Cotton Fabric Wholesale

When first discovered in 5500 B.C., cotton fabric was a life changer. Even after 7.500 years of its discovery, it is here to stay. It is still one of the most used and widely produced natural fabric. Cotton has many unique properties that makes it indispensable.

What is Cotton Fabric?

Cotton fabric is one of the oldest and most commonly used fabrics in the world and chemically organic and natural. It is made from cotton plants. As the plant grows, it develops white, fluffy fiber bolls around the seed to protect them. When the plant matures enough, those bolls are picked, and through a series of processes, it is shaped into fabric.

How is Cotton Fabric Made?

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It is made from cotton bolls, but to turn those into soft, fluffy celluloid materials, it needs processing. Those processes are relatively simple. First, the mature cotton plant is picked and baled before they go off to gins. At the gins, cotton bales will be fluffed and cleaned from all the dirt, seeds, and other organic materials. After this process, the cotton is ready to be shipped to textile mills.

At textile mills, the staple cotton fibers are put in a spinning machine to further clean the raw cotton. The fibers left the spinning machine shaped like a sheet are called lap. After this process, the lap will go through a carding machine to be combed and after the carding machine, the raw cotton will be spun into a thread. Those threads could be knitted or weaved into a piece of fabric. Cotton fabric can be used for many different applications in very diverse fields. Please keep in mind that the use case changes the manufacturing process.

What is Cotton Fabric Good for?

It has many favorable characteristic properties that make it a very versatile fabric. Some of those characteristics are:

  • Durability: The proper jeans are made from denim, which is a type of cotton fabric. Cotton is a hard-wearing fabric. It is very strong and durable.
  • Softness: The cotton bolls used to make the fabrics are incredibly soft. Depending on the use case and type of the finished fabric, it can often retain this desirable property.
  • Absorbency: Very absorbent and fast-drying, which makes it a moisture-wicking fabric. Clothes that are made from cotton are extremely comfortable and will stay dry all day long.
  • Breathable: Depending on the thread count, cotton is a very breathable fabric. This makes it a good choice for sports clothing.
  • Easy to Dye: Cotton is very absorbent, so it can be dyed easily and will hold on to the color for a long time.
  • Comfortable: Cotton is a very comfortable type of fabric. So it is a great choice for clothing and home textiles like duvet covers.

Where is Cotton Fabric Used?

Cotton fabric is one of the most versatile fabrics around and it is used almost everywhere

  • Making different types of fabrics like flannel, denim, and more.
  • For clothing industry, cotton is widely produced and has very good characteristics for clothing items like trousers, dresses, jumpers, t-shirts, and much more.
  • Sports clothing like cotton spandex and racing suits.
  • Because of its durable, soft, and breathable nature, cotton is a staple in home textiles like bed sheets, duvet covers, and towels.
  • For underwear, 100% cotton is one of the best materials for undergarments because of its moisture-wicking properties.
  • In medical field, cotton material can be used in wound dressings, bandages, medical gowns, and hygiene products.
  • For arts and crafts, can be used for bookbinding and canvases for paintings.
  • Other accessories like bags, socks, and more.
  • Blended fabric materials like jersey material, which is a polyester cotton mix.

Where is Cotton Fabric Produced?

Historically, the first evidence of cotton use is found in India, and India stays as one of the biggest cotton producers in the world. Apart from India, raw cotton is grown in Egypt, the United States of America, China, Turkey, Brazil, Pakistan, and many more countries. Besides raw material production, China is the biggest producer and exporter of finished cotton fabric, followed by Pakistan, India, Italy, and Turkey.

What are the Different Types?

There are hundreds of different types of cotton-based fabrics that we all use every day and it will be hard to include all of them here, but the most common types are;

  • Cotton Lawn Fabric
  • Cotton Twill Fabric
  • Brushed Cotton Fabric
  • Quilting Cotton Fabric
  • Cotton Sateen Fabric
  • Cotton Knit Fabric
  • Denim
  • Flannel
  • Piqué
  • Seersucker
  • Muslin

Cotton Fabric Varieties

There are thousands of different cotton hybrids and variants. But most of the cotton varieties are named after fiber sizes and where they are being grown. The most common varieties are:

1. Short-Staple Cotton or Upland Cotton

Upland cotton is made from Gossypium Hirsutum and has relatively short fibers. Up to 1.125 inches (2.8 cm) long. It is the cheapest variety of cotton and it is great for everyday products.

2. Long-Staple Cotton

Long-Staple (LS) cotton has longer fibers than Upland cotton, between 1.125 (2.8 cm) and 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) long. It can be softer and more expensive than short-staple kinds of cotton.

3. Extra-Long-Staple Cotton

Extra Long Staple (ELS) Cotton is the general name for types of cotton that are made from individual fibers that are longer than 1.25 inches (3.2 cm). ELS is extremely soft and plush. For that reason, it tends to be a little more expensive.

4. Egyptian Cotton

Egyptian cotton is a special type of LS or ELS cotton that’s grown on the Nile Delta. It is extremely luxurious and can be expensive. Apart from being ELS, some genuine Egyptian cotton like Giza 45 is made from hand-picked bolls to reduce stress on the fibers.

5. Pima Cotton

Pima cotton has similarities with Egyptian cotton. Just like Egyptian, Pima is a kind of ELS cotton. It is grown in us, Australia, and Peru. Pima is very durable, soft, and very luxurious.

6. Supima Cotton

Supima is a special kind of Pima cotton that’s being regulated by the Supima Association. Supima is an acronym for Superior Pima and its authenticity is verified. Supima is extremely soft and durable but because of the added regulations, it is costly.

How Much Does Cotton Fabric Cost?

It is relatively inexpensive, and that’s why it is loved by manufacturers. But it will be next to impossible to give out an exact cost for cotton fabric. Because the cost is dependant on the variety of cotton, the type of fabric, where the cotton is grown, where it’s being processed into the fabric, and such.

But as a rule of thumb, longer staple kinds of cotton, like Pima and Egyptian are generally more expensive than SS cotton. The loom-state calico cotton will be the cheapest cotton fabric, followed by the muslin. But high finish fabrics like twill and satin will be more expensive.

How Does Cotton Fabric Impact the Environment?

Cotton is natural and biodegradable. This is important because it doesn’t polute waterways or landfills as polyester does. But if you are environmentally conscious, you should get your cotton from respectable and reputable sources that have known to take care of the land, don’t use harmful agrochemicals, and produced sustainably.

Organic cotton is very environmentally conscious. Since organic cotton is heavily regularized, its cultivation is free from any harmful pesticides and fertilizers. This has a positive effect on the final quality of the product. Some kinds of cotton like Supima have to be organic. But these kinds of cotton are generally more expensive.

Certifications Available

Cotton cultivation and production are heavily regulated and different certifications are available for cultivators and producers of cotton and cotton fabric. For example, if you want to certify your product as organic cotton, you have to get a certification from the European Union standards organization or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

While those certifications are region-specific, you can get a global certification from Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). While several other organizations like OEKO-TEX and BCI provide these kinds of certificates, GOTS is the golden standard.

Some organizations certify the authenticity of the variety of cotton that’s being used. The most known one is the American Supima Association (ASA). ASA oversees the cultivation and production of Pima cotton and only gives the Supima certificate to the worthy fabrics.

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