Every day we use many different kinds of textile materials. In the morning we use cotton or linen washcloths and towels, we dress in knitted or muslin underwear, we put on dresses that are made of cotton, linen, silk or wool, at breakfast we use tablecloths and napkins, and if it is cold we put on heavy coats or sweaters before going out-doors. If it is raining we carry an umbrella that has a cotton, linen or silk covering, or perhaps we wear a raincoat that is made of a material that is waterproof.
Make a list of the different textile materials that you have already used to-day and you will be surprised at the number. Each of these materials seems to be made differently. Your Turkish towel is made with a rough surface, the napkin is smooth, and your stockings are knitted instead of woven. Why is it necessary to go to the trouble and expense of making these materials differently? Each of these materials is made to suit a certain purpose and it is interesting to study about how this is done.
How to Know Good Quality in Material. - At the same time we learn about how materials are made to suit their purpose, we can also learn how to know good and poor qualities in materials. When we are shopping and inspect the pieces of materials displayed on the counters, we can pick out certain pieces that seem to be of better quality than others. How is it that we can do this? To some extent, the appearance and feeling of fabrics enables us to do this. However, even the experienced shopper may be deceived if she depends entirely on the appearance and feeling of fabrics. Sometimes manufacturers deceive us by making poor, cheap material appear to be of good quality.
The wise shopper has learned the kinds of fibers used for making cloth, how cloth is made and how it is finished, so that she can detect substitutions and imitations. When a clerk says to us, "This material is of excellent quality," we should be able to judge for ourselves.
What You Wear. - It will be a good plan for you to keep a notebook while you study what fabrics you wear. You might label your notebook cover "What I Wear." To have a good notebook you must collect samples of the different kinds of materials which you wear and put them into your book. You will find directions in the following pages for planning your notebook. For your next lesson bring as many samples as you can collect. These should include samples of materials for ties, hair ribbons, stockings, dresses, coats, handkerchiefs, napkins, towels and underwear.