There are 6 miles of yarn in a single T-shirt. If any of that yarn is not up to the expected quality the T-shirt could fall apart. (Yarn, by the way, is what ordinary people call thread. In the garment business, it’s called yarn.)

Spinning yarn is high-tech and very complex. The yarn has to meet dozens of specifications — thickness, tenacity, the amount of twist, the direction of the twist.

Yarn for T-shirts

yarn for T-shirts!
Here’s some yarn shown from ordinary clothes, as seen under a microscope. Yoou can easily distinguish the different types that exist. For example, a compact ringspun makes an extra-smooth shirt. The yarn has relatively few twists per inch, which makes the fabric soft and comfortable.

But better woven yarn creates a fabric that is more uniform, but rougher to the touch. And denim yarn is made from shorter fibers than T-shirt yarn. It makes it thick, heavy, and uneven. It’s the toughest and most durable of the yarns.

Machines making cotton T-shirts

Dress Shirt yarn
The yarn has the most twists per inch of any yarn here, which makes fabric that’s stiff, regular and can be ironed.

Different phases of making yarn

  1. You start with raw American cotton
  2. After combing, it’s becomes more soft an like hair.
  3. Pull. Twist. Spin. And you have yarn.

You can read the full story at: http://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/machines

 

Interesting links about T-shirts (extra long)