What is denim?
Denim is a type of cotton textile, known for its use in blue jeans and other clothing. Denim uses a sturdy twill weave with a characteristic diagonal ribbing. Originally used for workmen’s clothes, denim is now ubiquitous and has even entered the world of high fashion. Nearly everyone has at least one denim garment in the closet these days. Levi Strauss is credited with making the first blue jeans out of denim in the 1850s, for gold miners in California. In the 1930s and 40s, commercially sold denim workwear became very popular, with new companies such as Dickies and Wrangler joining the trend. Comfortable, durable, and associated with blue collar culture, denim soon became fashionable among the working class youth throughout the United States. Denim jackets became a fashion statement in the 1950s along with jeans. Throughout the decades, denim continued to gain a wider market. By the 1970s, women were wearing denim as often as men, and denim skirts and dresses could be found in numero
Normally denim is made from 100% cotton yarns but some denims are woven with Spandex or other stretch materials to give the fabric stretch. There are two types of twill fabrics. RHT- Right Hand Twill RHT- Right Hand Twill is the weave most commonly used for denim. It is a warp faced weave where each warp thread interlaces over 3 weft picks and under one. This causes diagonal lines to be formed in the cloth from bottom left to top right which is why this twill is called right hand twill. LHT- Left Hand Twill LHT- Left Hand Twill the weave lines run diagonally from right to left. Broken Twill Broken Twill is a combination of twills, alternating as 2 ends of one type of weave and 2 ends of another type of weave right across the fabric. There are some other weaves of denim but the most common are listed above. Weights Weights can be from 5 oz shirting up to 15 oz heavy denims for jeans and jackets. Weight of denim is measured by the ounces per square yard.
Denim is usually made of cotton. It’s a twill weave, in which all of the threads in one direction are dyed, while all of the threads in the other direction are left white. The dye used is synthetic indigo, the same chemical obtained from the indigo plant, the woad plant, and about fifty other different plants around the world traditionally used for dyeing. For all other clothing in our combined culture (as opposed to that of the ‘Blue People’ of Africa), indigo is generally applied carefully, in multiple dips in a relatively weak dye solution, in order to make it penetrate the fiber as much as possible, for long-lasting results. (Vat dyes, which is the class of dye to which indigo belongs, are actually the most lightfast and washfast of all dyes.) For denim, which is supposed to look heavily worn after it has barely been used at all, indigo is applied in the opposite way, so that only a very thin outer layer of the fiber is dyed, so even the slightest wear removes the dyed layer of the