Brown Recluse Silk Is Stronger Than Steel Because It's Constructed Like a Cable

Thousands of nanotendrils come together to form the flat, super-strong spider silk

Ptil Tekhelet sells tzitzit, or fringes attached to the corners of Jewish prayer shawls, colored with dye from the Murex trunculus snail

Jerusalem Museum Untangles History of the Color Blue, From Biblical Hue to Ancient Royalty

The show inks out the history of the enigmatic sky blue dye known as ‘tekhelet’

Milwaukee Bucks center Lew Alcindor (13), later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Los Angeles Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain, left, at the L.A. Forum on November 21, 1970.

A Brief History of the One-Size-Fits-All Tube Sock

Originally marketed as sportswear, the tube sock became a stylish accessory thanks to Farrah Fawcett and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Math in yarn

What Knitting Can Teach You About Math

In this professor's class, there are no calculators. Instead, students learn advanced math by drawing pictures, playing with beach balls—and knitting

Sahkanush and Haykanush Stepanyan became experts at rugmaking while still teenagers.

The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug

A new generation is emerging to craft the ancient rugs

Gentile de Fabriano’s gold-encrusted 1423 “Adoration of the Magi” altarpiece features Arabic script on the Virgin Mary’s and Saint Joseph’s haloes

Two Florence Museums Are Tracing the City's 500-Year Connection to Islamic Art

The Uffizi explores East-West interactions between the 15th and 17th centuries; the Bargello features donations from 19th- and 20th-century collectors

The bloomer costume

Amelia Bloomer Didn’t Mean to Start a Fashion Revolution, But Her Name Became Synonymous With Trousers

In the 1850s, women’s rights activists briefly adopted a new style in an effort to liberate themselves from heavy dresses

When Paper Clothing Was the Perfect Fit

A war-weary world needed a new wardrobe, and this cheap, washable attire seemed to rise to the occasion

Stephen Towns. Birth of a Nation. 2014. Private Collection.

Artist's Quilts Pay Tribute to African-American Women

Artist Stephen Towns' first museum exhibition showcases his painterly skill through traditional textile art

This silk velvet ikat robe was made specifically for a woman, as evidenced by the pinched waist. Velvet ikats were considered top-of-the-line, the Freer|Sackler's Massumeh Farhad explains, because two rows of weft were needed instead of the usual one.

How the Technicolor Ikat Designs of Central Asia Thread Into Textile History

A new Smithsonian exhibition sheds light on the rich backstory of an oft-imitated tradition

Is this machine adding an antenna to the fabric?

Embroidering Electronics Into the Next Generation of 'Smart' Fabrics

Is an archaic sewing skill a key to connected, sensing, communicating fabrics of the future?

The exhibition features a pair of 18th-century stork scissors, heavy tailors’ shears and calligraphy scissors

Exhibition Cuts Into the Fascinating History of Scissors

Fashion and Textile Museum traces scissors’ role in life and death, fairy tales, crime and punk

Have Scientists Found a Greener Way to Make Blue Jeans?

An engineered strain of <em>E. coli</em> bacteria can produce a precursor to synthetic indigo using fewer nasty chemicals than traditional methods

Spandex, under the brand name Lycra, quickly took off after it was introduced in 1962. This ad was published in Good Housekeeping in October of that year.

Thank(?) Joseph Shivers For Spandex

From Spanx to space suits, spandex has shaped modern garments

A demonstration of the technology, with the light fabric sewn into a onesie

These Light-Emitting Pajamas Could Help Treat Newborns With Jaundice

The method has an advantage over traditional phototherapy in that it allows babies to receive treatment in the comfort of their parents' arms

A Viking-age woven band of silk displays patterns in silver thread discovered to be Arabic script

Did Vikings Bury Their Dead in Clothing Bearing the Arabic Word for "Allah"?

While contact between Vikings and Muslim cultures is well documented, the interpretation of the 10th-century burial cloth has been called into question

Petit Pli

These Origami Clothes Grow With Your Child

Designer Ryan Yasin is creating pleated garments that could save on money and waste

A friendly Nauga.

How the Nauga and its Fictional Friends Helped Make Synthetic Fabric Cuddly

What started out as an advertising ploy turned into a low-key cultural phenomenon

Spider silk is stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar, but making it in the lab has eluded scientists for decades.

New Artificial Spider Silk: Stronger Than Steel and 98 Percent Water

Researchers at Cambridge University have developed a process for making strong, stretchy threads in an environmentally friendly way

The burial chamber containing the model looms

Model Looms Are Missing Link in China's Textile History

Four miniature pattern looms found in a burial in Chengdu show how the Han Dynasty produced cloth to trade on the Silk Road

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