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What is Denim?

Close-up of blue denim fabric showing detailed stitching and a metal rivet. The image highlights the texture and pattern of the fabric, with visible threads and seams.

As leaders in the fabric industry, we thought it would be useful to share some interesting facts about one of our best-selling fabrics: denim.

So, what makes people so enthusiastic about this material? What exactly is denim? Let’s take a look at the history of denim and why it’s so popular today.

Denim is a sturdy, woven fabric, usually made from cotton and has been around for many years, so it’s no surprise that it is one of the most popular fabrics in the world. It is a versatile fabric that allows you to mix and match with other fabrics to create your unique look.

Originated in the 19th century in the French city of Nimes, where local tailors began weaving cotton in an unconventional way. This process involves the weft thread passed under two or more warp threads. Resulting in a stronger fabric.

The outer threads were usually dyed indigo or blue, and the inner threads were left the original colour of white. During the iconic ageing process, we notice the white push-through that creates the now popular look.


Popularity in the United States

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the popularity of denim really took off. Jacob W. Davis, who was a tailor from Nevada in the United States, manufactured the first-ever pair of denim pants. He then partnered with his supplier, Levi Strauss, where they began to make durable pants for miners with copper rivets to add strength and durability.

They then patented the pants and mass-produced them, with the popularity and demand transforming them into mainstream fashion items.


Denim as we know it today

Denim can be altered into something new each time, which makes it an adaptable and desirable material for fashion designers.

This fabric is even more tempting to fashion designers who want to stand out from the crowd by crafting distinctive pieces of apparel with their designs on them using a variety of colour dyes, contributing to this year’s denim trends.


Dresses: These dresses can be worn during the day or night, depending on what you pair them with. If you want to dress up your denim dress for an evening out, then choose a chunky heel or platform sandal. For daytime wear, go for some flats or even some sneakers!

Skirts: There are so many different styles of denim skirts available today. High-waisted skirts with frills at the bottom; pencil skirts in different lengths; A-line skirts that flare out at the hem; flared pencil skirts‚ they all look great when paired with a simple white shirt or blouse underneath!

Tops: A denim top is a great way to add some colour to your outfit without having to worry about clashing colours together! You can find plenty of styles online from button-down shirts to crop tops.

Jeans: Denim jeans are the most popular denim item available in the market today and it’s safe to say it’s one of the fundamental elements of a casual wardrobe for all genders.

Different types of denim

Indigo: Indigo denim is made by dying the warp threads with indigo dye and using white threads as the weft.

Stretch: Stretch denim uses a weave of an elastic component to give the fabric extra flexibility. This type of denim is for making skinny jeans.

Crushed: This type of denim includes a weave that’s quite close to velvet. Its wrinkled appearance makes it a popular choice for jackets and skirts.

Acid-wash: Acid-wash denim is treat with chlorine that eats away at the dye, resulting in a marbled look.

Raw: This is a stiff fabric that’s has not been wash.

Sanforized: This type of denim is treated to offer durability and also reduces the chances of shrinkage during a wash.



So what does the future hold for this trend?

It is too soon to talk about a new black, but it seems inevitable that we will see more denim clothes being worn. To a certain extent, subtle changes in the fabric used are likely responsible for this trend. New technology will mean we continue to see the durability of denim remain and perhaps even increase in popularity in the years ahead.

We’ve learned denim fabric is both versatile and popular, and what’s more, it’s easy to work with. Also, use for DIY projects, this fabric is simple to sew and can be utilised in a variety of sewing methods. With the right fabric, you can create anything from bags to skirts to shorts; in fact, anything! So what are you waiting for? Order your denim fabric today with Discount Fabrics.