Quilting Cotton vs Apparel Cotton Fabric

A quilting cotton fabric contains 100% cotton, whereas apparel cotton fabric usually consists of 60% cotton mixed with artificial or natural fibers. Additionally, quilting cottons are usually made from plain weaves unlike apparel cottons, which are made using different kinds of weaving styles. A higher thread count also makes quilting cotton fabrics heavier when compared with apparel cotton fabrics.

Besides these, there are a few other differences. Let’s see what those are.

Quilting Cotton: An Overview

Quilting cotton is a type of cotton fabric that is tightly woven and often features printed designs. Its robust nature makes it a favorite for quilt makers, hence the name. But it’s more than just quilts that are within its range of application.

Qualities of Quilting Cotton

Quilting cotton is cherished for its stability and durability. It has a firm hand and a relatively flat weave, which keeps the fabric from stretching too much when stitched. The high thread count ensures it withstands wear and tear, maintaining its shape over time.

The Many Uses of Quilting Cotton

While its name suggests its primary usage, quilting cotton’s versatility extends to a multitude of craft and DIY projects. It’s perfect for tote bags, cushion covers, aprons, and even home decor items.

Apparel Cotton Fabric: A Closer Look

On the flip side, we have apparel cotton fabric. As the name suggests, this type of cotton fabric is primarily used in the fashion industry for clothing items.

The Texture and Feel of Apparel Cotton

Apparel cotton fabric is generally softer and more pliable than quilting cotton. This allows for a more comfortable feel against the skin, which is paramount for any clothing material.

A Fashionable Choice: Uses of Apparel Cotton

The softness and breathability of apparel cotton make it ideal for clothing, from airy summer dresses to cozy flannel shirts. The fact that it can hold onto color well also means a broader range of design possibilities, perfect for the vibrant world of fashion.

Difference Between Quilting Cotton and Apparel Cotton Fabric


The key difference between quilting cotton and apparel cotton is that they are made of different materials. Quilting cotton fabric comes in 100% cotton, without any other material mixed into it, while apparel cotton fabric usually consists of 60% cotton mixed with other natural or synthetic fibers.


Quilting cotton and apparel cotton are also slightly different in terms of size. Generally, regular cotton fabric comes in 54-60 inches wide, whereas most quilting cotton fabric available in the market typically ranges from 44-48 inches in width.


Apparel cotton weighs significantly less than quilting cotton, which explains its lightweight characteristic. However, the same cannot be said about quilting cotton, as it is slightly heavy compared to regular cotton fabric. The average weight of a piece of heavy-weight quilting cotton fabric is approximately six ounces. Meanwhile, a yard of lightweight quilting cotton fabric may weigh around 4 to 5 ounces.

Thread Count

The thread count of quilting cotton differentiates it from apparel cotton. A thread count of 150 is what you can expect for a good-quality apparel cotton fabric. For clothing fabrics, this is a relatively high number. Even 120 is quite high for clothing, while 150 is considered excellent. However, quilting cotton is an exception to this rule as the thread count of quilting cotton ranges from 60 to as high as 200.


There is a significant difference in thickness between quilting cotton and apparel cotton. Quilting cotton fabric has a higher thickness than apparel cotton, a quality that makes it more durable and suitable for washing and drying frequently.

Differences in Usage

Just like their differences in features, quilting cotton, and apparel cotton are used for different purposes as well.

For example, quilting cotton is ideal for patchwork quilts, home decor projects, and craft projects, while apparel cotton is better suited to clothing and fashion accessories.

There is a good reason for their different uses. Quilting cotton is generally heavier and thicker than apparel cotton, making it more durable and therefore more suitable for projects that have to withstand a lot of wear and tear such as quilts and crafts.

Apparel cotton, on the other hand, is thinner and lighter, and therefore better suited to clothing because it is more comfortable and breathable.

Additionally, apparel cotton often has a softer hand feel than quilting cotton. Apparel cotton is also easier to sew than quilting cotton, which makes it a more suitable material for making outfits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between quilting cotton and apparel cotton fabric?

The main difference lies in their texture and use. Quilting cotton is firm and sturdy, making it suitable for quilts and crafts. Apparel cotton, on the other hand, is soft and comfortable, making it perfect for clothing.

Can I use quilting cotton for clothing?

While it’s possible, it’s not generally recommended. Quilting cotton lacks the drape and softness of apparel cotton, which can result in stiff and uncomfortable clothing.

Is there a quality difference between quilting cotton and apparel cotton fabric?

Both are high-quality materials. The difference isn’t in the quality but in the properties and uses of each fabric.

How should I care for my quilting cotton and apparel cotton fabric?

Both fabrics should be washed gently and line dried. A fabric softener can help maintain their texture.

Cotton is beloved for its breathability, durability, and versatility. These properties make it suitable for a wide range of uses, from clothing to home decor.

Is cotton fabric environmentally friendly?

While cotton is a natural material, its cultivation can be resource-intensive. Opting for organic or responsibly produced cotton can help mitigate some of these environmental impacts.


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