At the textile mill, machines open the bales, and the lint is mixed and cleaned further by blowing and beating. The short lint that comes out is usually separated and sold for use in other industries. The best part of the lint consists of fibers that are one inch to one and three fourths inches long.
The mixed and fluffed cotton goes into a carding machine which cleans the fibers again and makes them lay side by side. A combing machine finishes the job of cleaning and straightening the fibers. This machine makes the fibers into a soft, untwisted rope called a sliver.
Two more machines - a drawing frame and a slub - pull the soft rope thinner and give it its first twist. When the fiber leaves the slub, it's called roving and goes through other machines that twist and pull it some more. Finally, it reaches the spinning frame which gives it a last pull and twist. The fiber leaves the spinning frame wound on bobbins as cotton yarn.
Machines called looms weave cotton yarns into fabrics the same way the first hand weaving frames did. Modern looms work at great speeds, interlacing the lengthwise yarns (warp) and crosswise yarn (filling). The woven fabric, called gray goods, is sent to a finishing plant where it is bleached, pre-shrunk, dyed, printed, and given a special finish before being made into clothing or products for the home.