What Is Cotton Batiste?

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Batiste is a lightweight woven fabric that can be adapted for a variety of uses. Cotton batiste refers to a batiste fabric woven from 100 percent cotton fibers. The term batiste derives from Jean Batiste, a French linen weaver from the 13th century. Batiste fabric has been used for centuries and is popular for heirloom sewing.

Properties

  • Cotton batiste is woven in a plain-weave, even pattern using long cotton fibers. The fabric is lightweight and delicate, yet opaque. Cotton batiste is generally easy to sew and takes colored dyes well. The soft, smooth fabric drapes nicely and is usually nonirritating on human skin.

Uses

  • Cotton batiste is often used as a garment lining, especially under linen items. Batiste is a popular lingerie fabric and also commonly used to sew special occasion dresses and bridal clothing. The soft batiste fabric is widely used for baby clothing, such as christening gowns and bonnets. Batiste can also be used as a quilt backing. It is a popular choice for heirloom sewing, which involves needlework techniques such as lace, smocking and pintucking.

Purchasing

  • Cotton batiste should be easy to find at any fabric store. It is most widely available in neutral-colored hues, such as ivory, light pink, taupe and black. Because of its popularity for sewing baby items, batiste is usually available in a range of pastel hues. Batiste is generally sold by the yard in standard 45-inch or 54-inch widths. Cotton batiste from Switzerland is considered to be the highest quality.

Care

  • Because of its delicate nature, cotton batiste should only be washed when necessary. Always refer to specific care tags for care instructions, but batiste can generally be machine washed on a delicate cycle. Additional care should be taken if special lace or heirloom sewing treatments are given to the fabric. When in doubt, don't put batiste in the washing machine.

Variations

  • Batiste can be produced from natural fibers besides cotton, such as wool or silk. It can also be woven from synthetic fibers such as polyester, rayon or polyester/cotton blends. Different finishes, such as mercerization, can be applied to batiste to give it different properties. The mercerization treatment strengthens the fabric and makes it shinier.

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