Cotton earlier grew as a wild plant all over the world and also we can get the benefits of cotton fabric. It is now cultivated for its main product – ‘the cotton’, while other by-products are also used in food industry. The older species of plant was difficult to refine and expensive to processing.
Today after fine tuning the plant’s growth it is made processing friendly. Since cotton plants grow in sunny regions it is grown abundantly in the following countries – USA, India, China, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. It is also found growing in smaller quantities in Brazil, Australia, Egypt, Argentina, Turkey, Greece and Syria.
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History of Cotton
Reference to use of cloth bit made of cotton was made in a Mexican cave which is dated nearly 7000 years back. Archaeologists have also found traces of cotton in the Indus valley civilization. This is dated somewhere between 3000 to 1500 BC. Rig Veda also has references to cotton and it is believed to be originated in India. Cotton was later found growing along the river Nile and regions of Peru. In the year 1700 when the British colonized some parts of the world they did not allow import or export of cotton. It was against the law to fabricate cloth from cotton.
But cotton found its way into North America during the 1600s itself and was found growing in the state of Virginia. In initial years cotton used to be harvested manually and hence the productivity was very low. With the invention of the mechanical row picker by Rust brothers of Mississippi productivity increased tremendously.
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General Features of Cotton
- Cotton fabrics have the following characteristics.
- Has a soft feel and comfortable to use
- Fabrics can be washed in washing machines
- The fabrics have a good absorbing capacity
- Colors can be easily printed on the fabrics
- Can be easily draped
- Can be dry cleaned
- Retains colors
- The fabric is easy to cut and sew into various types of garments
- The fabric can be easily dyed because of its natural white color
The cotton fabric is typically used to make apparels and home use like curtains, bedsheets, table cloth, table mats, door mats, napkins, towels etc.
Types of Cotton
There are about 40 types of cotton. But the most popular ones are only four types. Two of these types were used before the 1900s while the rest of the two are the new cotton types. 98% of the world’s cotton fabrics today is made from the new cotton types. 60% of the world’s cotton is used in making of apparels while 40% is used in home furnishings.
Some of the popular types of cotton are listed below.
This fabric has a soft and washed feeling. The texture can be same on one or both sides. Due to its soft feel and warmth feeling it is used in making of winter wear. It is also used to make nightwear.
This hard fabric is dyed indigo blue and used to make denims. Used to be treated roughly this tough fabric is used to make pants.
This is a fine and thin fabric. It is the most natural form of cotton fabric that is available today. It is inexpensive and is used to sieve liquids.
4. Gingham Cotton
This ordinary plain woven fabric typically has checked pattern. It is ideal for school uniforms and summer wear.
This cotton fabric has a velvety feel and is very thick & tough. The longitudinal ridges in the fabric produce a shine. This fabric is ideal for trousers, upholstery and jackets.
6. Terry Cloth
This fabric has the highest absorbent property among the cottons. Though it is thick it can absorb water easily. Hence it is ideal material to make towels, napkins and nappies.
This fabric has a diagonal pattern all along. Hence it is good to make skirts and trousers out of it. Chinos, Denim and Gabardine are types of the Twill.
8. Egyptian Cotton
This fabric is woven with multiple strands. It is best used for bed furnishings, T-shirts and sweaters.
Interlocking strands are woven for the jersey fabric. It gives a knitted appearance and is used to make underwear and sportswear.
It has a fuzzy layer appearing over the yarn. This gives a caterpillar like look. The benefits of cotton fabric is that it is ideal for dressing gowns, upholstery and table covers.
This fabric is thin and light weight. Since it is very stiff, it is used in collars, cuffs and as an inner material for various garments.
This is plain cotton fabric with horizontal ridges. It is used to make dresses, shirts, raincoats and sportswear.
This is usually made from cotton which is spun into yarn with the aid of a spinning wheel. Normally khadi has a rough feel and normally searched to get a stiffer and class look. It is used to make garments which keep you cool during summers and warm during winters.
Benefits of Cotton Fabric
- The Benefits of cotton fabric is the that it breathes. Since it is porous in structure there is free air circulation through the fabric. This is especially true during exercising. The sweat is drawn away from your body making you feel dry and cool.
- You can get a good night’s sleep on mattress made of cotton. Since the fabric breathes it does not allow heat to settle down below the bedsheets.
- Various odors absorbed by cotton fabrics don’t cause it to stink. Once washed properly all the odors go away.
- Cotton fabrics are very comfortable to wear and have a soft feel. It is such a relief to be in them during summers.
- There are varied types of fabrics to suit all occasions. From light wear to grand heavy wear you will always get some cotton fabric to wear which is one of the great benefits of cotton fabric.
- Cotton garments are easy to maintain and use.
- Nearly all parts of the cotton plant are used in making garments, house furnishings and food additives. The cotton seeds are also used in making oil and margarine.
Independent of what new types of fabrics emerge today, cotton is there to stay. From bygone era to the years to come the comfort of cotton and benefits of cotton fabric cannot be underestimated.