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It is not certain when people first started wearing clothes however, anthropologists give estimates that range between 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. The first clothes were made from natural elements: animal skin and furs, grasses and leaves, and bones and shells. Clothing was often draped or tied however, simple needles made out of animal bone provide evidence of sewn leather and fur garments from at least 30,000 years ago.

When settled neolithic cultures discovered the advantages of woven fibers over animal hides, the making of cloth, drawing on basketry techniques, emerged as one of humankind's fundamental technologies. Hand and hand with the history of clothing goes the history of textiles. Humans had to invent weaving, spinning and other techniques and the machines needed in order to make the fabrics used for clothing.

Before sewing machines, nearly all clothing was local and hand-sewn, there were tailors and seamstresses in most towns that could make individual items of clothing for customers. After the sewing machine was invented, the ready-made clothing industry took off.

Mary Bellis, About.com

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