Perhaps the most common fabric is cotton. Cotton has been used
since ancient times, most likely beginning with the early Egyptians.
During the 1800s, cotton was "king" in southern USA and the Caribbean, and
it became an important export to Europe from those areas until the Civil
War. Later, large quantities of cotton were exported from India to
When efficient harvesting machinery became available in the
1950s, cotton again became an important agricultural commodity in the
United States. The largest land area for producing cotton today is
the Southern Plains, where a large underground aquifer is located.
While most cotton is grown using various pesticides and insecticides,
there is a move toward growing organic cotton.
Cotton fibers come from the boll or seedpod of the cotton plant.
After the cotton is picked, the fibers are separated from the seeds by
ginning. The fibers are then spun into thread or yarn.
Frequently, cotton is blended with other fibers. While products
such as bath towels, bed sheets, socks, and some papers are made from
cotton, we most often think of cotton as woven or knit fabric.
Cotton fabric is an absorbable fabric that is very comfortable to
wear. It is appropriate for any season, depending on the weight
of fabric used. It is suitable for lightweight garments, bedding,
decorating projects, or work clothes. Some of the popular cotton
fabrics are as follows:
Chambray is a light to medium weight fabric that is frequently used
for shirts. Children's clothing may also be made from this fabric.
Gingham is an evenly checked fabric that is lightweight and
strong. It is frequently used for curtains and tablecloths, but
is also used for dresses.
Poplin is an absorbent cotton fabric. It is used for a variety
of sewing projects, especially blouses, dresses, and shirts.
Lawn is a crisp, lightweight fabric. It is smooth, absorbent,
and nice for collars, cuffs, blouses, and dresses.
Denim is a heavy fabric. It is most often used for jeans,
jackets,skirts, or aprons.
The Cotton Council's mission is to ensure the ability of
all U.S. cotton industry segments to compete effectively and profitably
in the raw cotton, oilseed and U.S. manufactured cotton product markets
at home and abroad. The Council serves cotton producers, ginners,
warehousers, merchants, cottonseed processors and dealers, cooperatives,
and textile manufacturers. www.Cotton.org