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Modern European Fashion Treats Cloth Much Less Conservatively, Typically Cutting
Some human cultures, such as the various people of the Arctic Circle, traditionally make their clothing entirely of prepared and decorated furs and skins.
Other cultures supplemented or replaced leather and skins with cloth: woven, knitted, or twined from various animal and vegetable fibers.
Although modern consumers may take the production of clothing for granted, making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor-intensive process.
The textile industry was the first to be mechanized – with the powered loom – during the Industrial Revolution.
Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth.
One approach simply involves draping the cloth.
Many people wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit – for example, the dhoti for men and the sari for women in the Indian subcontinent, the Scottish kilt or the Javanese sarong.
The clothes may simply be tied up, as is the case of the first two garments; or pins or belts hold the garments in place, as in the case of the latter two.
The precious cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes or the same person at different sizes can wear the garment.
Another approach involves cutting and sewing the cloth, but using every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing.
The tailor may cut triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and then add them elsewhere as gussets.
Traditional European patterns for men's shirts and women's chemises take this approach.
Modern European fashion treats cloth much less conservatively, typically cutting in such a way as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants.
Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste; home sewers may turn them into quilts.
In the thousands of years that humans have spent constructing clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving garments, photos, paintings, mosaics, etc., as well as from written descriptions.
Costume history serves as a source of inspiration to current fashion designers, as well as a topic of professional interest to costumers constructing for plays, films, television, and historical reenactment.
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