So, what’s the big difference between cotton and polyester fabric? There are those whom swear by cotton, but that cheaper polyester is pretty tempting, isn’t it? You may think that the lower cost of polyester means a lower quality product, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Polyester is great for some projects, while cotton is idea for others. The real trick is to weigh the pros and cons to decided which is the right choice for you. Some people only want to work with 100% cotton because it’s predictable; you know exactly what you’re getting. Others prefer polyester because it’s long lasting and less expensive.



Long Lasting: Polyester is a man-made fiber; it’s basically plastic. In fact, plastic bottles are actually recycled into polyester fabric. Amazing, right?

Less Fading: Boy, does this stuff hold dye! Quality polyester also holds shape very well and doesn’t shrink.

Dries Quickly: Unlike cotton, polyester isn’t absorbent. It’s definitely not your go-to for towels or mug rugs. However, it dries super fast. So if you want to reduce that electricity bill, you might want to try polyester clothing.

Less Wrinkling: It’s most resistant to wrinkles than cotton. This is awesome in clothing, but a pain when you are trying to finger press quilt blocks.

Non Breathing: Polyester doesn’t let your skin breath like cotton. For instance, if you wear a polyester shirt in summer, you might find yourself pretty sweaty.
*That being said, there are many performance wear polyester products that DO wick sweat away from your body, but it really only works if the fabric is skin tight (not a great look on all of us). And, if you buy a cheap product, there tends to be a weird after smell.

Cotton/Poly Mix: Literally, the best of both worlds. Developers take the best qualities of both and weave them together to make one heck of a fabric. This stuff is GREAT for apparel and home decor.


Breathable – as a natural fiber, it lets your skin breath. It also wicks away sweat, keeping your body temperature stable.

Soft, but strong: The fibers are less rough that polyester, so it feels super soft on your skin. It’s also very strong. This being said, cottons designed to be rough, like heavy duty cotton canvas, don’t fit in with the “soft” characteristic.

Great for Sensitive Skin: Because it is so much softer, those with sensitive skin tolerate 100% cotton better than polyester. With all the organic craze going on, you can get cotton fabric with the bare minimum chemicals; even better for sensitive skin.

Easy to Dye: The fibers hold dye incredibly well. It also tends to dye evenly and produce a truer, deeper color. However, with excessive expose to sunlight and time (decades), the dye will eventually fade.

Biodegradable: breaks down over time: Cotton isn’t as durable as polyester in the long run. It’s a natural fiber, so eventually it will break down. However, proper care, like keeping away from excessive sun light, can prolong the life of cotton.


G, Sarah. "The 411 on Cotton vs. Polyester: The Pros and Cons - Sewing Parts Online - Everything Sewing, Delivered Quickly To Your Door." Sewing Parts Online Everything Sewing Delivered Quickly To Your Door RSS. N.p., 04 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.