The last stage of construction is a transition stage between construction and consumption. The textiles receive the final processing before they are ready to be used. Many decoration techniques, such as embroidery and painting, as well as completion procedures, like sewing, took place during this stage. Written texts inform us that there existed special craftsmen called knapheis, responsible for applying the finishes on textiles, and also selling second-hand clothes. Their tasks were variable. Wool fabrics especially needed to pass through the finishing stage of fulling, a process that continued until recently. For instance, the knapheis washed textiles to remove fatty residues, they beat them with sticks and stepped on them to soften and tighten the fibres, then they dried them to prepare them for the following procedures, such as rubbing with clay to absorb excess fatty residues. After drying, the textiles were brushed to lift the pile, using thorny plants or porcupine skin.



Washing was a common activity usually taking place at rivers, at the sea or using special vessels, by women. However, there are also references of professional washers, both men and women. Ancient texts mention, for example, the knapheis as washing and bleaching soiled clothes.



One of the duties of knapheis waspleating, that is the creation of permanent pleats, even resistant to washing. Pleated fabrics existed in Egypt as early as 3000 BC, like the pleated shirt found in Tarkhan. Ancient texts mention a special pleating press, named ipos.  Information on the pleating technique is unclear, but comparing it with that of traditional techniques, it would involve wetting the textiles and tying their ends to create the desired number and size of pleats. The tied and wet fabric was then placed at the special press, where the humidity and pressure applied ensured the pleats remained permanent. Such a press can be seen at a mural painting from Pompei depicting a knapheion, a fuller’s workshop.


Scented textiles

There seems to be a long tradition of scenting textiles and ancient texts mention rose scented and unscented fabrics. Homer writes about goddesses wearing textiles giving-off pleasant scents, while scented bedding is mentioned in Classical texts. Traditionally, textiles were stored in chests along with fruit, such as quinces, to absorb their scent. Similarly, fabrics were hanged above burning incense to absorb the odour.