[BFM] All About Cotton: Carded Cotton (CD) vs. Combed Cotton (CM)

[BFM] All About Cotton: Carded Cotton (CD) vs. Combed Cotton (CM)

Hey, it's Brandon from Jesco! 

We're starting a series called "Becoming a Fabric Master" where we break down some concepts and processes of various products within the textile manufacturing industry. I'll be your host for this series as we break down everything so you can become a fabric master by the end! 

I think it's only appropriate that we start this series off with the most essential material that laid the foundation of it all: Cotton.

Let's get into it!


Welcome, designers and brands, to another deep dive into the world of textiles! Today, we're shedding light on two cotton processing methods: Carded Cotton (CD) and Combed Cotton (CM). Let's break down the key differences, processes, and the pros and cons of each to help you make informed choices for your next textile creations.

Carded Cotton (CD): The Simple Start

Process: Carded cotton is like the cozy sweater of cotton processing. It begins with cleaning the cotton fibers to remove dirt and seeds. The fibers then meet a carding machine, which combs and separates them. However, it doesn't worry too much about aligning them perfectly, leaving a somewhat random arrangement. 

Carded Cotton is a simpler and more traditional method of cotton processing. Essentially, "carding" is the same as the action of separating the seeds from the fiber.


  • Cost-effective: CD cotton is budget-friendly, making it great for affordable clothing lines.
  • Softness: It feels gentle against the skin, perfect for comfy wear.
  • Casual Comfort: Ideal for everyday items like t-shirts, underwear, and basics.


  • Lower Quality: CD cotton lacks the uniformity and strength of combed cotton.
  • Shorter Fibers: The process leaves shorter fibers, leading to pilling and reduced durability.

Combed Cotton (CM): The Luxury Upgrade

Process: Combed cotton takes cotton refinement to the next level. After cleaning, it goes through a meticulous combing process to remove shorter fibers and any lingering impurities. This results in longer, finer, and more even cotton fibers, ready to create premium textiles. 

Combed cotton, like its carded counterpart, just adds another process to refine the carded cotton, hence the "upgrade". 

Fun Fact: Heard about "Supima" Cotton? Supima cotton is basically a type of cotton that is over a certain size.


  • Superior Quality: CM cotton boasts longer, uniform fibers, perfect for high-quality creations.
  • Less Pilling: Longer fibers mean less pilling, ensuring a polished appearance.
  • Enhanced Durability: The longer fibers contribute to the fabric's longevity.


  • Pricey: The extra processing steps make CM cotton more expensive.
  • Slightly Less Soft: While still soft, some might find it slightly less so compared to CD cotton.

Choose Wisely: Making the Decision

Your choice between CD and CM cotton should align with your product goals. If you're aiming for comfortable, budget-friendly basics, CD cotton is your go-to. However, if you're looking to create premium, long-lasting garments, CM cotton should be your top pick.

When you see something like this on the fabric spec sheet:

CM 20S/2 x CM20S/2 Cotton 

You now know that the fabric you have is a combed cotton!


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