Brigitte Herrbach-Schmidt
ICOM Costume Committee board member


Identifying fibres needs a lot of technical and chemical knowledge or at least a very high resolution picture of the fibre.

An approximate result may be obtained by a burning test, which however should not be used on Museum material, see for the reaction of fibres: Ditzi Prints Fiber Burn Chart and photos of what that looks like at

Luckily labels often tell what the object is made of:

( Lambs wool / Camel Hair/ Mohair / Alpaca / Angora / Cashmere)

I 01 Wolle

The charcteristic of wool is its flaky structure


I 02 Baumwolle

The cotton fibre looks more like a band with thick edges


Flax Hemp
Jute Ramie
(Mulberry, Tussah, Bourette, Schappe, Dupion)
Viscose Rayon Nylon Polyester
Coolmax Goretex



Read more

Tracés Techniques : F – E. Publications du CIETA.  Lyon 1979

Schenek, Anton: Lexikon Garne und  Zwirne. Eigenschaften und Herstellung textiler Fäden. Frankfurt 2006

Vocabulary of Technical Terms  Fabrics : E – F – I – S. Publications du CIETA.  Lyon 2006


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