The history of denim and how denim is made.
|Denim is a woven fabric commonly made with a blue cotton warp yarn and a white cotton filling yarn. When it was first designed, denim was primarily used to make work clothes and tough clothing like overalls, but today it is used for everything from purses and skirts to denim jackets and other fashionable clothes. Denim is so popular in the twenty-first century that you can hardly walk into a store without seeing it on racks and displays. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine a time when 9 out of 10 people were NOT wearing jeans as casual everyday attire. If you’re a fan of jeans and you’re curious about how denim is made, then prepare to find out!|
Have you ever looked closely at your favorite pair of jeans and noticed a complex pattern in the fabric? That pattern is referred to as "twill weave," and it is caused by finely-interwoven yarns. The white cotton filling yarns run the width of the fabric and interlace at 90-degree angles with the blue cotton warp yarns, which also run the length of the fabric, and therefore produce the fine lines you see on your denim.
There are two different types of twill weave, LHT and RHT:
Origins of the Name
There are various theories about the origin of the term "denim." The most common theory is that the fabric was originally produced during the Middle Ages in Nîmes, France (under the name of "serge de Nîmes") and that America shortened it to "denim" in the 1800s. Another theory claims the fabric originated in England.
The term "jeans" or "jean" is has become synonymous with "denim" in today’s terminology, but the terms weren’t always interchangeable. Jeans actually originated in Genoa, Italy, and were made from fustian (a cotton, linen and/or wool blend) instead of denim. Denim was slightly more expensive than jean and was woven from one colored thread and one white thread (jean was woven from two threads of the same color).
Levi Strauss is credited with making the first denim jeans. Strauss was a young German immigrant who went to California in 1853, during the gold rush, to sell a rough canvas to make tents and wagon covers. Prospectors complained that what they really needed were pants that were strong enough to last in the mines; so, Strauss made his first jeans from the rough canvas and then began using denim when the miners complained that the canvas pants chafed. The official birthday of "blue jeans" did not come until 1873, when Strauss and a Nevada tailor named David Jacobs co-patented the idea of using rivets to add strength to the jeans.
Denim Fabric Treatments
Now that you know how denim is made, you may be wondering how it can vary its appearance from brand to brand of jeans or denim shirts. How in the world does denim look so different?
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