Consumers use different types of fabrics as basic clothing and even to showcase the style and wealth. Many of the fabrics are made taking into account the weather conditions in an area. For instance, woolen fabrics are used to get warmth in winter; cotton fabrics to evade the summer heat. Using umbrellas and raincoats, on the other hand, give protection from raining downpour or scorching sun, and they are made of different fabrics too. In fact, both the terms, textile and fabric, are often used interchangeably, but actually, there are subtle differences between the two.
Textile is a term originated from ‘Texere’, a Latin word that means to weave. Textile traditionally refers to a woven fabric, even though people associate textiles to clothing. However, weaving comprises only one textile manufacturing technique, the other ones being knitting, knotting, and crocheting. Nowadays, textiles are also made by using a technique called felting. While natural fibers are sourced from plants to make textiles in a textile company, synthetic fibers are artificially made in labs with chemicals as well as contemporary technology. The textiles made of synthetic fibers dominate the majority of the clothing segment in the US.
Fabrics, on the other hand, are made of textile fiber with the use of techniques like weaving, knitting, and crocheting. In fact, the majority of the fabric products are either knitted or woven in a knitting mill, but there are also non-woven fabrics made of yarn using felting, twisting, and braiding. The term fabric is a generic phrase often used in reference to cloth material, which is used to make a dress or upholstery. In fact, people use ‘fabric’ when referring to the color, the texture, or the quality of clothes, even though the term has wider implications in actual.
Below are some of the key points that differentiate both textile and fabric in a nutshell.
- Fiber, yarn, or a combination of both can be used to make textiles. Fabric is often made from non-woven fiber or hand weaved or knitted yarn.
- Textile is a broad term used in reference to the clothing industry and engineering. Fabric forms a type of clothing.
- Textile products may be finished or unfinished. Fabric can only be finished.
- Not all of the textiles are necessarily fabric, but fabrics are indeed textile.