What Is Cotton Voile?

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Cotton voile curtains allow light to shine through.
Cotton voile curtains allow light to shine through. (Image: JaysonPhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

Cotton voile, pronounced "voil," is a versatile fabric for both clothing and home decor. It is soft, lightweight and sheer, and usually drapes in delicate folds. It is made either completely out of cotton or a cotton blend with polyester or linen.

A Little History

Cotton is one of the world's oldest fibers, dating back more than 5,000 years to India. Voile, which is French for "veil," was originally a favorite fabric for veils.

Lighter Than Most

Cotton voile is one of several grades of cotton fabric. It is one of the lightest weight types, in contrast to denim, one of the heaviest cotton weaves.

How It's Used

Voile is now used for such clothing as blouses, baby clothes, lingerie and summer dresses, or to add volume to a skirt or dress. It is also a popular choice for sheer curtains and drapes.

Important Features

Voile has a smooth surface that resembles fine gauze. It is easy to sew and dye in bright colors. Unlike tulle, voile is not stiff or rough against the skin.

Washing & Drying

Items made of cotton voile can be machine-washed on the delicate cycle and hung up or laid flat to dry.

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