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What is the difference between brushed and unbrushed cotton fabric?

Hi everyone,

I am a newbie when it comes to different types of fabrics and their characteristics. Recently, when I was shopping for clothes, I came across the terms "brushed" and "unbrushed" cotton fabric. I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me on what the difference is between these two types of cotton fabrics?

Is one softer or more durable than the other? Does one require more maintenance or have a different texture? Any insight or personal experiences with either type of fabric would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help!

All Replies


Hi there,

As an avid furniture maker, I've worked with both brushed and unbrushed cotton fabrics when it comes to upholstery. When choosing between these two fabrics, there are a few things to consider.

First and foremost, brushed cotton is much softer and more comfortable than unbrushed cotton, making it an ideal choice for furniture that will be frequently used, such as a sofa or armchair. The downside is that brushed cotton is more prone to pilling, which can affect the appearance of the upholstery over time.

Unbrushed cotton is more durable and less prone to pilling compared to brushed cotton, making it the better choice for furniture items that aren't used as often. However, it may not be as comfortable to sit on due to its rougher texture.

Another factor to consider is the pattern and design of the fabric. Brushed cotton is good for certain patterns that require a raised texture, while unbrushed cotton is better for patterns that need a more flat surface.

In conclusion, when it comes to upholstery, brushed cotton is the optimal choice for comfort while unbrushed cotton is better suited for durability. It depends on the usage and design of your furniture, so keep these considerations in mind when choosing between the two types of cotton fabric.


Hi there,

I have experience working with both brushed and unbrushed cotton fabrics. From my experience, brushed cotton fabrics tend to be much softer and more comfortable to wear than unbrushed cotton fabrics. This is because the brushing process raises the fibers of the fabric, giving it a fluffy and plush appearance. However, brushed cotton is more susceptible to pilling, which can make it look worn out over time.

On the other hand, unbrushed cotton is more durable than brushed cotton because the fibers are not raised during the production process. It is also less likely to pill, making it a better choice for garments that will be worn frequently and over a long period of time. Additionally, unbrushed cotton can be less expensive than brushed cotton depending on the quality of the fabric.

Overall, it really comes down to personal preference and the intended use of the fabric. If you're looking for a very soft and comfortable fabric, brushed cotton would be the way to go. But if you're looking for something that will last longer and stand up to wear and tear, unbrushed cotton is probably the better choice. I hope this helps!

Glad to see this thread!

I've worked as a clothing designer for a long time and I can say that the difference between brushed and unbrushed cotton fabrics is largely due to comfort and texture. Brushed cotton has been processed to give it an even softer texture compared to unbrushed cotton, making it a great choice for garments meant to be worn against the skin.

Brushed cotton is less durable than unbrushed cotton and susceptible to pilling, but this is not a cause for concern for clothes that will be worn less frequently, like loungewear or pajamas. Pilling is basically when the fibers on the surface of the fabric start to ball up, but this can be easily managed with a fabric shaver.

Unbrushed cotton, on the other hand, is more durable than brushed cotton and has a more firm texture which some people prefer. It's an ideal choice for outdoorsy clothes, like cargo shorts or workwear, and for items like curtains, bed sheets, and pillowcases.

Ultimately, the choice between brushed and unbrushed cotton fabrics depends on what you're looking for - durability or comfort. I would suggest determining the end-use of the garment before deciding which type of cotton to use because both fabrics have their benefits and drawbacks. Happy shopping!



I am a quilter, and I frequently use cotton fabrics in my quilting projects. In my experience, brushed and unbrushed cotton fabrics work differently in quilt making. Brushed cotton fabrics, while providing that extra softness, are not always the best choice for quilts since they don't hold up as well during the wash. The brushing process also gives the fabric a raised texture, which can make outlining more difficult.

On the other hand, unbrushed cotton fabrics are much easier to work with when it comes to quilting. Since these fabrics have not gone through the brushing process, they maintain their flat texture, making it easier to cut, sew and outline.

Another factor to consider is that brushed cotton tends to shrink more than unbrushed cotton during the wash, which can affect the size and shape of the quilt if you use brushed cotton. Therefore, if a precise fit is important to your project, it’s better to go with unbrushed cotton or to prewash your material.

In summary, whether you use brushed or unbrushed cotton fabrics in quilting depends on what you want to achieve, and the details of the project you’re working on. Both fabrics have their pros and cons, and it's important to choose carefully based on your end goal.

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