How Clothes Are Made From Cotton

Cotton Into Thread

Cotton, the fluffy boll gathered from around the seed of the cotton plant, is a major export from a number of localities, including the southern United States. As cotton farmers collect the fluffy fibers, they often bundle them into bales and ship them to factories. Specially designed machines strip the fibers from the cotton into individual units then intertwine a number of individual fibers into cotton threads. Once the cotton is thread, the number of uses for the product expands considerably: threads, yarns, laces and even “gun cottons” for wartime use. If the cotton is destined for clothing, it will be dyed and treated to produce colorful, attractive, soft and durable material.

Threads Into Fabric

Looms, large mechanisms designed to accommodate multiple vertical and horizontal rows of cotton threads, provide surfaces upon which workers (whether robotic or human) prepare cotton for weaving. As workers apply row after row of cotton threads in overlapping vertical and horizontal patterns, the threads join into a solid piece of cloth. Depending on the size and design of the loom, the cloth may be small, large, thin or heavy. The cloth fabric is then ready for processing into any number of products, and the factory may sell the cloth for use by other organizations or simply use it to produce its own in-house clothing.

Fabric Into Clothes

With cotton fibers turned into threads and woven into cloth, they are ready to complete their transition into clothes. Depending on the designer and technology, the cloth may go to a seamstress or tailor for careful, meticulous work, or it is placed on machines for fast cutting and hemming. Whether by hand or machine, workers use a pattern to ensure consistent and useful clothing designs. A shirt pattern, for example, may be designed to measure a certain number of inches across the chest, along the sleeve or around the collar; the pattern sets the dimensions to cut cotton cloth into these precise measurements. Workers or machines then sew the pieces of cloth from the pattern add hems, cuffs, buttons, zippers or other adornments; and finish off the clothing with embroidery or other design work.