Cotton is the most commonly used fabric worldwide for clothing. Approximately 25 million tons are produced internationally per year. Cotton is often used because it is soft and breathable. There are lots of types of cotton fabric but to fully understand the uses of each fabric you should know the basic weaves that are commonly used in them. Plain, twill and satin are the three frequently used weaves for cotton fabrics, they each offer different competences.
- Plain – Simple pattern. Tight or loose weave. Often used in clothing
- Twill – Durable, heavy, used in towels
- Satin – Tight weave. Used in bed linen and apparel
Different cotton fabrics and their uses
You will need to establish what you want your fabric for to find out which types of cotton fabrics you require.
If you are looking for durable clothing, then a twill weaved fabric is the best textile to choose. A twill weave is identified by its diagonal pattern. Some cotton fabrics with a twill weave are:
- Denim – A common, strong cotton fabric used for clothing
- Chino – A comfortable, durable fabric most often used for clothing
- Gabardine – A fabric that can have a high sheen and is generally used in shirts
You will find plain weaves in several different types of cotton fabric. Some of these include:
- nappy cloth, an absorbent, soft material most frequently used for baby apparel.
- Oxford is another popular plain weave cotton fabric which is mainly used in shirts and sometimes bed linen.
- Egyptian cotton – very often used in bed linen as it is a comfortable, pliable material
Satin cotton weaves contain a luxurious quality. Some types and their uses are:
- Velveteen is a cotton fabric that is quite like velvet, often found in clothing
- Sateen is found in bed linen and brings an extravagant quality
- Polished cotton is a woven fabric with a glossy surface. You can use polished cotton to upholster furniture
If you are learning to sew, then choosing a 100% cotton fabric is a safe option. 100% cotton is easy to sew and even easier to cut.
There is a considerable amount of cotton fabric varieties. The key is to choose which type you need for the job in hand. Lightweight cotton fabrics are commonly used to make shirts and dresses and are perfect for summer wear. Medium weight cotton fabrics are favorable for skirts, bed sheets, curtains and pants. Heavy weight cottons are best used in work clothing, coats and jackets.
You can purchase cotton fabrics from online stores, but sometimes it is best to get a feel of the fabric before you buy. There are also stores that sell fantastic ranges of cotton fabric, most of these will sell by the yard and will offer you a broad selection of cotton fabrics.
I have listed the common types of weave that are associated with cotton fabrics. I have also listed a few different types of cotton fabrics so you should have a vague idea of the type of fabric you can use for each job. For instance, you wouldn’t use denim cotton fabric on bath towels as although it is durable, it is rough for the skin and not water resilient.