Organic Cotton Terrycloth Knit
by Shannon Gifford
  • sewing tutorials
  • sewing guides 2004-2009
  • fabric store
  • Organic Cotton Terrycloth Knit

    Organic cotton terrycloth is a soft, textured knit fabric similar to toweling (but softer!). This fabric is fun to sew, versatile, and is produced without the use of dyes or chemicals. Organic terry has one smooth side, with an appearance similar to cotton jersey. The other side of the fabric has the loopy terrycloth texture. Either side of the fabric can be used as the right side, which doubles your options for versatility! This fabric is a knit, so despite the cozy thickness of the terry texture, it has great drape and softness. You'll love working with this version of terrycloth! Linda's certified organic cotton terrycloth knit is available in an undyed, unbleached, buttery off-white.


    Prewash in hot water, and dry in a hot dryer. Cotton terry will shrink when washed; this pretreatment will help prevent future shrinkage.

    Needles and Thread:

    Use a jersey/ballpoint needle, size 12/80, for construction. Cotton, cotton/polyester, or all polyester threads can be used for construction.


    Your interfacing choice will depend on which side of the fabric you choose as the exterior. If you are using the smooth side of the fabric as the exterior, a sewn-in interfacing will be required. In such a case, use a thin tricot or swimwear mesh for your interfacing. On the other hand, if you are using the textured side as the exterior, you may use a lightweight fusible tricot interfacing.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Use a medium width and length zigzag for construction (1.5-2.0 width, 1.5-2.0 length). Hems can be topstitched with a twin needle, (jersey size 4.0/75) or can be finished with a coverstitch. Hems and seams should be finished. Terrycloth does not ravel, but the textured side will shed a bit at the cut edge if the edges are not finished in some manner. Use a serged edge finish, or bind the raw edges with a knit tricot (such as Seams Great).

    Pattern suggestions:

    Casual jackets, baby wear, kidswear, hoodies, bathrobes, tees, sportswear-style garments.

    Creative possibilities:

    Make use of the differences in texture in this fabric: Determine which side you plan to use as the right side; this will appear on the exterior of the garment. Stitch your seams on the right side of the garment, rather than the wrong side. Turn under the raw edges of the seams and topstitch them in place. This will provide you with a unique and creative contrast in texture!

    Additional Tips:

    Should you choose to dye your fabric, you have several options. The simplest is to dip the fabric in a solution of non-sweetened drink mix (such as Koolaid). Use at least three packages of the drink mix in a gallon of water for each yard of fabric. Allow the fabric to sit overnight in the solution, then run the fabric through your washing machine with no detergent. This will provide a pastel color that will mellow and fade slightly over time. For a more permanent solution, use Procion Dye, available at The instructions for use are found on the Dharma website. With these materials, you will be able to create fabulous hand-dyed effects.

    You may also choose to paint designs on the fabric; use fabric paints which will not have an effect on the hand of the fabric. My personal choice is the Jacquard brand; use small amounts of paint and a light touch. Be sure to set the paint using the manufacturer's instructions. While most painting techniques are more effective on the smooth side of the fabric, you can also try applying paint to the terry side with a sponge dipped in a small amount of paint or dye. The color will be primarily applied to the loops of the terry, leaving the base fabric it's original color. This simple technique can result in a very interesting and unique fabric!

    Copyright (c) 2018 by EmmaOneSock