An important element that gives individual character to jeans are additives. It is a long list of minor elements which are often an "identification sign" of a given brand. Their quality determines also the price of trousers.
Cały proces trwa ponad rok- od zebrania bawełny na przędzę, przez opracowanie grubości i konstrukcji tkaniny, produkcję materiału (ok 9 tyg.) przygotowanie i dopracowanie projektu i uszycie wzoru spodni, który poddaje się praniu, kontroli jakości, i obróbce technologicznej aż do wyprodukowania finalnej, tzn. zamierzonej wersji.
Przy wyprodukowaniu jednej pary jeansów pracuje ok. 500 osób w różnych częściach świata.
The final fabric, that is a raw denim, occurs in three basic colours, the so-called Washes): black blue, deep blue, and baby blue, which also take more or less intensive shades.
In the process of treatment, a material is subjected first to bath in becks made of properly prepared coloring liquid and then to washing and discoloration that give the final appearance to the fabric.
Big Star jeans undergo approximately eight various baths.
The final colour, texture, or shape of trousers is obtained in a process of treatment, which consists of approx. 20 various technological processes.
Apart from the aforementioned colouring, the most elementary processes can be identified:
The exceptionality of a given pair of jeans is determined by additional activities, defined as finishing, chosen individually to a given model. A few seasons ago, for example, jeans that in the final stage are covered with resin, squashed, and strengthened at a high temperature, appeared. Thanks to this technique, a fabric obtains the 3D effect, wrinkles are not flat and the wear effect looks naturally.
Process of making garments look worn and aged by scraping or rubbing the surface of the fabric causing abrasion. Pumice stones are most frequently used by industrial laundries.
(Marble/ Moon Wash/ Snow Wash)- This finish gives indigo jeans sharp contrasts. The process is achieved by soaking pumice stones in chlorine and letting these stones create contrast. The process was created in Italy and patented in 1986.
A kind of wet processing that gives the garment an artificial worn look and a softer feel through prolonged abrasion.
A step in the finishing process, before sanforization, that corrects denim’s natural tendency to twist in the direction of the diagonal twill weave. Also known as skewing.
A New Hampshire factory town which was the first major source of denim in the US. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company opened in 1838 and by 1900 claimed to be the world’s biggest textile producer; it later declined due to industrial unrest and competition from southern mills. On Christmas Eve, 1935 the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company closed abruptly closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy and a flood soon after crushed any hope of reopening. Denim from Amoskeag was prolific and hugely influential in the success of the fabric, being used exclusively for Levi’s® 501 until 1915.
Distinctive double stitching used on the back pocket of the very first Levi’s® jeans, now acknowledged as the world’s oldest clothing trademark. The shape became synonymous with Levi’s® jeans by 1900, although it’s conceivable that other early work wear might have used the device before them. LS&Co. trademarked the stitching in 1943.
A Japanese term describing the selective fading of the ridges of creases. The most common areas for ‘Atari’ are along side seams, on the front and back of the knees, the upper thigh, along the hem, on belt loops and along pocket seams.
A jeanswear term used to describe both original jeans qualities and stone and enzyme wash optics. It became a marketing buzzword in the early 90’s, when the quest for original denim swept the European market. Among the characteristics of authentic jeans are traditional fabric weaves and styling details.
Also known as martingale, the back cinch with a back buckle was used to tighten the waist on jeans before widespread use of belts; hence the term ‘buckle back’. Most jeans makers abandoned them by 1942; with renewed interest in vintage-style looks, cinch backs have returned on modern jeans including Evisu, Atelier La Durance and Levi’s®.
A paper or cardboard flap attached to the right back pocket of jeans and used to communicate differences in denims, washes, styles and size.
A sewing procedure that reinforces stress points on jeans- usually found near zippers and pocket openings.
A jeans style born in the late ‘60s and popularized in the 70’s by brands such as Landlubber Jeans. This style was tight at the waist and thighs and the trousers flare out from the knee down. The name ‘bell bottoms’ presumably originates in the fact that the legs of these jeans take on the shape of a bell or trumpet when viewed from the side.
Belt loops were first added to the waistband of the Levi’s 501 jean in 1922 to allow a belt to be worn without slipping. Both suspender buttons and the cinch back still remained on these first styles. A classic pair of jeans usually has 5 belt loops – 2 in front above the front pockets, 2 more at each side and one at the back.
A term used to describe Levi’s® clothing made before 1971, at which time the all uppercase logo on the red tab was redesigned with a lower case ‘e’. Levi’s® jeans with a big ‘E’ are considered vintage and more valuable than later little e’s.
Denim where the warp yarn is black instead of blue and which is also dyed black after weaving. this makes the jeans truly black rather than gray.
A chemical used to make denim fade. Liquid bleach is usually an aqueous solution of sodium hypochlorite, and dry powdered bleaches contain chloride of lime (calcium hypochlorite).
A popular jeans style cut wide enough in the leg to accommodate a pair of cowboy boots underneath.
A denim weave first used by Wrangler in 1964 as style 13MWZ. The diagonal weave of the twill is intentionally reversed at every two warp ends to form a random design. This type of weave reduces the natural torque characteristic of regular twill weaves, and has the effect of eliminating leg twist.]
This cherub-cheeked ceramic doll, clad in Lee overalls, was introduced in 1920 as H.D.Lee’s first promotion. As popularity grew, the doll gained a larger wardrobe including cowboy duds and railroad uniforms. Production stopped in 1962 and today the dolls are favourites with collectors.
A heavyweight denim weave (14oz. plus) with a typical 3x1 twill construction. An ecru fabric, bull denim is later printed or garment dyed.
The traditional jeans button is made of two parts: a short ‘nail’ fixed on the fabric and the visible part pressed on the nail. It is typically made of a metal alloy- copper, brass or aluminium- and bears the brand’s logo, symbol or initial on its face. Some jeans buttons, composed of three parts, have a moveable head for better flexibility in fastening.
A term that describes shading. Depending on the method and type of dye used, indigo denim can have a black, brown, gray, green, red, or yellow caste to it.
Enzymes which are like yeast , are used to physically eat away the cellulose in cotton. Since the colour in denim fabric is actually on the outside of the yard, when the denim is washed in a cellulose enzyme bath the indigo is removed along with the fiber. When the desired colour has been achieved, either changing the alkalinity of the bath or heating the water stops the enzymes from reacting. A rinsing and softening cycle follows. This process is more environmentally friendly than stone washing because strip-mined pumice stones are not used.
A series of looped stitches that form a chain-like pattern. Chainstitching pulls the denim at slightly different tensions on either side, causing the distinctive ‘roping’ that really shows the beauty of worn indigo-dyed denim.
The fifth pocket, also called watch pocket. Strictly functional, it sits inside the right front pocket and justifies the term five-pocket jeans. Also known as match or watch pocket.
Cone Mills started producing denim in 1895 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The company started supplying denim for Levi’s® jeans in 1910, becoming the exclusive supplier for the 501 in 1922. Cone is still one of the world’s biggest denim manufacturers.
A unique type of denim that shows a square grid-like pattern in the weave. It is created by mixing uneven yarns in both the weft and warp directions.
A sturdy cotton twill fabric characterised by a 3x1 warp-faced weave in which the weft passes under two or more warp fibres producing the familiar diagonal ribbing, identifiable on the reverse of the reverse of the fabric. Traditionally denim is made with indigo-dyed yarn for the warp and natural yarn for the weft. Originally called Serge De Nimes for the French city where it was produced, denim is now manufactured in specialized mills around the world.Denim is an indigo-dyed cotton twill fabric, woven with a dyed warp yarn and a natural fill yarn. The term derives from Serge De Nimes; but denim and Serge De Nimes are in fact different fabrics.
An amylase enzyme rinse (desize) used to soften denim. A type of size such as cornstarch is added to the warp yarns prior to weaving in a process called slashing, which adds stiffness to the yarns. During the desizing step, the amylase enzyme attacks the starch and removes it from the fabric. Although this process reduces colour slightly, it is primarily used to give a softness and drapability to denim.
Used to describe fabric or yarn when they are immersed in dye. Indigo yarns are usually dipped in an indigo bath six times.
Also called “ring X ring”. Signifies a denim weave in which both the warp and the weft threads are made of ring-spun yarn. Creates a much softer and textured hand than both open-end and regular (single) ring-spun denim. Due to the additional labour required to produce dual ring-spun denim, it is usually only used by higher end, premium denim labels.
Enzymes, which are proteins present in all living cells, speed up chemical processes that would run very slowly if at all. They are non-toxic and readily broken down. Enzymes are used in textile processing, mainly in the finishing of fabrics and garments.
Considered a more efficient and environmentally sound way to stone wash jeans. Rather than using pumice stones, organic enzymes (proteins) are used that eat away at the indigo. Jeans finished using enzymes tend to be stronger than those broken down by traditional stone washing, as the fabric is not subjected to the same level of abuse.
The techniques or processes performed on a garment, which give it it’s unique look.
One of the most common styles of jeans; they have two back pockets, two front pockets and a coin pocket inside the right front pocket.
A dyeing process performed on finished garments, as opposed to a yarn dye, which takes place prior to the weaving of yarn. If you see pocket linings or labels that look the same colour as the self-fabric, the garment was likely garment dyed.
A description of the way a fabric feels. A subjective judgement of the feel or handle of a fabric used to help decide if a fabric is suitable for a specific end use. The hand can be described as crisp, soft, drapable, smooth, springy, stiff, cool, warm, rough, hard, limp, soapy etc. Finishing and garment wash will affect the final hand of a fabric.
This is a very special dyeing process that very few people use. The yarns are loosely arranged in skeins or hanks. These are then hung over a rung and immersed in a dye bath being dipped in and out and left to oxidize in the air between each dip giving the yarns a natural irregularity of patina and caste. In this method, the colour penetration is the best and the yarns retain a softer, loftier feel.
The dye used for denim, initially taken from the indigofera tinctoria plant. It was synthesized 14 years after it’s chemical structure was identified by Adolf Bayer in 1897. Indigo’s inherent features are good colour fastness to water and light, a continual fading and it’s inability to penetrate fibers completely. This allows the blue colour in jeans made dyed with indigo to always look irregular and individual. Pre-1920’s jeans were generally dyed with natural indigo and were- as far as one can tell by comparing vintage examples- paler in colour, with a green cast. Later jeans were a darker blue, particularly used in combination with sulphur dyes. The majority of indigo used today is synthetically made. Natural indigo has a slightly red cast.
Japanese term referring to the fading of indigo dye in denim. The term specifically relates to fading in exposed areas and not across the entire garment.
The term is possibly derived from the French word ‘genes’. It was originally used to describe the type of pants worn by sailors from Genoa. While the historical definition implied that all jeans were made of denim, the term jeans today can sometimes refer to a garment that has five pockets and be made from fabrics such as corduroy, twill or bull denim.
Chinos, combat pants, military styles in khaki and olive- these became a popular replacement for jeans amongst the youth of the 90’s.
In the ‘Denim Industry’, a Laundry is a manufacturing company that takes unwashed jeans and processes them. This processing includes washing, stone washing, sandblasting, garment dyeing , finishing, use of ‘Tonello’ machine with abrasive bristles, applying enzymes to simulate a ‘whisker’ effect and sandpapering by hand. Laundries today are critical in making jeans look commercial and wash development has become as important as fabric development in the denim industry. The best Laundries and wash developments come from the U.S, Japan and Italy.
Also known as an ‘S Twill’, this is a weave in which the grain lines run from the top left-hand corner of the fabric towards the bottom right. Usually in piece dyed fabrics, left hand twill fabrics are woven from single plied yarns in the warp. The denim brand Lee has always used left-hand twill denim as it’s basic denim. Left-hand twills will often have a softer hand feel to them after washing than right hand twills.
Many vintage jeans suffer from leg-twist. This is simply a natural adjustment of the fabric, which tends to follow the direction of the weave. Stefano Aldighieri, Director of Fabric & Finishing at LS&Co. explains it thus: “Levi’s® denim were mostly right hand twills; the twill line rises to the right. During the weaving process you basically ‘force’ the fabric to be straight, perpendicular to the selvage, but at the same time you give it this direction in the construction. You lay and cut the fabric; in the early days LS&Co. patterns were cut straight along the selvage. When you wash the garments, the fabric will try to follow the direction of the weave and will pull in that direction... hence the twisted legs, the result of the movement of fabric. Because Lee started to use left hand weave denims, their legs would twist the other way.” Leg twist was eliminated in the 1970s by skewing (which contorts denim to its after-wash shape)- and later revived with Levi’s® Red and Engineered jeans.
One of the three major industrial methods of dyeing indigo yarns. In the loop dyeing process, the yarn is dyed in a single bath instead of several. The desired depth of colour is attained by passing the yarn through the vat several times. Subsequently as part of the same process, the yarn is sized.
An industrial process used on yarn or fabrics to increase it's lustre and dye affinity. For fabrics used in the denim industry, mercerization can be used for keeping dye on the surface of the yarns or fabrics and to prevent dyes from fully penetrating the fibres.
In this fabric treatment process, a series of cylindrical rolls in a horizontal arrangement, either wrapped with an abrasive paper or chemically coated with an abrasive , are used to create a soft, sueded hand. The denim is pulled over the face of the sand rollers creating a raised surface finishinig. Some colour reduction is experienced.
Up to to the middle of the 19th century there were only natural dyes and most of these these were vegetable origin. Natural indigo being one of the more important dyes. Natural dyes usually have no affinity for textile fibres until the fibres are treated with aluminum, iron, or tin compounds to receive the dye (mordanting). This is a problematic process and the dyes in any case have poor fastness to sun or abrasion.
Any hairlike raw material directly obtainable from an vegetable, animal, or mineral source that can be converted, after spinning, into yarns and then into woven cloth.
Open End or OE spinning was introduced in the 1970s, reducing costs by omitting several elements of the traditional spinning process. The cotton fibres are ‘mock twisted’ by blowing them together. Open End denim is bulkier, coarser and darker, because it absorbs more dye, and wears less well than Ring Spun denim. Although cheaper to produce it has been used on many designer jeans, including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
A fabric dyeing process in which additional colour is applied to the fabric or garment to create a different shade or cast. ‘Dirty Denim’ is often created by applying a yellow overdye to denim. By localising the application of the tint, you can create specific areas that look dirtier than the surrounding areas.
Occurs when oxygen and another substance chemically join. This occurs when indigo yarn comes out of the bath between dips.
Dyes that do not have an affinity for fibre and must therefore be held to the fabric with resins. They are available in almost any colour and are used extensively in the denim industry by fabric dyers who want to create fabrics that fade more easily.
All yarns are single ply unless twisted with another yarn. Plied yarns are used to make yarns stronger. In the denim industry, it has become important to ply yarns stronger. In the denim industry, it has become important to ply yarns in piece dyed fabrics that are intended to endure a long stone wash cycle. The method of twisting and length of each yarn is a major determinant in the ultimate look and feel of the finished fabric.
Often found in replica jeans, offers the best mix of strength (polyester core) and vintage aesthetic (cotton top thread layer).
Volcanic stone used for stone washing garments. Pumice is popular because of it’s strength and light weight. Before the use of pumice, rocks, plastic, shoes and just about every other material was used to wear down and soften denim during the laundry process.
Each pair oj jeans is subjected to a series of quality checks. The first random samples are examined during pre-sewing. Then after the pieces are assembled, every single pair of jeans is individually examined, and again after washing.
Most denim is right-hand twill, a weave which produces a diagonal, or twill, line which rises from left to right. This was standard practice in weaving; single yarn warps were woven right-hand, double yarn warps were woven left hand. Most Levi’s® jeans are right-hand twill whereas most Lee jeans are left-hand twill.
Describes a characteristic unique to indigo dye in which only the outer ring of the fibres in the yarn is dyed while the inner core remains white.
Ring spun yarns were traditionally used in denim up until the late 1970s, but were later supplanted by cheaper Open End yarns. This is a spinning process in which the individual fibers are fed onto the end of the yarn while it is in the ‘twisting’ stage. The process consists of a ring, a ring traveller and a bobbin that rotates at high speed. The ring-spun yarn produced by this method creates unique surface characteristics in the fabric, including unevenness, which gives jeans an irregular authentic vintage look. Ring-spun yarns add strength, softness and character to denim fabric.
Ring/Ring, or double ring-spun denim uses ring-spun yarn for both warp and weft. This is the traditional way to produce denim. It’s possible to combine a ring-spun warp fabric with an Open End weft, to get much of the strength and look of the traditional ring/ring denim at lower cost.
A washing process using a combination of pumice stones and cellulose enzymes to give denim a vintage, worn hand. The washer is loaded only with stones and fabric for the first cycle. Enzymes are introduced for the second stage in combination with the stones and they are tumbled until a naturally aged look is produced.
A metal accessory that is used for reinforcement of stress points as well as for non-functional ornamentation.
Considered the best possible method to dye indigo yarns. The threads of denim yarn are twisted into a rope, which is then fed through sequence of being dipped into a bath of indigo dye, followed by exposure to air, multiple times. The frequency determines the ultimate shade of blue.
A laundry process performed before washing in which jeans are shot with guns of sand in order to abrade them and cause a worn appearance. While originally done by hand this process is now automated at most large laundry houses.
A fabric finishing process where fabrics are sanded with real sandpaper to make the surface soft without hair. It can be performed before or after dying.
A pre-shrinking fabric process that limits residual fabric shrinkage to under 1%. The process includes the stretching and manipulation of the denim cloth before it is washed. Raw, un-sanforized jeans will shrink 7-10% after the first wash, and continue to shrink slightly up to the third wash. Developed in the late 1920s by the Sanforize Co. and patented in 1928, the process was reportedly first used by Erwin Mills in 1936 to make denim for overalls marketed under JC Penney’s Big Mac label. Lee jeans were made from Sanforized fabric soon afterwards, Lady Levi’s® introduced around 1935 were also Sanforized although most other Levi’s® jeans remained shrink-to-fit for another three decades.
Also referred to as ‘Redline’ or ‘Aka-Mimi’. Originally called ‘self-edge’, the selvage is the narrow tightly woven band on either edge of the denim fabric, parallel to the warp. A selvage end prevents the edge of the denim from unravelling. Old 28 to 30 inch shuttle looms produce denim where selvages are closed, whereas on larger modern weaving machines, the weft yarn is cut on every pick, creating what is called a ‘fringe’ selvage. Coloured thread was used by Cone Mills to identify the particular fabric used by it’s major manufacturers. Vintage Levi’s® jeans began with an all white strip and later had a single red strip along both selvages, Lee’s had a blue or green strip along one end and Wrangler’s was yellow.
The process of selecting batches of fabric into homogeneous shade lots to obtain consistent colour continuity in garment making.
Fabric is cut from each roll of fabric and sewn together with roll numbers on the back of each roll. This is an important tool in cutting apparel made from denim to ensure that garments from the same shade group are cut.
Traditionally before denim is woven, the threads it’s made of are treated with wax or resin to stiffen them and make them easier to weave (although with most repro denim starch is used instead.) When dry/raw/unwashed denim is washed for the first time the fibres constrict and the denim shrinks. Raw denim can be sanforized (treated with a sanforizing process that lessens shrinkage) but all raw denim will shrink to some degree upon immersion in water, up until it’s third wash.
During the weaving process, this is the opening formed by raising and lowering the warp yarns on a loom. The shed opening is what the weft yarns are passed through to complete the weaving interlace.
The device that carries the weft yarn across the loom in vintage shuttle looms. Selvage denim can only be woven using a shuttle loom.
Refers to the shape of a garment (i’e bootleg, relaxed, low rise, slim, carpenter, etc...)
Starch, gelatine glue or wax that is added to fabrics in the finishing stage to improve touch or weight and to help fabric laying in the cutting phase. Denim fabrics, for example can have almost one ounce of sizing.
Refers to the occurrence of twisting that happens when the fabric shrinks more perpendicular to the twill line than along the twill line. Without compensating for this occurrence, the twill line will cause the right angles that the fabric is woven in to torque approximately 5° after washing. To compensate for this, denim is skewed about 5° in the same direction as the twill line tom prevent the side seam from twisting to the front of the jean. You will often find authentic vintage jeans with one or both of the side seams twisted towards the front of the jean.
One of three main methods of dyeing indigo yarn.
In the yarn manufacturing process, a sliver refers to the loose, soft, untwisted rope of cotton fibers that is produced using the carding machine.
Refers to thick or heavy places in the yarn. Slubs and other inconsistencies are common in denim produced on vintage shuttle looms. Modern yarn spinning technology is able to engineer these vintage looking textures into yarn in a predefined manner.
A process that physically removes colour and adds contrast. A 20 yard roll of fabric, generally 62 inches in width, is put into a 250-pound washing machine along with pumice stones. The fabric and stones are rotated together for a set period of time. The washing time dictates the final colour of the fabric- the longer the denim and stones are rotated the lighter the colour becomes and more contrast is achieved. The denim is then rinsed, softened and tumble dried. Both Marithe & Francois Girbau from France and the Japanese ‘Edwin’ claim to have pioneered this finishing technique.
Many manufacturers apply a sulphur dye before the customary indigo dye; this is known as Sulpher Bottom dyeing. This can be used to create a grey or yellow ‘vintage’ cast.
Attached to the waist bands of jeans to attach suspenders and braces these became less common from the late 30s when suspender buttons were removed to make getting dressed easier for the modern belt-wearing man. However many retailers stocked and fitted ‘Press On’ buttons for customers who preferred suspenders to a belt.
Japanese term referring to occurrences of ‘Iro-ochi’ forming in vertical lines in vintage denim. As the thread width is not uniform in vintage denim, the colour fades the most where the thread is the thickest. This creates a white or severely faded thread of several centimetres along a single vertical indigo thread.
A commonly used straight simple stitch.
The diagonal lines formed by the weave.
Exactly what the word says- jeans that have been left unwashed, a characteristic that goes back to pre-sanforized days, when manufacturers sold their garments dark, stiff and not pre-shrunk. Some brands offer jeans this way for purists who want to break in their own jeans on their own bodies to recapture the original magic of denim’s good old days.
Term referring to a type of placed abrasive effect or sandblasting, made individually on each garment in special areas like the knees, pockets, thighs bottom etc...
A Northern Italian region considered the cradle for some of the most successful names of the International jeans industry. Denim brands such as Diesel, Replay, Gas and Seal Kay were all born and raised here as were famous laundries such as Martelli.
From the past; old or secondhand. Vintage jeans can either be previously worn or never worn and sorted in their original state
The original term for what we know as jeans- Levi’s® continued to use this term up until the 1960s to distinguish their jeans from bib overalls.
This is the lengthways vertical yarns woven into the weft yarn. They usually have more twist and are stronger than weft yarns. In denim it runs parallel to the selvage and is dyed indigo.
The combination of warp and weft yarns woven into the weft yarns to produce different weave designs. The warp face designs used in the denim are called out by the number of weft yarns that the warp ends pass over followed by the number of weft yarns they pass under. Some of the most common denim weaves are 3x1 and 2x1 can be made in left or right-hand twill directions. 3x1 right-hand twill is the most common design.
The un-dyed, crosswise filling yarns used in denim weave.
Denim is traditionally graded by its weight per yard of fabric at a 29-inch width. Early Levi’s® were 9oz denim, increasing to 10oz in 1927; Lee 101 Cowboy Pants were introduced in the much heavier 13oz weight; most modern jeans are around 14oz.
A fading of the ridges increases in the crotch area and back of the knees, which gives the appearance of aged denim. It can also be inverse- dark creased in faded denim.
Refers to fabric in which the individual yarns are dyed prior to weaving- denim is a yarn dyed fabric.
V-shaped section at the back of jeans, also known as a ‘riser’, which gives curve to the seat. The deeper the V of the yoke, the greater the curve. Cowboy jeans often feature a deep yoke whereas workwear or dungaree jeans might have a shallower yoke- or no yoke at all.
The alternative to the button fly, first used for jeans by H.D. Lee in 1926. Wrangler was the first to do a centre zip fly for women in its Jeanie line, which debuted in 1950. The innovation was considered hazardous at first, but eventually became a huge success.
A popular jeans closure. Also sometimes used as a design detail on back pockets or on tapered pants legs. The zipper was invented in 1893 by American W. Litcomb Judson as a system of small hooks and eyelets; it was improved by Swedish Gideon Sundback in 1913, when it became a system of small metallic teeth intertwined with a movable clasp.
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