According to data gathered by Our Everyday Life, 60% of women's clothes contain cotton fibers, while 70% of men's clothes have at least some cotton. These numbers indicate that cotton is the most commonly used fabric globally. So, is cotton fabric good for embroidery? Yes, it is, but before explaining why, let’s clarify what cotton fabric is.

What Is Cotton Fabric?

Cotton is a natural material harvested from the fibers surrounding cotton plant seeds. Since cotton does not contain any synthetic compounds, it is biodegradable and eco-friendly. Several types of cotton fabric weaves are available, and manufacturers use the textile to create various clothing and commercial items.

Cotton Fabric Characteristics

Below are some cotton characteristics that set the fabric apart from other textiles:

  • Highly Breathable: Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics you can wear. Breathable fabrics keep you cool by facilitating airflow over your skin. The feature makes cotton an excellent choice for summer clothing and layering in winter.
  • Moisture Retention: Cotton’s high absorbency and moisture retention make it one of the best fabrics for towels and bathrobes. Cotton clothing also absorbs sweat. However, the fabric does not dry quickly.
  • Heat Retention: Cotton fabric retains minimal heat. The low heat retention can help you avoid overheating on hot days.
  • Soft and Lightweight: Cotton has a pleasant texture that feels lovely on the skin.
  • Color Retention: You can dye cotton to be any color you want, and the material can retain the dyed color for several years.
  • Eco-Friendly: Manufacturing or disposing of cotton fabric has minimal impact on the environment.

On the downside, organic cotton fabrics retain stains and odors. Also, the fabric can be prone to pilling. Most cotton fabric manufacturers avoid such issues by blending cotton with fabrics like polyester or linen.

How is Cotton Made?

Cotton fibers come from the cotton plant (genus Gossypium). Several variants of the cotton plant exist, and most of them grow in the tropical and subtropical parts of the U.S., Uzbekistan, Pakistan, China, India, Brazil, and Turkey. China is currently the largest cotton producer in the world.

The cotton fabric manufacturing process involves harvesting cotton bolls from the plant. Harvesting may be via handpicking or machine picking with a spindle picker. After harvesting, the cotton boll undergoes ginning to separate the cotton fibers from the seeds. Some manufacturers have also developed processes for turning the whole cotton plant into cotton fibers.

The white cotton fibers then pass through a spinning process that converts the raw cotton into threads. At this point, the cotton threads may undergo dyeing to change the color from white to a different shade. Finally, the cotton threads pass through the weaving or felting process, which knits the threads into fabric.

Types of Cotton Fabric

Several types of cotton fabrics are available, and each type has unique characteristics. For instance, honeycomb cotton is one of the most absorbent, making it an excellent choice for towels. Cotton lawn is thin and light, making it ideal for women's clothing.

How Many Types of Cotton Are There?

Below are some of the most widely used types of cotton fabrics:

  • Short-Staple Cotton: The cotton fabric has fibers under 1.125 inches long. Fabrics with such short fibers aren’t the softest, but they have impressive absorption and breathability.
  • Long-Staple Cotton: The cotton fibers are 1.125 to 1.25 inches long. The long fibers give the cotton a luxurious, soft feel.
  • Extra-Long-Staple Cotton: Its cotton fibers are over 1.25 inches, making it even more luxurious than long-staple cotton. The premium quality of the fabric makes it a go-to material for cotton clothing and bedding.
  • Egyptian Cotton: Egyptian cotton is extra-long-staple cotton produced in Egypt. The fabric is highly durable and has one of the most pleasant textures. It’s also one of the most expensive cotton fabrics.
  • Cotton Lawn: The fabric features tight weaves made with thin cotton threads. The unique weave makes it one of the lightest cotton fabrics (almost filmy) and an excellent choice for dresses, skirts, blouses, and warm-weather clothing.
  • Cotton Jersey Fabric: Cotton jersey stretches more than most cotton fabrics, making it ideal for t-shirts and sportswear.
  • Cotton Poplin: Poplin is a lightweight, plain weave cotton fabric. The material has a ribbed texture and is more wrinkle-resistant than most cotton materials.
  • Denim: It might not look like it, but denim jeans are actually cotton. Denim manufacturing involves twill weaving strong cotton fabrics.
  • Seersucker Fabric: It is a lightweight and highly breathable wrinkle-resistant cotton fabric that originated in India.
  • Waffle/Honeycomb Cotton: The absorbent, heavyweight fabric has raised square outlines on its surface. The weight and absorbency of the material make it ideal for towels, robes, baby bibs, and quilt backings.

How Is It Used?

Cotton fabric use is widespread in the fashion and medical industry. The material’s versatility comes from its breathability, softness, and hypoallergenic nature. Fashion brands use the fabric to make everything from formal and informal clothing to bedding and bath linen.

You can also find cotton baby clothing, underwear, and medical supplies, such as cotton balls. Some cotton manufacturers blend cotton with polyester or other fabrics to boost durability, stretchiness, and wrinkle resistance.

Is Cotton Fabric Right for Embroidery?

Cotton makes an excellent canvas for embroidery, thanks to its densely woven fabric. Unlike many densely woven fabrics, passing a thread and needle through cotton is not difficult.

Also, since cotton retains its shape well, you don’t have to worry about your embroidery becoming disfigured. However, thin cotton fabrics like cotton lawn or voile may require extra care to prevent tearing during stitching.

Our Favorite Cotton Apparel at Thread Logic

Are you looking for high-quality embroidered cotton apparel? Here are some of our top-sellers:

Ring Spun Pique Polo

The Ring Spun Pique Polo is a simple polo shirt for men who want a durable and smart-looking top that feels great on the skin. The shirt’s 100% ring-spun cotton fabric offers superior breathability and does not shrink.

Ultra Cotton Tee

The Gildan Ultra Cotton T-Shirt features heavyweight cotton that keeps you comfortable when worn on hot days. The shirt will retain its shape and color for several years, and you can get it in a color that matches your brand and logo.

Clique Playlist Lady Tee

The Clique Playlist Lady Tee is an affordable t-shirt that does not compromise on style and quality. The shirt features 100% ring-spun cotton, and you can get it in 10+ colors and sizes ranging from small to 3XL.

Nike Core Cotton Tee

The Nike Core Cotton Tee is a high-performance t-shirt that will keep you comfortable as you work throughout the day. The shirt’s 80% ring-spun cotton and 20% polyester fabric blend delivers superior moisture-wicking and minimizes odor retention.

Tie-Dye Tee

Lift your team’s spirit with the colorful Tie-Dye Tee from Port & Company. Several color variations of the shirt are available, and the cotton fabric of each one feels wonderfully soft.

Get All Your Custom Embroidered Cotton Apparel Here

At Thread Logic, we are the go-to providers of durable and beautiful custom embroidered apparel. We handle orders of all sizes, and we always put customer satisfaction first. Don’t just take our word for it. Check out our verified reviews, then contact us to place an order and experience our five-star services yourself.

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About Jeff Taxdahl

With over 20 years’ experience in embroidery and business ownership, Thread Logic owners Jeff and Wenda Taxdahl, and the Thread Logic team, know what it takes to make custom logo embroidered apparel that people are proud to wear.