Cotton is a soft, strong, and comfortable fibre, perfect for making elegant and beautiful textiles. From everyday clothes like shirts, jeans and knitwear to luxurious household products like towels and bedding, cotton is one of the most popular and much-loved fabric choices. It is also one of the oldest fabrics in the world!
By reading this guide, you will explore how cotton is grown and processed, what its premier qualities are, and how to pick the best cotton products. You will learn about different cotton types, the ecological impact of cotton farming, and the right way to clean and dry your cotton products.
What Is Cotton?
Cotton is one of nature's finest fibres that originates from the cotton plant. This perennial shrub grows in tropical and subtropical regions all over the globe, producing a seed pod called boll. The cotton bolls contain seeds that grow moist fibres, which then burst forth from the boll, ready to be harvested and converted into fabric.
Soft, fluffy, and versatile - cotton fibre is the perfect material for a vast range of textiles and clothing. Everyone loves having cotton products in their homes and wardrobes.
How Is Cotton Processed?
To produce fabric from cotton, the fibre undergoes several processing stages, including cleaning, carding, spinning, and weaving or knitting. Let's take a closer look at these steps.
Depending on the cotton type and the region, the cotton seeds are harvested by hand or machine when they are completely mature and dry. Usually, the best season to harvest cotton is in autumn.
Once the cotton is harvested, it goes through a meticulous cleaning process with machines like cotton gins that remove impurities, such as dirt, leaves, and seeds.
Clean cotton fibres are now ready for the carding stage. Carding is the process that separates, gets rid of any remaining impurities, and aligns the fibres. Carding machines are essential at this stage as they feature rollers that artfully comb the fibres.
Following carding, fibre strands turn into yarn with the help of specialised spinning machines that craft fabrics of specific thickness and strength according to the intended use.
Weaving or Knitting
After spinning, the yarn is knitted or woven into fabric by using knitting machines or looms. The fabric is then dyed or printed to match the required specifications.
The last step in the cotton-making process is finishing the cotton fabric with great attention to detail, so that it receives the desired properties: softness, wrinkle resistance, and water repellency.
Types Of Cotton
Cotton does not come in just one type. You may choose between upland cotton, Egyptian cotton or organic cotton. Each cotton type comes with its own unique qualities and characteristics. Here are the most popular cotton kinds.
Upland cotton is the most widely known and used cotton variety in the world. It accounts for about 90% of global cotton. It has strong fibres and high yield, suitable for making various textiles, from bedding to denim to T-shirts.
Prima cotton is renowned for its strong, long, high-quality fibres, ideal for making luxury textiles, high-end clothing, and bedding. It is mainly grown in the southwestern United States, Peru, Israel, and Australia.
Egyptian cotton is sought-after for its long, strong, and highly absorbent fibres. It took its name from its country of origin, Egypt. Its luxurious fabric makes it an excellent choice for crafting luxury textiles.
Organic cotton uses natural cotton seeds from crops grown without fertilisers or synthetic pesticides. It is an environmentally-friendly choice for products like bed linen, clothing, towels and underwear, loved by many consumers.
Grown locally in the USA, this type of Pima cotton is renowned for its strength, softness, and long-staple fibres. It is the perfect cotton type for creating luxury bedding and high-end clothing.
Where Our Cotton Is Sourced From?
We create classic and contemporary styles in a range of bright and muted colours and offer an assortment of ultra-fine, midweight and heavyweight cotton pieces.
Continue reading to discover six reasons why 100% cotton knitwear should become part of your everyday wardrobe rotation.
Benefits Of Cotton
1. Low Maintenance
Unlike more delicate yarns, cotton is a low maintenance, everyday fibre that is commonly found in wardrobes across the globe. It is an incredibly durable fibre and so can withstand common wear and tear more robustly. By washing your cotton knitwear inside out and never machine washing above 30 degrees, the quality of your cotton piece will remain with little effort required.
2. Breathable and Lightweight
Cotton is a famously breathable yarn and thanks to its moisture regulating qualities, your skin will breathe freely without feeling trapped or constrained. It’s the perfect piece for layering when the weather changes.
3. Ultra-Soft and Skin-Friendly
Hypoallergenic and butter soft, cotton is the perfect piece of knitwear for those with sensitive skin or wool allergies. If you’re looking for a knit to layer with your coarser yarns, a cotton garment would provide you with an additional layer of comfort without any added bulk.
4. Cost Efficient
Widely accessible, cotton is perhaps the most cost efficient, versatile yarn within natural fibre knitwear. It lends itself to colour and stitch variation and so contemporary designs can be achieved at a lower price for the customer.
Cotton is incredibly resistant to pilling which is where the short fibres of the yarn are brought to the surface by friction caused by movement. You’ll find that wearing your cotton knitwear as an everyday piece will be an easy transition to make with very little upkeep.
Where Can Cotton Be Used?
Cotton is an incredibly versatile, all-natural fibre suitable for various uses. Here are some prime examples of its main applications.
How Do You Care For Cotton?
- Use a mild detergent in warm or cool water when washing.
- Avoid using bleach or any fabric softener, as these can easily deteriorate the fibres.
- Opt for low heat when tumble drying or hanging the cotton clothes to dry.
- It is best to iron cotton items in a medium-heat setting.
Is Cotton Fabric Warm?
Cotton clothes are lightweight and breathable, so you will feel comfortable wearing them during summer. As a fabric on its own, cotton does not retain heat well. However, when combined with other fabrics, it can produce fantastic apparel for the winter season.
High-Quality Cotton From Paul James Knitwear