What Is Cotton? A Complete Guide to the History

What Is Cotton? A Complete Guide to the History
What Is Cotton? A Complete Guide to the History

In today’s fashion culture, it seems like cotton is the go-to fabric for many clothing items.

From shirts to pants to dress, cotton can be found anywhere in a typical western wardrobe.

But what exactly is cotton?

In its simplest form, cotton is a white fluffy ball of fibers derived from the seed pods of the cotton plant. These plants grow best in moderate climates with about 50 inches or more rainfall annually.

Today there are two main types of commercially grown cotton worldwide: Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense.

The former grows best in warm weather and originated around tropical regions while the latter thrives better in cooler temperatures and was originally found mainly near the equator.

In addition to these two well-known types of cotton, there are others that grow worldwide in various climates.

Cotton can be found in many places around the world.

It is used to make clothing, bedding, and other household items.

Cotton comes from a plant known as cotton plants or cotton shrubs.

Cotton has also been used for centuries in religious ceremonies.

The most famous example of this is when people cover themselves with white sheets during Holy Week to symbolize purity and resurrection after death.

People have also used it to create prayer shawls like the tallit which are worn by Jewish men every morning when they pray (Bennett).

Cotton can be seen all over the world today; however, it wasn’t always that way since there was no such thing as commercialized cotton until about 200 years ago.

Certain countries have been growing and producing cotton since the 10th century from plants brought from Arabia and India through Europe to the Americas. 

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Today, however, China is considered to be one of the leading producers followed by:

India

Pakistan

Brazil

Uzbekistan

Turkey

and Egypt with the United States ranking ninth worldwide.

While most commercial cotton is cultivated specifically for manufacturing clothing items like T-shirts or pants, some varieties like Egyptian Gossypium barbadense (Pima) Cotton can produce extra-long staple fibers used in making high-quality papers and upholstery fabrics among other things.

Cotton fibers naturally contain wax called cerumen which makes the fibers water-resistant.

When cotton is given a full bath in chlorine, borax, or caustic soda, it produces an extra coating of wax which makes its surface shiny.

This is one way to identify heavily processed cotton-based fabrics especially if they are white.

Pure unprocessed cotton on the other hand feels coarse and looks matte even though it still has some natural sheen to it.

Cotton fiber is naturally colorless so any color you see in clothing items today comes from dyeing or printing processes.

However, there are more than 200 known chemical compounds that can be used for these purposes including ethanolamine which can turn cotton blue when exposed to sunlight for just five minutes!

Before being spun into thread, fibers from the cotton plant are first combed and carded into slivers to make it easier for processing.

These slivers are then spun together in a twisting process under tension to form yarn.

Most pieces of cotton, especially those used in clothing items today, have a higher thread count which means they have more twists per inch thus creating a tighter weave for clothes that feel silky smooth.

High-count cotton yarns can take up to 20 hours of labor alone just to spin! 

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In spinning machines, fiber is twisted into short strands called staples which then undergo even more twists when spun together.

Cotton yarns with less than 50 staples are classified as fine while those above 50 are labeled coarse.

In general, however, low-count cotton is used for clothing while high-count kinds of cotton are ideal for upholstery.

Despite its fluffy appearance, cotton is actually one of the most absorbent fabrics used today with a cotton towel absorbing 7 times its weight in water compared to 6 times by terry cloth and only 3 times by linen!

This same feature also makes it less resistant to wear because loose fibers can get caught on sharp objects like knives or sheers easily leading to holes over time.

However, today’s high count of organic cotton jersey fabric Australia gives more dense fabric that can tear less easily which means they last much longer than their coarse predecessors.

This guide should help you tell the difference between fine and coarse cotton threads or yarns even without any background knowledge or experience about textiles and give you a better idea of what to expect from different types of cotton.

It should also help you tell the difference between high-count and low-count cotton without having to go through all those confusing numbers!

Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics used today as it is both widely available and affordable.

However, there are several other factors to consider when choosing which type or brand to buy such as how long they last and how comfortable they feel on your body among others.

Today we will be talking about two main types of cotton and defining their differences plus some additional information that can help you choose the best clothing items for yourself and your family. 

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