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What is Cotton Batiste?

Dana Hinders
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cotton batiste is lightweight, sheer, and delicate fabric. The term batiste is a French word that refers to a fine quality cloth. This type of fabric is similar to cotton lawn, but it is thicker. Its appearance is often described as unassuming, yet elegant. The material has a graceful drape and is a fairly easy sheer fabric for beginners to work with, but it can catch on a sewing machine's foot.

This fabric is comfortable and versatile, appropriate for both a day at the office and an evening by the lake. It's commonly used to make women's lingerie, dressy blouses, and handkerchiefs. Since it is a lightweight fabric, cotton batiste can be used as an underlining for dresses and nightgowns as well.

To accommodate sensitive skin, items made as gifts for a newborn baby are frequently made with this material. It can be used for receiving blankets, wraps, onesies, Christening gowns, and other items.

People interested in heirloom sewing will find that batiste is well suited to such projects, with 100% Swiss cotton batiste as the preferred fabric type for this sewing specialty. Batiste blends made with polyester generally do not lay as flat.

Cotton batiste is easily found in white, black, and ivory at most craft and fabric stores, as well as from a number of online retailers. Specialty colors such as pastel pink, lemon yellow, baby blue, or seafoam green may be available in some locations. If a sewer can't find the right color for a project, however, she can easily dye the fabric to fit her needs. Additionally, some fabric may be mercerized to add luster and a light sheen to the finish.

An item made from this fabric should be machine washed in a gentle or delicate cycle. The person caring for the garment should avoid using bleach on it. It can be tumbled dry on a low setting. If necessary, a person may press the fabric on the cotton setting with steam, and spray starch can be used to keep the fabric crisp, if desired.

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Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders , Writer
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the HomeQuestionsAnswered team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.

Discussion Comments

By yournamehere — On Sep 18, 2010

@planch -- When I was making cotton batiste curtains I used a really nice pima cotton batiste.

You can usually find them in sewing stores, and occasionally in fabric outlets, if you're lucky.

I assume you want it to be a kind of lighter fabric, since it's for a nightgown, so I would say choose the highest quality one you can find. The attendants in the shop should be able to help you out too, most of them are very experienced in matching fabrics to projects.

Best of luck!

By googlefanz — On Sep 18, 2010

When it comes to fabric, I think fleece is better than cotton batiste for nightgowns, at least where I live.

Cotton batiste is too cold for the chilly winter nights here!

By Planch — On Sep 18, 2010

I have never worked with cotton batiste before (I'm more of a denim and corduroy fabric person), but I recently found a beautiful pattern for a white cotton batiste nightgown.

How do I choose a good cotton batiste to make such a thing? Do they have ratings, or should I just check out the recommendations on other patterns for cotton batiste nightgowns, or should I do something else entirely?

Any input would be appreciated!

Dana Hinders

Dana Hinders


With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
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