Cotton Terry Vs French Terry: Which One Keeps You Warmer?

cotton terry vs french terry

Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by Wahid

French Terry fabric has a knit construction, which is similar to a sweatshirt knit from the right side. The wrong side of the yarn is looped, usually lighter and thinner in weight compared to sweatshirt knit. Cotton may or may not be the sole material.

Cotton Terry is a fiber, woven or knitted into a wide variety of fabrics (broadcloth, Batiste, Muslin, Chambray, Oxford, Jersey, Interlock, etc), that can be used to make shirts.

Cotton Terry Vs French Terry: what are the differences? Basically, French terry cloth is softer & smoother than Cotton Terry. Although both are made of a soft pile, French terry clothes are more likely to feel comfortable on you. French terry cloth is different from the terry cloth used for robes and towels. The Terry cloth fabric is also more durable than French terry, which makes it an excellent fabric for toweling dry clothes.

In this article, you will learn how Cotton Terry differs from French Terry. Which material is warmer? The one that offers you the best value? And finally, the winner of the game will be revealed.

Cotton Terry Vs French Terry: Key Points

Without having time to explore the differences and similarities between french terry and Cotton Terry in-depth, here is a quick comparison chart for you.

Cotton Terry French Terry
Fabric Type:It is commonly used to make towels since it is strong, soft, and has lots of tiny loops on the surfaceFrench terry provides a soft and comfortable fabric made primarily or completely of cotton
Warmth:Often made of heavy fabrics and very warmDespite being warm, the fabric is only midweight
Softness:Very softVery soft
Moisture Wicking:PoorExcellent
Stretch:An expansive four-way stretchOnly four-way stretch available
Weight:Generally heavyweightMidweight
Uses:The perfect loungewear & outerwear for the cold seasonSuitable for summer and winter loungewear as well
Maintenance:Very easyEasier
Cost:Slightly lowerSlightly higher

Cotton Terry Vs French Terry: A Detailed Comparison

Both Cotton Terry and French Terry best for clothing, but they have their own characteristics, uses, similarities and differences as well. Let’s see them deeply below.

Cotton Terry: What Does It Mean? 

  • Various types and weights of Cotton Terry are available, which differ dramatically in their appearance and feel. 
  • This popular fabric type is found almost everywhere, & terry cloth is often used without people knowing it by name. 
  • The simplest form of Cotton Terry (also called terry toweling), composed of looped fabric, is both soft and highly absorbent. 
  • In general, there are 3 types of cotton terry: terry cloth or (towel terry), terry velour, and French terry, which will be discussed further in the following paragraphs.

French Terry: What Does It Mean? 

  • The luxurious texture of French terry sets it apart from other fabrics. 
  • When added to apparel wear, it creates endless possibilities.  
  • There is a similarity between French terry and terry cloth (such as towels & bathrobes) aside from the fact that the backing is looped only one way. 
  • The front and back are smooth & finished. 
  • As a medium-weight knit, it works perfectly for both t-shirts and dresses, as well as light sweaters, jackets, and hats.

Where Does Terry Cotton Come From?

  • A traditional Turkish textile industry defect led to the development of terry cloth weaving. Historically, terrycloth was made by hand utilizing silk fibers. Mid-19th century English cotton weaving began mass production.
  • Cotton can be used in its 100% form or mixed with other fibers, particularly spandex (also called lycra or elastane). In colloquial usage, warp-knit terry is also called French terry.
  • “Terri” means “to pull out” in French, which refers to the hand-pulled loops used to create traditional Turkish towels. A derivation of the Latin “vellus”, which means hair, is “velour”, a towel made up of loops. Terry cloth, which is usually made from cotton, is also available in linen, silk, bamboo, and other natural fibers.

Where Does French Terry Come From?

  • The fabric of French terry is often made from 100% cotton. However, cotton fibers can be blended with spandex, rayon, lycra, or polyester, along with organic soy and cotton fibers. The first French terry cloth appeared in the 1980s, and since then it’s become extremely popular.
  • Therefore, most Americans probably have more than one piece of french terry textile in their closets without even realizing it. It is similar in appearance to jersey fabric, yet another knit fabric, consisting of looped yarn on 1 side and a soft pile on the other. 
  • A common type of sweatpants & sweatshirts is French terry. Because the yarn piles are within the fabric, they are soft when touching the skin. Outside of the garment is the smoother side of the fabric.

Cotton Terry Material: Pros And Cons

Of course, Cotton Terry has several pros and cons. You should thoroughly understand their advantages and disadvantages before using them. Well, let’s take a look at both sides of this fabric.


  • Material is often heavyweight, thick, and very warm.
  • Four-way stretch provides easy mobility in all directions, similar to t-shirt fabric.
  • Contains a soft, luxurious nap inside to keep you warm & comfortable.
  • Due to the fact that it contains some polyester fibers, it is usually fairly inexpensive.
  • Popular fabric type is found almost everywhere.


  • Despite being very warm, the fabric is not breathable, so heat and moisture will be trapped against the skin.
  • Workouts and warm weather are not recommended.

French Terry Material: Pros And Cons

There is nothing better than French terry for comfort or warmth, but like all fabrics, it has some advantages and disadvantages. So let’s take a closer look at both sides of french terry cloth.


  • A very soft material.
  • Featuring cotton loops on the reverse side, this garment is breathable & moisture-wicking.
  • Suitable for both warm and cold weather.
  • Cover-ups and loungewear for cold weather are also popular.
  • With a stretchy knit construction, it’s easy to maintain and wrinkle-free.


  • Material quality determines how expensive it can get.
  • Warmer than hoodies but more suitable for indoor use than outerwear.

Cotton Terry: Features And Benefits

Terry cloth for towels is one of the most commonly used types of terry cloth available today. 

  • After a shower, it’s used for everything including loungewear and baby products, among others.
  • Weaved towel terry uses the same methods mentioned above, maintaining the same feel from both sides. 
  • There are generally longer loops on this side, allowing for maximum absorption. 
  • In contrast to towel terry, French terry comes in two distinct varieties. On one side, the fabric is smooth & flat, while the other features a classic “looped” texture. French terry fabric is commonly used in clothing, often with spandex infused for an athletic look.

Terry Velour

  • Like French terry, terry velour has one side that is flat and smooth, similar to conventional terry cloth on the other side. 
  • However, with terry velour, the glossy side is velvety and luxurious looking. 
  • As compared to towel terry & French terry, Terry Velour this is usually a plusher. 

Cotton Terry: Colors And Weights

Terry cloth is a versatile fabric because it comes in so many colors and weights. Even though it’s easy to select a fabric for its color, the purpose of the fabric should be determined prior to purchasing.

  • When making bath towels & washcloths from terry cloth, it might be better to use stronger two-sided fabrics with a longer pile height. 
  • Additionally, it will absorb lots of water, yet still be warm, soft, and incredibly cozy. 
  • If you intend to sew terry cloth garments, it may be better to use a less plush, one-sided fabric.
  • You can find terry cloth in almost any color or pattern you can think of. 
  • In addition to dyeing it easily, custom designs may be printed digitally on it.

Cotton Terry Sewing Projects

According to most sewists, burp cloths and baby bibs are typically made from terry cloth. Fabric that offers softness, durability, & absorption is ideal for little ones.

  • Cloth Terry can also be used for bath towels & kitchen towels as like to beach blankets and washcloths, 
  • In addition to apparel, terry cloth is also a great option for home decor, as well as beachwear, loungewear, and robes. 
  • According to the burp cloth pattern above, Minky pairs well with terry cloth.
  • In addition to being used for a variety of sewing tasks, this type of fabric is especially popular with embroiders. 
  • Towels and spa products monogrammed with your initials are always a hit, as are terry cloth towels and bathrobes embroidered with intricate patterns.

French Terry: What Is It Used For?

After learning what french terry is, you may wonder where it’s used. In French terry textiles, yarn is soft and piles and short on the inside, providing more comfort and coziness. 

  • Mainly, hoodies, sweatpants, & lounge wear are made from it.
  • Moreover, the surface is moisture-wicking, so it absorbs sweat and keeps you dry.
  • French terry holds 27 times more moisture than its original weight, making it a great fabric for any climate.
  • Flexibility & stretch make it ideal for exercising, stretching, sports, & other activities. Also, the super-soft feel helps make it the perfect choice for lounging.
  • Despite being thick, it is still breathable & can be layered under other clothes.
  • Compared to a sweatshirt, it is heavier and lighter. French terry clothing may be worn over or under any other clothing all year long.

What Is French Terry Knit?

Knitting with French terry cloth may also be called French terry. By using this technique, a fabric with loops & piles is produced. Due to this, the material is not simply plush and soft but also excellent for use at home.

  • Using this knit, you can create a jersey-like fabric. Due to this, French terry is commonly confused with Jersey. 
  • French terry fabrics are knitted to prevent fraying while increasing stretchability.
  • Additionally, knitted clothes are extremely popular in clothing since they allow the wearer to move and stretch with their bodies. 
  • Thus, french terry can also be found in activewear as well as loungewear.
  • In addition, these fabrics don’t need to be hand washed or cleaned. Besides knit fabric, fleece is also available.

Cotton Terry Vs French Terry: What To Choose?

Cotton Terry and French Terry are both great fabrics for loungewear and provide plenty of cozy comforts. When comparing Cotton Terry vs French Terry, what is the difference between the two?

On the back of french terry, there are fuzzy loops, which distinguish it from regular terry. Conversely, Cotton Terry feels velvety to the touch as a result of removing the threads from the back. Cotton Terry and French Terry are both knit fabrics with smooth, knit top sides. Regardless of the material, loungewear is warm and comfortable.

The choice between French Terry and Cotton Terry is determined by your personal preferences as well as the type of outfit you want. 


01. What is the best cotton for making shirts?

In terms of cotton, there are many kinds, so it entirely depends on your preferences. If you are looking for something soft & comfortable, Pima cotton would be a great option. When it comes to buying shirts that are more durable, you should consider “Egyptian cotton.”

02. Do you prefer 100% cotton or 100% polyester t-shirts?

It’s 100% cotton, no question about it! The natural fiber of cotton keeps you cool. Due to the fiber’s breathable properties, you won’t be bothered by odors. In addition to being durable, cotton is also easy to maintain. Why wouldn’t you love this?

03. What is the difference between cotton and terry cotton?

Cotton or cotton polyester blends are used to make Terry cloth, also for these reasons. Rather than weaving loops into the fibers, a loom weaves them together, creating an extremely soft fabric. It is determined by the length between the loops and how much fluid is absorbed, as opposed to a non-looped and flat cotton fabric.

04. Does cotton French terry shrink?

First, French terry is primarily made from cotton. It works well in both washing machines and dryers. Second, cotton shrinks through the 1st couple of cycles. The shrinkage is normal, so preshrinking is recommended before sewing with French terry cloth.

05. Is cotton French terry good for summer?

Yes, that’s right! Frequently, people asked this question. This medium-weight, cotton blend, French terry fabric can be used all year long.

06. Is French terry too hot for summer?

In addition, french terry fabrics are breathable, making them ideal for hot and humid climates. French terry is also a great fabric choice for sewing in the summer.

07. What is the difference between terry and French terry?

The French terry fabric has 2 distinct sides: one side has a smooth, flat texture, while the other side is textured with a “looped” texture. Clothing made from French terry is very popular, especially when blended with spandex.

A Final Note

Cotton Terry Vs French Terry: What do you prefer one over the other? The French terry and Cotton terry fabrics differ considerably, as well as their overall construction. French terry does not use a knit structure; instead, the fabric is woven using an over-under pattern, with a unique weave which allows threads to be loosely looped from both sides. Due to this, terry fabric is an extremely absorbent fabric.

It is almost impossible to find towels & washcloths without terry cloth. In the past, this fabric was always made of cotton, but nowadays, polyester is also available.

Can you imagine wearing both a french terry hoodie and a cotton terry hoodie at the same time? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *