What Is the Difference Between Cotton and Quilting Cotton?

To dive into any project that involves fabric, it is important to first understand all the different types of it. Otherwise, it is easy to drown in the pretty piles.

One of the most common types of fabrics, if not the most common, is cotton. It is available in a wide range of colors and patterns. 

Usually, cotton bolts are arranged by color to make the search process easy. 

Among cotton, exists a wide variety of styles. Besides regular apparel cotton, there is designer fabric, quilting cotton, shirting cotton, denim, seasonal print, and more.

One frequently asked question is, “what is the difference between cotton and quilting cotton?” We’ll try to answer that in our article. 

Cotton and Quilting Cotton | The Differences

Now, what are the differences between cotton and quilting cotton? If you are asking yourself the question but cannot find the answer, well, luck is on your side. Because you have come to the right place, as below are some of the differences between cotton and quilting cotton.

  • Use:

Cotton is a very thin fabric, so it is used to make clothing items that lack structure and flow well, i.e., shirts, skirts, dresses. It is also semi-sheer, so it requires another layer of clothing to be worn underneath.

Quilting cotton is comparatively thick. It is mainly used to make quilts if it was not already obvious. It is also used to make structured garments for casual use. 

  • Quality:

Cotton is rather soft, so it is lined or layered when used to make garments. It also tends to have loose weaves, so it needs to be staystitched when cut.

Quilting cotton is quite sturdy. It is easy to cut and does not even leave any loose end. It also does not easily fray away.

  • Variety:

Cotton, in general, is available in fewer patterns than quilting cotton

Tens and hundreds of patterned quilting cotton are released every year, and apart from quilts and also patchwork, many patterns are ideal for clothing items. In fact, they make for unique items and real fashionable ones too.

  • Cost:

Cotton costs less per meter than quilting cotton. The cost of cotton versus quilting cotton has nothing to do with quality, but it has more to do with availability.

Moreover, cotton is readily available everywhere, whereas quilting cotton is available in only a selected few areas. 

Consider the primary production and design cost of quilting cotton and add the transportation costs, the import costs, the exchange rates to that, and the high price will make sense.

  • Care:

It does not take long for cotton to become flimsy despite proper care. It is just in its nature.

However, quilting cotton lasts long, with some love and care. 

It is said that quilting cotton slightly shrinks after the first wash. So, it is advisable to wash the fabric before the first use.

But in practical areas, quilting cotton is used straight from the bolt with next to no problems, so there is no need to worry if it is not possible to pre-wash.

Quilting cotton lasts through many washes without any damage.

It also holds creases and irons really well. It holds through repeated iron sessions as well.

Other Types of Cotton You Need to Know About

Now that you know some differences between cotton and quilting cotton, it would not hurt to know some things about the other types of cotton available. Read on to learn more.

  • Designer Fabric:

Designer fabric is of premium quality. It is produced from the finest material. Added to that, it tends to have a high thread count and thus is silky in texture. It contains highly defined patterns, from sleek and stylish to bold and trendy. It has a long fabric life.

  • Shirting Cotton:

Shirting cotton is rather crisp and lightweight. It is available in four types of weaves: plain, twill, satin, and oxford. It comes in many colors but is limited to stripes and plaids when it comes to patterns. It is usually made into shirts and pants.

  • Denim:

Surprising but true, denim is a type of cotton. It is heavyweight, as opposed to regular cotton and is made with a twill weave. It tends to be stiff, so it is a great option for jackets, pants, and skirts. It also makes for great bags.

  • Seasonal Prints:

As the name suggests, seasonal prints are, well, seasonal. They vary based on seasons. 

For warmer times, something light in weight is perfect, as they allow passage for air and create a sense of comfort. They tend to be rather bright, with bold patterns, just like the season.

And for cooler times, heavyweight is preferable. They provide warmth and comfort. They are rather mellow in both color and pattern as if to match the vibe of the season.


Congratulations! Now you not only know what the difference between cotton and quilting cotton is, but you also know about the different types of cotton.

So it is safe to say that you are ready to start any project you want to, as long as it involves cotton! Just make sure to look over all that you know, maybe find some more details from here and there. Be confident, and you are all set to go.

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