Introduction

How to Be a Fabric and Fiber Inventor

The oldest sewing needles ever found date back more than 20,000 years. They were made of bone and were probably used to make animal skins into clothes. Since that time, fabric and fiber inventions have changed the world we live in.

Like our early ancestors, we still spin the hair from sheep, llamas, and rabbits (not to mention fibers from silkworm cocoons) into yarn. We use old-fashioned tools to weave plants like cotton and flax (for linen) into yards of material. But today, in the laboratory, we also create fabric from plastics like nylon, polyester, and acrylic that can stop bullets (Kevlar), keep rain off while letting our skin breathe (Gore-Tex), and hold our sneakers closed (Velcro). ...

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