What is cotton:
Cotton is a plant-based natural fiber (cellulose) and it grows as a protective layer around the cottonseed. Cotton protects its seed the same way the rib-cage protects the heart, liver, and lungs. This material is mostly white, fluffy, and is soft to the touch. Cotton requires a lot of water to grow and it is picked during dry seasons. Cotton gins (engines) are used to separate the seeds from the cotton. Currently, this material is the most popular fiber in the world. Approximately half of all textiles are currently made out of cotton. Yearly, this material provides income to approximately 250 million people and it is responsible for approximately 7% of all labor in developing countries.
The story of cotton:
The word cotton comes from the Arabic word Kuttan. Cotton has been around for 6000 years. The first appearance of cotton dates back to 3000 BC, in Pakistan, where cotton was first found woven in cloths. Later on, at around 800 AD, Arabic merchants brought cotton to Europe. By 1500, cotton was known and used all around the world.
Cotton production methods are unsustainable and environmentally harmful. That is because the growth of cotton requires large amounts of water and the use of many toxic chemicals. However, it is possible to produce and use cotton in a more sustainable way. For example, more sustainable options are organic cotton and color cotton (their production requires less water and the use of fewer chemicals).
Characteristics of cotton:
It is lightweight. It is durable (when wet cotton stays strong). It is a breathable material (can be worn during all seasons). It quickly absorbs and releases moisture. It is easily colored; however, it can get discoloured after being washed. It wrinkles. It does not gather static electricity.
How to wash:
Can be washed in warm or cold water, is machine washable, can be air-dried or machine dried, can be ironed at a high heat.
Some printing techniques you can use:
Digital Printing: A process that applies small drops of color through print heads onto a fabric. Rotary Screen Printing: A perforated cylindrical screen is used to apply color. Color is forced from the interior of the screen onto the fabric. Screen Printing: Screen printing involves pressing the paint through a printing screen made of nylon mesh. DTG: Involves the application of print and pattern directly on the garment.