On the journey from seed to shelf, our organic cotton is transformed from yarn into woven or knitted into fabrics ready to be dyed, cut and sewn into different products. We work with computer-controlled looms but the traditional ancient art of hand-weaving along with hand-spinning still remains a popular tradition in many parts of the world.
The actual weaving process uses a loom. The threads running lengthways are known as the warp, and the threads going across are known as the weft. The cotton fabric once woven or knitted in conventional cotton manufacturing undergoes further treatment and finishing with toxic bleaches and finishers. In organic cotton manufacturing no chemical finishers or bleaches are used.
The versatility of cotton is remarkable. It can be woven into different textures such as sateen for the ever-constant silky, smooth sensation, percale for that cool, crisp, crunchy feeling and flannel for the ultimate warmth; or knitted into jersey for the cosy cocoon.
Understanding the fabrics will allow you to know what textures of the cotton will suit you.
Percale is a soft, crisp fabric that's perfect for warm sleepers, as it's cool and crunchy against the skin. It's a closely woven 'plain weave', meaning it's firm with no sheen or gloss. Percale is known to wrinkle a little, but once washed and on the bed, a very light spray of water and hand combing will change that.
Sateen is a shiny and soft fabric, sateen is often described as buttery silk because of how smooth it feels on the skin. It's known for its wrinkle-resisting qualities, so it's very easy to care for and, better still, it maintains your temperature in any season. Sateen threads are woven tightly together vertically, creating a smooth, soft and shiny texture.
For Jersey think of your favourite T–shirt that’s soft, comforting and slightly stretchy as that is what jersey is actually like. As it is a knit fabric it drapes easily and is very easy to maintain.
Flannel is a soft, warm and cosy fabric to sleep in. It's perfect for chilly nights and great for maintaining a warm temperature for your body. It's a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric that's brushed on both sides to raise the fibres, creating a soft, warm and fuzzy surface.
The key is to always look for certification when it comes to buying organic cotton products. This certification ensures that it's produced without the use of any harmful chemicals, insecticides and pesticides, doesn't use genetically modified seeds, or any toxic dyes, bleaches or finishes. In other words, it's better for you and better for the planet.
About the Author: Vinita is the Founder of Bhumi Organic Cotton and passionate about an Earth Life Balance.