Denim Fabric: Types and Manufacturing Process

Overview of Denim Fabric: Types and Manufacturing Process of Denim

Bhavdip Paldiya
Dept. of Textile Technology
Sarvajanik College of Engineering & Technology, Surat, India


What is Fabric?
The word “textile” comes from the Latin “texere”, “to weave.” It originally meant a fabric made from woven fibers. Today, the word “textile” includes fabrics produced by felting, weaving, knitting, and knotting fibers. It also refers to man-made fabrics which may be produced by other methods.

How is Fabric Made?
Most fabric is made from fibers. Fibers are simply long thin strands of various materials. Some fibers are natural. They come from plants like cotton or flax, a silk worm’s cocoon, the leaves of pineapple plants, or from animals, like sheep or even camels. Before natural fibers can be used to make fabric, they must be harvested and cleaned. Other fibers are manufactured. These include nylon, polyester, and rayon, and other brand name fibers.

What is denim fabric (Jeans)?
Denim is more than just a cotton fabric; it inspires strong opinions within the hearts of historians, designers, teenagers, movie stars, reporters and writers. Interest bordering on passion can be found among textile and costume historians today, especially in the debate over the true origins of denim. In 1969 a writer for American Fabrics magazine declared, “Denim is one of the world’s oldest fabrics, yet it remains eternally young.”

Denim Fabric
Fig: Denim Fabrics

Denim was first made in the 16th Century at a place called Nimes in France. The name ‘denim’ comes from the French words ‘serge de Nimes’ (fabric of Nimes). Around the 1940s denim started to be used in different clothing forms such as wet weather gear and sports clothes.

It was not until the 1970s that denim started to become fashionable, particularly with American youth. It is interesting to note that there is some contention about Levi’s and other denim products being cotton, some view the early denim as ‘hemp’.

Denim as fashion:
Denim, in the form of jeans, went from being a cheap cloth for cowboys and poorer people to being a popular type of cloth worn by all kinds of people. When it became trendy it also became big business.

The word ‘jeans’ comes from ‘Genes’, the French word for Genoa. Indian fishermen and sailors were wearing similar trousers called dungarees. The original jeans were a natural pale stone colour and not indigo (blue). Eventually the leaves of the Indigofera plant were used to dye the fabric a deep blue. Indigofera grows mainly in India, and the name indigo is a Spanish form of the word India.

Denim’s durability is due to the weave, called a twill weave. Twill weaves have great abrasion resistance, meaning the fabric will absorb a lot of friction before it breaks apart. The reason for such great durability is the way the yarns are woven together: one set of yarns floats over another 2–4 set of yarns at regular intervals to create a diagonal textured fabric surface. It is these yarn “floats” that absorb the abrasion. When the floating yarns are worn away, there are still more yarns underneath to hold the fabric together.

Distinctive features:

  • The character of the diagonal surface texture: The twill line can follow upward to the right (right-hand twill) or upward to the left (left-hand twill) diagonal direction. All will function as denim fabrics, but the width and angle of the diagonal line will change: the more yarns floated over and the shallower diagonal direction, the more pronounced the diagonal lines. The fewer yarns floated over, and the steeper the diagonal direction, the less noticeable the diagonal lines.
Weave structure of denim
Weave structure of denim
  • Indigo (dark navy) warp yarns and light colour weft yarns: The surface floating yarns are always indigo and show the diagonal texture, and when worn away reveal the light colour yarns underneath. Denim is never one colour. Such fabrics are called “drill” or “bull denim.”
  • Cotton fiber is most often used to produce denim: However, hemp fiber is better suited to denim fabrics due to its greater strength, lighter weight, better water absorption, and faster drying time. Denim produced with hemp fiber will use less water and energy in both production and care. There are new cottonizing methods for hemp now, so the feel of hemp fiber is almost indistinguishable from cotton.
  • Resin treatments: All denim fabrics are treated with a resin before leaving the textile mill. This resin, which makes the fabric very stiff, will eventually wash out.

Structure of denim Fabrics:

Structure of denim Fabric
Fig: Structure of denim Fabrics

Flowchart of denim manufacturing:

Flow chart of manufacturing denim
Flow chart of manufacturing denim

Types of denim fabrics:
The following types of fabrics are some of the modernized denim.

1. Denim shirt fabrics:
Look in anyone’s closet and will find denim. Durable and comfortable, denim is a staple classic piece of apparel that has been popular for decades. With correct manufacturing, denim becomes even more attractive with age.

Denim’s ability to complement any colour, along with ease of care and universal apparel makes it ideal for all occasions, especially.

i. Men’s Denim Shirts
ii. Long sleeve
iii. Short sleeve
iv. Women’s denim shirts

  • Long sleeve
  • ½ sleeve tapered
  • Sleeveless tapered
Denim shirt
Fig: Denim shirt Fabrics

2. Dark indigo denim:
This was an example of a typical method used in the U.S. for a very dark shade. In order to produce the same depth of colour as 1.2% in the U.S., in Latin America 2.0% is used and in Asia from 2.4 to 2.8%. The U.S. method results in more surface (ring dyeing), which loses colour faster.

Dark Indigo denim
Fig: Dark Indigo denim

3. TR stretch denim fabrics:
Stretch knitted fabric, weft knitted

TR stretch denim fabric
Fig: TR stretch denim fabrics

4. Colored denim fabric:
Composition: 90% cotton+10% spandex, multi coloured Yarn Dyed

Colored denim fabric
Fig: Colored denim fabric

5. Slub Denim Fabric:
Slub yarns are used for manufacturing of this type of denim fabrics.

Slub Denim Fabric
Slub Denim Fabrics

6. Terry Denim Fabric:

Terry Denim Fabric
Fig: Terry Denim Fabric

7. Jacquard Denim Fabrics:

Jacquard Denim Fabric
Fig: Jacquard Denim Fabric

8. Flower Pattern Denim:

Flower Pattern Denim
Fig: Flower Pattern Denim

9. Flaw Pattern Denim:

Flaw Pattern Denim
Fig: Flaw Pattern Denim

10. Snake Pattern Denim Fabric:

Snake Pattern Denim Fabric
Fig: Snake Pattern Denim Fabric

11. Satin Denim Fabric:

Satin Denim Fabric
Fig: Satin Denim Fabric

12. Recycled denim fabric:

Recycled denim fabric
Fig: Recycled denim fabric

13. Poly/Cotton blend for weft TR denim fabric:

Poly/Cotton blend for weft TR denim fabric
Fig: Poly/Cotton blend for weft TR denim fabric

14. Coated denim fabric:

Coated denim fabric
Fig: Coated denim fabric

Country wise export of cotton denim fabrics:

Country wise export of cotton denim fabrics
Fig: Country wise export of cotton denim fabrics

Year wise denim developing history:

Year wise denim developing history
Fig: Year wise denim developing history



You may also like:

  1. Process Flow Chart of Denim Manufacturing
  2. Latest Dry Washing Techniques in Denim Garments
  3. Latest Dry Washing Techniques in Denim Garments
  4. Improving Comfort Properties of Denim Fabric through Washing Treatment
  5. Effect of Random Wash on Denim Fabrics by Using Different Techniques
  6. Textile Recycling and Uses of Recycled Denim
  7. Woven and Knitted Denim Manufacturing and Limitations of Woven Denim
  8. Innovation in Spinning Technologies for Denim Wear

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