Fabric, or cloth, is a supple artificial material which is made up of a network of artificial or natural fibers (yarn or thread) formed by knitting (textiles) or weaving, or pressed into felt. The terms material and fabric are frequently used in the weaving assembly trades such as dressmaking and tailoring, and are synonyms for cloth.
Fabric is most often used in the manufacture of clothing, art such as tapestry, and household furnishings. Before woven cloth made its appearance, the roles of textiles had been fulfilled by leather and furs.
At one time, all fabric was made of natural fibers only, including such plant sources as cotton, hemp, flax, and animal sources such as hair, wool, and silk. Nowadays, these sources have been complemented by non-natural fibers such as rayon and polyester.
Cloth is often but not always dyed with a variety of fabric colors available. Colored patterns in fabric can be produced by weaving strands of diverse colors (plaid) and adding colored stitches to made fabric (embroidery) as well as by using a fabric texture. In the last few years, machine embroidery has become a widespread hobby, due to less expensive embroidery machines for home use, allowing all enthusiasts to create their own fabric surface design at home.
There are a large number of different types of fabric, each has its own unique fabric properties such as strength and degree of durability, color hue and color intensity. The thickness, one of the fabric properties, is estimated in deniers. The term "micro-fiber" denotes fibers that are made of strands with the thickness less than one denier. Here are some types of fabric followed by a short description of a few most used types: calico, cambric, burlap, canvas, broadcloth, corduroy, fustian, felt, linen, muslin, organza, satin, silk, serge, twill, worsted, velvet, etc.
Calico is a fabric made of not fully processed unbleached cotton. It may include un-separated husk parts, for instance. The fabric is less thick and coarse than denim or canvas, but due to its un-dyed and unfinished appearance, it is still fairly cheap.
Canvas is a very heavy-duty fabric. These fabric properties make canvas exceptionally suitable for making sails, marquees, tents, and other purposes where sturdiness is necessary. Canvas is also generally used for fashion handbags.
Denim has been in use and on the market in the United States since the 18th century. It refers to a rugged cotton textile, where the weft lays under two or sometimes more warp fibers, creating diagonal ribbing; particularly on the reverse of the cloth, which differentiates denim from cotton. Denim was historically colored with indigo blue dye to produce blue jeans, despite the fact that "jean" refers to another lighter cotton textile with other fabric properties.
Felt is one of the non-woven cloths that are made by condensing, matting and pressing fibers which form the shape of the fabric.
Flannel is a fabric that is usually used to make bed sheets and clothing. As a rule, flannel is made of either wool, or wool and synthetic fabric, or wool and cotton.