A tour around a factory to find out about the manufacture of cotton fabric and the various tests it must pass before leaving the factory. The process begins with the farming of cotton plants and moves on to combing, spinning and dying in order to produce the final material. The fabric is then checked for faults and goes through stretching, pilling and washing tests before it is sent out to be made into clothing.

First broadcast:
4 February 2008

Give pupils some balls of raw cotton (or cotton wool) to investigate, as they watch the clip. Can the children pull long thin strands from the cotton, or roll and twist thin strands into thicker ones? Pupils could also tease apart a thread of manufactured cotton. Follow up on this work by teasing threads from another natural product - wool. Children could go on to try their hand at knitting with wool. They could also research how to make and use natural plant dyes, from berries, onion skins, or beetroot. Pupils could finally apply their research by dyeing a plain cotton T-shirt.