Used in the manufacture of our Breton striped shirts, cotton is also present in
sweaters, T-shirts, polo shirts, shirts, pants, and dresses. What are the properties of
cotton? How is it harvested and processed, then worked in the workshops? Let us
Cotton is omnipresent in our daily life, and this since our youngest age. So much so that it's easy to forget or overlook the plant it came from.
It is to the cotton plant in bloom that we owe the small white balls, symbols of softness and purity, which will make it possible to obtain the cotton threads. In the wild, the cotton plant can grow up to 30 ft in height. However, it is usually limited to 3 or 6 ft when cultivated to simplify the collection of cotton.
The cotton plant is particularly adapted to the tropical climate. It needs a lot of water, but also sun and heat for its seeds to mature. In summer, its flowers unfold and gradually reveal green capsules, which progressively open and reveal seeds surrounded by white fibers.
These fibers, 1 to 2 inches long, are collected, processed, and used particularly for manufacturing textiles.
After being harvested, the fibers are separated from the seeds in a process called ginning. Then comes the sorting and cleaning step to rid the fibers of bigger impurities, such as leaves or branches and other plant residues.
After these first two steps, the cotton is carded: it is brushed to be disentangled and so that the fibers are parallel. While all cotton is carded, not all is combed. Only the longest cotton fibers go through the combing stage through a series of combs that remove the short threads, or 10 to 25% of the fibers.
Combed cotton yarn is softer to the touch and smoother. It makes it possible to obtain more refined fabrics than carded cotton yarn, which results in fabrics with character and authenticity. According to the characteristics expected by each item, Saint James cotton clothes are either in carded cotton, like the MERIDIEN MODERNE striped shirt or in combed cotton like the MINQUIDAME or MINQUIERS MODERNE Breton striped shirt.
The transformation of cotton threads intended for our marinière or Breton Shirts is provided by French manufacturers (circular knitting). For cotton sweaters, knitting is carried out in Saint James (rectilinear knitting).
While cotton is always from the same plant, it can be worked in many different ways to obtain a wide variety of fabric types.
For example, cotton veil, woven with relatively spaced threads, is a transparent and delicate fabric. But cotton can also become tulle and gauze, percale, flannel, or even fleece, a canvas of warm and soft cotton brushed on both sides.
Cotton jersey: has the particularity of not being woven but knitted. It is a fine knit that is stretchy and very comfortable to wear;
Cotton poplin: this very tight weave is obtained with two threads of different thickness. The fabric is supple, soft, and has a pleasant drape;
Cotton pique knit: it is used for making some Saint James polo shirts and has raised patterns. It is a supple, soft, and stretchy fabric;
Cotton denim: this durable fabric is used for jeans.
Cotton is a soft and flexible fabric and very absorbent, which resists high temperatures well. It is easy to maintain and requires less care than wool. However, it is essential to always refer to the care label, precisely indicating the instructions to follow for washing and ironing.
With proper care, Saint James cotton clothing can last a lifetime without warping or fading and will retain all their original flexibility and lightness.