8 Reasons to Use Cotton (What is a Cotton Fabric Made From)

When you wear clothing you want it to be as soft and as comfortable as clothes can be without weakening the strength of the fabric. Cotton is always a good choice as it is very comfortable and a very strong fabric to use in most cases.

Cotton is a great fabric to use in all seasons. One of the reasons to use cotton for clothes is because it traps the summer heat and winter cold in its fibers. This feature helps give you great insulation when you need it most.

In this article we are going to explore the world of cotton. All you have to do to find out all the reasons to use this fabric is to keep reading. Cotton has been a mainstay in fashion for millennia and it is not going away anytime soon.

Reason 1: in addition to the reason already given, you should use cotton fabric because it is hypoallergenic. This natural fiber rarely if at all causes any allergic reactions.

Is Cotton a Fabric?


Technically, cotton is not a fabric but the cotton balls found on the cotton plant are made into a fabric through a multi-step process. After being picked, the cotton fibers are sent to what are called gins.

Here the cotton is dried to improve the quality. After the drying portion, the fiber is separated from the seeds by circular saws. Then the fibers are compressed and made into 500-pound bales. These bales are then shipped to a textile mill.

At the mills, the carding process mixes the fibers into top quality even bales and then turned into strands. These strands may be brought together with other strands to form an 8 strand thread.

After that the strands are spun into different types of yarns to meet different sewing needs. To make the fabric, these strands are then woven together into different fabrics. Weaving is the oldest production method for cotton fabric and different styles are used to create different cotton fabrics.

Modern looms handle about 2,000 yards of cotton per minute. Of the approx. 7 1/2 billion bales of cotton produced each year in America about 50% are used for clothing.

Reason 2: Another reason to use cotton is that it is an all-weather fabric. It does not stick to your skin and provides great insulation throughout the year as well as good looks.

What is a Cotton Fabric?

Cotton fabric is an all-natural fabric that comes from the cotton plant. The fibers from this plant are mixed together with chemical fibers to produce the cotton fabric. The process takes a while to complete but once it is done, you can pick the color, the style of cotton and how much fabric you want.

It is said that the western world did not know about cotton until the Crusades took place. That is because of the majority of cotton production was done in India and China and trade with those countries was not established until that time.

Perfecting the cotton fabric style still took a couple of hundred of years or more but as skills, curiosity, and experience were developed so was the cotton fabric. By 1975 it was estimated that the available cotton styles that were available to consumers reached about 2,500.

That same year Russia alone produced about 6 1/2 billion meters of cotton fabric.

Reason 3: If you dislike moisture next to your body, cotton wicks it away quite well. That is an important reason to use cotton as it helps keep you dry. Cotton has to absorb about 1/5 of its weight before it is considered damp.

Cotton Material Information


The good points about cotton are that the fabric is resistant to wear and washing. Under normal conditions cotton survives a lot of punishment through both areas of use and still stands strong and stays good looking.

Also, cotton does not seem affected too much by the sun. It seems to resist fading when you wear cotton clothes outside. With their hygienic properties, you can keep germs and bacteria away quite easily. Then as said earlier, cotton is very hypoallergenic making the clothes made from this fabric safe for allergy sufferers to wear.

The basic drawback to cotton is that it has no elasticity. That means the fabric will stretch then wrinkle. It won’t pop back into its original shape at any time. There are two classifications for cotton, domestic which consumes about 80% of the available fabric. And then industrial which consumes the other 20%.

Reason 4: if you want another good reason to use cotton in your sewing projects, it is because the fabric is very durable. It is a hard fabric to tear and endures lots of hand-washing times and other rough treatment quite well.

What is Cotton Fabric Made From?

Cotton fabric is made from what is called cotton bolls. These bolls grow on the cotton plant that is planted naturally throughout different countries of the world. Once the bolls are ready for picking, the workers or machines take the cotton fibers and seeds at the same time.

The fiber is sent to a gin where it is separated from the seeds and sent through a very complicated process to turn it into cotton fabric. Chemical fibers can be added to the cotton fibers to make sure the fabric is tough, durable and well made.

Part of the process is to make sure the cotton bales that reach the textile mills are mixed together to create a very even blend of fibers. The fibers then are spun and woven into yarns, fabrics and other cotton materials.

The modern cotton knit fabrics are made by machines in a process similar to hand production. Those machines use up to 2,500 needles to produce cotton knits. A simple flat knitting machine can do about a million stitches at a time.

Reason 5: Cotton fabrics are very easy to clean and they do not take up a lot of time, soap or energy, Also, cotton fibers stick together better than synthetic fibers.

How to Identify a Cotton Fabric


Identifying different fabrics is essential. That is because different fabrics require different care. Also, the identification of the fabric helps you to use it properly as well as have an easier time removing different stains.

One way to tell which fabric is cotton is by putting a little water on it. Cotton absorbs quickly but is slow to dry. On the other hand, silk absorbs a lot of moisture but it also dries very quickly.

Another way to identify cotton is through the burn test. If the fabric piece burns completely, smells like paper, and produces a gray ash, then it is cotton. If you want the details on the burn tests for all fabrics, just click this link.

You can also use chemicals to determine if the fabric you are holding is cotton or not. Fiber-Etch will dissolve cotton but not other fabrics.

Reason 6: Cotton is a natural fiber that does not have the toxic levels of synthetic fibers. Some toxic chemicals used to make synthetic fabrics can be absorbed by the skin.

What are Cotton Fabrics Ideal For

With the large variety of cotton fabrics available cotton is ideal for many applications. It is perfect for dresses, blouses, intimate garments and other clothing. That is because it is a natural insulator, has good moisture control and so on.

Also, for the same reasons, cotton is ideal for pants and shirts. Because cotton is very durable, it helps pants last a long time. Plus, it holds up well wash after wash. On top of those applications, cotton is good for sleeping.

Egyptian cotton is very soft and comfortable when it is turned into fitted and regular bed sheets. The fabric can be very breathable so people can get a good night’s rest without overheating.

Towels are another good application. The soft nature of cotton feels good against the skin. Plus, its ability to absorb moisture means you can get drier quicker. With the variety of styles available, we are sure you can come up with a lot more examples where cotton is ideally suited.

Reason 7: you should use cotton because it is comfortable. It can be very soft on the skin and maintains its shape when not stretched out. Along with that, cotton is very breathable.

Introduction of Cotton Fabric


Cotton has actually been around for over 7000 years. It has existed in different parts of the world throughout human history. So when we speak of the introduction of cotton we generally speak of when a new country becomes aware of the fabric and imports it into their stores.

Pakistan seems to have used the fabric since about 5500 BC. Mexico became aware of it in about 3400 BC, while Peru had an early introduction at 4200 BC. In the Middle East, it wasn’t known in Greece or the then Arab nations until Alexander the Great conquered new realms.

The Romans used it but they had to import the fabric. The climate of Italy is not conducive to growing cotton. The development of the handheld and roller cotton gins did not take place till about the 6th century AD in India.

Because Herodotus did not write as accurately as he could have, many European nations thought that the cotton plant was actually a tree. It wasn’t till about the Middle Ages that Europe was introduced to cotton and its manufacturing.

The Muslim invasions of that era are credited with bringing the knowledge of cotton to Spain. The history of cotton introduction is a long and storied one that is filled with interesting facts.

Reason 8: Cotton feels so good it makes an ideal choice for construction fabric for intimate apparel.

Laundered Cotton Definition

A possible good definition for this term is that the cotton fabric has been designed to look like cotton fabric that has been laundered many times. The laundered look or terminology simple helps you to understand that the laundered cotton is a very soft and fluid fabric.

It should be easy to work with and help you get that soft to the skin touch you want on many of your sewing projects. Other people have decided that the term refers to the pre-washing many clothing manufactures do to cut down on shrinkage.

The pre-wash style of laundered cotton is also without sizes. According to Emerald Citi Textiles, laundered cotton comes with a crinkled finish. So the term could mean both but the look overall is that it is not smooth or straight.

Characteristics of Cotton Clothes


Cotton clothes usually look great. That is because the cotton fabric can endure a lot of different and harsh washing processes. It handles both hand washing and machine washing like a champ.

Also, it absorbs moisture so when you start to sweat, the cotton should help keep you dry. It also washes quickly so you do not waste a lot of money on detergents, etc. Then another characteristic of cotton is that it does not irritate the skin.

This fact makes it a good fabric to use for bandages and other medical supplies. With its non-irritating prowess cotton is used for baby clothes as well. It is great for sensitive skin.

Another characteristic cotton has is that it wears well. It can handle the sun’s rays and keep from fading fast. Those are just some of the characteristics that make cotton a very popular fabric to use for any sewing project.

Why use Cotton Fabric?

One good reason to use cotton is that it is an easy fabric to work with. Your sewing projects should go a lot more smoothly and you can create a long list of fabric made items with cotton. Its versatility is also second to none as its use ranges from underwear to bedsheets and more.

In addition to that, cotton is almost perfect when it comes to dressing your allergy sufferer. Cotton basically does not trigger an allergic reaction. There may be rare cases where it might but as we said, those are very rare.

Also, cotton comes in a large variety of textures and styles. Over 1500 of them which gives you lots of choices in how you create your sewing creations.

Is Cotton Easy to Clean?


Actually cotton is very easy to clean. You have the luxury of being able to wash it in a variety of temperatures from cold to hot. Plus, you get the best results when you use cold or warm water temperatures.

Then since cotton is a very hardy fabric, you can wash them over and over and they should continue to look like new for some time. That durability transfers to the dryer as well.

Dryers normally do not hurt cotton clothing. Then if the cotton fabric has been treated with a stain-resistant chemical that makes cleaning cotton fabrics even more easy.

If you want to keep cotton towels soft and fluffy, use half the amount of soap you normally use. Then rung them through an extra rinse cycle to get all the soap residue off the towels.

Is Cotton Fabric Strong?

Yes, cotton is a very strong fabric to use in your sewing projects. It is a very hard fabric to tear. Although it does tear it takes a very sharp object and a lot of pressure to create the tear, if the clothing item is made correctly.

Part of cotton’s charm is its strength. This allows you to wash the cotton clothing articles over and over, then toss them in the dryer. Many washings should not hurt the fabric and the cotton should still look good.

About the only nemesis cotton has is stretching. Cotton does not have any elasticity to it so once it is stretched it will look wrinkled and old. There is no real way to unstretch a cotton shirt or blouse.

The other enemy of cotton is shrinking. That is why you see a lot of cotton blends on the market. These added fibers help protect the cotton from both of its enemies. When you go to clean the cotton clothing item, make sure to check the cleaning instructions on the label first.

Some Final Words

There you have it. All the reasons you should use cotton in your sewing projects. Probably one reason we have not discussed is that it is not an expensive fabric to buy. Unlike silk and other fabrics, cotton can be fairly inexpensive. Of course, that cost depends on the style of the cotton fabric.

But cotton is great when you have an allergy sufferer in your home. It protects them by being hypoallergenic natural fiber. That is a relief to any parent who have children who suffer from allergies.

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