Today, the world uses more cotton than any other fibre. Cotton comes from cultivated plants from the genus Gossypium. They have been cultivated since ancient times for their fibres which are used as textiles. Cotton is a part of our daily lives from the time we dry our faces on a soft cotton towel in the morning until we slide between fresh cotton sheets at night. It has hundreds of uses, from blue jeans to shoe strings. Clothing and household items are the largest uses, but industrial products account from many thousands of bales. Cotton has other, more surprising uses too from medicines and mattresses to seed oil and even sausage skins.
What Cotton is Used For
Every part of the cotton plant can be used. The long cotton fibers are used to make cloth , the short fibers can be used in the paper industry. You can make oil or margarine out of the seeds of the cotton plant. The leaves and stalks of the cotton plant are plowed into the ground to make the soil better. Other parts of the plant are fed to animals.
Where cotton is grown
Cotton is a subtropical plant that grows in many warm areas of the world. It started out as a plant of the tropics but today it is grown in other warm areas that have at least 200 frost-free days. The most important cotton-growing countries are the USA, China, India, Pakistan and Australia.
China produces about 30% of the world’s cotton fibre, mostly in the eastern part of the country. In the United States cotton is grown in the southern states, the biggest cotton producer is Texas.
Cotton needs a hot, sunny climate to grow. The plant needs soil that is well – drained and a lot of rainfall during the growing season. During the harvest season it should be sunny and dry. Some areas grow cotton on irrigated land.
Cotton needs soil that has a lot of nitrogen in it. Farmers use chemical fertilizers to improve the soil .
Growing and processing cotton
Cotton plants can reach a height of up to 2 meters.
After plowing the soil in spring cotton seeds are planted in rows by hand or machine. Three weeks after the plants come out flower buds begin to form. They produce white flowers that turn red and fall off . The flowers have a green fruit, called boll, which has seedsin it. White fiber of different lengths grows around the seeds . Cotton can be harvested when the boll bursts open and shows the fibers inside. The longest fibers are up to 6 cm long and are used for the best cloth . Most fibers, however ,are much smaller.
During the growth period cotton farmers must be careful that their crop does not get any diseases . They spray insecticides to keep insects away from the plant. Such insects destroy almost 15 % of the world’s cotton every year. Weeds also do damage to the cotton plants. They take away moisture that plants need so much.
Cotton is harvested about 150 to 200 days after farmers plant it. In industrial countries picking machines drive through the fields, harvest the cotton and transport it onto a trailer . In the Third World cotton harvesting is often done by hand.
Gins separate the cotton fiber from the seeds . Cotton is then combed , dried, cleaned and pressed into bales . Cotton buyers or brokers buy the raw cotton and then sell it to textile mills . There, spinning machines spin cotton into yarn . The yarn is woven into cloth, which is bleached and sometimes dyed .
Cotton Fabric Information
Cotton presents itself in such a variety of fabrics that it’s impossible to categorize cotton without a discussion of different weaves. General characteristics of cotton include, breathability, high absorption, comfort and durability. The following are some of the weaves we most commonly offer and their fiber characteristics.
Satin
The floater yarns on a satin weave give the fabric a slight sheen which dresses it up a bit and generally makes it softer to the hand. Good uses for cotton satins are separates such as jacket and pants/skirts or shaped tops. It does not work as well for silhouettes requiring drape unless it is very light weight.
For information on how the addition of spandex to this fiber effects the outcome,
Twill
A twill weave is a two over two construction which creates an angular pattern on the face of the fabric. A high-angle twill is called a tricotine, most often seen in wool, but can be found in other fibers as well. The angled weave allows for a lovely drape of the fabric while providing stability. It is often used for garments needing both qualities such as pants or skirts, but tailors nicely for jackets as well.
For information on how the addition of spandex to this fiber effects the outcome,
Plain Weave
A one over one construction is the most basic and still very useable fabrication for blouse weight cottons such as lawn, poplin, or broadcloth.
For information on how the addition of spandex to this fiber effects the outcome,
Shirting
Two-ply cotton shirting is some of the finest shirting available, made from fine two-ply yarns giving it strength and durability along with a lustrous finish.
For information on how the addition of spandex to this fiber effects the outcome,
Lawn, Voile, Batiste
These very fine cottons are lightweight and delicate. Great choices for blouses, lined dresses and skirts or special occasion garments.
Swiss Cottons
Swiss cotton refers to fabric that is produced in Switzerland. The cotton is imported from the finest sources in the world and then expertly processed to produce a high quality product. Sometimes the term Swiss cotton is used generically to refer to a high quality cotton fabric, but this is improper use of the term.

Year Area (Million Hectares) Production (Million Tonnes) Yield (Kg./Hectare)
2001-2002 9.13 10 186
2002-2003 7.67 8.62 191
2003-2004 7.6 13.73 307
2004-2005 8.79 16.43 318
2005-2006 8.68 18.5 362
2006-2007 9.14 23.63 421
2007-2008 9.41 25.88 467
2008-2009 9.31 22.28 403
2009-2010 10.13 24.02 403
2010-2011 11.24 33 499
2011-2012 12.18 35 491
2012-2013 11.98 34 482