Last Updated on May 19, 2022 by Shariful Alam
There are many different types of fabrics that are popular nowadays, for example, chiffon, crepe, denim, lace, leather, linen, satin, silk wool, velvet, etc.
But nothing can beat the ongoing demand for cotton fabrics which is considered one of the most comfortable fabric types all over the world. When it comes to muslin cotton, you might get excited. It is a magnificent cotton fabric with a majestic history dating back thousands of years.
Nowadays, Some of you probably want a dress made with this special cotton fabric if it’s summer in your town. Fabric is all about knitting or weaving fibers that come naturally from plants or animals.
The majestic appearance of muslin cloth between the 15th and 16th centuries made it available only to royal people. At that time, Dacca in Bengal was renowned for fabricating the finest muslins, which were known as Dhakai muslin or Dacca Muslin!
There is still a high demand for different types of muslin cotton for general and special use. But the muslin we use today is not the real premium muslin found in the old days.
In this article, we will discuss what is special about muslin cotton? its different types, grades, quality, and so on.
What is muslin cotton?
We all know that cotton has a special value in the present fashion industry because it is the most demanded fabric in tropical and subtropical regions.
Cotton’s unique properties have made it extremely popular for a wide range of clothing, from women’s wearables to men’s shirts and pajamas.
For your information, there are various types of cotton fabric such as cotton lawn, cotton jersey fabric, cotton poplin, chambray, brushed cotton, cotton drill, etc.
Among them, cotton muslin is distinguished from all the types as it comes with different textures and features.
So, what makes the difference? The difference is that cotton is derived from the specific Gossypium Arboreum, a native cotton tree in South Asia. It is also known as tree cotton and is responsible for making good quality plain weave muslin fabric.
However, the fabric can differ in weight and quality according to how it has been woven. You can see muslin fabric in a variety of price ranges in the market.
What is 100% muslin cotton?
100% cotton muslin refers to the state of the cotton and represents the muslin fully made with natural cotton or Gossypium arboreum.
Often we see muslin fusion coming from a combination of cotton and silk. You see bleached and unbleached muslin in the market. They offer the minimum thread counts of 80 to 100 which are considered low-quality muslin.
If you are considering the original royal 100% cotton muslin, you have to go back to the 18th century fabric. At that time, Bengali women produced handwoven muslin which had a questionable thread count of 1200 – 2000 and was amazingly soft and breathable.
Moreover, it didn’t come up with a fusion of cotton and silk! No one knows even today, how the magical muslin was made with hand weaving?
Unlike the old handspan muslin, today’s muslin fabric is manufactured industrially in western countries to meet their huge daily demand. The fabric could be fully Natural & Organic. But It is never compared with the actual “Dacca Muslin“.
Do muslin and cotton refer to the same thing?
Muslin is often referred to as “100% cotton”. Although muslin fabric is made of tree plant that belongs to the same cotton family, it is different from other cotton plants.
There are four different types of cotton that are commercially grown around the world. They are,
● Gossypium hirsutum – native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean
● Gossypium barbadense – native to tropical South America
● Gossypium arboreum – native to South Asia
● Gossypium herbaceum – native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
As previously said, muslin and cotton don’t mean the same thing. The word muslin refers to the specific fabric that used to be lightweight, super breathable, thin, and high thread count.
If you take a muslin fabric in your right hand and regular cotton fabric in your left, you can recognize the difference easily. Since both are made of cotton but the fiber type, weaving method, and thread size are different in muslin and cotton.
What are the differences between cotton and muslin?
If you go to a clothing/garment store and check regular cotton fabrics and cotton muslin, you may not find the difference at first glance. But if you have extensive knowledge and experience in fabrics, you can easily find out how it differs from low-grade cotton fabrics.
There are significant differences between cotton fabrics and muslin fabrics. The differences are made in the fabric origin, quality, style, breathability, and price.
The plant grows well in humid temperatures and therefore some specific areas like the riverbanks of Padma, Jamuna, and Brahmaputra in Bangladesh were historically known for it.
On the other hand, Cotton is a fiber produced by the seed pod of the cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum). It is a native cotton plant in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. But it is used to cultivate all over the world to produce high-quality cotton fiber for yarn and clothing.
Another important thing to consider is that muslin usually refers to handwoven cotton fabric. Though it is now produced industrially like other cotton fabrics but yet there are differences in the weaving pattern, thread count, and textures.
Though it is now industrially produced like other cotton fabrics yet the weaving technique and thread count make it distinguished from other cotton fabrics.
Finally, it can be said that all Muslin are cotton, but not all cotton is Muslin. So, if you are in the market to buy specific muslin cotton, you need to take a lot of things into consideration.
Types of Cotton muslin fabric
There are various types of cotton muslin fabric available in the market. You can choose a particular type. The types are mainly based on the process, quality, thread count, and uses of the fabric. For your convenience, we have made three sections to consider before buying cotton muslin. They are,
● Types of cotton muslin by process
● Types of cotton muslin by thread count
● Types of cotton muslin by uses
Types of cotton muslin by process
According to the process, muslin fabrics can be in two different states which are bleached and unbleached. Bleached muslin fabrics are the white muslin fabrics that are used to bleach industrially. It is then sent to individual stores for selling. On the other hand, unbleached muslin isn’t used to bleach and so comes with a natural grey or cream white color.
Unbleached muslin is cheaper than bleached one and can include substances like pesticides and natural impurities. But it is the organic quality of muslin free from harmful bleaching compounds. You can read our detailed discussion on bleached muslin and unbleached muslin to know the differences and uses of the two types of muslin.
Types of cotton muslin by thread count
Thread count is another issue people consider not only for muslin but also for all other fabrics. Thread count is considered to get a quick overview of the fabric quality. It refers to the number of vertical and horizontal threads established per square inch of the fabric.
It is also considered to figure out the thread size and weight to determine how finer or coarser the fabric is. Cotton muslin can be in different states based on their thread count. Since people assume that high thread count means high-quality fabric, the idea isn’t true because you can get low-grade cotton in high thread count fabric.
So, before buying, you should ensure that the fabric is woven with high-quality cotton yarn and established with a higher thread count.
Types of cotton muslin by uses
Before buying cotton muslin, you need to decide the purpose of use. Is it for clothing or quilting, or cooking accessories? For clothing, you need to ensure high-grade cotton fabric so that the fabric is comfortable. If you want to use cotton muslin for making curtains, covers, and bedsheets, you can choose lower-grade muslin fabric.
There are four grades of muslin that you should care about. We will let you know the four different grades of muslin in the next. However, low-grade muslin-like gauze is best to use for the backing quilt, craft, and embroidery designers.
Also, muslin is helpful as a tool in photography background to make a better context of light and shadow. You can consider unbleached muslin to make your photography background and get beautiful images. In this way, cotton muslin varies in grade and differs for different uses.
One of the common questions people ask about muslin is ‘Can muslin be colorful?’ As a 100% natural cotton fabric, usually, muslin has off-white color but it can be dyed. You can find colorful muslin available on market.
Besides, you can dye muslin on your own with dye powder or liquid. If you don’t know the procedure of dying muslin, you can check out the section dye muslin at home.
White/off-white color muslin fabric
White and off-white color muslin are two basic forms of muslin. If you are familiar with bleached and unbleached muslin, you already experienced white and off-white colored muslin fabrics.
More specifically, muslin fabrics naturally come off white color which is generally known as unbleached muslin. If you are looking for clear white muslin fabric for any purpose, you need to consider bleached muslin.
Bleached muslin is white because they used to bleach with detergent and cleaner. Bleaching removes the natural impurities and the off-white color. Makes the fabric white. Bleached muslin isn’t used for cooking because it can contain harmful content.
Dyed muslin fabric
You can find dyed muslin fabric with the required colors for making clothes, prints, and upholstery. People usually see white muslin. The white bleached muslin can be dyed, embroidered, and create into colorful clothing like saree, tops, and other dresses. If you need colored muslin, you can search fabric stores.
Or can buy any bleached/unbleached muslin and then dye it at your home.
What is special about cotton muslin?
Now it is clear muslin is not like the other common fabric type, we see. Rather it is special in terms of material and characteristics with its unique product features.
Here are the specialties of muslin fabric that we noticed using it.
Muslin is a 100% natural cotton woven fabric type. Since cotton is harvested and not created in the lab, it makes fabrics like muslin all-natural. However, muslin is now also used to produce industrially in western countries.
There are a few plain woven fabrics available and muslin is one of the most significant fabric. Plain woven fabric means it is made by basic weaving style, not printed and has no specific straight or reverse side. Plain weave fabrics have basic needs for many specific uses.
Most common cotton fabric types have three basic aspects: lightweight, medium weight, and heavyweight. But all muslin is lightweight, soft, and thin. For these properties, muslin is considered the most comfortable garment of all time.
Because of its looser weave thread count, muslins generally come as super breathable. Its breathability is way better than other cotton garments. For this, muslin clothing is highly demandable in tropical countries.
Although it is soft and thin it is reusable. You can wash it through the washing machine or with hot water and can reuse it. This feature makes the fabric perfect for use in cooking purposes such as removing moisture from food, skin cleaning, and baby caring.
Easy to work
All these features of muslin cloth make it easy to use in any work. Whether you are considering using it for clothing or drape, you can choose it without any worries. Muslin is easy to sew and use in the backing of quilts, upholstery, and so on.
What are the 4 grades of muslin cotton?
Today, there are usually four different grades of muslin, depending on the standards of the fabric industry. Before you go to buy muslin cotton for any usage, you should consider these grades and customer reviews to ensure the best thing within the budget.
For example, the cheapest grade of muslin is mostly used for making curtains, tablecloths, bedspreads, etc. While the best quality of muslin with excellent properties is used in making dresses.
Here are the four different grades of muslin in detail.
The cheapest grade of muslin that you can often see is used as a yardstick in medical science. This type of muslin has been around for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that it was used as hydrophilic muslin to treat Italian soldiers during World War I. Nowadays, it comes in various sizes and weights. It is used for making curtains, tablecloths, crafts, bedspreads, quilting projects, etc.
Slightly heavier than gauze but provide soft and thin quality fabrics for making expensive dresses. Mull has a historical presence in making the best clothes for the royal people during the Mughal period. It was known for its excellent breathability and was therefore widely used in dressmaking.
Since it comes with a raised point on plain-woven fabric and was first manufactured in Switzerland, it gets the name Swiss muslin. This sheer lightweight muslin has growing demand when used as women’s summer clothing. This type of muslin weighs nearly similar to mull but includes unique dot patterns in the whole fabric.
The heaviest form of muslin that is ideal for making bed sheets, pillow covers, sewing crafts, etc. If you are looking for muslin but with a high density of cotton for any projects and quilt backing, you should go for this sheeting grade muslin fabric that makes the best use for results.
The grades we discussed here for cotton fabric are produced industrially in western countries or china. The hand-made Muslin made in south Asia specially Dhakai Muslin and Jamdani is out of this discussion. Even today, The beautiful ethnic Saree & fashion carry special value for the Human race!
Cotton muslin buying guide: Measurement of muslin
Generally, there is no straightforward buying guide to follow for buying cotton muslin or any other fabric types. If you have knowledge about the cotton quality, thread count, GSM, etc, you can determine the best fabric.
However, if you are new might not have an idea about the measurement of muslin. Muslin fabrics are often sold by the yard, gauge, or bolt. Here is a brief description for your convenience.
Muslin fabric by the yard
Shopping muslin fabric by the yard from online and offline fabric stores. All types of Muslins cotton are now sold on a yard basis. The price of each yard of muslin cloth varies in quality, quantity & store.
Muslin fabric by Bolt
Shopping cotton muslin by the yard is for those who require a limited amount of fabric. Personal use for any sewing or embroidery project.
But if you need a large amount of fabric for industrial purposes, you shouldn’t go on a yard basis. In such conditions, you should consider buying fabric by the bolt. One bolt includes 100 yards or less muslin fabric.
So, if you need a large amount of muslin fabric, you should go for buying muslin fabric by the bolt.
Muslin fabric price
Finally, it’s time to discuss muslin fabrics’ price. Currently, muslin fabric is so expensive and available in almost all big fabric retailers. If you consider buying online, you should properly check the store’s info, customer reviews, and the price.
You can see muslin fabric price varies based on quality as the price of a yard of muslin fabric ranges from $4 – $10 sometimes $12. Therefore, you should be careful about the purpose and requirements of fabrics. Make the best decision while buying muslin fabric. Also, there are a few popular trusted sources of collecting this fabric such as A.K trading, Amazon, Etsy, etc.
Does muslin come in colors?
Yes, you can find colored muslin that incorporates versatile colors such as white, blue, green, red, yellow, pink, black, purple, orange, brown, gray, etc. These colored muslins are available in online and local fabrics and the price varies a little based on the color and quality.
However, natural muslin has a predominantly white or cream color that can be removed by bleaching. When bleached, muslin can be applied for dyeing to get the desired color. To get colored muslin, you can buy white muslin and dye it yourself, or can directly purchase colored muslin from local sellers.
Additional questions you may frequently ask
Whether it is muslin cotton, bleached or unbleached, people have got so many questions in mind. Some people buy it as a collector’s item and spend a lot of money on an expensive muslin cloth to get the feeling of wearing something special.
And some go for industrial muslins for handicrafts, using in cooking, making baby swaddles, bed sheets, and other crafting projects. Muslin fabric that is used for such purposes is low priced.
If you have any other inquiries about muslin cotton, you can check out the below frequently asked customer questions which included the price, weights, and the dying process of cotton muslin that you should know.
Is white muslin cloth good?
Yes, white muslin cloth is good and can easily be dyed, printed, and embroidered to make exclusive dresses with designs. White muslin refers to the bleached muslin, if you don’t find white muslin in your nearest store, you can consider buying unbleached muslin and wash it through detergent to make clear white muslin.
What is Muslin cotton fabric by the Bolt?
Muslin fabric by the bolt refers to a large amount of muslin fabric which includes more than 10 yards to 100 yards. You may have seen rolls of fabrics transported to textile production factories. Typically, these rolls are also called bolts of fabric to mean a large amount of fabric.
Is muslin cotton an expensive fabric?
Once muslin was expensive as it is used to produce with a handwoven loom. At that time, it takes 6/18 months to complete a muslin dress! It could only be purchased and used by the Mughal emperors and Nawabs.
But now, muslin has become very cheap due to industrialization of the process and to make it available for all. Today muslins are cheap and affordable for everyone.
How do you color muslin cotton?
The dyeing process of muslin is so easy that one can do it themselves at home. You can use any type of fabric dye that has been approved for use on clothing and can be used on muslin. Based on the fabric size, take a bowl or bucket, pour water into it, and add dye powder or liquid dye into it. ¼ cup per yard of fabric will be okay. Mix well before applying and then slowly get the fabric into the bowl. When done, let it dry thoroughly before washing.
What color is natural muslin cotton?
It is said that natural muslin cotton has a white color which isn’t completely true. Muslin fabric gets white color when it is used for bleaching. But before bleaching, it has off-white or yellowish color because of the natural impurities.
Are there different weights of muslin cotton?
Though all the muslin has similar properties, there are differences in weight. The weight and quality will help you to choose the right muslin for your purpose.
For example, there used to be three different weights of muslin which are heavyweight, medium weight, and lightweight. Heavyweight is good for sheeting and it goes longer than light and medium weight muslin.
Take Away: Muslin Cotton
Hope the above discussion will help you to find the best muslin for your purpose. The suggestions on muslin types and grades will help to define specific cotton muslin fabric and purchase from the recommended sites. If you have any questions on your mind about muslin or jamdani fabric buying, production, or supplying, feel free to ask. We will be happy to answer you.