How is cotton made into fabric? First, let us examine the background history of the cotton plant.
Cotton is one of the most versatile crops because its soft fibres can be made into a wide range of products.
The earliest discovery of the use of cotton can be traced to 5000BC in India. Cotton cultivation flourished around this period, which provided the Indus with a suitable source of material for clothing.
It was recorded that cotton was used by Americans in 5500BC while the Chinese began to use cotton during the Han dynasty.
Today, the use of cotton is widespread and it is grown, harvested and processed throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and America.
Discover how cotton is made into fabric in the next chapter.
Chapter 2: How Cotton Is Made into Fabric
The natural fluffy fibres of the cotton plant are not strong on their own, hence, they need to go through different stages of processing. The following are the step-by-step process involved in making cotton into fabric:
First is the defoliation process where workers at the cotton plantation remove the leaves from the harvested cotton plant.
Next, the cotton seed is separated from the boll. This process was formerly carried out manually but a cotton gin was invented. This machine is a faster and more efficient way of separating cotton from its boll. The machine also removes dirt from the harvested cotton fibre.
Once the cotton fibre is clean, it is transported into the textile production facility for carding. Carding is the process whereby cotton fibres are formed into weavable strands.
Next, the long strands are spun into yarn. The spun yarn may be treated with chemicals, for example, dying.
Finally, the yarns are woven in any way depending on the type of fabric one is making. The three major types of weaving are twill, plain and satin weave.
Types of weaves in cotton fabric
As we have mentioned earlier, the three most common types of weaving found in cotton fabrics are plain weaving, twill weaving and satin weaving.
Plain weaving- The plain weave is the simplest type of weave in cotton fabrics. Yarns in a plain weave are woven together one after the other. Plain weaving can be found in heavy fabrics like canvas and light fabrics like muslin.
Twill weaving- A twill weave is a diagonal pattern found in fabrics. It has a lesser binding point than the plain weave and has a thicker mass area. This type of weave is common in denim.
Satin weave- The satin weave has floating or overshot warp threads on the surface which gives the fabric a shiny surface.
As we have mentioned one of the types of fabrics gotten from cotton is canvas fabric. Canvas is a plain woven fabric known for being durable, sturdy and heavy duty.
Canvas can be blended with synthetic materials like polyester. By blending cotton canvas with polyester, it can become water resistant.
Ways to use cotton canvas fabric
Sails- Sails on boats were originally made from cotton canvas fabric.
Tents- Canvas being a heavy-duty material is great for building camp shelters.
Bags- Canvas is a popular fabric used in making tote bags, backpacks, purses and shopping bags.
Shoes- Canvas is flexible and durable, therefore, it is suitable for making shoes. A typical example of shoes made with canvas fabric is the Converse sneakers.
Painting- Canvas fabric stretched out on a wooden frame is a good painting surface.
Backdrops- Photographers use canvas as backdrops.
Clothing- Jackets and certain outdoor clothing are made with canvas.
Furniture- Canvas is used for furniture upholstery.
Chapter 4: Cotton Canvas in the Bag-making Industry
One of the uses of cotton canvas as mentioned above is in bag making. As a bag-making company, we produce bags with 100% cotton canvas or polyester cotton canvas which contains 80% cotton canvas.
The following are the cotton canvas bag products and their uses:
Canvas makeup bag- A canvas makeup bag is used for presenting and storing makeup items. It is also used for arranging makeup products for travelling.
Canvas wine bag- The canvas wine bag is used for presenting, packaging and wine gifting.
Canvas shoe bag- The canvas shoe bag is used for protecting shoes and bags from dust, heat and moisture.
Canvas drawstring backpack- This is used for product packaging and outdoor activities.
Canvas tote bag- This is also used as an accessory for outdoor activities. It has enough space for books, cosmetic purses, wallets and other personal items.
Canvas shopping bag- The canvas shopping bag is used for grocery shopping.
The importance of canvas bags today
The importance of canvas bags cannot be overlooked. Canvas bags are made with durable canvas fabric, hence, they are suitable for many purposes.
The strength and durability of the canvas fabric also extend to the bags. Canvas bags are reusable and a preferred alternative to plastic bags.
Reusable shopping bags are a great way to prevent disposable plastic bags from polluting the environment.
Canvas bags provide an avenue for businesses to advertise their products and services. Popular brands like Google, Starbuck and other brands customise their logo on tote bags for more visibility and awareness.
This article has broadly explained almost everything you need to know about cotton. We have also answered the common question ‘how is cotton made into fabric?’
We have explained how cotton is processed and produced into different types of fabrics including canvas.
This article has also highlighted the uses of cotton canvas and focused mainly on canvas bags.
Lastly, we covered the benefits canvas bags bring to individuals and the environment.