Cotton Types

Cotton Types

Cotton is the most widely used fibre for fabric because of its strength, durability and breathability. The word "staple" refers to fibre length. When someone refers to "long staple cotton" they are referring to variety 1, 2, or 3. The longer the fibre size of a variety, the more difficult it is to grow, and the more difficult it is to process. Hence the longer the staple, the more expensive it becomes.

The chart shows the approximate relative sizes of the fibres.

1. Sea Island Cotton
Sea Island Cotton is in extremely limited supply, and is very expensive to grow and to process. It is typically used in very expensive men's shirts.


Cotton is one of the world's most comfortable fibres

2. Egyptian Cotton
Egyptian Cotton was developed from stocks that originated in South and Central America. Menoufi is the most widely used variety. The highly prized Giza variety has exceptionally strong fibres about 1 ½" long, and is used in the best qualities of embroidery thread, and the finest cotton fabrics for sheets and duvet tickings.

Genuine Egyptian Cotton is very rare, at approximtely 0.3% of the total cotton production world wide. For this reason, most "Egyptian Cotton" is simply not Egyptian species cotton and is merely marketed with this label, or perhaps has a small percentage of Egyptian species blend. Our cotton is the real deal, 100% Giza 70.


3. Pima Cotton
Pima cotton is in between Egyptian Cotton and American Upland long staple in length and price. It is a very good quality.

4. American Upland Long Staple
This cotton is only "Long Staple" in comparison to American Upland Short Staple cotton. The American Upland cottons now comprise up to 90% of the worlds crop. They are much easier to grow and process, and are therefore much less costly. They are perfectly adequate for medium quality fabrics. They make poor downproof fabrics for duvets and pillows, as they will ultimately leak. They are also unsuitable for high thread count sheets, as they will feel limp and coarse after a few launderings. This is the cotton used in bargain duvets, and in inexpensive "luxury" sheets.

Most "Egyptian Cotton" is actually American Uplands cotton.

5. American Upland Short Staple
A less expensive version of cotton, and a very basic quality. Suitable for denim for blue jeans.

6. Asia Short Staple
Asia Short staple is very easy to grow and process, and hence makes very cheap cloth. Unfortunately, lightweight fabrics made from this cotton are very weak and limp. They wear out quickly, and launder poorly.


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Weave Type | Thread Count | Twisted Yarns | Cotton Types
Egyptian Cotton | Linen | Silk | Micro Modal®