What is denim? How could it be made? Where does cotton result from? What makes jeans only blue on the outside? Whats the difference end up beingtween selvedge denim and ordinary denim?
In the event that you sell jeans for a living, Im sure you get questions like these on a fairly regular basis. To answer such questions, you need to understand the intricate processes of how denim is manufactured. Once you master this knowledge, the tricky part is how you said into context; how you utilize it to see stories.
This is actually the first in a series of five episodes offering an accurate and condensed outline of the complete production procedure for denim. The series was made to be an in-depth reference tool with factual answers to questions related to how denim is made.
Approaching the production process chronologically, this episode looks at the first stage; the principal raw material in Denim Fabric, cotton.
What Is Cotton?
Cotton is the most important raw material had a need to make denim. Most of us know cotton from the soft pads and balls we use to stop bleedings, and girls use to put up make-up.
Its an all natural fibre that originates from the cotton plant; an ancient crop has been grown for a large number of years. Cotton used to be a wild crop, but cotton has evolved through breeding and genetic assist with become simpler to process and also to provide an improved yield.
The cotton plants fruit, known as the cotton boll, yields a fluffy white, raw fibre called the lint. Thats whats used to make denim. Each boll is the size of a fig and contains around , fibres. Visit: ineedfabric.com
Cotton is one of the worlds most significant crops in conditions of usability, monetary value and environmental impact of its production. Within the denim industry, cotton is without question the most crucial raw material. Back the day, denim was almost exclusively created from % cotton. Today, consumers demand denim that stretches, which means the fabric will involve some type of polyester-based elastomer inside it. But even then, % of the raw material is cotton.
How Cotton is Made
The cotton plant requires a lot of sunshine to grow. It requires typically days from the seeds are planted to the dried-up locks of cotton are prepared for picking. The very best yield originates from latitudes between north and south. To put that into perspective; thats south of Venice in Italy and north of basically most of Africa.
Each plant produces around to grammes per season, from around bolls per plant. That means you will need two plants to have sufficient cotton to help make the denim necessary for the average pair of five-pocket jeans.
Once harvested, the raw cotton undergoes the ginning process at the cultivation site. This technique separates the fibres from the seeds. The cotton is first vacuumed into tubes that make it to a dryer to reduce mowill beture. Next, the natural cotton is cleaned to remove any foreign matter.
After ginning, the raw fibres are compressed into bales, each weighing around kilos, this means enough to create denim for about pairs of jeans.
Nowadays, cotton is grown on all continents, aside from Antarctica, obviously. China, america, India and Pakwill betan would be the worlds biggest natural cotton-growing nations. But Brazil, Turkey and Australia may also be churning out their fair share, that is expanding. After you add every one of them up, these countries offer the most the cotton that results in our denim.
Physical Properties of Cotton
Cotton is defined and categorised predicated on a couple of physical properties, including staple length, fineness and maturity, strength and colour.
Staple length refers to the distance of the fibre, and its the main physical property of cotton. There are several types of cotton with different staple sizes. For jeans production, Upland cotton from the short staple family is mostly used, with a staple amount of one inch is usually sufficient.
Generally, short staple cotton is cheaper and of lower quality. But since denim is usually created from yarn with a coarse yarn count-thats the thickness of the yarn, which Ill talk more about in the episode about spinning-long staple cotton is not essential. However, extra-long staple (ELS) cottons such as Egyptian Giza, Indian Suvin, and Chinese Xinjiang may be used to make denim.
The fineness and maturity of any cotton fibre are essential too. The finer and older a fibre is the better the quality of it. These properties are measured in micronaire, which is the environment permeability of compressed cotton. Using cotton with a low micronaire count contributes to neppy yarn plus much more waste, as it breaks easier.
Theres also the effectiveness of the fibre, that is measured as tensile strength. This lets you know the maximum load that fibres will hold before they break. Obviously, this influences the strength of the final fabric.
Finally, theres the colour of the fibre, which distinguishes one batch of cotton from another. The colour is most significant if the cotton ends up undyed in the fabric.
Great things about Cotton in Denim
So, why is denim manufactured from cotton? What are the benefits?
Apart from the undeniable fact that cottons been with us for more than years, it is still popular because its comfortable, breathable, durable, and since it looks great when you weave it into fabrics.
In conditions of what makes one kind of cotton much better than another, you need to look into the properties of the fibre. The longer the staple, the finer and older, and the more robust a fibre is, the bigger the quality.
The grade of cotton also depends on where its grown, how it is harvested and the seasonal conditions during cultivation. That said, there are many misunderstandings about the influence on the grade of where cotton is grown. An example is ELS cotton from Zimbabwe, which is not by default top quality than similar types of cotton grown in places like the united states. The difference is how it is picked and processed. In most developed countries, cotton is picked with large mechanical harvesters. In some developing nations, like Zimbabwe, cotton is still picked by hand.
THE INFO Problem with Cotton
that retailers often dont know much about what kind of cotton the jeans theyre selling are produced from. But, most of enough time, theyre never to blame. As the guys that retailers obtain, the wholesalers and sales reps, dont know either.
One of the main known reasons for this, when i see it, is the fact consumers generally dont care. They take cotton for granted. Its regarded as a commodity, and some degree it is. But like Im arguing in this website post-and Im sure any cotton farmer, denim maker or well-informed denimhead will agree-cotton isnt just cotton.
As somebody who sells jeans, you can help change this ignorance that by asking your supplier about the cotton that the denim is manufactured out of.