Textile Design, 8 Fun & Interesting FactsKristin Crane
Everyone at Design Pool may have different roles, but we all have one thing in common. We all have degrees in textile design. When people ask the standard cocktail party question, “What do you do?” answering, “I’m a textile designer” is nearly always a surprise, which kind of blows our minds.
We surround ourselves in fabric all day, every day. Above all, fabric protects us, comforts us, and shelters us. However, most people don’t consider how it’s made or by whom. We are obviously biased, but we think textile design is an endlessly fascinating field to study and work in. Want to know a little more about it?
Here are 8 fun facts about textile design.
- Textile design is a broad term that refers to designing the physical construction of fabrics. Construction happens by means of knitting, weaving, or organizing fibers using nonwoven techniques such as felting. In addition, the term also refers to designing for the surface of fabrics, through methods such as printing, discharge printing, and resist-dye techniques.
- The word croquis comes from the French and simply means sketch. Before computer-aided design programs, print designers drew their designs as a croquis. Using that sketch, they put their design into a repeat. Repeats need to be suitable to the fabric’s end use and with no obvious lines or breaks in the design.
- The invention of clothing marks one of the significant milestones in the evolution of humanity. The oldest known textile to have been discovered is a thread fragment found in a cave in the Republic of Georgia. Scientists have dated it as being 34,000 years old.
- The production of silk, sericulture, in China dates to 4000 BCE. However, China guarded the secret of silk production heavily for thousands of years. Eventually, a Japanese expedition managed to smuggle silkworm eggs out of China. According to legend, they also took four young girls and forced them to teach the Japanese the art of sericulture.
- The industrialization of the textile industry began in 1764 with James Hargreaves’ invention of the spinning jenny, a machine used to manufacture yarn.
- When settlers arrived in the American colonies, they brought looms with them knowing they would have to be self-sufficient. In those early years, the most common fiber in America was linen. Colonists had been able to travel with flax seeds easily and the northern climate could not grow cotton.
- Textile designs have often had political consequences. Many countries around the world have enacted sumptuary laws dictating what colors or fabrics certain people could or could not wear. This was often an effort to keep people in their “proper” social station.
- In 1824, the first jacquard loom was introduced to the US. It used punched cards to deliver information to the loom about which warp ends to raise and lower to create a design. This technology inspired an inventor to build a machine that used punched cards to hold data and tally the census of 1890. As a result of its success, this technology evolved further to develop the first computer in 1946 at Pennsylvania University.
Do you have questions about textile design or life as a textile designer?
Let us know what they are in the comments and we’ll answer them for you.
Design in header: Pattern Poppy for Museum L-A, P1675