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The Cotton Selection and understanding The Cotton Selection and understanding The History Of Cotton What is Cotton Where is it Grown? The Processing of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Cotton Selection and understanding The Cotton Selection and understanding The History Of Cotton What is Cotton Where is it Grown? The Processing of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Cotton Selection and understanding The Cotton Selection and understanding The History Of Cotton What is Cotton Where is it Grown? The Processing of Cotton From the field to the towel Textile Terms Cotton Prices and the advent of blended products Product Comparison and some quality testing

2 you A presentation to the UKHA London & SE By Stephen Broadhurst 13 th March 2012

3 The History Of Cotton. MITRE FOR YOU

4 The History and Origins of Cotton How old is cotton? Scientists searching caves in Mexico identified cotton bolls and pieces of cotton that proved to be at least 7,000 years old. In the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, cotton was being grown, spun and woven into cloth as early as 3,000 BC. Cotton Merchants brought cotton cloth to Europe about 800 AD. When Columbus discovered America in 1492 he found cotton growing in the Bahamas, by the Year 1500 cotton was known generally throughout the World. Cotton was first spun by machinery in England in 1730, the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the ‘cotton gin’ in the U.S. paved the way for the importance cotton holds in the World today. The cotton Gin (short for engine) was patented by 1793 and enabled the production of spun cotton 10 times faster than the same process completed by hand. MITRE FOR YOU

5 What is Cotton, Where is it Grown? Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fibre that grows in a boll or protective capsule around the seeds of the cotton plant. The fibre is pure cellulose, a native shrub/plant of tropical and sub-tropical regions around the World, including the Americas, Africa and India. The fibre is spun into yarn/thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile fabric. Current estimates for World production of Cotton are about 25 Million Tonnes annually, this accounts for approximately 2.5% of the World’s arable land. MITRE FOR YOU

6 Where is cotton Grown? MITRE FOR YOU Top ten cotton producers—2011 (480-pound bales) People's Republic of China 33.0 million bales India27.0 million bales United States18.0 million bales Pakistan10.3 million bales Brazil9.3 million bales Uzbekistan4.6 million bales Australia4.2 million bales Turkey2.8 million bales Turkmenistan1.6 million bales Greece1.4 million bales

7 The Processing of Cotton MITRE FOR YOU Cotton is the world's most important natural fibre. There are five stages: 1/ Cultivating and Harvesting 2/ Preparatory Processes 3/ Spinning 4/ Weaving 5/ Finishing

8 From the field to the towel.

9 What is Warp and Weft? MITRE FOR YOU

10 John Kay’s Flying Shuttle 1738 MITRE FOR YOU

11 James Hargreaves Spinning Jenny 1764 MITRE FOR YOU

12 Richard Arkwright’s Water-Frame 1768 MITRE FOR YOU

13 Samuel Crompton’s Spinning Mule 1779 MITRE FOR YOU

14 Edmund Cartwright Power Loom 1785 MITRE FOR YOU

15 Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin 1793 MITRE FOR YOU

16 Cultivation and Processing Cotton requires a long frost free period, plenty of sunshine and moderate rainfall. However areas with less rainfall use irrigation systems. Cotton is normally planted in the Spring and harvested around a 100 days later- subject to location. Once harvested the following processes take place to produce yarn ready for the production of a woven textile item: Gin – to separate the fibre from the boll. Carding, Combing, Drawing, Spinning, Winding, Sizing/Dressing and Weaving! Lots of processes all ending in “ing” to wash/clean, condition and extrude the fibres to produce a yarn. MITRE FOR YOU

17 What is Thread Count? Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical yarns WARP/WEFT in ONE SQUARE INCH. Thread count in sheets and other products can range from 80 to 1000. In general the higher the thread count the softer the product should feel. Generally Thread counts above 300 are produced by doubling the yarn – commonly known as the ply i.e. A 400tc fabric is a 2 ply yarn with 200 threads in ONE SQUARE INCH. Thread Count is NOT the key factor in the quality or feel of a sheet,, the yarn coarseness and the ply of the yarn SINGLE or TWO ply have an impact. MITRE FOR YOU

18 Other Textile Terms PERCALE – a closely woven plain weave normally 180 thread count and above. PERCALE can be 100% cotton or 100% Polyester JERSEY – a plain stitch knitted cloth – produced in a circular manner with stretch/elastic qualities. SATEEN – more yarn on the face of the cloth giving a softer feel and more lustrous look TERRY – A fabric that is looped by weaving/knitting to produce loops to create an absorbent product (Towels) MITRE FOR YOU

19 Other Textile Terms YARN – the higher the number (YARN COUNT) the finer it is – for instance a 20’s yarn is not as fine as a 40’s yarn! The higher the thread count the finer the yarns need to be to ensure they can be tightly packed/woven into a square inch. A 140 THREAD COUNT is based on the number of threads in the warp and weft. i.e. 70 in both directions or 76 in the warp and 64 in the weft the total must be 140! Ideally equal threads in both directions produces the most stable product.. GSM – relates to Grams per Square Metre the normal measure for TERRY – towels and bathrobes. The heavier the weight does not mean the better the quality. YARN count is also KEY. Towels above a certain weight become too dense – they end up looking like bath mats – i.e. 750 – 850gsm. MITRE FOR YOU

20 Cotton Prices and the advent of blended products. Cotton prices over the last few years have been volatile, driven by increased demand, lower production and challenging weather/growing conditions prices have fluctuated between $2.10 in March 2011 to the current price of $0.88 today. The market remains challenging and most textile mills are now producing blended products. Poly/Cotton sheets, duvet covers etc and the introduction of polyester in towels. The benefits are a stabilisation of costs, longer lasting/more durable products, improved stability and life cycle, and lower wash temperatures and reduced/lower drying times – reducing the carbon footprint and helping the environment! Whilst Polyester is an oil based product – when woven as a yarn it provides greater elasticity. This reduces the element of creasing when washed, good shape retention and less shrinkage. Polyester table linen is easier to wash, has better stain release properties and retains its shape for longer. MITRE FOR YOU

21 Product Comparison and some quality testing Please can we have some audience participation (HOUSEKEEPERS PLEASE) to review and test some of our products to understand weight, construction, thread count and quality. Winners get a small gift from David – losers get a week in their local Sunlight factory! TEST ONE: Bed Linen 400/200/130 &120 TC’s TEST TWO: Towels 665 v 550 GSM TEST THREE: Towels 3 towel test - Which is best? TEST FOUR: Table Linen - Cotton v Polyester TEST FIVE: Bathrobes touch test - Which is best? MITRE FOR YOU

22 Conclusion & Summary Cotton is a plant, grown for many years and thrives on sunshine and rain. It has become very expensive, and involves a highly involved technical process to get from plant to yarn to fabric to end user products. Yarn count, thread count, construction and GSM need to be carefully checked and considered when purchasing. Polyester and other alternative fibres/yarns are available and should be considered. Many thanks to Anne and the UKHA for the opportunity to be involved this evening. We welcome the chance to welcome you to visit us at Mitre anytime, or allow us to visit you to provide you with more products or more technical information. MITRE FOR YOU


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