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Purity & Simplicity.

17 Jan

Cotton Fibre & FAQ

Posted by Chris Jenkinson in Fabrics

What is cotton?

Cotton is a soft fibre that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant.The cotton plant briefly produces cream and pink flowers that once pollinated are replaced by fruit, better known as cotton bolls. Cotton fibre grows in the seed pod or boll of the cotton plant.Each cotton boll usually contains 27-45 seeds. Attached to each seed is between 10,000 – 20,000 tiny fibres about 28mm in length.

The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile.Current estimates for world production are about 25 million tonnes or 110 million bales annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land.

Benefits of pure cotton over synthetic fibres such as polyester or polycotton:

  • Cotton breathes better than oil-based synthetic fabrics like polyester, and it is moisture-wicking which is particularly good if you are troubled by night sweats.
  • Cotton keeps its freshness and does not retain odors like oil-based fabrics. It releases stinky substances more easily than other fabrics once it’s in the washing machine.
  • Cotton is low maintenance --- let your machine do the laundry and save money on dry cleaning.
  • Cotton is completely free from the annoying static clinging because the natural firbes do not hold any electric charge.

What is the "long staple cotton" mentioned in description?

The highest quality cotton is long staple cotton. "Staple" means the length of the cotton fibre attached to the seed in the cotton boll. Staple, aka the length of cotton fibre, is the main determining factor in the quality of the cotton. Staple lengths are divided into short (between 3/8” to 15/16” in length), medium (between 1” to 1-1/8” in length), long (between 1-3/16” to 2-1/2” in length) and extra long in some cases.

Long staple cottons are considered to be finer quality because they can be spun into finer yarns and those finer yarns can be woven in to softer, smoother, stronger, and more lustrous fabrics. Long staple cottons make stronger yarns, especially in fine yarns, as there are less fibers in a given length of yarn and the longer fibers provide more points of contact between the fibers when they are twisted together in the spinning process.

Benefits of long staple cotton:

  • extra comfort.
  • easy to wash and does not wrinkle easily as short/medium staple cotton would do.
  • less piling.

What does thread count mean?

Thread count is simply the number of threads per square inch of fabric. These consist of vertical threads (warp) and horizontal threads (weft) woven together. Thread count is a general metric on product quality and price. In general high thread count delivers better quality as more fibres are woven into the product. However the overall quality is a complex combination of not only thread count but also other attributes such as dyeing (for printed bedding) and finishing process.


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