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Cotton Fabric


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Fabric Fibers: Cotton | Linen | Silk | Synthetic | Wool

cotton - denim 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 Europe.

cotton field 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 boll 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.

Cotton Resource

  • National Cotton Council
    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.

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Cotton Fabric - Cotton Fabrics Guide