How to tell if fabric is cotton or linen ?

How to tell if fabric is cotton or linen ?

The definitive guide to idenitfy if a fabric is cotton or linen

How to tell if fabric is cotton or linen ?

Distinguishing between cotton and linen fabrics can be challenging, especially if you're not experienced in identifying different textile materials. However, there are some methods you can use to help determine whether a fabric is cotton or linen:

Feel the fabric

Cotton fabric tends to be softer and smoother to the touch compared to linen, which may feel slightly rough and textured. Linen often has a more crisp and grainy feel due to the fibers' natural characteristics.

Look for wrinkles

If the fabric is significantly wrinkled, it might be linen. Linen fibers are more prone to creasing and wrinkle easily compared to cotton.

Examine the texture

Hold the fabric up to the light and examine its texture. Linen typically has a more visible and pronounced weave pattern, while cotton may have a smoother and more even appearance.

Observe the drape

Linen is generally stiffer and has a more structured drape, while cotton tends to be more flexible and fluid.

Do a burn test

This method is not recommended unless you are knowledgeable about fabric testing and safety measures. To do a burn test, take a small snippet from an inconspicuous part of the fabric and carefully burn it with a flame. Cotton will burn quickly and smell like burning paper, while linen burns at a slower rate and produces an odor similar to that of burning grass or hay. Please ensure you do this in a controlled environment and take all necessary safety precautions.

Here's a summary of differences between cotton and linen fabric

CottonLinen
Feel Soft and SmoothRough and Textured
WrinklesSlight or Not wrinkledSignificantly wrinkled
TextureSmooth and even appearancePronounced weave pattern
DrapeFlexible and fluid drapeStiffer and Structured drape
Burn TestBurns quickly and smells like paperBurns slowly and smells like grass or hay

Inspite of the above information, it may be difficult to identify a fabric as purely linen or cotton as blends may exist, that display qualities of both linen and cotton.  For example KhoslaLTD exports high quality Cotton Linen Fabric that combines the best of both cotton and linen for garment manufacturers in multiple countries.

Reach out to us for samples and any queries.