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Cotton or polyester guide to types of clothing fabrics

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Cotton or polyester: guide to types of clothing fabrics

Cotton or polyester: guide to types of clothing fabrics

Creating an online clothing store is fun, but it is not always easy. And among all the decisions you have to make, choosing what types of fabrics you are going to use is one of the most important.

If you’re just starting out, you may be tempted to want to choose the cheapest fabrics for your designs, but don’t make that mistake. 

Think about your audience and how you are selling your brand. Do not forget that the fabric of your garments speaks for itself . And, therefore, it has to be adapted to the chosen market niche and the style of your designs.

Every salesperson should be familiar with these three primary types of fabric: cotton, polyester, and blended fabrics . In this post, we will discuss each of them in detail to help you decide which material is best for your store’s textile products . 

We will also suggest some products that you can add to your store and that are made with one of these types of fabric. You will find many of them in our center in Barcelona (Spain)!


Cotton is the most produced natural fabric on the entire planet. It is valued for its comfort and durability , which makes it one of the most popular materials (ENG) used in the manufacture of clothing.

However, the textile industry is changing its way of producing worldwide and sustainability is coming into play. For this reason, it is increasingly common for companies to offer 100% organic cotton garments . 

Betting on T-shirts with cotton produced naturally and without pesticides or insecticides is a small step to produce a lower environmental impact.

Feel and look

Cotton is a versatile fiber that can be woven into different fabrics (denim, flannel, knit, etc.) Each one has a different look and feel thanks to the cottonseed.

All cotton fabrics are soft and breathable , making them perfect for very hot climates, for the summer season, and for people with sensitive skin.

This fabric wrinkles easily, but at the same time it is very soft and does not contain any type of chemicals in its composition. 

Cotton does not cling to the body. So if you don’t want to sell tight garments and prefer to create looser looks, don’t hesitate to add oversize garments to your store and have your own line of t-shirts, suits or jackets with this material. But, yes, keep in mind that 100% cotton garments take time to dry, so they are not highly recommended for use as sportswear.

Print quality

Cotton is a perfect surface for DTG printing. So if you want a crisp, opaque design, choose a 100% cotton garment. Just keep in mind that DTG prints don’t look as strong on heavy cotton clothing (sweatshirts, for example) as they do on T-shirts.

Durability and care

High-quality cotton has great durability, making it less prone to accidental rips or tears. However, it is not as durable as polyester in clothing or cotton-poly blend fabrics.

Like all natural fibers, cotton fibers can shrink when exposed to high temperatures. So to wash a cotton garment, you should use cold water and avoid using a lot of detergent . Use the delicate programs in your washing machine to prevent clothes from losing color and looking washed out.


Polyester is a synthetic fiber created through the synthesis of petroleum products. It was invented in 1941, so if we compare it to cotton, it is a relatively new fabric.

Despite this, polyester is becoming increasingly popular in the fashion industry. It is especially valued for its durability when washed and used .

Today, garments are not only made from virgin polyester, but also from recycled polyester fabric. Both fabrics have the same characteristics, except that recycling contributes to a lower environmental impact during its manufacture, since it contributes to reducing the demand for oil extraction.

Undoubtedly, this fabric is a way of giving a second life to products that might otherwise end up being discarded.  

look and feel

Garments made with polyester fibers are lightweight and have a slightly softer feel than cotton. In addition, they are perfect for sports, because they trap sweat . This means that polyester jerseys can feel a little clammy in hot weather, but in cold weather they are very warm.

The most relevant material to counteract the effects of humidity is polyester. For this reason, waterproof or rain suits are usually made of this fabric. 

For those with extra sensitive skin, it can cause some irritation, but it’s not as common if polyester is mixed with other materials.

This type of fabric naturally stretches to ensure wearer comfort and does not shrink or lose its shape even after long wear.

Print quality

In the past, printing polyester textile fiber posed a great challenge. But, thanks to special dyes and advancing printing technologies, achieving high-quality prints is no longer difficult . The colors are bright and do not tend to fade over time.

However, on the economic side, as printing on polyester garments is more difficult than on cotton or mixed garments, products made from polyester tend to command higher prices.

Durability and care

Polyester has great durability, far more than cotton and most blended fabrics. Also, it is difficult to stain because polyester is less absorbent than other fabrics.

On the other hand, it is a material that is resistant to wrinkles, shrinkage or fading . It is a fabric that is very easily washed and disinfected, as well as drying quickly and not requiring ironing. 

That being said, it is recommended to machine wash it in hot water with a normal detergent and machine dry it on low heat.

Mixed or combined screen types

As you might expect, blended garments are created from two or more different materials that are combined to create a new type of textile with unique properties.

Over the years, blended fabrics have been developed to fit the needs of consumers . Its texture, durability, touch have been improved and the cost of production has even been reduced.

Today, there are hundreds of blended fabrics on the market. However, the most popular blended fabrics suitable for printing are:

Combined cotton-polyester (65/35 and 50/50)

he combination between cotton and polyester is versatile and suitable for a wide variety of products. Since polyester does not wrinkle, it is easier to wash and dry. In addition, it shrinks very little if we compare it with a garment that is 100% cotton. 

Thanks to the percentage they have of cotton, they are more breathable than products made only with polyester.

Best of all, this fabric goes great with bright, colorful designs.

What kind of fabric do you keep?

All materials have their advantages and disadvantages, so it really is a personal matter and in which you can take into account factors such as the use of the garment, the finishes you are looking for in it or its durability. As the saying goes: colors for tastes. 

As the owner of your online store you really have to think about what fabrics you want to use for your products because they will have an effect on how your customers will perceive your brand.

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