Cotton fabric is arguably the staple fabric of humanity. It is widely used across the world and has been used to make clothing for thousands of years. Cotton fabric information is a vast repository of interesting facts and comparisons which further add to the fascinating history of this humble yet ubiquitous fabric. The plant which is used to source the fiber for cotton grows naturally in tropical and sub-tropical regions such as the Indian sub-continent; however, the mass production of cotton and its immense importance in the textile industry and economy is largely due to western countries that chose to make this the staple fabric for every day wear. Cotton fabrics have a vast and universal appeal and are produced and utilized around the world to create all types of clothes.
Cotton fabric has a lot of different characteristics that make it extremely appealing for designers and customers. It is a comfortable, skin-friendly fabric that allows the skin to breath, an important benefit in hot and humid environments. It is known to be airy and soft, which makes wearing cotton clothing an extremely comfortable experience. Cotton can also be easily blended with other types of fabrics, which is why women can find all types of cotton blends such jute-cotton, khadi-cotton and cotton-silk in the market, besides the soft and supple pure cotton fabric. Cotton also wins out in the style department as it is an extremely absorbent material that can easily be dyed and printed with bright designs; this is one of the reasons Indian weavers, artisans and clothes makers love cotton so much. Though it is soft and comfortable, it has a very smart appearance and can easily be worn in a formal environment as well.
There are many different types of cotton fabrics in the market. They can be differentiated on the basis of a number of factors. Textile experts tend to focus on factors such as thread count, geographical origins, chemical treatment etc. While these are certainly important, for the consumer of ethnic fashion, what matters is the look and feel of the fabric. Popular cotton fabric types in India include unwoven fabrics, modern knitted cotton as well as regional varieties of fine woven cotton which have been produced for many centuries. Many regions such as Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are known for their fine cotton textiles. Typically, woven cotton is used to make pretty sarees and one can find many beautiful traditional cotton sarees such as Maheshwari sarees, Chanderi sarees, Narayanpet sarees and Jamdani sarees. While some are distinguished by the fine texture and shimmering appearance of the fabric, others focus more on the creation of unique and vivid designs.
These kinds of traditional woven cotton fabric types can also be used to make salwar kameez and kurtis, but typically, plain cotton fabric is preferred for daily wear and casual wear outfits. Knitted cotton has become a favorite in western fashion and is frequently used to create colorful and distinctive looking tunics and dresses.
Since cotton is so absorbent, it can be dyed into many different colors and takes on a variety of bright hues beautifully. This is why women will find a tremendous variety of cotton fabric prints in the market. In India, cotton is the preferred fabric for the creation of hand block printed designs. Hand block printing is a traditional way of decorating fabrics in the rural regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat; a carved wood block is dipped in bright colors and then pressed on to the cloth to create beautiful designs. There are many types of block printing such as Batik, Sanganeri, Dubka etc. Cotton fabric prints can also be done by machines and can include diverse Indian motifs, ranging from intricate nature inspired and/or floral patterns and kaleidoscopic plays of geometric shapes to depictions of myths and divine beings. An outfit made of designer cotton fabric can also come with abstract western designs and graphic digital prints. A lot of different outfits can be decorated with cotton fabric prints, from sarees and salwar kameez to kurtis, tunics and leggings.
Cotton fabrics can also be embellished and embroidered using traditional Indian techniques such as resham, zari, aari, beads work, mirror work and patch border work.
Appeal of Cotton Fabric
The best part about cotton is that it is the one fabric that never falls out of fashion. However, certain types of cotton do go in and out of fashion. At the moment, knitted cotton fabrics and woven cotton fabrics are extremely popular in casual wear.
Cotton fabrics can be used to make a wide a variety of ethnic wear outfits and the styling and accessorizing will depend entirely on the outfit in question. In general, funky ethnic jewelry such as wooden necklaces, beaded necklaces, oxidized jewelry sets and tribal earrings are a good choice with cotton clothing. They bring out the beauty of the colorful prints and vibrant designs that are often seen on Indian cotton fabrics.