Cotton fabrics: what are the main types?

The range of cotton fabrics is extensive. They can vary in texture, weight, price, quality and aesthetics, with some more suited to certain uses than others. Here is a look at some of the main types and what they offer.

 

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Brushed cotton or flannel/flannelette

This fabric is brushed and soft on one side and can be plain, striped or printed. It is often used for items such as shirts and children’s attire due to its gentle, warm nature. A lighter winceyette flannelette is preferred for nightwear.

Broderie anglaise

Embroidered eyelets are created over this plain weave, either cotton-synthetic or cotton fabric. The attractive design is popular for item such as tops, dresses and nightclothes.

Cambric

This is another plain-weave cotton. It is closely woven for a smooth finish and is great for tops and children’s wear.

Canvas

This goes a step further, being a more heavy-duty fabric. It is medium to heavy in weight and is often utilised for tunics, bags and trainers.

Corduroy/cord/needlecord

This is a heavier weighted fabric with ribbing that runs the length of the material and a soft, smooth finish. Cord is popular when it comes to skirts, shirts, trousers and children’s wear.

Chino/drill

This twill weave has a gentle sheen and requires a hotter machine wash at 95°C. It is commonly used for trousers and work uniforms.

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Poplin/cotton broadcloth

Poplin, either 100 per cent cotton or a polyester cotton blend, is versatile and easy to sew. As GQ magazine notes, cotton poplin fabrics are soft and smart, making them perfect for dress shirts.

A micro pin dot 100 per cent cotton poplin fabric, which is available from stockists such as https://www.higgsandhiggs.com/fabrics/cotton-poplin-fabric-112cm/dots/micro-pin-dots-1mm.html, comes in an array of colours with a tiny 1mm dot pattern, making it the perfect choice for anything from patchwork and crafts to fashion and quilting.

Polycotton

This lightweight mix of polyester and cotton is less prone to creases; however, as a result, it is somewhat less breathable than cotton alone. It is regularly used in non-iron clothing and aprons.

Silk-cotton

This mix of cotton and silk, which is popular for dresses and blouses, requires a more delicate wash or dry clean.

Other types include voile, ticking, chambray, cheesecloth, chintz, calico, towelling, moleskin, muslin, linen-cotton, jersey, lawn, gingham, damask, denim, cotton velvet, and madras cotton.