Different types of cotton fabrics available across the world

List of Different Types of Cotton Fabric in the World

Based on their thread type

Short-staple cotton: It is the most common form of cotton fibre available and is used by most of us. However, it is not that great quality-wise. The States’ Upland Cotton is an example of short-staple fibre, which is mostly used in creating low-maintenance fabric such as flannel sweatshirts or blue jeans.

Long-staple cotton: Better than its former peer, the long-staple cotton is used to make quality clothing that should feel soft, silky and smooth such as sheets, towels and duvets. The longer the fibre, the better the quality of cotton is. It is achieved via weaving and spinning. Since long-staple means lesser exposed open-ends, it doesn’t tend to tear or pill as much either.

Extra-long-staple cotton: The luxurious, super-soft and rare Egyptian cotton is an extra-long-staple cotton fibre along with Pima and Supima cotton. Supima cotton is Pima cotton certified by American Supima Association. It can only be grown only in the U.S. and via organic harvesting.It is quite challenging to grow extra-long-staple cotton for the farmers owing to its high maintenance.

The cost of cultivation and harvesting time (almost 225 days) are quite high. Besides, it becomes challenging for the farmers to maintain the uniformity of the fibre. The Government of India incentivises farmers to grow extra-long-staple cotton, Barbaradense in Tamil Nadu and Bengal.

The government is also promoting the cultivation of the famous indigenous ELS cotton Suvin, which is notably a cross between Egyptian cotton variety Sujata and West Indies’ St Vincent.

Cotton Fabric

Types of Cotton fabrics – based on the plant species they are derived from

In this classification, cotton fabrics are divided into several sub-varieties, which are:


It is the short-staple variety of cotton and is native to countries around the Caribbean Sea and Central America. This variety can be found everywhere in the world and is robust enough to grow practically in any type of climate.


Native to South America, this variety of cotton is now naturalised in several parts of the world including India, China and Brazil. It is superior ELS cotton and labelled as Pima cotton. It makes for almost eight per cent of the world’s total production.


Gossypium arboretum is also called tree cotton because of its growth on tree-like plants. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of India and Pakistan. Its production can be traced back to HarappanCivilisation of the Indus Valley.

Gossypiumherbaceum It is a sister species of arboreum and is also known as Levant cotton. Native to Arabia and Africa, it is pure cellulose. The fibre has medicinal uses. However, the seed is highly toxic for humans and animals.

Choose Plain Weaved Cotton Fabric at BharatSthali

Types of Cotton - end product basis

There are more than 135 types of cotton varieties available in the market and used by designers, retail labels and textile industry all over the world. Some of these are listed below:

Aertex –Aertex is a Manchester-based British clothing company that makes light-weight and loosely-woven Aertex cotton. In this picture, you can find Kim Kardashian wearing Aertex dress designed by renowned fashion designer Stella McCartney.

  • Algodon-Algodon is Arabic and Spanish word for cotton. It is G. barbadense variety that originates in Peru and is also known as Pima cotton or Tanguis cotton.
  • Armure-This cotton type has short, coarse fibres and is mostly used to make rugs and dhurries.
  • Baft or baffeta- It is a coarse cotton fabric, similar to muslin at a glance. Surat cotton fabric is believed to be the best in class.
  • Bark Cloth-Textured woven printed cotton fabric
  • Basket weave or Panama cotton-Plain weave cotton with a checkered pattern
  • BroderieAnglaise- Cotton with needlework, lace, and cutwork
  • Brushed cotton- Processed and finished piece of cotton
  • Bengaline cotton-Blended and interwoven fabric of silk and cotton to create form-fitting outfits such as pants or skirts
  • Batiste- Light-weight and soft opaque cotton blended with polyester or wool. Used in handkerchief or lingerie linings
  • Bedford cotton: Bedford cotton is a water-repellent cloth and was used by the U.S. Navy. It looks like corduroy and used in upholstery.
  • Bipolished cotton: Cotton pressed between cylinders for extra shine
  • Birdseye: Dobby loom cotton
  • Broadcloth: Twilled plain-weave cotton
  • Brocade: Decorative silver-golden cotton-silk fabric
  • Buckram: Loose weave stiff cotton
  • ButcherLinen: Sturdy cotton used to create butchers’ aprons
  • Calico: Unbleached and incompletely processed cotton in cream or grey-colour
  • Cambric: Lightweight, and finely woven fabric that is originally a linen
  • Canvas; Durable fabric used to make tents, marquees, shelters, backpacks, shoes
  • Charmeuse: Light-weight cotton fabric with a satin weave
  • Chenille: Cotton interwoven with silk threads to create fuzzy, shiny weave
  • Cheesecloth: The delicate, superlight ‘mulmul.’
  • Chino: Twill cotton, chinos in khaki colour is called khaki
  • Chintz: Plain-weave cotton blend or glazed cotton with large floral pattern
  • Cotton-backed satin: Satin with a lining of cotton used to make corsets
  • Cotton voile: Light-weight, the sheer fabric used to make curtains, window panels or mosquito nets
  • Combed cotton: A processed, softer version of cotton
  • Corduroy: Twisted cotton fabric woven in ridges
  • Crepe: Comfortable, light-weight crispyblended fabric
  • Denim: 100 per cent cotton diagonally ribbed for its texture
  • Double cloth: Double-woven two-layer cloth
  • Duckcloth: Also called as cotton duck, or duck canvas, it is used as a base of painting canvas, sandbags, tents
  • Egyptian cotton: The superlative softer, better, high-thread-count cotton fabric
  • English net: Soft, blended fabric used to make veils, dresses, sleeves, accessories
  • Flannel: Extra soft, un-brushed blended fabric
  • Fleece: Knitted or woven blended cotton wear with insulation properties
  • Gauze: Medical cotton
  • Gingham: Cotton-blend yarn
  • Homespun: Similar to ancient home-woven fabric
  • Irish poplin: Atkinsons’ Irish poplin ties, and cravats made of wool and cotton blend
  • Jersey: Single-knit stretchable natural cotton
  • Linen cotton mix: Blend of linen and cotton
  • Liquidcotton: Cotton fabric treated with liquid ammonia to reduce pilling and breakage
  • Madrascotton: Tartan and patterned cotton fabric
  • Moleskin: Smooth texture velvet-like cotton fabric yet resistant-like leather
  • Muslin: Delicate handspun cotton weave
  • Nankeen: Yellow-variety of Chinese cotton
  • Nainsook: South Asian muslin
  • Organdy: Hardened cotton muslin
  • Pimacotton: ELS fabric cotton
  • Polycotton: Polyester and cotton blend
  • Sateen: Satin threads with cotton yarn
  • Supima: ELS fabric
  • Terrycloth: Absorbent cotton fabric of bathrobes and towels
  • Velveteen: The blend of cotton and silk imitating the texture of velvet
  • Whipcord: Braided cord closely-woven cotton fabric used to make Jodhpuri pants or business pants