From Muslin to Brocade: A Textile Quiz


By: Nathan Chandler

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

These flexible, colorful materials offer endless practical and artistic potential. How much do you know about textiles?

In English, Latin word "textilis" means what?

The Latin word "textilis" means woven. There are many types of textiles used for many purposes, but mostly they are made for clothing.


How many primary sources of textiles currently exist?

There are four basic sources for the textiles that we use for our lives. They include plant textiles, animal textiles, synthetic textiles and mineral textiles.


Acrylic is often used to imitate what material?

Acrylic is warm and soft, with traits that make it a lot like wool. It's a synthetic fiber that's often less expensive than natural fibers.


What is the name for the process of aligning fibers in the same direction for the purpose of textiles manufacturing?

Carding uses many needles spinning on drums to catch and align fibers so that they are aligned in the same direction.


Seersucker fabric is made from which material?

Seersucker is made from cotton. The threads bunch together in a useful way that helps hold the material away from the skin, making seersucker clothing appropriate for warm environments.


Byssus comes from which fiber source?

Byssus is a silk-like thread that the pinna nobilis, a type of mollusc, uses to attach itself to rocks. The threads can be spun into cloth.


The flax plant is used to make which sort of fiber?

Flax plants are used to make linen. Linen is two to three times stronger than cotton, and it was one of the first types of fibers used for clothing.


What do you call the lengthwise yarns in a fabric?

Warp is the name given to the lengthwise yarns of fabric in a textile. "Fill" yarns are inserted perpendicularly to the warp yarns to create a fabric.


Polyamide is better known by which name?

Polyamide is nylon, which was originally created as a synthetic substitute for silk. Nylon is extremely strong, making it great for everything from sportswear to rope to tents.


Angora wool comes from which type of animal?

Angora wool is harvested from Angora rabbits, which have very fluffy, downy fur. Animal rights activists condemn some producers, which may rip the fur directly from the live animals.


Bedford cord is named after a town in which country?

Bedford cord is a corduroy-like fabric that gets its name from Bedford, England. It has a comparatively rigid construction appropriate for outerwear, upholstery and similar products.


Polyester fabrics are incredibly stain resistant.

Polyester resists stains better than just about any other fabric. Only specialized dyes will affix themselves permanently to polyester's structure.


When does piece dyeing occur?

Piece dyeing happens after textiles are woven into fabrics. This type of dyeing is particularly good for making saturated solid colors.


What year did Spandex hit the clothing market?

With the introduction of Spandex in 1962, huge swaths of the clothing market changed. The stretchy material is used for all sorts of comfortable, snug-fitting clothes.


Wadmal is a rough cloth made from what material?

Wadmal is a very old type of wool cloth that was produced mostly in Scandinavian countries up until the 1700s. Peasants often used it for their clothing.


What's a giveaway characteristic of Lurex yarn?

Lurex yarns have integrated metallic layers that give them a decadent, shiny look. They are often silvery or golden.


In denim clothing, which part of the fabric is left white?

In jeans especially, the warp is dyed a bluish color and the weft is left white, giving the fabric some contrast. That's also why your jeans are white if you turn them inside out.


Ancient evidence of linen-like materials date back how far in human history?

Researchers found evidence of linen-like materials in a cave in the country of Georgia. Testing revealed that they may have been created roughly 36,000 years ago, making linen a very old material indeed.


Bengaline silk contains less silk and more of what material?

This type of silk actually contains more cotton than silk. It was popular in the late 19th century.


Spandex can stretch how far?

Spandex can stretch five times its original length without being permanently damaged. Release the material and it returns to its original shape and size.


Cashmere comes from which animal?

Cashmere is a type of soft, fine wool that comes from goats. Before it can be used, it must be separated from the goat's coarse hair.


What was rayon originally called?

Because it's made from processed cellulose fibers from wood or cotton, rayon was often called wood silk.


Aramid can be used in place of what other material?

Aramid has many of the same characteristics of asbestos, such as heat resistance and strength, without the potentially carcinogenic effects.


Where was Carrickmacross lace first introduced?

This type of lace was introduced in Carrickmacross, Ireland in the early 19th century. It features fancy patterns and muslin components.


In what sort of product might you find Aramid fibers?

The toughness of Aramid fibers makes them appropriate for goods that need maximum durability, such as bulletproof vest, boat hulls, tires or skis.


What purpose does acetate have when it is added to certain fabrics?

Acetate can increase shine in certain fabrics, especially those like velvet and silk.


What is another name for Hessian cloth?

Hessian cloth, or burlap, is often used to make sacks or for interior decorations. It naturally has an appealing light brown color.


Cashmere wool is about how many times better at insulating compared to sheep's wool?

This soft goat's wool has about three times the insulation capability of sheep's wool, making cashmere a very warm material.


Mohair comes from which type of animal?

Mohair comes from adorable, shaggy Angora goats. It's warm, easily dyed and wicks water very well, making it good for use in warm weather, too.


Velveteen is a combination of silk and what other material?

Often, silk is combined with cotton to make this silky, glossy textile. It has less sheen than true velvet but retains plenty of the original's softness.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!