In a recent online issue of Saudi Aramco World Magazine, the history of fabric in the Middle East from the 11th century forward is discussed. Such fabrics as gauze and muslin were once very different from the way they are known today.
From the article:
Many of the old materials have been with us for centuries, and before they vanish altogether it is interesting to consider what they are - and were - and where they came from. When we examine their origins in diaries, literature and the records the past has left us, we see that many of them originated in the Middle East.