Early inventions of primitive garment materials were naturally born into the early human instincts as far back as 30,000 BC, with the use of flax as a fine linen mainly used by early Egyptians.
Flax was knotted together, plated, and woven, to create a fabric. As humans developed, so did their requirements for garments. The natural abundant supplies of cotton from plants, wool from animals, jute from trees and silk from insects dictated the fabrics available. Local resources created fabric specialities for each country, dependant on the natural supply.
Countries up to today have developed their specialities in fabrics. The Egyptians developed the flax linen cottons. The Indians created the rayon/cottons. The clandestine technology of silk production has been a great success for the Chinese for many years.
As humans developed further fabric became a commercial commodity, from the early primitive man right up to modern days. The mass uses of fabrics for apparel and home furnishing created a global fashion market and in essence created a huge ever increasing demand for fabrics.
This commercialisation created new knitting/weaving techniques with complicated machines capable of crafting, such as jacquards, herringbone, oxfords and many more.
Today we have come very far from early knitting and weaving techniques, using hand held looms capable of few metres. Today the current machines can produce thousands of metres an hour.
Prior to the 1900s all fabrics were natural; with the invention of rayon yarn in early 1900s and rapid expansion in exploration of fossil fuel bi-products, there was a great proliferation of modern yarns. These yarns include: nylon, acrylic, polyester, polyvinyl, polypropylene and Spandex. With new yarns came great improvements in technical performance. Fabrics could be made to be fire retardant, anti-bacterial, high tensile strength, abrasion resistant, waterproof, hygienic and breathable.
Today we can create fabrics to suit any application from basic garments of t-shirts to extreme harsh requirements of space suits.