Most historians are in agreement that the first fiber used for the making of textiles came from the flax plant. The fibers in the stem of the plant are removed, cleaned, and woven together to make linen. Flax fibers were use to make linen over 5,000 years ago, and was of such value that it was used for burial shrouds for Egyptian Pharaohs. The Egyptians mastered the art of making fine linen, as some linen items found in tombs have threads so fine that they were woven 200 to the inch.
The historically recent creation of man-made fibers has not eliminated the use of natural ones. Natural fibers have qualities that have not been duplicated. After more than 5000 years, humans still want and enjoy the warmth of wool, the feel of cotton, the characteristics of linen and the beauty of silk.