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What is polycotton?

What is polycotton

What is polycotton made from?

Polycotton is a lightweight widely available fabric, you can get it with prints on but you can also get plain polycotton too. Polycotton is a cheaper alternative to cotton fabrics as it is a blend of both cotton and polyester, natural and synthetic fabrics. Often polycotton fabrics consist of 65% polyester and 35% cotton, but the blend can vary. It combines the breathability of cotton with the durability of polyester.

What are the benefits of sewing with polycotton?

It’s cheap

Cotton is more expensive than polyester so polycottons are generally priced between the two, making it an easily affordable option. Our website sponsors Pound Fabrics have a selection of polycotton fabrics from just £1.25 per metre. 

It’s durable

Polycotton fabrics are more durable than cotton fabrics, which can rip or tear easily. This means you get more life from items made with polycotton than those made with cotton. It’s also less prone to shrinkage when you wash it than cotton and polyester fabrics.

It’s easy to care for

Items made from polycotton are also easy to care for, they can be washed and dried many times without losing their shape. That’s why it’s often used to make items like bedding, scrubs, uniforms etc which are washed frequently. It’s also pretty crease resistant too so reduces the need for ironing (yay!)

It’s more breathable than polyester

With polycotton you get a fabric which is both breathable and long lasting. Polyester fabrics tend to stick to the skin in hot conditions where as cotton is very breathable. So by adding cotton into the blend you get a more breathable fabric with polycotton than when using polyester.

When should you use polycotton fabric?
Floral polycotton from Pound Fabrics

What are the disadvantages of sewing with polycotton?

It’s a little rougher than cotton and can pill

Polycotton has a slightly rougher feel than 100% cotton fabrics, which are known for their softness. Because polycotton is made from a synthetic material it can have the tendency to develop bobbles on the surface over time which can make it feel rougher.


It’s not great for hot conditions

100% cotton is a very breathable fabric, polyester is not. So as an amalgamation of the 2 materials although polycotton is more breathable than polyester it’s not as breathable as cotton. This means in hot weather, after exercise or other conditions which make your skin hot the fabric can stick, or trap moisture between the fabric and the skin increasing your body heat further.


It’s not great if you have sensitive skin

The lack of airflow through items made from polyester can cause skin irritation, itching or rashes if you have sensitive skin.

What material is polycotton
Bunny polycotton from Pound Fabrics

What can you make with polycotton fabrics?

As mentioned before polycotton is great for making items which need to be durable and will be washed frequently like uniforms, bedding and scrubs. It’s durability and crease free properties also makes it good for things like bag linings, garments that you don’t want to iron frequently, table clothes and table mats plus cushions and pillows.

The low cost means it’s ideal for dressmaking muslins. You can test your patterns without risking expensive fabric if it goes wrong.  

To get started sewing with polycotton browse the range at Pound Fabrics.

Find our other fabric guides in our techniques section.