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Polycotton vs Cotton

Helping you to make an informed decision when purchasing fabric for you sewing needs!

 

Two of our best-selling dressmaking fabrics are cotton and polycotton, many of the reasons being based on the great prints available, the durability and of course the affordable costing. We are often asked a common question  time and time again that is “which fabric out the two will be suitable for me?”

So, this has led me to put this little article together which I feel will shed some light of the difference between working with polycotton or cotton, and will hopefully help our customers to make an informed choice when purchasing either or both of these fabrics.

Polycotton is a blend of synthetic and cotton fibres and is typically composed of 80% polyester and 20% cotton across much of our polycotton but this can vary dependant on suppliers and batches sourced. A common misconception is that 100% Cotton items are of the best quality. In my opinion choosing a garment would be so simple if that was the case, however I emphasise there is much to take into account than just the fabric when accounting if it fits the purpose of your sewing project. Many factors to consider would be:

  • looking at the way the fabric was spun,
  • whether it has been dyed or not
  • and if so what dying process was used.

It is worth noting that price will usually give you a clear indication to distinguish the quality. Our patchwork cotton (100% cotton fabric) is a popular and favourite choice for many sewing enthusiasts, the composition element of this fabric is reliant on good crop yields so its price is generally always going to be high, whilst our polycotton fabric collection is man-made so is more readily available.

Characteristics of polycotton

  • Polycotton blend combines the strength of both synthetic and cotton fibres in two ratios that will vary, therefore it is cheaper than cotton.
  • The cotton gives the softness to the fabric whilst the polyester fibres add the crisp texture.
  • It creases less and minimal ironing is required.
  • Seems to retain its shape better and does not shrink when washed.
  • Better durability than cotton and much more tear resistant.
  • Non-breathable

 

Characteristics of cotton

  • 100% cotton is a natural fabric
  • It is softer to the touch.
  • Recyclable 
  • Breathable fabric, so great for summer garments.
  • Good colour retention, washes well
  • Can shrink when washed
  • Wears out quicker
  • Dyeable
  • Absorbs water well

Polycotton or Cotton for bedding?

Choosing the type of fabric that is best for your bed sheeting can be quite confusing and quite a personal preference too. Let us give you a few pointers to make it easier for you.

Softness, durability, care, allergies, temperature, and finally price are important key factors that will contribute making the right choice. Let us break it down in key points for you:

Softness - Cotton bed sheets are known to feel very soft to the touch which is why you find them in luxurious settings such as hotels considering it to be of  superior quality bed sheeting. The softness is created due to the percentage of cotton involved in the weave when the manufacturing process is undertaken. So rule of thumb to apply is that the more threads that are used, the higher the thread count will be which takes us to the next fact that the higher the thread count, the softer your sheets will feel. 

However Polycotton blend as mentioned above is a combination of cotton and polycotton fibres that are available in varying ratios. Bobbles of fabric tend to pile as it wear and tears therefore polycotton can feel rough over time.

Durability & Care - Both polycotton and cotton are highly durable and can be washed and dried at a high temperature. 

Allergies - 100% cotton is the most desirable to opt for if one has allergies or sensitive skin. It is a breathable and a hypoallergenic fabric due to the natural fibres. Polycotton is unlikely to be suitable as it can cause itchiness because of the synthetic fibre mix that makes the fabric less breathable.

Body Heat - Polycotton can be problematic as it lacks absorbance, which means that any perspiration that the body produces throughout the night is likely to be trapped underneath the covers with you, increasing your body heat further. Cotton however is breathable and any moisture is absorbed by the fibres during the night which means cool nights.

Cost/Price - Cotton is pricier than polycotton, but it is important to consider the long-term benefits in all areas.

Time to decide..

So with many pointers in mind, then how do you determine which fabric is right for you? Deciding factors will greatly depend on what the purpose of the finished garment will be. An example would be at the workplace;

  • Uniforms/garments are formatted with certain things in mind that depend on the nature of the work involved and with close consideration of the field of the industry in question. If for example the industry will involve work around machinery, then tear resistance of polycotton may be a factor to be considered closely and preferable.
  • However, if they will be used in an active or hot environment a 100% cotton fabric with a lower gsm would be ideal for breathability.

I hope this has given you some insight to both types of fabric and their applications. Lastly let me mention that a new customer favourite is the brushed 100% cotton which is now in stock! 

Feel free to give us a call on 0345 5202525 or email us on info@cheapfabrics.co.uk  if we can assist you further.

 

 

 

 

 

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