42 Types of Cotton – Choosing the Right Type of Cotton For Your Clothing
Cotton is one of the most loved fabrics used in making clothes all around the world. This versatile piece of fabric has been around us since 3,000 BC.
Before that, it was developed in the Indus River valley in Pakistan before being woven into clothes. By 800 A.D, some Arabian merchants started bringing cotton cloth to Europe’s clothing market.
In 1942, when Columbus discovered America, he also found cotton plants that were growing throughout the Bahama Islands. Cotton was grown and sold throughout America by the 1500s. In today’s world, cotton is used in making different types of clothes.
Cotton is a chemically organic fabric, which means it doesn’t have any synthetic compound. They are derived from the fibers that are surrounded by the seeds of the cotton plant. Fibers are found in round, fluffy formation when the seeds are mature enough.
Cotton is more durable and has high absorbent properties. Different types of cotton fabrics are available in the market and come in a huge range of textures—right from voile and lightweight lawn to heavy-weight velvets.
Cotton is easy to wear, comfortable and one can learn to sew cotton fabric with ease. It is also used in various garments and other products such as tablecloths, pillowcases, sheets, bedding, aprons, etc. The application of cotton fabric is unlimited since it has been used in the textile industry for a long time.
Everyone keeps at least one garment in their wardrobe that is made from pure cotton fabric but do you know there are different types of cotton fabrics available in the market? Check out this comprehensive guide to get a better understanding of different types of cotton fabric.
Table of Contents
How Various Types of Cotton Fabric Are Made?
Cotton fabric comes from a plant. The cotton fabric producer derives it from the cotton boll that grows on the cotton plant at the initial stage.
The cotton boll then goes through a rigorous cleaning process until the cotton strands are taken and twisted into yarn to weave nice cotton fabric.
Around 60% of the world’s clothing is made from types of cotton fabric. Here is a simple process that cotton goes through.
It is the simple process of removing leaves from the plant.
A machine is used for harvesting cotton and eliminating any contaminants from the fibers. It also forms it into bales that are useful for the next process step.
A cotton gin splits seeds from bolls and removes unwanted trash. A seedling emerges within seven days, and cotton bolls within 55-80 days. An automated cotton gin can process at least 60 raw cotton bales in an hour, weighing around 500 pounds.
At this stage, cotton is moved to the production plant.
It is another process of transforming cotton fibers into useful long strands.
Different strands processed from the carding stage are now twisted to make a yarn.
The basic cotton material is prepared, and the cotton yarns at this stage are subjected to different chemical treatments and maybe dyed.
At last, it is then woven into specific textile materials like T-shirts, bedsheets, or different types of jeans.
A Glance at Different Types of Cotton Species
There are three different types of cotton species available to make cotton sewing fabric. Here they are.
Short Staple Cotton
Short staple cotton is appropriate for regular use since it is a rough cotton type.
Long Staple Cotton
Long Staple Cotton is quite luxurious than short-staple cotton. It is smooth and can give a soft touch to your skin.
Extra Long Staple Cotton
ELS cotton is one of the softest types of cotton given to humanity. They are luxurious and comfortable to wear.
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One of the longest and luxurious cotton varieties is known as Egyptian cotton.
Pima cotton is one of the most durable types of cotton that is grown in the USA. It is a scientifically tested and verified form of cotton that has gone through various tests to show that they are of a high-quality standard.
12 Different Types of Cotton Fabric – Lightweight Cotton Types and Where to Use
Cotton is one of the most utilized fabrics across the world. It can keep you cool or warm based on your garment, but it can give a soft touch to your skin.
There are different types of cotton available in the market based on weight. They are categorized as lightweight cotton fabric and medium-weight cotton fabric. Check out these 12 different types of lightweight cotton fabric.
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Crinkle cotton is also known as crêpon. These types of cotton have creased textures. It may be a blend of pure cotton. Crinkle cotton is often used for making casual types of shirts, skirts, blouses, and dresses.
You can machine wash it at 60°C and then twist and leave it to dry. You can press on the backside using a piece of cloth and a warm iron.
Madras cotton is a lightweight which is woven in different colors to create checks or different patterns. This plain-weave fabric is sometimes woven on handlooms.
Madras cotton can be creased with ease, and thus, it is ideal for casual clothes. They have to be hand washed and ironed at a hot temperature.
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Silk cotton is another soft and lightweight fabric that combines a soft drape of silk and cotton weave. It is ideal for dresses and blouses. Silk cotton needs a gentle machine or hand wash.
Broderie Anglaise is popular as an eyelet because of the cut-out embroidery holes in the cotton fabric. This plain-weave material can be either pure cotton or mixed with other fabrics, but it always gives a soft touch to your skin.
This cotton is machine washable and types of clothing aesthetics for tops, lingerie, and dresses.
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Gingham is a different type of cotton fabric that is used for making table linen and children’s clothes. This lightweight, plain-weave cotton comes in one color and white to create a checked pattern.
They can be pure cotton or cotton-polyester blended. You can machine wash it at 60°C.
This is another unbleached, lightweight fabric. This plain-weave cotton fabric has a loose or open weave.
Muslin is often used as an interlining in sewing or sometimes used for sewing test garments. Check these easy beginner sewing projects to learn sewing. Muslin is also used for straining juices and jellies. Machine washes it at 40°C.
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Another soft and loose-weave cotton fabric is Cheesecloth. This cotton fabric has a rough texture to the finished cloth and is suitable for shirts, blouses, and skirts. It needs gentle hand wash and warm iron.
Shirting cotton is crisp and lightweight cotton fabric. They are woven in checks or stripes. Different varieties of weaves are used for making shirts, nightwear, and boxer shorts.
Shirting cotton includes twill, oxford, poplin, herringbone, and broadcloth.
Polycotton is a blend of 65% cotton and 35% polyester. It is a lightweight and plain-weave cotton fabric that is crease-resistant and durable but less breathable than other cotton fabrics.
It can make you sweat if worn in direct touch with your skin. Children’s clothes, aprons, and non-ironed shirts and skirts are made from polycotton fabric.
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Voile is a see-through, lightweight cotton fabric. They are made from 100% pure cotton or often blended with different types of polyester fabric or linen. Voile is a plain weave cotton fabric that got its name from the French term “veil.”
It can help designers make beautiful gathered skirts and some flowing dresses (using woven labels and hand labels). The seam on this fabric needs to be sewn neatly since it can be seen through the fabric. Many designers use French seams in making designer clothes.
Seersucker is woven with alternate stripes of flat and puckered material to create a crease and give a seersucker type of effect. They are often available in a striped or checked pattern, but you can also get a plain version.
Seersucker is ideal for tablecloths and suits, trousers, shirts, and children’s clothes.
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This cotton fabric gives a crisp and smooth feel to your skin. They are quite sheer and delicate fabrics, but they are one of the strongest fabrics due to their fine weave. Lawn cotton is ideal for making tablecloths, blankets, blouses, and children’s clothes.
13 Medium Weight And Softest Types of Cotton Fabric
If you’re wondering, “how many types of cotton are there?” The answer is simple – as many as you can think.
Cotton is a versatile fabric, and there are different types of cotton fabrics available in the market based on pattern, softness, thickness, etc. Here’s a quick guide on medium-weight and the softest types of cotton fabric across the world.
Poplin is also known as cotton broadcloth. It is a medium-weight cotton fabric that can be sewn with ease. Check these 35 intermediate sewing projects to learn different sewing patterns on poplin fabric.
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Poplin is a versatile cotton fabric used to produce dresses, shirts, and blouses. These softest types of cotton fabric can be either 100% pure cotton or blended with polyester. It is machine-washed fabric and must be pressed with a hot iron and pressing cloth.
Jersey or knit fabric is the stretchy fabric that is used for tops, sportswear, t-shirts, and dresses. It is easy to identify this cotton fabric since it has unique right and wrong sides. You can also find jersey fabric in different types of sweaters.
By looking at a t-shirt made of jersey material, you can tell if it is turned inside out. Jersey can be a bit difficult to sew.
If you’re wondering how to sew jersey fabric, just take sewing cotton and ballpoint needle and start creating a zigzag stitch to stretch the fabric.
Linen is soft, light to medium weight, and blended fabric. It is a mixture of 50% cotton and 50% linen. Linen is more robust and will not cease much.
If you have an allergy to the skin, make sure you first get a sample because this fabric sometimes gets itchy and scratchy. They can be used in making sheets, dresses, skirts, and jackets.
It is a medium-weight fabric that comes with a nap or silky pile on the right side. A pile brushed on this fabric has a smooth surface on one side and creates softness, and helps you feel luxurious.
Cotton velvet is quite an expensive type of cotton fabric. You can find cotton velvet in most evening wear. You may need to use warm iron on the wrong side of the fabric with a pressing cloth to iron this fabric.
Image Source: Luca Faloni
Brushed cotton is a different type of cotton fabric which is known as flannelette or flannel. This cotton fabric has surface fibers that are brushed to give it a soft touch.
This softest type of cotton fabric comes in various prints, colors, stripes, and floral. Brushed cotton is also helpful in making children’s pajamas, warm bed linen, and warm linings. It can be machine washed at 60-95°C.
Calico is a cost-effective cotton fabric that is used to test patterns for sizing. This plain weave and light to medium weight cotton fabric can be machine washed at 60-95°C.
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Satin is also known as Sateen. It is the softest type of cotton fabric that comes with a smooth texture and sheen on the top of it. This satin-weaved cotton fabric is used for skirts and dresses.
Chino is a strong fabric and is also called a drill. This medium-weight cotton fabric is a twill weave and has a slight sheen. It can be dyed in beige, black, or navy color. It is ideal for making work clothes, trousers, and uniforms.
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Damask is medium to heavyweight, double-sided cotton fabric. It uses satin weave on a plain background to create geometric or floral patterns.
The damask fabric has a slightly shiny effect from the satin weave. It is used for making waistcoats, tablecloths, posh jackets, and home furnishing items.
Quilting cotton is called patchwork, craft, or printed cotton. These plain weave, medium-weight cotton fabrics can be used for many projects such as home décor, clothing, and other easy beginner sewing projects.
Tops, tunics, dresses, skirts, and aprons are made from quilting cotton.
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Moleskin is a medium-weight fabric that comes with a fine nap on one side. This creates a soft and brushed feel to the surface.
Moleskin fabric is suitable for making different types of cotton clothes such as shirts, coats, trousers, jackets, and skirts.
Ticking is another twill weave type of cotton fabric that is woven in stripes. It is famous for making mattress covers, aprons, and bags. Ticking can be either in the form of pure cotton or a cotton-synthetic blend.
Ticking is not used much for dressmaking. It needs to be iron on the wrong side while it is still damp.
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It is a plain weave and hard-wearing cotton fabric with a shiny effect. Chintz can be found in prints with bright floral patterns. These softest types of cotton fabric are used for making eye-catching dresses.
4 Types of Cotton Weaves With Pictures
Once the cotton is harvested on the farm, it is woven into a wide variety of fabrics. Today’s fabric manufacturers create as many weave styles as possible, and you cannot imagine the number.
Different types of weaves are used in making different types of cotton fabric, but there is some basic weave style used in all-cotton fabrics. Here are four basic types of cotton weaves you should know.
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Percale is a closed-weave style for creating sturdy fabric. This weave style can help make comfortable clothes. Percale weave style is more prone to wrinkles and can give a casual and no-sheen finish.
Twill is a diagonal weave style that gives a visible pattern and texture. Its uneven surface can help mask stain and dirt, making it the ideal fabric for hard-weaving items such as denim clothing and furniture upholstery.
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Flannel is a unique brushed advanced sewing technique that makes this weave soft and plush. Since flannel weaves are cozy and warm, they are most often used in making cold-weather clothes, bedsheets, pajamas, and blankets. Flannel is made from either wool or synthetic fibers.
The weft yarns are floated over wrap ones to create a nice smooth finish on the cotton-satin fabric. It is a wrinkle-resistant weave style and gives a silky and smooth touch.
10 Popular Types of Cotton Fabric for Shirts
The most common types of fabric used in men’s shirts are cotton. Cotton is versatile and comfortable to wear. It has a high breathability property, which keeps you cool and dry in any season. It is one of the softest materials and easy to wash.
When it comes to choosing the best shirts for men, many people go for cotton fabric. Different types of cotton fabric are available in the market for men’s shirts, but here are ten popular types of cotton fabric for shirts.
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Oxford is a great choice when it comes to choosing the best types of cotton fabric for shirts. This fabric is comfortable to wear and woven in a basket-weave style and texture.
Oxford fabric is used for making men’s button-down shirts. It was designed to wear with a tie and became the most popular casual shirt in the past.
Several designers have started making wrinkle-free Oxford shirts for men that never need to be iron. They also come with unique care labels for wash and iron instructions.
Rayon is another type of fabric that is made from combining cotton, plants, and trees. This softest piece of fabric has an impressive drape and gives a smooth feel to your body.
Rayon is a lightweight cotton fabric, so it is easy to wear anytime. It can give you silk type effect but be warned when wearing it since it can get wrinkles.
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Cotton flannel is a soft fabric in which one or both sides have a fuzzy feel. The fuzzy effect is accomplished by either with loose spun weave style or brushing the fabric.
They are ideal for wearing in cold weather. Men prefer flannel fabric while choosing different types of cotton cloth such as casual shirts and pajamas.
Since linen is a breathable cotton fabric, it is a must-have fabric for men’s wardrobes. They are comfortable to wear in both hot and cold seasons.
If you prefer a casual look, you must have a linen shirt in your wardrobe. Linen is lightweight cotton fabric, making it ideal for summer or outdoor wear. You can find different colors in linen shirts.
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Chambray has a subtle multi-colored look. They are made by using two different yarns, of which one is white-colored. When you choose other yarn in blue color, it can look like denim but much softer than denim.
Chambray types of cotton for shirts are popular among young men. It is also perfect for those casual shirts.
Herringbone looks like a fishbone pattern that is woven into the fabric. Herringbone shirts are available in lightweight and heavyweight as well.
Herringbone cotton fabric is ideal for formal shirts. Many premium brands use Herringbone fabric for making high-quality, polished formal shirts.
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Corduroy is another pile fabric with raised ribs that run vertically and have even space. Light to heavyweight corduroy shirts are available in the market. Corduroy is the popular cotton fabric for making casual shirts.
Cotton broadcloth is a plain weave, medium weight cotton fabric which has fine ribs and a soft sheen. Shirts made from Broadcloth cotton fabrics can give you a smooth feel and crisp look.
If you’re looking for a crisp shirt for those formal events or business meetings, choose Broadcloth cotton shirts.
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A drill is a durable fabric with more diagonal ribs because of its coarser yarn count. Cotton drills have some structured texture, so you might feel bumpy as you move your hands over its ribbed surface. Cotton drill shirts are used in many army uniforms and labor works.
Different colored warp and weft yarns are sewn together to make a crossweave, multi-colored cotton fabric. You may need to understand sewing hacks to sew this cotton.
Most men’s casual shirts are made from crossweave cotton fabric.
Outstanding Properties of Different Types of Cotton Fibers
Cotton is a type of natural fiber that is produced in all countries. It is now one of the most used natural fibers and the world’s biggest non-food cash crop. More than 50% of global farms produce 70% of the world’s cotton.
Cotton is a blessing for the textile industry across the world, and thus, increasing supply and demand affect the prices of raw cotton. Here are some fantastic properties of types of cotton fibers you should know.
- Fiber length ranges from half-inch to two-inch.
- Crisp, comfortable, flexible, and absorbent fibers with no pilling problems
- Good resistance to alkalis
- Around 10% increase in strength when it is wet.
- Comes with a flat twisted tube shape
- Cellulose is arranged in a manner to give cotton durability, strength, and absorbency it needs.
- Great heat conductivity
- Moisture can pass through cotton with ease
- Around 8% moisture regain properties
How to Identify Different Types of Cotton Fabric for Dresses in Less Than Five Minutes?
The ideal way to create a long-lasting wardrobe essential is by purchasing high-quality cotton fabric. There are many types of cotton fabric for dresses available in the market.
Some are high quality and last longer than you expect, while others are cheap and do not even last more than one season. In order to buy the best quality fabric, one should have the ability to check the quality of the fabric.
If you’re wondering “what type of fabric is cotton” here, we have prepared a simple checklist that can help you identify the suitable types of cotton fabric for dresses.
Many people judge a dress by their first impression. Just a few people take a second glance to check the quality. It is essential that you see the dress as a whole.
Check for its remarkable finish, see if the fabric is of poor quality, etc.
Haptics: The Tactility Test
Many people can tell the quality of the cotton fabric by just touching it. Cotton fabrics which are made from 100% Extra Long Staples (ELS), can feel smooth on your skin.
If they are made from a cheaper quality, there is a change in the softness, so do not forget to check the care labels to understand if you’re buying 100% pure cotton or cotton-blended fabric.
When shopping online, you are not able to check cotton fabric. In that case, you can check the brand and the type of cotton they use for making dresses.
Many brands use this information on their website, and you can even find it under the product description section.
Finishing: The Uniformity Test
You can inspect individual cotton threads with ease since cotton is spun to create a yarn. Make sure that the threads have no space in between. You also need to pay attention to the regular pattern of smooth rows created on the fabric.
Optics: The Light Test
When you go physical shopping, you should hold the cotton fabric against the light before purchasing it. If it is 100% pure cotton, it won’t be transparent. Even thin materials are also not transparent when they come near to the light.
If a high-intensity light passes through the fabric, it is a sign that it is not knitted or woven with dense effect and can lose its original shape.
Durability, Breathability, and Softness
There is a huge difference in 100% pure cotton fabric. Cotton is inexpensive and versatile, but it is also durable when it’s made of good quality. The following characteristics can help you judge the quality of the cotton fabric:
Cotton fabrics that are made from long-staple fibers are of high quality since they are spun into fiber yarn. This also makes it more durable and robust.
Some cotton fabrics are less breathable than others because of the tiny air pockets left between the threads. High-quality cotton fabric is woven with a tight pattern to avoid air pockets and unpleasant odors.
Image Source: HomeGrown Cotton
Make sure you keep this characteristic in mind while choosing different types of cotton fabric for dresses. This can affect the quality of the fabric, and you might end up purchasing poor fabric.
Cotton is an all-around favorite fabric that comes in different textures and thicknesses. It is one of the versatile fabrics which can be used anywhere. Be it making types of clothes or home décor items; you can find cotton everywhere.
We have covered different types of cotton fabrics in this guide to help you in your next shopping. Make sure you know the types of cotton available in the market so that you can purchase the one that suits your needs.