What is a “Shot” Cotton?

You may have heard this term before, and MQU is here to explain it!

Originally posted on April 26, 2018 by Cheryl Sleboda

At some point in your quilting life, you may come across the term “shot cotton” and wondered what it meant?  Well, it doesn’t mean someone went out and put a bunch of holes in it!  It’s an industry term for the way fabrics can be woven.  We will try to explain.

Previously, we covered all about the differences in quilting fabrics in a blog post that explained that there’s three things that can set fabrics apart from each other.  The greige goods or base cotton fabric, the dyeing process, and the finishing process.   Shot cottons are basically changes in the first two steps.

A shot cotton is a fabric that has been woven with one color in the warp, and another color in the weft.  These yarns are dyed before the weaving, making them a high quality greige good to begin with. Other fibers can be woven this way, and you can find many shot silks or rayons on the market, which can be quite lovely in a quilt.  Dupioni and other woven shot silks have been used in garments for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

The places where the yarns crossover blend the colors together so an iridescence effect happens.   Technically a shot cotton is a solid and not a “print”. as it’s not printed on the surface of the fabric like many others.   They can be used in modern and other quilts for an additional interest.  The secondary colors seen due to the warp and weft can be very interesting.

So, do you think you’ll use a shot cotton in your next quilt?  Let us know on out Facebook page! 


Shot cottons from Oakshott Fabrics

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