Can You Use Quilting Cotton For clothing?

Reasons to use quilting cotton for clothing

Quilting cotton or just medium-weight cotton is a type of cotton fabric specially designed for quilting. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to make clothing.

It is commonly believed that quilting cotton is too stiff and doesn’t drape well, so it isn’t suitable for clothing but that’s not true. Many clothing companies out there often use quilting cotton to make clothing. That means you can also make clothing using quilting cotton as well. Actually, personal preference is what matters.

I hope you have got the point by now.

Reasons to Consider Using Quilting Cotton for Clothing

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Quality, softness, and durability are the hallmarks of quilting cotton. Made from 100% cotton, it stands the test of time. What’s great about quilting cotton fabrics is that they offer unique prints and colors you won’t find in apparel cotton fabrics. Also, beginners and experienced sewers alike can make clothing with quilting cotton easily; they’re easy to cut, sew and press. 

The ability to hold its shape also makes it a suitable choice for clothing that needs a tailored and crisp look. Furthermore, the fabric has a tight weave, which prevents fraying and makes it more durable.

Those who value nature and do not wish to harm it may want to consider quilting cotton over apparel cotton since quilting cotton is made from 100% natural cotton fibers that are biodegradable at the end of their lifecycle. Additionally, quilting cotton is usually printed with low-toxic inks and certified as OEKO-TEX (free of 100 known toxic substances).

Types of Clothing You Can Make Out of Quilting Cotton

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The same restrictions apply to quilting cotton as they do to every other fabric. This means that you cannot use it to make whatever clothing you desire. However, the options are not very limited either.

The types of garments you can make out of quilting cotton include; button-up shirts, boxy tops, loose-fitting blouses, skirts, jumpers, summer sleeveless dresses, pajamas, shift dresses, kid’s clothing, fitted dresses, gathered skirts, lounge pants, and shorts.

These are merely a few examples of what outfits you can make using quilting cotton. Find inspiration on Instagram to come up with new ideas or experiment with the fabric to determine what works best. By doing so, you may even be able to make something that is unique and attractive.

Things to Consider Before Using Quilting Cotton for Clothing

If you plan to make clothing from quilting cotton, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

First and foremost, consider the price. Quilting cotton and apparel cotton differ in price due to their thread counts and fiber volumes. Quilting cotton contains 100% natural cotton fibers and has a higher thread count than regular apparel cotton, which accounts for its high costs.

The second important factor is the shrinkage of quilting cotton. As for me, I have never seen quilting cotton shrink since I made a shirt for my son using it. However, if you use cheaper quilting cotton, it may shrink.

Also, consider the drape of the fabric, since quilting cottons do not drape well. The drape of a fabric refers to how it lays against your body. It is likely that clothing made out of quilting cotton will have a stiff drape, i.e., they will not hang loosely against your body. Yet, I have noticed that cheaper quilting cotton has a stiffer voluminous drape, whereas higher quality has a fluid drape.

Tips for Sewing Garments with Quilting Cotton

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Assuming that you have considered all the factors and have decided to sew an outfit out of quilting cotton, I have some tips for you that you should follow in order to get a better result during the sewing process.

Prepare the Fabric

Quilting cotton may shrink based on its quality. To avoid shrinkage, it is recommended that you pre-wash your fabric before cutting.

Be sure to use low-temperature water when washing. Also, ensure that the detergent you use does not contain dyes or perfumes. After washing, give it a good press with a steam iron to remove any creases. Press with the printed side down if possible.

Cut the Fabric

Use a rotary cutter or sharp fabric scissors to cut the fabric. Don’t rush the cutting process to get a clean and polished look.


Use chalk, transfer paper, or fabric marking pens to mark the fabric. Mark on the wrong side of the fabric whenever possible to avoid damaging the printed side.

Pick a Good Needle

When sewing with quilting cotton, choose a needle that is suitable for lightweight fabrics. Most quilting cotton projects will work well with a universal needle, such as a size 70/10 or 80/12.

Choose the Right Thread

You can use any high-quality thread for your project. As for the size, a 50wt thread should do. Make sure that the color of the thread complements the fabric as well.

Seam Finish

The edges of quilting cotton rarely fray, but raw edges should be sealed. It is recommended to use a serger or overlock machine to finish raw edges for the best results. However, it is not that important, so you can skip this part.


A double-turned hem of 1′′-2′′ is ideal for a garment made from quilting cotton. Having a small hem may cause it to turn up and not lay flat. If you want to elevate your garment a bit more, try blind stitching instead of straight stitching.

Conclusion: Should You Use Quilting Cotton for Clothing?

Since quilting cotton is specially designed for quilting, it’s best to use it for quilting projects. However, that doesn’t restrict you from using quilting cotton to make cloth. In fact, quilting cotton makes awesome outfits as well. In addition to being a beginner-friendly fabric, quilting cotton is also eco-friendly.

There is also no limit to what you can make with quilting cotton either. The fabric may shrink and be stiff, but if you can cope with it, you will definitely get more tailored and crisp-looking dresses.

So, is there any reason why you shouldn’t sew clothes from quilting cotton? Go grab supplies and quilting cotton fabric and just get started!


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