Where do your jeans come from? Cotton! LEARN NC Photos and information from Wendy Drake Burgess, Agriculture Extension Agent at Hertford County Cooperative Extension, NC This is the back of the cotton picker. See where the cotton is collected? This is the inside of the cotton picker. See the metal spikes? They are spindles and they grab the cotton. The spindles spin individually, and then the whole row spins so the cotton can be blown up into the bin in the back of the picker. This is a boll buggy. While harvesting the cotton, the cotton picker can dump into a boll buggy in the field. This saves time, because the picker does not have to leave the field to dump the cotton into the module builder. Here you can see the cotton dumped from the cotton picker into the boll buggy to be weighed. This is the side view of the module builder. The cotton is packed tightly into tight blocks, called modules, by the tall pipe. Next, the cotton is taken to a mill for manufacturing. USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) representatives use this machine to check the quality of the cotton. This is part of a cotton gin. It cleans the cotton by removing the seeds. The cotton moves through pipes and tubes overhead. This is the carding machine. Carding separates the short, weak fibers from the strong, long ones. The shorter weaker fibers are used to make your tough jeans while the longer fibers are used in your dress shirts. Spinning machine spins cotton together. It can also spin cotton with other materials, like rayon. Micronaire is the measure of fiber fineness and maturity. Farmers’ cotton is graded by micronaire when they send it to the gin. Cotton is spun according to micronaire. It affects the quality of the product and how well it can be dyed. Loose rolls of cotton after spinning This is a fabric machine. There are thousands of needles, all threaded by hand! After the fabric is made, it is dyed in these machines. Have you seen stone wash jeans? They are really made by washing them in a machine with stones, like this! All that work goes into making the fabric for your jeans!