Denim– Denim is hard-wearing cotton fabric. It is manufactured using a twill weave, which is typically woven using a coloured warp (usually navy blue) and an un-dyed or white weft thread. It can be produced in a variety of weights. Many denim fabrics nowadays also contain Elastane to create ‘stretch denim’ making a more comfortable fit. Denim was originally used primarily for workwear but it is now more commonly used for leisurewear and can have a multitude of finishing processes applied at garment construction stages, such as stonewashing, bleaching or artificially distressing. Denim can be recognised by the diagonal lines in the fabric created by the twill weave and highlighting the use of two different colour of thread. Denim was originally known as ‘Serge de Nimes’ meaning a Serge fabric from the city of Nimes in southern France.

How is cotton made?

Cotton is a natural cellulose fibre from the seed boll of the cotton plant. The majority of cultivated cotton is grown in America, China and India, where the conditions are dry and warm. Once the cotton boll is ready it is picked, the seeds are removed and the soft white fibres are removed in a process called ginning. These are what make the cotton fabric; and when harvested they have to be untangled from each other and aligned as they are very fine and fluffy. This process is called combing or carding. At the spinning mill next, the cotton fibres are spun and twisted into cotton yarn which it then woven or knitted into a multitude of cotton fabrics.

Main Physical Properties of Cotton Fabric

  • Naturally Breathable
  • Non-Static because it always contains some moisture
  • Absorbs up to 65% of its own weight without dripping
  • Soft Handle, Good Drape, Dries Slowly
  • Good strength, abrasion resistance and durability
  • Poor Elasticity, so creases easily.
  • Biodegradable and Recyclable
  • Easy to wash and dye
  • Can be boiled and bleached
  • Can be Mercerised to create a higher lustre and strength
  • Can be treated with stain-resistant finishes using Teflon or silicone.

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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