Polycotton Fabric: Advantages And Disadvantages

image of polycotton fabric in different colours

At Discount Fabrics, poly cotton is one of our most popular blends. This is because it has a diverse range of applications, which means that it’s the perfect fabric to purchase again and again and again. Whether you’re a mum looking for the best children’s clothing fabric, a teacher interested in taking your arts and crafts classes to the next level, or an individual that wants to make the most effective purchase possible, poly cotton is the fabric you’ve been looking for. 

No matter who you are or what your latest project is, we’re confident that we’ll have the colour and pattern you need to feel inspired, excited and ready to dive into crafting. We have an extensive range of poly cotton fabrics, from poly cotton sheeting in beautiful shades of baby pink and royal blue (and many more!) to colourful polka dot poly cotton fabrics that will steal the show. 

In this article, we have compiled everything we know about poly cotton, to help you decide whether it is the next fabric that you’ll be adding to your basket!

Advantages Of Poly Cotton

There are so many reasons why this fabric is a great choice for your next project. We’ve compiled the biggest advantages of poly cotton so that you can get a better understanding as to why it is the preferred fabric of amateur and professional craftsmen and craftswomen across the UK. 

It’s Affordable 

Poly cotton is affordable, which means that it won’t break the bank – even if you require large quantities of fabric. This is because it is a blend of polyester and cotton. Cotton can be expensive, because it’s natural, a commodity, and often in high demand; this is why poly cotton is considered cost-effective, especially when compared to 100% cotton blends. Polyester is synthetic and man-made, and so is easily produced and easily purchased. Due to this, poly cotton is an affordable choice for many – especially because there are different blend options available, in which less cotton is used and so more money is saved. 

It’s Breathable 

Another advantage of poly cotton fabric is that it is breathable, considerably more so than polyester. This is once again due to its composition. While polyester isn’t breathable, cotton is – it is lightweight and cool. When blended together,  you are left with a material that is breathable, comfortable and altogether suitable for a warm day. 

It’s Wrinkle Free

If you’ve read our previous blog post, “What Is Polyester Fabric?”, you may be familiar with this benefit! Synthetic materials such as polyester are naturally wrinkle resistant because they are more stable, and poly cotton benefits from this too. This means that upholstery and apparel made from this fabric does not need to be ironed, which is a huge time saver, and also means that it always looks great, with minimal effort required.

It’s Strong 

This is a strong and durable fabric, once again due to the presence of polyester. These qualities mean that it can withstand significant wear and tear – unlike 100% cotton blends, which need to be looked after carefully. The great thing about its longevity is that, when used in a craft project, you know that it will be able to endure almost anything – whether it’s locked away in the attic or being played with by the kids, it will always be a testament to the success of your most recent project. 

It Dries Quickly 

Poly cotton fabrics dry relatively quickly, despite being absorbent. This is because polyester, a synthetic material, dries incredibly quickly and cotton, a natural material, is the fastest drying of its kind. Drying quickly is a hugely important quality if you are intending to make clothing, bags or other items that will be used both indoors and outdoors. While we wouldn’t recommend poly cotton fabrics for permanent outdoor use, it is a great choice for apparel because as long as you can get somewhere warm and dry soon, it can be subject to rain without compromising its integrity. 

Disadvantages Of Poly Cotton

To even the playing field, and provide you with a well rounded overview, we’ve also compiled the biggest disadvantages of poly cotton. It’s important to remember that all fabrics have their disadvantages – these are qualities to bear in mind, and to help you decide whether it is suitable for a specific project, rather than to put you off altogether. 

There Are Cheaper Fabrics

Since poly cotton is a blend of polyester and cotton, it is a blend of both synthetic and natural materials. As you would expect, the former are typically a lot cheaper. This means that blends with less cotton, and other kinds of synthetic fabric, may cost less than poly cotton – despite it being a cost effective option.

There Are More Breathable Fabrics

Once again, this is a disadvantage that is only evident if you are comparing poly cotton to other fabrics available on the market. This is because while it is a breathable fabric, there are others that are moreso. For example – 100% cotton is more breathable, as is nylon. While the breathability of a fabric is important, it also depends on the intended use of the finished project.

It’s Not Fire Resistant

Unless specially treated, which will be declared by the manufacturer, poly cotton is not fire resistant. Polyester will melt at a high temperature, while cotton will burn, which means that the reaction of poly cotton depends on the weighting of it’s blend. While few fabrics are fire resistant, and so this isn’t something to worry about, it is something to bear in mind – especially if your next craft project is on the experimental side.  

It’s Not Biodegradable 

The polyester in poly cotton means that it is not a biodegradable fabric. This is because synthetic materials do not break down as quickly as natural fibers, and so will often remain in a landfill for many years. However, cotton is biodegradable – which means that the biodegradation of your specific fabric depends on its blend. It’s also important to remember that while poly cotton may not be biodegradable, it is recyclable. This means that poly cotton projects can be repurposed and reused, so that nothing goes to waste. 

It Attracts Dust

Poly cotton attracts dust, dirt and debris. This is because the synthetic polyester gathers high levels of static electricity, which has an accumulating effect. This means that it is not the best fabric for those with a dust allergy. The presence of the synthetic polyester can also upset sensitive skin, which is something to be wary of. 

What Is Poly Cotton Used For? 

  • Upholstery
  • Apparel
  • Craft Projects

Many of these uses are reflected in a diverse range of industries. From hotels to morgues, planes to army bases, poly cotton fabrics are used in all kinds of sectors because they are easy, reliable and cost-effective. 

What Is Poly Cotton Good For Making?

Just some of the things you can make with poly cotton fabric include: 

  • Clothes
  • Uniforms
  • Delicates
  • Bedding
  • Home Decor

Such a diverse fabric has an equally diverse range of applications, which means that it is essentially whatever you make of it! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Poly Cotton Better Than Cotton?

This is all down to personal preference! You may have noticed that some of the disadvantages of poly cotton listed above are actually advantages of cotton – such as being breathable and being hypoallergenic. But, as with all fabrics, cotton has its own advantages and disadvantages. So it all depends on your individual thoughts and feelings, and what it’s purpose will be. If you’re ever not sure which is better for a specific project, the internet has a wealth of information – and more importantly, we’re always here to help

Is Poly Cotton Good? Is Poly Cotton Bad? 

We’ve combined these questions because, as you might have guessed, they both have subjective answers. It’s all relative, and depends on which other fabrics you are comparing it to, and what your intended use of the fabric is. While this may not be the most helpful answer, it is the most practical – and at Discount Fabrics, we always strive to be honest and realistic! 

Poly Cotton Fabrics From Discount Fabrics

To summarise, poly cotton has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Many of these are based on how it compares to its parent fabrics, polyester and cotton. While it ends up being a fabric that has people fairly divided, it is also one that is an essential addition to every craft box because it’s cost effective and, most importantly, fun. 

Available in a range of stand-out prints and vibrant colours, poly cotton fabrics from Discount Fabrics are guaranteed to be fun for all the family – and we are confident that no matter your skill level, whatever you make will look great. With so many options to choose from, take your time to find the fabric that’s right for you and your current project. Don’t forget to check out our clearance corner, where you’re guaranteed to find a bargain! 

If you have any questions, or would like some more information on a particular product, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. A member of our friendly team will be more than happy to talk you through your options, and offer any advice that they may have. Contact us today by completing an online form or by phoning 0116 40 30 269.

And if you’re looking for more insight into the world of fabric and crafts, be sure to take a look at our other blog posts