Where do your jeans come from?
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
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
Here you can see the
cotton dumped from
the cotton picker into
the boll buggy to be
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
representatives use
this machine to check
the quality of the
This is part of a
cotton gin. It cleans
the cotton by
removing the
seeds. The cotton
moves through
pipes and tubes
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
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!

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