Production of cotton
Learn more about our cotton fabrics
Author: Tootal


Cotton, a product that has been in use for thousands of years. Researchers believe the Egyptians were already using cotton in 12,000 BC. In approximately 3,000 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote the following about cotton from India: “They have trees growing in the wild, which produce a kind of wool better than sheep’s wool in beauty and quality.”


How is cotton fabric produced?

Cotton is an annual plant that can grow approximately 3 metres in height. Cotton plants like a warm and moist climate; a frost-free period of at least 6 months and around 900 mm water per season, which equates to 2.6% of global water consumption. After the plants bloom, pods appear and these burst open after 8 weeks. These produce the cotton. Each plant can produce an average of 100 cotton bolls.


Before harvesting, the cotton fields are defoliated as far as possible to minimise pollution. These days, harvesting is generally carried out with the use of enormous picking machines. The picked cotton is compressed into huge bales, after which the fluff and short fibres are removed in the cotton factory. Then, the cotton is washed and combed. The fibres that are produced in this way go to cotton mills where they are spun into thread. This thread is processed into textiles through weaving or knitting. The average fibre length (staple length) of cotton varies from 10 to 50 mm. This is dependent on the type and origin of the cotton. The longest cotton threads are the most suitable for fine, smooth cotton threads and are relatively expensive.


China is the largest cotton producer in the world, producing 25.5 million bales a year. China is followed by the United States (17.6 million bales) and India (12.5 million bales). Together, this accounts for approximately 60% of total global cotton production. In addition, Australia, Egypt, Brazil and Peru are large suppliers.


What goes into a cotton shirt?

A single cotton shirt consists of about 240 grams of cotton fibre. To produce this, you need:

  • 35 m² cotton field;
  • 1270 litres water;
  • 57 gr fertiliser;
  • 100 gr pesticides.

Despite the introduction of synthetic fibres, cotton still accounts for a 50% market share of total textile consumption. The many advantages of cotton undoubtedly play a part in this, for example: it spins very well, it dyes well, it washes well (despite being prone to creasing and shrinkage), it is strong and durable, it is moisture-absorbent and it feels comfortable on the skin.


Our cotton collection

Tootal Fabrics (Holland) B.V. offers an extensive cotton shirting collection. Part of our stock is kept in accordance with the Never Out of Stock principle (N.O.S.), but we also launch seasonal collections twice a year; Spring Summer & Autumn Winter.



For more information or questions about our cotton fabrics, feel free to contact us via [email protected] or by phone +31 (0)53 428 6200.

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