Facts about Denim
Denim is a rugged fabric made of cotton in a twill fashion. The difference between denim and cotton twill is the diagonal ribbing on the reverse side of the fabric. Denim has been the fabric of the clothing of slaves, laborers, rebels, hippies, celebrities and everyday people for centuries.
French History of Denim Fabric
There was a fabric made in Nimes, France by the Andre family called “serge.” This fabric was made of silk and wool, but woven in the denim fashion. This is thought to be the first denim fabric produced. This denim fabric was originally called serge de Nimes, but later was called denim to give it a shorter name. Soon after the Italians from Genoa wore this denim as trousers finally the name “jeans” came to be after the Genoans who wore these pants.
American Denim History
Americans started falling in love with denim as a working material in the 18th century. It is recorded that George Washington toured a production line of denim in Massachusetts in 1798. Slaves and blue color laborers wore denim because of its durability and strength. During the 19th century, the miners of the California gold rush needed strong clothing to handle the harsh work environment so Levi–he was called Loeb at birth–Strauss developed a pair of “jeans” that started a huge fashion craze in America.
During the same time, the railroad workers wore a similar fabric called hickory cloth that was denim with white and black contrasting threads in the denim pattern. This cloth was known to be tough as hickory wood so these workers were called “hicks.” The modern usage of this term refers to someone who lives in a remote, rural area far from civilization.
Dry denim is denim that is not washed after being dyed after being produced. It is known to fade slowly as the consumer wears the article made of denim. Some consumers prefer this type of denim because they can “age” their denim in a more natural way rather than buying a piece of denim clothing that is pre-distressed by the manufacturer.
Uses for Denim
Denim fabric has been made into jeans, shorts, overalls, skirts, jackets, bags, capris, shoes, dresses, duvet covers, curtains and shirts.
Care of Denim
Denim is a rugged fabric. It can be washed in hot or cold water and dried on high or low heat. Since denim is made of cotton, it has a tendency to shrink when first washed. To reduce the risk of shrinking, wash in cold water and dry on a low heat or hang to dry.