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What are the Different Types of Textile Production?

Keith Koons
Keith Koons

There are currently at least six forms of textile production. They include weaving, knitting, and braiding. Felting, bonding, and spread tow are other types. Hundreds of separate materials are used through these various crafts. They are categorized into four main groups; animal textiles, plant textiles, mineral textiles, and synthetic textiles.

Textile production is the process of interweaving fibers to form a more complex pattern or object. Its origins can be traced back to prehistoric times within many ancient civilizations. It has been a popular way to create new accessories, clothing, and tools ever since.

A finished textile.
A finished textile.

Weaving is a textile manufacturing method that interlaces long strands of cloth in both vertical and horizontal patterns. A device known as a loom is usually incorporated for this type of application, and hundreds of different patterns are possible when using this type of machinery. Woven items encompass everything from bed sheets to bulletproof armor, with thousands of creations in between. Spread tow is similar to weaving—small, lightweight components are made into a tape and then woven together with similar pieces.

A closeup of satin cloth.
A closeup of satin cloth.

Knitting is traditionally a textile production that is completed by hand with a needle or a crochet hook, but industries also incorporate large knitting machines as well. Crocheting is another type of textile manufacturing that would fall under this category. Many types of clothing are produced from knitting and they are made from a variety of materials.

Polyester fabric.
Polyester fabric.

Braiding is a separate form of textile production that takes two similar fabrics and twists them into knots by using a predefined pattern. A braided material normally has a much greater overall strength if it is correctly made, which is why numerous types of rope are created this way. Knotting is a similar process that would reside within the same category of textile manufacturing, even though the shapes created using this method are often not uniform.

Sateen fabric.
Sateen fabric.

Felting is a type of textile production that varies greatly from the other processes found within this list because nothing is being physically interlaced together. Instead, various components are forced together under large amounts of pressure and twisted so that they become entangled. These fibers are normally treated with some type of lubricant, like a detergent, to prevent them from tearing or breaking during the process. Bonding is a term that applies almost exclusively to synthetic materials like nylon or polyester, and it is a type of textile production that connects these components by means of heat, pressure, or adhesive.

Discussion Comments


I love knitting and I try to do it as much as possible. My grandmother taught it to me, and I assume her mother taught it to her, so it feels good to have a traditional link like that.

I also like that knitting and felting are two of the most environmentally friendly textile making processes as long as you choose the right kind of wool.

Merino and llama wool are particularly nice, and there are quite a few organic and natural options.

People are starting to realize that wool can hold its own against synthetic fibers.

It may be slightly more difficult to care for, but in terms of warmth and longevity it is second to none in the textile industry.


I have a friend who does a particularly strange form of "knitting", but since you mention here that bulletproof vests count as being made from textiles, I suppose his form of knitting also counts.

He takes rings of metal which have been cut at one point and joins them together in long rows, then joins the rows together to make chain mail.

He makes short pieces to be used as bookmarks, but mostly he makes full items of clothing by doing this. It takes a long time to make each thing and he mostly does it for his own interest, or to give to friends. He's really interested in medieval times.

It's not what you might think of when you think of a textile product, but it gives him something to do while watching TV.

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    • A finished textile.
      By: sootra
      A finished textile.
    • A closeup of satin cloth.
      By: klikk
      A closeup of satin cloth.
    • Polyester fabric.
      By: Silvia Crisman
      Polyester fabric.
    • Sateen fabric.
      By: katiagen
      Sateen fabric.
    • A folded square of linen.
      By: Viktor
      A folded square of linen.
    • Weaving, done by machines on a large scale, is a type of textile production.
      By: onizu3d
      Weaving, done by machines on a large scale, is a type of textile production.