I love cotton. I just love it because of the way it looks.
Nothing. And I mean NOTHING compares to the crisp look of a pure cotton shirt or blouse.
And when laundered and dried in the sun, it has that unmistakable perfume of sunshine.
For me. Synthetics will never cut it.
But then, cotton goes all the way back to prehistoric times. So our ancestors knew more than we give them credit for.
Cotton has been spun, woven, and dyed since 7000BC. It was used because of its sturdiness. Durability. And ease of acquisition.
It was easy to grow because the cotton plant itself is a member of the Hibiscus family. With beautiful pink blossoms for a short time only.
But it does have its drawbacks.
In today’s modern world where the demand for cotton is high . . .
It’s also a BIG user of water.
And pesticides in its production. It gets attacked by many insects – is this because it’s so cuddly and lovely to be near?
And genetically modified cotton is not resistant to every bug that loves it.
So there is a big move on to grow organic cotton. Albeit in small quantities.
The cotton of yesteryear was a harsher, rougher fabric than the cotton we know today. Because it was hand spun on spinning wheels. So the fibre was uneven.
The technology to spin fine cotton has made a vast improvement in the type of cotton fabric we buy today. And spinning technology is so vast and technical, there’s virtually a machine for every type of fabric created.
And these days, cotton can be woven into thirteen different types of fabrics from nappies to velveteen.
Nappy Cloth is a twill, dobby or plain woven absorbent cotton fabric.
And why is it perfect for nappies?
Because. . .
Not only is cotton soft next to the skin. But cotton becomes stronger when wet. So there’s no chance that a wet nappy is going to disintegrate before it’s changed!
Dimity is sheer, thin, white or printed fabric with lengthwise cords, stripes or checks.
Drill is a strong twilled cotton fabric, used in men’s and women’s slacks.
Heavy duty cotton drill is used in many chef’s aprons because it’s thick enough to protect the wearer from heat.
Duck is a heavy, durable tightly woven fabric. Heavy weight drill is used in awnings, tents, etc. Lighter duck is used in summer clothing.
Flannel cotton is plain or twill weave with a slight nap on one or both sides.
Flannelette is a soft cotton fabric with a nap on one side.
In cold climates, who doesn’t love the feel of crawling into a bed of warm Flannelette sheets?!
Gauze is a sheer, lightly woven fabric similar to cheesecloth. Is also made in silk.
This is what photographers put over their lens to make their subjects look more alluring.
Gingham is a lightweight, washable, stout fabric that is woven in checks, plaids or stripes.
Who hasn’t loved the look of that bygone era when we wore gingham dresses? Shirts? And blouses? And it’s making a comeback!
Lawn is a plain weave, soft, very light, combed cotton fabric with a crisp finish.
A fabric of many uses, including interlining of suits and jackets. As a sewer who has made many garments, lawn was a staple in my sewing closet.
Muslin is a sheer to coarse plain woven cotton fabric. Muslin comes in “natural” colour or is dyed.
We use this to strain the whey out of yoghurt so it becomes lovely and thick, like Greek yoghurt. And of course, is a good dressing for wounds.
Organdy is a very thin, transparent cotton with a crisp finish.
Many a bride’s dress has been made out of beautiful organdy.
Outing Flannel is a soft, twill or plain weave fabric napped on both sides. Used for baby clothes, diapers, and sleepwear.
Oxford is shirting fabric with a lustrous, soft finish. It is characterized with narrow stripes and can be woven in plain or basket weave. Also a term used for wool fabric that has black and white fibres.
This is how the well known ‘Oxford Shirt’ got its name.
Percale is a light weight, closely woven, sturdy fabric that can be found printed or in dark or light colours.
My mother only bought percale sheets. A high thread count made them very soft. And although expensive, they were also economical because they were tough and would last for a generation.
Pima Cotton, from Egyptian cotton, is an excellent quality cotton fabric.
Polished Cotton is either a satin weave cotton or a plain weave cotton that is finished chemically to appear shiny.
Another fabric from a bygone era. Polished cotton was used in curtains and tablecloths back in that other century.
Poplin is a plain weave fabric with a cross-wise rib.
Poplin blouses were another of those garments from that other century.
Sailcloth is a very strong, heavy canvas or duck made in plain weave.
Sateen is a satin weave cotton fabric.
Our original Mr Chin’s Laundry Bags were made of Cotton Sateen. Absolutely beautiful. But a hard fabric to find today.
Seersucker is a lightweight cotton fabric crinkled into lengthwise stripes.
I read recently that when Paul Newman met Joanne Woodward, he owned only one suit. Made of Seersucker. And he washed it every night. Being a quick drying fabric, it was ready to wear the next day. And he ironed it every morning so he could look fabulous when he saw her!
Swiss is a sheer, very fine cotton that can be plain or decorated with dots or other designs.
The original polka dot fabric. And used in its day for veils on pillbox hats.
Terry Cloth is a looped pile fabric that is either woven or knitted. Very absorbent and used for towels, etc. French terry cloth is looped on one side and sheared pile on the other.
Six Star hotels provide luxurious Terry Cloth bathrobes for their guests. And encourage them to take them home. Because. They did anyway! Now, their ‘gift’ is costed into the room rate.
Velveteen is an all cotton pile fabric with short pile resembling velvet.
As a child in New York City, I remember wearing dresses and coats of velveteen made by my couture dressmaker mother. And being so warm and cosy on a cold New York City winter’s day.
What makes cotton today a much softer and flexible fabric is the high thread content in the weave. The more threads, the closer the weave and the more beautiful the fabric.
And this is the cotton used for today’s garments. Which are much easier to iron and are more wrinkle free than ever.
Australia is the 4th largest exporter of cotton. And our biggest customer is China. Even though China is also the biggest grower of cotton. China needs to import more cotton just to serve its domestic market.
Australia exports over 99% of the cotton grown in OZ. There’s virtually no spinning industry left to value add to the cotton we grow.
I still remember the days of walking through Pyrmont and Ultimo in the 1970′s. And hearing the click clack of the knitting machines making fabrics and knitted garments out of locally grown and manufactured yarns of cotton and wool.
Did you know that:
One 227 kg cotton bale can produce:
. . .215 pairs of jeans
. . .250 single bed sheets
. . .750 shirts
. . .1,200 t-shirts
. . .2,100 pairs of boxer shorts
. . .3,000 nappies
. . .4,300 pairs of socks
. . .680,000 cotton balls!
How many bales of cotton are produced each year?
The biggest cotton exporters are the USA in first place. Second is India. Third is Brazil. And fifth is Uzbekistan.
The USA, the biggest exporter of cotton in the world, bales on average 17 Million bales a year.
And the state with the biggest cotton production is . . . TEXAS. Where everything is – of course – bigger than life!
Texas produces more than 5 Million bales every year. So it’s a bigger producer than Australia.
But, then, we ARE cotton minnows in a very large pool of sharks.
Australia’s production is on average 5 million bales.
There are about 1,500 cotton producing farms here. Mostly family owned enterprises. And they provide employment for about 8 farm workers at the busiest times. Which is during harvesting. All done by machines.
So cotton is a big contributor to the livelihoods of many a farmer and their surrounding communities.
Why do we love cotton so much?
Because it’s natural.
For men and women with allergies, cotton is the fabric of choice
because it’s hypoallergenic. And it’s the only fabric with those qualities.
As I said. Cotton is pristine. And pure.
It keeps the body cool in summer because it’s breathable.
And because it’s a good conductor of heat, it’s warm in winter.
And I LOVE the cotton drill we use to make our Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Covers. Because it’s a strong, durable fabric with a diagonal weave.
And it soaks up the dye like a dog wanting to quench a big thirst. It gives me the most beautiful colours for my customers to select from.
We chose it because not only is it highly resistant to tearing and splitting.
But most importantly. It will tolerate the very high heat that we use when ironing fabrics like denim, linen, and of course, cotton!
Believe me. This is one of the reasons why this cover has more than 300,000 customers in 29 countries. Because it can take the heat without wilting.
All the best,
~Carol, Ironing Diva❤
Purveyor Of The Tantrum Free Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
Made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability.
Know someone who hates the thin synthetic covers sold in shops?
And who hankers for a pure cotton cover to iron on?
All the best covers are now found online.
So help them find us.
Share this post with them on . . .
Have a question? Email me.
Or phone me, Carol Jones, in rural Australia on 02 63 588 511.
Type Of Cotton Fabric http://info.fabrics.net/fabric-facts/glossary-of-cotton-fabrics-and-weaves/
History Of Cotton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton
Cotton Is Natural http://www.cottons.com.au/info/about/whycotton.php
Organic Cotton Fabric http://www.funkyfabrix.com.au/category_107/Organic-Cotton-Fabric.htm
Cotton Facts http://cottonaustralia.com.au/uploads/resources/CEK_Chap_7_Processing_From_Gin_To_Fabric.pdf
National Cotton Council Of America http://www.cotton.org/edu/faq/
Cotton Australia. The Australian Cotton Industry http://cottonaustralia.com.au/cotton-library/fact-sheets/cotton-fact-file-the-australian-cotton-industry
Photos of my rural property are courtesy of me, Ironing Diva – who is also known as a Paddock Paparazzi – and taken at sunrise every morning.
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