The word textile comes from the Latin term textilis ( “woven”, and the verb textere, “to weave”). Today the word textile is more generalized to refer to products made from fibers. A fiber is defined, in a very general way, as any product (capable of being woven or otherwise made into a fabric). It may be thought of as the smallest visible unit of textile production. These definitions are quite broad, and it is often difficult for a textile technologist to delineate what is and is not a fiber or a textile.
Fibers (the usual starting place for a study of textiles) may be agricultural products (such as cotton or wool) or units (such as nylon or polyester) manufactured in a chemical plant. Fibers then serve as the raw material in the next stage of textile manufacturing. They may be spun into a strand, called a yarn, that can be used to knit a sweater, to sew two pieces of fabric together, or to weave a fabric. Fibers also may be made directly into a broad range of nonwoven fabrics such as felt for a hat or the underlayment for a modern highway.
Fabric is a planar structure produced by interlacing yarns in processes such as weaving, knitting, knotting, and braiding, or by binding fibers together to form a structure. Fabrics are produced in such forms as the flat sheets for a bed，the tubular body of a T-shirt，or the shaped nose cone of a rocket. Many of these fabrics are not aesthetically pleasing during the early stages of their manufacture. To enhance their appearance and improve their functional performance, fabrics can be dyed or printed, then treated with special finishes. The result is called dyed and finished fabric.