Graft copolymerization of acrylamide on cotton (dialdelyde cellulose, DAC) fibers and fabrics was studied in a limited aqueous system using K2S2O8 as the initiator. Grafting parameters under different sets of conditions were determined and the mechanism of graft copolymerization discussed. Optimum conditions for grafting were established and the effect of polyacrylamide grafting on tenacity, modulus, breaking elongation, and stiffness of the cotton (DAC) fabrics and on their dyeability and moisture regain properties were also studied; 9–10% grafting of polyacrylamide on (DAC) fabric at pH 7–10 imparts an improved balance in its mechanical and other properties. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.