How is Denim manufactured and what makes it so loved?
Denim is a sturdy cotton twill textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill intertwining produces the familiar diagonal ribbing.
A characteristic of any indigo denim is that only the warp threads are dyed, but the weft threads stay plain white. One side of the textile then shows the blue and the other side shows the white threads. This is why your jeans are white on the inside. This method of dyeing also creates denim’s fading features, which are distinctive compared to every other fabric.
So where did Denim come from?
The name “denim” comes from the name of material that was first made in the city of Nîmes, France. It was at first called serge de Nîmes but later shortened to “denim.”
Denim was usually colored blue with indigo dye to make blue jeans, but “jean” used to indicate a different, lighter, cotton. The word “jean” comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes) where trousers were first made.
Also called Dry or raw denim (not “washed denim”) and is not washed after being dyed. In time, it usually fades, which is what people want. Fading occurs on those parts that receive the most stress. In a pair of jeans, it will be the upper thighs, the ankles, and behind the knees.
Once turned into an piece of clothing, most articles are washed to make it softer and reduce shrinkage. Sometimes an article is artificially distressed to give a “worn” look. The charm of artificially distressed denim is that it looks like dry denim which has faded.
In jeans made from dry denim, the fading is caused by the body of the person who wears them and by the activities of his daily life. This creates a more “natural” look. To aid the natural distressing method, some people will refrain from washing their jeans for over six months.
Stretch denim includes an elastic element, such as spandex which gives a certain amount of “give” in your garments. Only about 3% of spandex gives a significant stretching capacity of about 15%. This feature shortens the life of the garment.
Levi Strauss: Inventor of Trousers called Denim Jeans
The History of Jeans would be zilch without Levi Strauss. He invented jeans. Levi emigrated with his family to New York in 1847. His family sold canvas tenting and drapery goods. He moved to San Francisco in the early 1850s because of the California gold rush and business prospects.
Twenty years later, Levi and a Nevada tailor joined forces to make riveted workman’s waist high overalls, commonly known as jeans. Levi Strauss chose to use the stronger fabric, putting his own name on the product.
So your fancy and expensive Levi jeans are just waist high overalls!