the heddle was simply a straight stick having loops of cord or sinew through which certain of the warp threads were run. Another form was a slotted frame having openings or "eyes" in the slats. This was carved from one piece of wood or other material or made from many. Alternate warp threads passed through the eyes and the slots. By raising or lowering the heddle frame, an opening was formed through which the filling thread, wound on a rude shuttle, was thrown. The next movement of the heddle frame crossed the threads over the filling and made a new opening for the return of the shuttle. At first the filling thread was wound on a stick making a primitive bobbin. Later the shuttle to hold the bobbin was devised.

[Sidenote: The Reed]

Before the "reed" was invented, the filling threads were drawn evenly into place by means of a rude comb and driven home by sword-shaped piece of wood or "batten." The reed accomplished all this at one time.

[Sidenote: Definition of a Loom]

It is probable that the European looms were derived from those of India as they seem to be made on the same principle. From crude beginnings, the hand loom of our grandmothers' time developed. A loom has been defined as a mechanism which affects the following necessary movements:

1. The lifting of the healds to form an opening, or shed, or race for the shuttle to pass through.

2. The throwing of the weft or filling by means of a shuttle.

3. The beating up of the weft left in the shed by the shuttle to the cloth already formed. This thread may be adjusted by means of the batten, needle, comb, or any separate device like the reed.

4 & 5. The winding up or taking up of the cloth as it is woven and the letting off of the warp as the cloth is taken up.

[Sidenote: Colonial Loom]

No essential changes have been made since our grandmothers made cloth a hundred years ago. The "harnesses" move part of the warp now up, now down, and the shuttle carries the weft from side to side to be driven home by the reeds to the woven cloth. Our grandmothers did all the work with swift movements of hands and feet. The modern weaver has her loom harnessed to the electric dynamo and moves her fingers only to keep the threads in order. If she wishes to weave a pattern in the cloth, no longer does she pick up threads of warp now here, now there, according to the designs. It is all worked out for her on the loom. Each thread with almost human intelligence settles automatically into its appointed place, and the weaver is only a machine tender.

[Sidenote: Primitive Fabrics]

No textiles of primitive people were ever woven in "pieces" or "bolts" of yards and yards in length to be cut into garments. The cloth was made of the size and shape to serve the particular purpose for which it was designed. The mat, robe, or blanket had tribal outlines and proportions and was made according to the materials and the use of common forms that prevailed among the tribes. The designs were always conventional and sometimes monotonous. The decoration never interfered with its use. "The first beauty of the savage woman was uniformity which belonged to the texture and shape of the product." The uniformity in textile, basketry, or pottery, after acquiring a family trait, was never lost sight of. Their designs were suggested by the natural objects with which they were familiar.


Both the animal and vegetable kingdoms furnish the materials for clothing as well as for all the textiles used in the home. The fleece of sheep, the hair of the goat and camel, silk, furs, and skins are the chief animal products. The principal vegetable fibers are cotton, flax, ramie, jute, and hemp.

[Sidenote: Chief Fibers]

Cotton linen, wool, and silk have heretofore formed the foundation of all textiles and are the principal fibers used for clothing materials. Ramie or China grass and pineapple fibers are sometimes used as adulterants in the manufacture of silk. When woven alone, they give soft silky textiles of great strength and beauty.


Cotton is now our chief vegetable fiber, the yearly crop being over six billion pounds, of which the United States raises three-fourths. Texas is the largest producer, followed by Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. The remainder of the world supply comes chiefly from India, Egypt, Russia, and Brazil. The Hindoos were the first ancient people to make extensive use of the cotton fiber. Not until the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1794 did the cotton begin to reach its present importance. Only four or five pounds of the fiber could be separated by hand from the seed by a week's labor. The modern saw gins turn out over five thousand pounds daily.

[Sidenote: Native Home]

Cotton is the white downy covering of the seed of several special of cotton of cotton plant. It is a native of many parts of the world, being found by Columbus growing in the West Indies and on the main land, by Cortez in Mexico, and Pizarro in Peru.

[Sidenote: Sea Island Cotton]

The value of cotton depends upon the strength, and evenness of the fiber. In ordinary cotton the individual fiber is about an inch in length. The sea island cotton grown chiefly on the islands off the coast of Georgia, Carolina, and Florida is the most valuable variety, having a fine fiber, one and one-half to two inches in length. Some of the Egyptian cotton belongs to this species. Sea island cotton is used chiefly for fine laces, thread and knit goods and for the finest lawns and muslins.

[Sidenote: Upland Cotton]

The short fiber or upland cotton is the most common and useful variety. It is grown in Georgia, North and South Carolina and Alabama. Texas cotton is similar to upland, but sometimes is harsh with shorter fiber. Gulf cotton occupies a position between upland and sea island cotton.

The Brazilian and Peruvian cotton yields a long staple and is sometimes used to adulterate silk and other fibers. Some varieties of this cotton are harsh and wooly and are prized for use in mixing with wool.

[Sidenote: Nankin Cotton]

The Nankin cotton grown in China and India and in the southwestern part of Louisiana is characterized by its yellow color. It is used in weaving cloth of various kinds in the "fireside industries" which have become popular in the United States and England.

[Sidenote: Spinning Qualities]

Very fine yarn can be spun from cotton because of the spiral character of the fibers. This twist of the fibers is peculiar to cotton, being present in no other animal or vegetable fiber. On account of this twist, cotton cloths are much more elastic in character than those woven from linen, the fibers of which are stiff and straight.

After the removal of the seed, no other fiber is so free from impurities—5 per cent is the loss sustained by cleaning and bleaching. In its natural condition, cotton will not dye readily because of a waxy substance on the surface of the fibers. This must be removed by washing.

[Sidenote: Picking and Ginning]

Cotton should be picked only when it is fully ripe when the pods are fully burst and the fibers expanded. The unripe fiber is glassy, does not attain its full strength and resists the dye. After picking, the cotton is sent to the ginning factory to have the seed removed. It is then pressed into bales by hydraulic presses, five hundred pounds being the standard bale in the United States.

[Sidenote: Physical Characteristics]

Purified bleached cotton is nearly pure cellulose. It resists the action of alkalis well, but is harmed by hot, strong acids, or if acid is allowed to dry on the fabric. It is not harmed by high temperature, and so may be ironed with a hot iron.


[Sidenote: Character of Fiber]

Wool is the most important animal fiber. Strictly speaking the name applies only to the hairy covering of sheep, but the hair of certain goats and of camels is generally classified under the same terms. The wool fiber is distinguished by its scale-like surface which gives it its felting and spinning properties. Hair as distinguished from wool has little or no scaly structure being in general a smooth filament with no felting properties and spinning only with great difficulty. Fur is the undergrowth found on most fur-bearing animals and has in a modified way the scaly structure and felting properties of wool.

[Sidenote: Value for Clothing]

The great value of wool as a fiber lies in the fact that it is strong, elastic, soft, very susceptible to dye stuffs and being woven, furnishes a great number of air spaces, rendering clothing made from it very warm and light.

[Sidenote: Quality of Wool]

Climate, breed, and food influence the quality of the wool. Where the pasturage is barren and rocky, the wool is apt to be coarse.

[Sidenote: Varieties of Sheep]

There are supposed to be about thirty distinct varieties of sheep, nearly half of which are natives of Asia, one-third of Africa, and only four coming from Europe, and two from America. Wool is divided into two general classes—long and short staple, according to the average length of fiber. The long fiber wool is commonly carded, combed and spun into worsted yarn. The short fiber is usually carded and spun into woolen yarn. The short fiber obtained in combing long staple wool is called "noil." It is used for woolens.

[Sidenote: Goat Wools]

Alpaca, Vicuna and Llama wools are obtained from animals which are native to the mountains of Peru and Chile. The Angora goat, originally from Asia Minor, furnishes the mohair of commerce. This fiber does not resemble the hairs of common goats in any respect. It is a very beautiful fiber of silky luster, which constitutes its chief value.

[Sidenote: Fur]

The fur of beavers and rabbits can be and is used in manufacture, either spun into yarn or made into felt. The fibers of both animals enter largely into the manufacture of felt hats.

[Sidenote: Sorting Wool]

The fleece of sheep after being sheared is divided into different parts or sorted, according to the quality of the wool, the best wool coming from the sides of the animal.

[Sidenote: Scouring Wool]

As it comes from the sheep, the wool contains many substances besides the wool fiber which must be removed before dyeing or spinning. This cleansing is called scouring. Before scouring, the wool is usually dusted by machines to remove all loose dirt. The scouring must be done by the mildest means possible in order to preserve the natural fluffiness and brilliancy of the fiber. The chief impurity is the wool grease or "yolk" which is secreted by the skin glands to lubricate the fiber and prevent it from matting.

[Sidenote: Scouring Agents]

In the scouring of wool, soap is the principal agent. Soft soap made from caustic potash is generally used as it is less harmful than ordinary hard soda soap. Potassium carbonate—"pearl ash"—is often used in connection with the soap. If the water for scouring is hard, it is softened with pearl ash. The temperature of wash water is never allowed to go above 120 deg. F. The scoured wool weighs from a little over a half to one-third or less of the weight of the fleece.

[Sidenote: Hydroscopic Moisture]

Wool has the remarkable property of absorbing up to 30 per cent or more of its weight of water and yet not feel perceptibly damp to the touch. This is called "hydroscopic moisture." To this property wool owes its superiority as a textile for underclothing.

The thoroughly cleansed fiber is made up chiefly of the chemical substance keratin, being similar in composition to horn and feathers. In burning it gives off a characteristic disagreeable odor. It is a substance very weakly acid in its nature, for which reason it combines readily with many dyes. Wool resists the action of acids very well, but is much harmed by the alkalis, being dissolved completely by a warm solution of caustic soda. High temperature harms wool.


Next to wool and cotton, flax is used most largely in our textile manufactures. The linen fiber consists of the bast cells of certain species of flax grown in Europe, Africa, and the United States. All bast fibers are obtained near the outer surface of the plant stems. The pith and woody tissues are of no value. The flax plant is an annual and to obtain the best fibers it must be gathered before it is fully ripe. To obtain seed from which the best quality of linseed oil can be made it is usually necessary to sacrifice the quality of the fibers to some extent.

[Sidenote: Treatment of Flax]

Unlike cotton, flax is contaminated by impurities from which it must be freed before it can be woven into cloth. The first process to which the freshly pulled flax is submitted is that of "rippling" or the removal of the seed capsules. Retting, next in order, is the most important operation. This is done to remove the substances which bind the bast fibers to each other and to remove the fiber from the central woody portion of the stem. This consists of steeping the stalks in water.

[Sidenote: Retting]

(1) Cold water retting, either running or stagnant water. (2) Dew retting. (3) Warm water retting.

Cold water retting in running water is practiced in Belgium. Retting in stagnant water is the method usually employed in Ireland and Russia. The retting in stagnant water is more rapidly done, but there is danger of over-retting on account of the organic matter retained in the water which favors fermentation. In this case the fiber is weakened.

In dew retting, the flax is spread on the field and exposed to the action of the weather for several weeks without any previous steeping. This method of retting is practiced in Germany and Russia. Warm water retting and chemical retting have met with limited success.

When the retting is complete, the flax is set up in sheaves to dry. The next operations consist of "breaking," "scutching," and "hackling" and are now done by machinery.

Breaking removes the woody center from the retted and dried flax by being passed through a series of fluted rollers. The particles of woody matter adhering to the fibers are detached by scutching.

[Sidenote: Hackling]

Hackling or combing still further separates the fibers into their finest filaments—"line" and "tow." The "flax line" is the long and valuable fiber; the tow, the short coarse tangled fiber which is spun and used for weaving coarse linen.

[Sidenote: Characteristics of Linen]

When freed from all impurities the chief physical characteristics of flax are its snowy whiteness, silky luster and great tenacity. The individual fibers may be from ten to twelve inches in length; they are much greater in diameter than cotton. It is less pliant and elastic than cotton and bleaches and dyes less readily. Linen cloth is a better conductor of heat than cotton and clothing made from it is cooler. When pure, it is, like cotton, nearly pure cellulose.

[Sidenote: Ramie]

Besides the linen, there is a great number of bast fibers fit for textile purposes, some superior, some inferior. India alone has over three hundred plants that are fiber yielding. One-third of these furnish useful fibers for cordage and fabrics. The next in importance to linen is ramie or rhea, and China grass. China grass comes from a different plant but is about the same as ramie. The staple is longer and finer than linen. The great strength of yarn made from it is due to length of the staple.

The variety and great value of the ramie fibers has long been recognized, but difficulties attending the separation and degumming of the fibers have prevented its employment in the manufactures to any great extent. The native Chinese split and scrape the plant stems, steeping them in water. The common retting process used for flax is not effective on account of the large amount of gummy matter, and although easy to bleach it is difficult to dye in full bright shades without injuring the luster of the fibers.

[Sidenote: Jute and Hemp]

Jute and hemp belong to the lower order of bast fibers. The fiber is large and is unfit for any but the coarsest kind of fabrics. Jute is mainly cultivated in Bengal. The fiber is separated from the plant by retting, beating, etc.

[Sidenote: Olona]

Olona, the textile fiber of Hawaii, is found to have promising qualities. This plant resembles ramie and belongs to the nettle family also, but it is without the troublesome resin of the ramie. The fiber is fine, light, strong, and durable.

The Philippines are rich in fiber producing plants. The manila hemp is the most prominent, of which coarse cloth is woven, besides the valuable cordage. The sisal hemp, pineapple, yucca, and a number of fiber plants growing in the southern part of the United States are worthy of note. These fiber industries are conducted in a rude way, the fiber being cleaned by hand, except the pineapple.


The silk fiber is the most perfect as well as the most beautiful of all fibers. It is nearly faultless, fine and continuous, often measuring from 1000 to 4000 feet long, without a scale, joint, or a blemish, though not of the same diameter or fineness throughout its entire length, as it becomes finer as the interior of the cocoon is approached. Silk differs from all other vegetable or animal fibers by being devoid of all cellular structure.

[Sidenote: Where Produced]

Southern Europe leads in the silk worm culture—Italy, southern France, and Turkey, with China and India. Several species of moths, natives of India, China, and Japan, produce the wild silk. The most important of the "wild silks" are the Tussah. Silk plush and the coarser varieties of buff colored fabrics are made of this silk. While manufacturers do not favor the wild silk, the coarse uneven weave and softness make it a favorite with artists and it is being used for interior decoration as well as for clothing.

[Sidenote: Silk Worm]

The silk of commerce begins with an egg no bigger than a mustard seed, out of which comes a diminutive caterpillar, which is kept in a frame and fed upon mulberry leaves. When the caterpillars are full grown, they climb upon twigs placed for them and begin to spin or make the cocoon. The silk comes from two little orifices in the head in the form of a glutinous gum which hardens into a fine elastic fiber. With a motion of the head somewhat like the figure eight, the silk worm throws this thread around the body from head to tail until at last it is entirely enveloped. The body grows smaller and the thread grows finer until at last it has spun out most of the substance of the body and the task is done.

If left to itself, when the time came, the moth would eat its way out of the cocoon and ruin the fiber. A few of the best cocoons are saved for a new supply of caterpillars; the remainder are baked at a low heat which destroys the worm but preserves the silk. This now becomes the cocoon of commerce.

[Sidenote: Reeling Silk]

Next the cocoons go to the reelers who wind the filaments into the silk yarn that makes the raw material of our mills. The cocoons are thrown into warm water mixed with soap in order to dissolve the gum. The outer or coarser covering is brushed off down to the real silk and the end of the thread found. Four or five cocoons are wound together, the sticky fibers clinging to each other as they pass through the various guides and are wound as a single thread on the reels. The silk is dried and tied into hanks or skeins. As the thread unwinds from the cocoon, it becomes smaller, so other threads must be added.

[Sidenote: Organize and Tram]

At the mill the raw silk goes to the "throwster" who twists the silk threads ready for the loom. These threads are of two kinds—"organize" or warp and "tram" or filling. The warp runs the long way of woven fabric or parallel with the selvage and it must be strong, elastic, and not easily parted by rubbing. To prepare the warp, two threads of raw silk are slightly twisted. Twist is always put into yarn of any kind to increase its strength. These threads are united and twisted together and this makes a strong thread capable of withstanding any reasonable strain in the loom and it will not roughen. For the woof or tram which is carried across the woven cloth on the shuttle, the thread should be as loose and fluffy as possible. Several threads are put together, subjected to only a very slight twist—just enough to hold the threads together so they will lie evenly in the finished fabric.

[Sidenote: Boiling Off]

After the yarn leaves the spinners it is again run off on reels to be taken to the dye house. First the yarn is boiled off in soapy water to remove the remaining gum. Now the silk takes on its luster. Before it was dull like cotton. The silk is now finer and harder and is known as "souple."

[Sidenote: Loading Silk]

The silk fiber has a remarkable property of absorbing certain metallic salts, still retaining much of its luster. This process is known as "loading" or "weighting," and gives increased body and weight to the silk. Silk without weighting is known as "pure dye," of which there is little made, as such goods take too much silk.

For the weighting of white or light colored silk goods, tin crystals (stanous chloride) are used and for dark shades and black, iron salts and tannin. By this means the original weight of the fiber may be increased three or four hundred per cent. This result is not attained, however, except through the weakening of the fiber.

[Sidenote: Action of Common Salt]

Common salt has a very curious action on weighted silk. It slowly weakens the fiber. A silk dress may be ruined by being splashed with salt water at the seashore. Most often holes appear after a dress comes back from the cleaners; these he may not be to blame for, as salt is abundant in nearly all the bodily secretions,—tears, perspiration, urine.

[Sidenote: Artificial Silk]

Artificial silk is made by dissolving cellulose obtained from cotton. It is lacking in strength and water spoils all kinds manufactured at present.

[Sidenote: Characteristics of Silk]

Silk, like wool, has the property of absorbing considerable moisture without becoming perceptibly damp. Like wool and all the animal fibers, it is harmed by alkalis. The important physical properties of silk are its beautiful luster, strength, elasticity and the readiness with which it takes dyes. Silk combines well with other fibers, animal and vegetable.

[Sidenote: Value of Raw Fibers]

A comparison of the relative value of textile fibers may be seen from the following approximate prices:

Cotton—$.07 to $.14 per pound; loss in cleaning and bleaching 5 per cent.

Flax—$.12 to $.30 per pound; loss in cleaning and bleaching about 20 per cent.

Wool—$.15 to $.30 per pound; loss in scouring 20 to 60 per cent.

Raw Silk—$7.00 to $10.00 per pound; loss in "boiling off" about 30 per cent which is made up and much more by "loading."


All the complex processes and machinery of the textile industry are but developments of the old-time methods of the home. Brief outlines only will be given here for the processes are most intricate in detail.


The spinning of cotton yarn (thread) is typical of all the fibers. The stages may be divided into—

1. Opening and picking. 2. Carding. 3. Combing. 4. Drawing. 5. Spinning.

[Sidenote: Picking and Carding]

The picking and carding have for their object the removal of all foreign substances with as little damage to the fiber as possible. The foreign substances in cotton are sand, dirt, pieces of leaves, seed, husk, etc., which have become mixed with the fiber during the process of growing, ginning and transportation.

[Sidenote: Cleaning]

The cotton bales are opened and thrown into the automatic feeder which carries up a layer of cotton on a spiked apron from which it is removed by a rapidly revolving "doffer" underneath which is a screen which catches some of the dirt. It is next fed between rolls in front of a rapidly revolving blunt-edged knife which throws out more of the dirt through a screen. There is a suction of air through the screen which helps remove the foreign substances. The cotton passes through several of such machines, being formed into a soft web or "lap" which is wound into a roll.

[Sidenote: Carding]

The carding machine further cleans the fibers and lays them in a general parallel position. From this machine the web is formed into "sliver," a loose rope of cotton fiber about two inches in diameter. This is received in circular cans.

[Sidenote: Combing]

The combing is omitted for short fiber cotton, but is used in worsted spinning and with long staple cotton to remove the short fibers. Cotton to be used for making yarn suitable for hosiery, underwear, sewing thread, lace, and for very fine cotton fabrics is carded.

In drawing, from six to sixteen "slivers" are run together and the fibers drawn out in several stages until the soft rope is about an eighth of an inch in diameter, called "roving." This tends to get rid of any unevenness and makes the fibers all parallel. From this machine the roving is wound on a bobbin ready for the spinning frame.

[Sidenote: Spinning]

The spinning frame may have a hundred spindles or more, each one of which is drawing out its supply of "roving" to the required size of yarn and giving it the twist necessary to bind the fibers together. The yarn to be used for the warp is given a harder twist so that it may be strong enough to stand the strain in weaving. The yarn for filling is usually left soft.

The yarn for warp is now usually given a coating or "sizing" of starch and gums so that the thread may not become unwound and break during weaving.

The process of spinning is much the same for flax and for wool, although somewhat differently constructed machines must be used. Flax is usually spun wet.


[Sidenote: Modern Loom]

The modern power driven loom is a wonderful piece of machinery. The principle of its operation is essentially the same as the hand loom, but it is almost perfectly automatic in its action, a man or woman being able to tend from ten to fifteen looms weaving plain cotton goods.

[Sidenote: Warping]

The yarn coming from the spinning frame is sometimes dyed before weaving. The warp is formed by winding as many threads as the width of the fabric is to contain on a slowly revolving drum, called a "beam," in the same relative position in which they are to appear in the finished cloth. From its position on the beam at the back of the loom, each thread is brought through its particular loop or eye with the heddle, then passes through its own slot in the reed, and down to the roller or "cloth beam" that is to take up the woven cloth. This is called "drawing in the warp." If there is a piece of cloth coming from the loom, the work is very simple, for the ends of the new warp are tied to the ends remaining from the warp that has been woven out.

The shuttle with its bobbin, containing the yarn of the filling, is much the same as is used in the hand looms, except for form and size, which varies according to the requirements and size of the warp being used. At first only one shuttle was used, but in 1760 Robert Kay invented a mechanism by which several shuttles containing different grades or colors of yarn might be used. Each throw of the shuttle across the width of the goods is called a "pick."

[Sidenote: The Harness]

In making a cloth with plain weave, that is, with every thread interlacing with every other, as in darning, only two harnesses are required, but the modern loom may have up to about twenty-four harnesses so that an infinite variety of weaves may be obtained. Various cams and levers move the harness frame and so raise or lower the threads required for the design.

[Sidenote: Jacquard Loom]

The Jacquard loom is arranged on a different principle. In this loom, all kinds of fancy weaves may be obtained as in table linen, tapestries and carpets. Each warp thread is supplied with a separate hook and by means of perforated card the desired threads are raised or depressed at each throw of the shuttle. The cards are worked out by the designer. A set of a thousand or more cards may be required to produce the desired design. Jacquard looms are sometimes to be seen at fairs and expositions weaving handkerchiefs with some picture design.


The great variety of weaves found in the textiles of to-day are modifications of a few fundamental weaves invented in the earliest times.

The chief fundamental weaves are:

(1) Plain weave. (2) Twills. (3) Sateen.

To which may be added the derivatives—

(4) Rib weave. (5) Basket weave.

These do not include the many fancy weaves, too numerous to classify, and the open work weaves, made in the Leno loom, in which some of the threads are crossed. Knit goods are made by the interlooping of a single thread, by hand or on circular knitting machines and lace by an analogous process, using several systems of threads. Felt is made up of matted fibers of fur and wool and has no thread structure.

[Sidenote: Plain Weave]

The plain weave is the most common, nearly all light weight goods being thus woven. In plain weaving, each thread of both warp and filling passes alternately over and under the threads at right angles. This makes a comparatively open cloth, requiring the smallest amount of yarn for the surface covered. This weave is used in nearly all cotton goods, as in muslins, sheetings, calicoes, ginghams, and thin woolen goods. Even in the plain weave variety is obtained by having some of the threads larger than others, either in warp or filling or both, thus producing stripes and checked effects.

[Sidenote: Twills]

After the plain weave the twill is the most common, being much used for dress goods, suitings, etc., as well as some of the thicker cottons. In this weave the intersections of the threads produce characteristic lines diagonally across the fabric, most often at an angle of 45 deg.. The twill may be hardly visible or very pronounced. The simplest twills are the so-called "doeskin" and "prunella." In the doeskin the filling threads pass over one and under two of the warp threads and in the prunella twill over two and under one. The most common twill is the cassimere twill in which both the warp and filling run over two and under two of the threads at right angles.

[Sidenote: Uneven Twills]

A twill made by running both warp and filling under one and over three threads is called a swansdown twill and the reverse is known as the crow weave. In these the diagonal twilled effect is much more marked. Various twills are often combined with each other and with plain weave, making a great variety of texture. Numerous uneven twills are made, two over and three under, etc., etc.

[Sidenote: Sateen Weave]

In the sateen weave, nearly all of either the warp or the filling threads are on the surface, the object being to produce a smooth surface fabric like sateen. With this weave it is possible to use a cotton warp and silk filling, having most of the silk appear on the surface of the fabric.

[Sidenote: Rib and Basket Weaves]

The rib and basket weaves are derivatives of the plain weave, two or more threads replacing the single strand. In the rib weave, either the warp or the filling threads run double or more, thus making a corded effect. In the basket weave, both warp and filling are run double or treble, giving a coarse texture. This weave is sometimes called the panama weave.

[Sidenote: Double Cloth]

In the thicker fabrics like men's suitings and overcoatings, there may be a double series of warp threads, only one series appearing on the face of the goods, and in the still thicker fabrics, there may be a double set of both warp and filling threads, making double cloth, the two sides of which may be entirely different in color and design.

[Sidenote: Velvet]

In weaving plush, velvet and velveteen, loops are made in the filling or warp threads which are afterwards cut, producing the pile.


When the cloth comes from the loom it is by no means ready for the market. Nearly all kinds are washed and pressed and in some classes of goods the finishing process is very elaborate.


The fiber may be dyed in a loose or unspun state, as is customary with wool; after it has been spun and is in the form of yarn, as in the case of silk and linen; and when it has been woven to form cloth, as is most commonly the case with cotton.

[Sidenote: Madder Bleach]

The bleaching of cotton involves a number of steps, the most thorough process being called the "madder bleach," in which the cloth is (1) wet out, (2) boiled with lime water, (3) rinsed, (4) treated with acid, (5) rinsed, (6) boiled with soap and alkali, (7) rinsed, (8) treated with bleaching powder solution, (9) rinsed, (10) treated with acid, (11) finally rinsed again. All this is done by machines and hundreds of yards go through the process at a time. The product is a pure white cloth suitable for dyeing light shades and for white goods. When cloth is to be dyed a dark shade the treatment is less elaborate.

[Sidenote: Singeing and Shearing]

If the cloth is to be printed for calicoes, before bleaching it is singed by passing through gas flames or over a red hot plate and then sheared in a shearing machine constructed somewhat on the principle of the lawn mower, the cloth being run close to the rapidly revolving knives.

Although cotton is usually dyed in the piece, it may be dyed in the form of yarn, as for ginghams, and sometimes before being woven, in the loose state.

[Sidenote: Mordant Colors]

Cotton is more difficult to dye than wool or silk. Although there are now what are called "direct" cotton colors, the usual process is to first treat the cotton goods with a "mordant"—various salts of aluminum, chromium, iron, tin and copper, fixing these on the fiber by means of tannin or alkali. The mordanted cloth is then entered into the dye bath and boiled for an hour or longer, until the desired shade is obtained or the dye bath exhausted. The salts of aluminum are used as mordants for the lighter shades, the salts of chromium for the medium shades, and iron for the dark shades. In general, chromium mordants give the fastest dyes.

[Sidenote: Aniline Dyes]

The discovery of the so-called aniline dyes has greatly increased the variety of colors available. Although some of the first aniline dyes to be made were not fast to washing or to light and they thus received a bad reputation, they are now to be obtained which compare favorably in fastness with the natural dye stuffs such as cochineal, madder, etc., provided sufficient time and care are given to dyeing. The chief trouble is that in the endeavor to furnish cheap goods, processes are hurried and results are unsatisfactory.

[Sidenote: Home Dyeing]

Home dyeing is practically confined to the use of direct aniline colors. These are put up in small quantities and sold in many places. Directions for their use are given on the packages. The chief precautions are to have the goods perfectly clean and thoroughly wet before entering into the dye bath (this is by no means as easy as one might think), and to keep the goods in motion while dyeing so as to prevent unevenness of shade. Wool and silk dyes cannot be used for cotton and linen, nor the reverse. Of course cloth already colored cannot be dyed a lighter shade of the same color and the original shade must be very light to enable one to change the color, say from red to blue, etc. The original color always modifies that of the dye somewhat and it is best to experiment first with a small portion of the dye and cloth. Rather dark shades are apt to be most successful.

[Sidenote: Natural Dyestuffs]

Indigo for blue, madder for Turkey red, logwood with fustic for black, cutch or gambia for browns on cotton are about all the natural dyestuffs which are used to any extent commercially at the present time. The artificial product alizerin, the active principle of madder, has about superseded the natural dyestuff, and artificial indigo is gaining on the natural product.

Linen is bleached and dyed in much the same manner as cotton, although the process is more difficult. The process of bleaching weakens linen more than cotton.

[Sidenote: Dyeing Woolen and Silk]

Woolen and silk may be dyed directly with a great variety of dyes without the addition of a mordant, although they are often mordanted. Both must be well washed or scoured before dyeing. When white or delicate shades on woolen or silk are desired they are bleached. The bleaching is usually done with sulphurous acid gas, the cloth or yarn being exposed in a damp condition to the fumes of burning sulphur.

Were it not for the expense, hydrogen peroxide would be the ideal bleaching agent for the animal fibers.


A great variety of colored designs are produced on the loom by using different colored warp and filling yarns and different weaves, but in all these the designs are easily made only in somewhat rectangular patterns.

[Sidenote: Block and Machine Printing]

Print goods have doubtless evolved from the decoration of fabrics with the brush. Block printing was first used, the design being engraved in relief on blocks of wood. These are dipped in the colored paste, spread thinly, and applied to successive portions of the cloth by hand. These blocks are now replaced in the printing machine by engraved copper rolls, the design being such that it is repeated once or a number of times in each revolution of the cylinder. There is a printing roll for each color of the design. Sometimes both the background and the design are printed on the cloth, but the more common process is for the design only to be printed on the cloth which may be dyed afterwards. In the paste of the printed design there is some chemical which prevents the portions printed from taking the dye, consequently these remain white or a different color. This is called the "resist" process. Another process is to first dye the cloth and then print on some chemical which, when the calico is steamed, discharges the color. This is called the "discharge" process. Sometimes this weakens the goods in the places where the color has been discharged.

[Sidenote: Fixing the Print]

The color paste used for printing contains both the dye and the mordant. After the calico has been printed it is steamed to develop and fix the color, washed, sometimes very slightly bleached, to clear the whites, and usually given a sizing of starch or gum, and then pressed and dried by passing over slowly revolving, steam-heated drums.

In general print goods are not so fast to washing and to light as those that have been dyed in the regular way, although the better grades are reasonably fast.

Prints are sometimes made in imitation of the more costly gingham or other goods in which the color design is made in the weaving. It is easy to detect the imitation as the design of printed fabrics does not penetrate to the back of the cloth.

[Sidenote: Warp Printing]

Sometimes the warps are printed before the cloth is woven, thus giving very pretty indefinite designs, especially in silk.


[Sidenote: Burling and Mending]

The finishing of woolen and worsted goods has much to do with their appearance. No cloth comes from the loom in a perfect condition, therefore inspection is the first process. Loose threads and knots are carefully cut off by the "burler" and imperfections in the weaving rectified by the "menders." The goods may now be singed and sheared.

[Sidenote: Fulling]

[Sidenote: Flocks]

Woolens, and sometimes worsteds, are next "fulled" or felted by being run round and round in a machine while moistened with soap. The friction of the cloth on itself produces some heat which, with the moisture and soap, causes the goods to shrink in length and width while increasing in thickness. During this process, "flocks" are often added, especially for smooth finished woolen goods. These flocks are fine fibers of wool obtained from the shearing machine or made by cutting up old woolen cloth. They are felted with the fibers of the goods and add weight and firmness.

[Sidenote: Raising the Nap]

After the fulling, the goods is washed to remove the soap, dyed, if desired, and often "speck dyed" with a special dye which colors the bits of burs, remaining in the cloth, but not the wool. The next process is the "gigging" which raises the nap. The cloth is run close to rapidly revolving "teazels" and also may be run through a napping machine. It may be sheared again and then steamed and pressed. This is but a brief outline; there are generally more processes.

Woolen cloth coming from the loom may be so treated in the finishing room as to produce fabrics entirely different in appearance. One of the chief objects of the finishing is to give to the cloth as fine an appearance as possible to attract the buyer. Much of the fine finish disappears through wear, especially with inferior goods made from poor materials. The wearing quality of the goods is primarily dependent upon the strength and quality of the fibers of which it is made, so that the yarn of the filling and the warp should be examined when selecting materials. In general hard twisted yarn will give the better wearing cloth.


The present day shops offer such a great variety of fabrics that only a few of the most important can be mentioned here.


Cotton is cool and heavy, is a non-conductor of heat, crushes easily, but like all vegetable fibers it may be laundered without injury to the fibers. Cotton does not take the darker dyes as well as animal fibers and for this reason it does not combine satisfactorily with wool. As an adulterant it wears shabby and loses its brightness. It is only when cotton does not pretend to be anything else that it is our most useful and durable textile. The readiness with which cotton takes the lighter dyes and improved methods of ginning, spinning, and weaving have made cotton goods superior to any other for summer use.

[Sidenote: Muslin]

Muslin, calico, and gingham must always head the list of cotton goods. Muslin is coarse and fine, bleached, unbleached, and half bleached, twilled or plain weave. Under the head of muslin brought to a high degree of perfection in weave and finish will be found dimity, mull, Indian lawn, organdie, Swiss, and Madras, and a host of others equally beautiful. Madras muslin has a thin transparent ground with a heavily raised pattern woven of a soft, thick thread unlike the ground work. Waste is used for the pattern. Organdie muslin is soft, opaque, white, or colored, with raised dots of pattern and plain weave. Dimity has a fine cord running with the selvage.

Gingham is a smooth, close cotton usually woven in checks or stripes. The yarn is dyed before being woven, making the cloth alike on both sides, and the weave is either plain or twilled. Ginghams are also woven of silk and cotton mixed or of silk and ramie.

Cretonne, chintz, dress linings, crape, velveteen, and lace are made of cotton.

Flannelette, which is woven to imitate flannel, is soft and light and is preferred by many who find woolen irritating. It does not shrink as woolen does and is made in beautiful, soft colors and the best grades do not fade. For nightdresses, underwear, and sheets, during cold weather this inexpensive fabric is unequaled.

Among the heavier cotton fabrics may be mentioned denim and ticking which are now printed in beautiful designs and colors and used for interior decoration as well as for clothing and bedding.

The great variety of fibers, the many different ways of preparing each for manufacture, the differences in the preparatory processes in spinning, weaving, or in any of the later processes of finishing produce the varied appearance of the finished product in cotton as in other fabrics.


Linen is one of the oldest textiles; it was used by the early Egyptians for the priests' garments and for the wrappings of mummies. Many housekeepers think that there is no material for sheets and pillow cases comparable to linen, but it is not an ideal dressing for beds, for in spite of its heavier body, it wrinkles and musses much more readily than good cotton. For table service, however, for the toilet, and for minor ornamental purposes linen has no equal. Its smoothness of texture, its brilliancy which laundering increases, its wearing qualities, its exquisite freshness, make it the one fabric fit for the table.

[Sidenote: Table Linen]

Table linen is woven plain and figured, checked and diapered. In the figured or damask cloth the patterns stand out distinctly. This is due to the play of light and shade on the horizontal and vertical lines. In some lights the pattern is scarcely noticeable. When buying a cloth, let it be between the observer and the light, for in this position the pattern will show to the best advantage. There is a certain amount of shade on all horizontal lines or of shadow cast by them, while the vertical lines are illuminated, thus although the warp and woof threads are of the same color, the pattern seems to stand out from the background.

Linen should not be adulterated. It should be for use and not for show, for use brightens and whitens it.

Linen adulterated with cotton becomes fuzzy through wear because of the much shorter cotton fibers. The tendency can often be seen by rolling the goods between the thumb and fingers.

Crash of different widths and quality furnishes tea towels, "huck," damask and other weaves come in various widths and may be purchased by the yard. Russia crash is best for kitchen towels.


[Sidenote: Standard Goods]

The many grades of wool with the great variety of weaves and finish make an almost infinite variety of woolen and worsted fabrics. New goods are constantly being put upon the market, or old goods with new names. Standard goods, such as serges, cashmere, Henrietta cloth, and covert cloth, are always to be found in the shops. These are all twilled goods. The serges are woven of combed wool and are harsh, tough, springy, worsted fabrics of medium and heavy weight, with a distinct twill, rather smooth surface, and plainer back. There are also loosely woven serges. Cashmere and Henrietta cloth have a fine, irregular twill—the finest made. They are woven with silk, wool, and cotton warp, but the latter gives an inferior textile.

[Sidenote: Tweeds]

Tweeds and homespuns are names given to coarse cloth of which the wool is spun by hand and woven on hand looms. These goods vary according to the locality in which they are made. The wool is mixed without regard to color, the yarn being spun and twisted in the most primitive manner, giving the cloth an uneven, unfinished appearance. These are among the best wearing cloths on the market and are especially suitable for suits that will receive hard wear. Scotland and Ireland are famous for their tweeds and homespuns and what are known as the "cottage industries" have been recently revived in those countries as the products of their hand looms have become deservedly popular abroad.

[Sidenote: Harris Tweeds]

The "Harris Tweeds," made on the Island of Lewis and Harris, north of Scotland, are in the old style by the "crofters." After weaving the goods are "waulked"—milled or felted—with the bare feet, accompanied by singing the waulking song and beating time with the feet. The dyeing is done in pots in the old-fashioned way and until recently the dyestuffs were obtained from mosses, lichens, heather, broom, and other plants. Now, however, some of the best aniline dyes are being used. A peculiar characteristic of the Harris tweed is the peat smoke smell caused by the fabric being woven in the crofters' cottages, where there is always a strong odor of peat "reek" from the peat which is burned for fuel. The ordinary so-called Harris tweeds sold in this country are made on the southern border of Scotland, in factories, and are but imitations of the real Harris tweeds.

The light colored tweeds—natural color of wool—come from the island of St. Kilda. This island stands out in mid ocean, barren and wild, devoid of plants or shrubs of any kind for making dyes. The crofters content themselves without dyestuffs. The industry is maintained by nobility to help the islanders and the fabrics are fashionable and high priced.

Covert cloth is a twilled woven cloth of great beauty and durability. It is rather heavy, of hard finish and is used for jackets and winter suits. To this list of woolen goods may be added the crape cloth with crinkled, rough surface, nun's veiling, flannel which is woven in a variety of ways, broadcloth, wool canvas, and poplins. This list includes only a few of the fabrics manufactured, but these are always to be found on the market, are always good in color and are the best of all wool textiles for wear.

[Sidenote: Mohair]

[Sidenote: Alpaca]

Mohair is a material made from the hair of the angora goat, woven with silk, wool, worsted, or cotton warp. It is a dust-shedding material, does not shrink, and bears hard wear well. Alpaca, on account of its softness, elasticity, and exemption from shaggy defects, combines admirably with cotton in the manufacture of fine goods, which attains almost the glossy brightness of silk. The yarn is used for weaving alpaca linings and light coatings for warm climates.


Many silks can be washed without injury to the fibers, but they cannot be boiled without destroying the luster. Silks may be had in various widths and endless variety of weaves. Many are reversible.

[Sidenote: Loading Silk]

Silks are adulterated with cotton and ramie fibers. The chemicals used in "loading" or "dynamiting" to give the weight lost by cleaning or removing the gum from the raw silk give to the cheaper grades the stiff, harsh feeling and cause the splitting and cracking of the silk, hence the quality of the fiber should be considered when selecting a silk, not the weight. Taffeta is often heavily loaded.

Foulard and surah are twilled silks. Corded silks are woven with a cord running from selvage to selvage. To this class belong the grosgrains, Ottoman, faille Francaise—a silk resembling grosgrain, but softer and brighter. Irish poplins and bengalines have wool for the filling instead of silk.

[Sidenote: Wash Silks]

Great improvement has been made in the manufacture of wash silks. They are fine in color and have a glossy surface. Pongee is a beautiful, durable silk in different shades of natural color. It is woven in different widths. This silk is especially valuable for underwear. The first cost is greater, but it outwears muslin or linen. It is also used for children's garments and for outside wraps. For many purposes, no better textile can be found.

Crepe de Chine is an incomparable textile possessing as much softness as strength. It is always supple, never creases, launders well, and comes in the most beautiful soft shades as well as in black and dark colors.

Satin is distinguished by its glossy, lustrous surface, obtained in the weaving.

[Sidenote: Piled Fabrics]

Piled fabrics are rich, thick materials made of silk, wool, mohair, and cotton, comprising the velvets, velveteens, plushes, corduroys, and wilton and velvet carpets. The soft, raised pile is first woven in loops—Brussels carpet is a good example—and the loops are cut. The back of the goods is plain.

[Sidenote: Velvet]

Velvet has always and justly been regarded as the most beautiful of textiles. No matter how fashions change in regard to other materials, velvet never loses its vogue. For robes and cloaks, for mantles and jackets, for hats and bonnets, for trimming and decoration, velvet has been popular for a greater period than the life of any living mortal, but never before has it been so cheap, so varied and so beautiful as it is now. One can in the passing throng of pedestrians on any crowded street see the use and abuse of this noble material. There is scarcely an article of dress into whose composition it does not enter and it is worn upon all occasions. Many things have brought about this result. The tendency of fashion is towards the decorative and picturesque and in these qualities velvet excels all other fabrics. Silk waste and thread are cheaper than ever before so that velvet costs much less than formerly. The men behind the looms have evolved more designs and novelties in the making of velvet than has ever been known and colors beautiful in themselves are seemingly enhanced when applied to velvet.

[Sidenote: Velveteen]

All that has been said in favor of velvet applies equally as well to the best velveteen,—in fact it is a textile of even greater value and beauty than velvet. The best grades are not cheap, but they wear better than silk velvet, are fine and silky, excellent in color and sheen, launder well, and do not press-mark as does silk velvet. Velveteen takes the dye so beautifully and finishes so well that it has taken rank with our best standard fabrics. It is made entirely of cotton. It varies in width but is always wider than velvet.

[Sidenote: Widths of Fabrics]

A knowledge of the various widths of textiles is important in buying. Transparent fabrics are usually wider than heavier goods made of the same fiber. Muslin is wider than calico or ordinary print, and thin silk fabrics such as mull and chiffon are wider than velvet.

In wool dress goods various distinct widths are known as single—thirty and thirty-six inches—double fold (forty-five and fifty-four inches), etc. Silk, velvet, and velveteen are single width. The velvet ranges from eighteen to twenty-four inches in width and velveteen twenty-seven. Bodice linings vary from thirty-five to thirty-eight inches; skirt linings come in both single and double fold.

Household linen including bedding varies in width from one yard to two and one-fourth and two and one-half yards for sheeting and from thirty-eight to fifty-four inches for pillow case muslin.

Table linen is woven in both square and circular cloths of various sizes, and napkins vary in width from the small sizes to a yard square.

No fixed widths can be given for any textile as width often changes with the weave.


Textiles usually take their names from the country, city, port, or province from whence they originated; from the names of the makers; and methods of weaving, dyeing, ornamentation, etc. The fixing of localities, methods, etc., is oftentimes guesswork. The textiles of to-day bearing the same name as those of the middle ages have nothing in common. Buckram was originally made in and called from Bokkara. In the middle ages it was costly, fine, and beautiful, used for church vestments, veils for covering lecterns, cathedral flags, and in the 16th century for the lining of velvet gowns. The coarse, heavy, plain-woven linen or cotton material known as buckram today is used for stiffening, etc.

[Sidenote: Fustian]

Fustian, a kind of corduroy or velveteen, was originally woven at Fustat on the Nile. The warp was stout linen, the woof of cotton so twilled and cut that it gave a low thick pile. Chaucer's knight in the fourteenth century wore fustian. In the fifteenth century Naples was famous for the weaving of fustians.

A cloth made in France at a town called Mustrevilliers was known as "mustyrd devells."

[Sidenote: Damask]

China is supposed to be the first country to weave patterned silks. India, Persia, Syria, and Byzantine Greece followed. Those were known as "diaspron" or diaper, a name given them at Constantinople. In the twelfth century, the city of Damascus, long famed for her beautiful textiles, outstripped all other places for beauty of design and gave the Damascen or damask, so we have in modern times all fabrics whether of silk, cotton, wool, or linen, curiously woven and designed, known as damask, and diaper, which means pattern, is almost forgotten, or only a part of the elaborate design on damask. Bandekin, a costly cloth, took its name from Bagdad. Dorneck an inferior damask woven of silk, wool, linen, thread and gold, was made in Flanders at the city of Dorneck.

[Sidenote: Muslin]

From the Asiatic city Mosul came the muslin used then as it is now throughout the world. So skilled were its weavers that the threads were of hair-like fineness. This was known as the invisible muslin, the weaving of which has become a lost art. To this beautiful cloth were given many fanciful and poetic names. It was woven with strips of gold and silver.

[Sidenote: Calico]

Calico derives its name from the city of Calicut in India. The city is scarcely known to-day; it was the first Indian city visited by Europeans.

In the thirteenth century Arras was famous for its areste or tapestry, "the noblest of the weaving arts"; in it there is nothing mechanical. Mechanical weaving repeats the pattern on the cloth within comparatively narrow limits and the number of colors is in most cases limited to four or five.

Silks and cottons are distinguished through their colors and shades. Tarsus was a purple silk. Other cities gave their name to various shades, according as they were dyed at Antioch, Alexandria, or at Naples. Watered or moire silk takes its name from the finish.

From "canabis," the Latin name for hemp or flax, we have the word "canvas" to mean any texture woven of hempen thread.

To this list of fabrics might be added many others of cotton, linen, wool, and silk with new names, closely resembling the old materials, having greater or less merit.

The following lists of fabrics and terms may be helpful for reference:

Art linen—With round, hard twisted threads.

"Albert cloth"—Named for England's prince, is a reversible all-wool material each side of different colors and so finished that no lining is required. It is used chiefly for overcoats and better known as "golf cloth," "plaid back," etc.

Armure—A cloth woven in miniature imitation of feudal metal armor plates, heraldic devices, diamonds, birdseye, and seeded effects.

Astrakhan—A woolen or silk material with a long and closely curled pile in imitation of the fur from which it is named.

Backed-cloth worsteds or other fabrics which are woven with an extra layer of warp or other filling underneath the face, usually for increased weight and bulk.

Batiste—The French word for lawn, fine white cotton or linen fabric. Sometimes printed.

Batting or padding, cotton or wool prepared in sheets for quilting or interlining.

Beaver—Similar to Kersey, but with a longer nap, soft, thick nap inside.

Bedford cord—A closely woven woolen or cotton cloth having a raised corded surface similar to pique, used for women's suits.

Bonde—A loosely woven fabric with a curly, hairy surface, usually made with a jersey or stockinet body.

Bourette—An effect of weaving produced by fancy yarns showing in lumps at intervals over the face of the cloth; used for women's and children's suits.

Beverteen—A heavy cotton cloth used for men's hunting garments.

Broadcloth—A fine woolen cloth with a glossy finished surface, the better grades being woven with a twilled back. It takes its name from its width. It is used for men's and women's wear.

Buckram—A coarse, heavy, plain-woven linen or cotton material used for stiffening.

Buckskin—A stout doe skin with a more defined twill.

Butternut—The coarse brown twilled homespun cloth woven of wool prior to the Civil War—colored brown with dye from the butternut or walnut tree; used for men's wear and for decorative purposes.

Cambric—Fine white linen, also made in cotton in imitation.

Camel's hair—A beautiful, soft, silky fabric, usually woven like cheviot of hair of camel and goat.

Canvas—A linen, cotton, silk, or wool cloth of different weaves and widths, used for many purposes—clothing, as a background for embroidery, hangings, spreads, etc.

Canton flannel—A stout, twilled cotton cloth with a nap on one or both sides, used for clothing and decorative purposes.

Cassimere—A general term for all-wool fabrics woven either plain or twilled, coarse or fine, of woolen yarn. The pattern is always woven plain and distinct and the cloth is never napped.

Castor Beaver—A heavy, milled, face-finished, all-wool cloth lighter in weight than ordinary beaver.

Chinchilla—A thick, heavy, double woven fabric with a long napped surface curled up into little tufs in imitation of chinchilla fur; used for coats.

Clan Tartan—The plaids of the various highland clans of Scotland.

Clay—A name given to serges, worsteds, and diagonals woven after a process of J. & P. Clay of Haddersfield, England.

Coating—Those woolen and worsted fabrics most especially adapted to men's dress and overcoats.

Corduroy—A thick cotton pile material, corded or ribbed on the surface; used for men's, women's and children's wear.

Corkscrew-worsted goods—So-called from its fancied resemblance to the twists of the corkscrew.

Cotton worsted—All cotton or part cotton worsted-wove cloth.

Cottonade—Stout cotton cloth in imitation of woolen or worsted; used for men's trousers.

Covert—A twill-woven cloth sometimes with full face, sometimes sheared to imitate whipcord.

Crape cloth—A stout worsted fabric with surface in imitation of silk crape, used for dress coats.

Crash—A strong, course linen cloth of different widths, used for towels, suits, table linen, hangings, bed spreads; in fact, there is no end to the uses to which this textile can be adapted.

Cravenette—Cloths treated and finished before weaving by an improved process which renders them rainproof. A secret process owned by the Cravenette Company and by Priestly & Company of England and the United States.

Crepe—A light weight silk, silk and wool, or all wool or cotton cloth of irregular weave.

Diagonal—A worsted cloth with prominent diagonal ridges.

Doeskin—A compact twilled woolen, soft and pliable.

Drap D'Alma—A fine, close, flat-ribbed, twilled fabric of wool or silk and wool, finished on but one side.

Drap D'Ete—A fine, light worsted fabric woven in longitudinal cords.

Drilling—General term for various cotton stuffs used for lining men's wear, and general purposes.

Empress cloth—A heavy dress goods with napped or corded surface, named for the Empress Eugenia; sometimes called Electrol cloth or Beretz.

Etamine—A light woolen cloth similar to batiste and nun's cloth, used for women's and children's wear.

Faille Francaise—A soft, lustrous silk of wider cord than grosgrain, but narrower than ottoman.

Farmer Satin—A lining of cotton chain or warp and wool filling, finished with a high lustre, also called Italian cloth.

Flannel—A soft, light weight woolen fabric of which the yarn is but lightly twisted, plain weave or twilled; used for clothing etc.

Flannelette—A half cotton or all cotton flannel-like fabric.

Frieze—A thick, shaggy, heavy nap woolen overcoat cloth.

Gingham was first manufactured in Gonghamp in France and was known as Madras gingham. Seersucker gingham was originally a thin linen fabric made in the East Indies. Zephyr gingham is a soft fine variety of Scotch and French ginghams, are superior qualities, heavier in weight.

Fur Beaver—A long napped cloth imitation fur.

Grass cloth—A fine, smooth, linen woven in checks of blue and white, red and white, etc., used for dish towels; also a thin dress material of ramie and cotton, etc.

Grenadine—A thick silk gauze, either plain with a solid design or pattern upon it or combined in stripes with other weaves, as satin, moire, etc.

Grosgrain—A close-woven, finely ribbed or corded silk with but little lustre.

Haircloth—A cloth woven of horse hair, from which it takes its name, for weft with cotton or linen warp; used for facings, linings, furniture cover, etc.

Holland—A stout, plain-wove, unbleached, linen cloth used for linings, window shades, etc.

Homespun—A cloth woven on hand looms or made in imitation of such cloth for both men's and women's wear.

Hop-sacking—A plain woven canvas dress fabric of wool.

Huchaback—A corruption of huckster-back, meaning originally pedler's ware—Toweling made of all linen, linen and cotton, cotton and wool, either by the yard or as separate towels; the part wool huck always separate towels.

Irish linen—Full bleached, fine, plain woven linen used for shirts, collars, cuffs, etc., of different widths.

Jersey cloth—Woolen stockinette.

Kaikai—A thin Japanese silk.

Kersey—A heavy, closely woven cloth with a smooth face and glossy finish.

Kerseymere—A fine, twilled, woolen cloth of peculiar texture, one thread of warp and two of wool being always above.

Khaki—A light, yellow-brown colored cotton cloth used for army service in hot countries.

Ladies' cloth—A fine, wide, wool flannel, slightly napped, similar to broadcloth.

Lusterine—A thin, twilled, cotton lining finished with high lustre in imitation of silk.

Marseilles—A sort of figured pique, used for women's and children's clothes and for men's coats.

Matelasse—A silk and wool or all wool brocade, usually for coats.

Melton—A stout woolen cloth, fulled, sheared, and finished without a nap; like Kersey, but without a gloss.

Merino—A thin woolen fabric made of the fine wool of the marion sheep, generally used for women's and children's wear, vestings, and underclothing.

Mohair—A shiny fabric of great durability, made from the wool of the Angora goat; used for both men's and women's clothing.

Moire—The water effect produced on silk, moreen, and like fabrics. The finest watered silks are known as Moire Antique. Moreen is a woolen or mixed fabric to which the same process has been applied.

Moleskin—A medium heavy twilled cotton cloth, napped inside; used for men's wear and ornamental purposes.

Muslin—A cotton fabric of various classes and names; bleached and unbleached, half bleached, cambric, book muslin, long cloth, mull, organdie, lawns, etc.; used for all purposes.

Nankeen—A peculiar fabric of a pale dull yellow or orange color, woven out of the fibrous tissue which lies between the outer and sap-wood of a tree or shrub that grows in the East Indies and especially in China. The name is derived from the city of Nankin. An imitation is made out of cotton, colored with Annato. The genuine nankeen is never more than eighteen or twenty inches wide and is used for light summer clothing.

Overcoating—Fabrics woven especially for overcoats—covert, kersey, melton, beaver, frieze, vicuna, whipcord, cheviot, chinchilla, etc., made of both wool and worsted.

Pique—A heavy cotton cloth having a surface that is corded or having a raised lozenge pattern; used for women's and children's suits, men's vests, etc.

Prunella—Lasting cloth.

Sateen—A close twilled cotton fabric, soft and glossy, used for lining.

Satin—A silk fabric having a high lustre on its face.

Satinet—A cheap clothing material similar to cassimere, made with a cotton warp and a filling of short, inferior, shoddy wool which is mixed with enough long wool to enable it to be spun and woven in a way to bring that filling to the surface of the cloth; afterwards fulled, sheared, and the pattern printed on the face.

Serge—A lining of cotton or linen warp and a wool or mohair filling, woven three-leaf twill.

Serge—A fine, diagonal, twilled, worsted—both all worsted and with a worsted warp and woolen filling; used for men's and women's suits.

Shetlands—Very shaggy overcoatings, named from the Shetland pony, the coat of which it is supposed to imitate in appearance.

Shoddy—Waste thrown off in spinning—shredded rags, and bits of cloth manipulated into new cloth.

Sicilian—A mohair fabric.

Silesia—A light, close-woven, fine twilled cotton fabric used for dress linings, etc.

Stockinet—A plain, elastic texture made on a knitting frame, used for underwear, etc.

Surah—A twilled silk similar to serge; first made in Surat, India.

Tricot—A double-twill cloth having both a warp and filling effect.

Tweed—Much like homespun in appearance, both being either twilled or plain. They are made from rough worsted yarn spun at home. In tweed the yarn is harder twisted, giving a more distinct twill. It is generally more compact, less rough, and better finished than homespun.

Uniform cloth—Cloth suitable for uniforms, usually a stout, fulled, woolen cloth, similar to kersey.

Venetian—A cloth milled and cropped bare in finish.

Vicuna—A soft twilled cloth similar to cheviot, made of the Andes vicuna, hence its name.

Whipcord—A worsted cloth having a small, prominent twill.

Yacht cloth—A flannel heavier than ordinary serge or flannel.

* * * * *

Cord—The general term is applied to any fabric in which the lines run in the same direction as the selvage.

Count—In spinning, the number given to any thread or yarn, except silk, to indicate its relative fineness, based on the number of yards required to weigh one pound.

Felt—A cloth of wool, hair, fur, etc., not woven, but felted together; used for hats, slippers, boot tops, etc.

Flock—Finely divided woolen waste used in finishing cheap woolens.

Kemps—Fibers or hair like structure that sometimes come in wool, always in goat hair. They do not take the dye.

Mercerized—A term applied to cotton fabrics of which the yarn is chemically treated with a strong solution of caustic soda, giving the appearance of silk, more or less permanent; named after Mercer, discoverer of the process.

Mill ends—Trade term referring to short lengths, seconds, damaged pieces, etc., of cloth, embroideries, etc., that accumulate in mills and shops and are usually sold at a nominal price.

Narrow cloth—Trade term for fabrics less than 29 inches wide. Wider cloths are called broad cloths.

Oil-boiled—Trade term for colors so treated to insure permanence.

Oiled silk—The plain silk boiled in oil. Silk boiled in oil and dried, becoming translucent and waterproof; used as a perspiration guard.

Pepper-and-salt—A black and white or grayish mixture, effected in weaving.

Rubber cloth—Usually cotton sheeting or drilling with a coating of rubber on one side; used as a protective cloth for various purposes.

Shepherd check—Tiny checks, usually black and white.

Twilled—Woven in such a manner as to produce lines or ribs diagonally or across the surface of the fabric.

Woolens—Name of fabrics or carded wool, usually soft woven.

Worsteds—Fabrics made of combed wool, usually hard woven. The combing is the process of arranging the fibers of wool, mohair, cotton, linen, into a parallel condition, preparatory to spinning into a smooth, even and regular yarn. The perfected application of the combing principle.


Historical and Art

Arts and Crafts Essays $1.00 Morris, Crane, et al. Postage .10

Colonial Days in Old New England 1.25 Alice Morse Earle. Postage .12

The Primitive Family 1.25 Starcke. Postage .12

Man Before Metals 1.75 Joly. Postage .14

Origin of Inventions 1.50 Mason. Postage .16

Woman's Share in Primitive Culture 1.75 Mason. Postage .16

Textiles—The Lesser Arts 1.00 William Morris. Postage .10

Industrial Evolution of the United States 1.25 Carroll D. Wright. Postage .16

Technical Books

Through a special arrangement with the American School of Correspondence we are able to lend or sell to our students some of their textile books, which are technical though simple. Price 50 cents per part, postage 4c.

Textile Chemistry and Dyeing. 4 Parts. Part I. Textile Fibers. Part II. Bleaching. Part III. Mordants and Natural Dyes. Part VI. Artificial Dyestuffs. Cotton Fiber. Cotton Spinning. 5 parts. Weaving. 3 Parts. Textile Design. 5 Parts. Woolen and Worsted Spinning. 4 parts. Woolen and Worsted Finishing. 4 parts.

Textile Fibers $3.50 Mathews. Postage .16

Textile Fabrics .90 Rock. Postage .08

Dyeing of Textile Fabrics 1.75 Hummell. Postage .12

Bleaching and Calico Printing 4.00 Duerr. Postage .14

Note.—Books may be ordered through the School or may be borrowed by members for one week. Send postage with request.

U. S. Government Publication

Free of the Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.:

Flax for Seed and Fiber, Farmers' Bulletin No. 27. Cotton Seed and Its Products, Farmers' Bulletin No. 36. Raising Sheep, Farmers' Bulletin No. 96. The Angora Goat, Farmers' Bulletin No. 137. Silk Worm Culture, Farmers' Bulletin No. 165. Essential Steps in Securing an Early Crop of Cotton, Farmers' Bulletin No. 217. The Cotton Seed Industry, Reprint No. 239. The Hemp Industry in U. S., Reprint No. 254. Improvement of Cotton by Seed Selection, Reprint No. 279. The Growing of Long-Staple Upland Cotton, Reprint No. 314. Principal Commercial Plant Fibers, Reprint No. 321.

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C. Send coin or money order,—stamps not accepted:

Sheep and Wool, Report No. 66, Office of the Secretary. Price 5c. The Cotton Plant: Its History, Botany, Chemistry, Enemies, and Uses. Bulletin No. 33. Office of Experiment Stations. Price 60c. Cotton Culture in Egypt. Bulletin No. 42. Price 5c.


Uncultivated Bast Fibers. Report No. 6. Price 10c. Cultivation of Ramie. Report No. 7. Price 10c. Culture of Hemp and Jute. Report No. 8. Price 10c. Flax Culture for Seed and Fiber. Report No. 10. Price 10c.


The following questions constitute the "written recitation" which the regular members of the A. S. H. E. answer in writing and send in for the correction and comment of the instructor. They are intended to emphasize and fix in the memory the most important points in the lesson.



READ CAREFULLY. Place your name and address on the first sheet of the test. Use a light grade of paper and write on one side of the sheet only. Leave space between the answers for the notes of the instructor. Answer every question fully. Read the lesson paper a number of times before attempting to answer the question.

1. Give a brief outline of the craft of spinning, primitive and modern.

2. Outline the same for weaving.

3. Describe the hand loom.

4. Describe the cotton fiber. What kinds are there?

5. Who invented the cotton gin and how did this invention affect the cotton industry?

6. Give the chief characteristics of wool. Name the wool and fur bearing animals. How does wool differ from hair?

7. Trace briefly the preparation of wool from the fleece to the finished product.

8. Describe flax and outline the method for the preparation of the fibers. What is the name of the manufactured product of flax?

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