On the Ladies Of The 1860s blog there is an article posted on fashion that included this little gem of information:
"Among the materials for dresses for the autumn and coming winter poplins hold a distinguished place: these are manufactured with all the designs hitherto reserved exclusively for silks. The poplins are at length freed from the eternal stripes more or less wide, and the classic checks more or less large. Despite, however, the inconceivable variety and incontestable grace of these designs, we must avow our preference for the beautiful poplin of plain colors, some admirable examples of which we had lately an opportunity of examining in a large Parisian house. It must be owned, however, that these dresses are not economical, as a single stain destroys the more delicate colours. They are, however, very pretty and very fashionable. A variety of shades have been invented for these dresses, which escapes all classification: for instance, we have some of the colour of wet sand, others of dry sand. Again, the shade termed Havannah brown inclines sometimes to olive, sometimes to pure brown; as to the greys, they are indescribable, ranging from the purest silvery grey to the warm lilacy tints. All these various shades will be adopted for what the French term demi-toilette."
So here we have an example of solid cottons for fashion fabric. The article does explain that these are not economical because the colors don't stay. A fashionable woman of means could purchase a length or dress of this for a particular event and the discard it. For the average woman this would be a foolish and uneconomical action indeed.