Everything you need to know
Denim plays a part in all of our lives in some way, whether it’s that one trusty pair of jeans that see you through every school run, denim shorts that are perfect for when the sun decides to shine, or perhaps even a denim jacket from the 80s that you just can’t bear to let go of (we don’t blame you!)
Comforting, enduring and always stylish, we live in our jeans at Joules and since the launch of our Denim Shop we’ve been adding even more denim styles, cuts and washes that are made to fit in with our customers’ lifestyles while adding our own take on trends too.
So, as we add more denim to our collections, it seemed only right for us to answer some common questions, including where denim came from and how to care for it once you’ve brought it home, in our own ultimate denim guide.
Grab yourself a cup of tea (maybe a biscuit or two) and enjoy the read!
The history and making of Denim
Denim has slotted into everyone’s wardrobes with very few questions asked, but as we’re a brand with a story to tell, we love nothing more than finding out more about the origins of the fabrics we’re using.
And denim, as you can imagine, has quite an interesting history.
Where did Denim come from?
The denim fabric we all know and love wearing on our country jaunts was first created in the southern French city of Nimes, which, during the 18th and 19th centuries enjoyed a thriving textile industry.
There, the fabric was better known as ‘Serge de Nimes’ which means ‘Sturdy fabric from Nimes’. – simple but to the point!
Who invented Denim?
You might have guessed, but it was of course Levi Strauss who first turned Serge de Nimes, or, ‘denim’ into clothing. In the 1860s he became fascinated with the fabric’s durability and the benefit it would have among the American manual workers.
Pairing up with tailor, Jacob W. Davis, he combined denim fabric with the now iconic copper rivets to create the first pair of denim jeans. Well, it was overalls first, but it wasn’t long until jeans were invented and being worn by everyone.
How is Denim made?
Denim is made from cotton fibres that after being harvested from the cotton fruit are spun into yarn. It’s at this stage where the dye is added to give it that distinguishable ‘denim’ colour (indigo blue dye is the most iconic of them all).
The yarn is then woven on either a shuttle loom which creates a smooth and sturdy selvedge edge, or a projectile loom where the edges are more delicate and require sewing to keep them from unravelling.
What different types of denim are there?
You’ve probably found your perfect pair of jeans, whether it’s that stretchy pair that give your waist some breathing space or that structured style that give you a more tailored look (if not then our Denim Fit guide might help). But there are plenty of other types of denim fabric to explore beyond your fail-safe choice and the below are just some of the most popular.
used in denim such as our Monroe skinny jeans, stretch denim has a small amount of elastane added into the fabric to give it that movement and figure-hugging fit.
acid wash denim
That 80s trend that has never really left us, acid wash denim is specially manufactured to give it its marbled effect. To create the eye-catching pattern, the denim fabric is often treated with chlorine and a pumice stone.
To create the lived-in look of crushed denim, the fabric is woven with an over twist while in the loom which results in that permanent wrinkled effect.
Ecru refers to denim fabric that has skipped the dying process and takes on the natural colour of the cotton, so these are often a white or cream colour.
Short for polyester, Poly denim is often used to construct hats, shirts and jackets. Small polyester fibres are added into the fabric to give it that soft-to-the-touch feel and to make it easier to care for (music to our ears!).
Caring for Denim
Built to last and made to endure all of your outdoor adventures, our denim jeans have been made to be part of your life for years to come. But to keep them looking their best for longer, all denim needs a little care and attention from time to time.
Our Denim Care Guide has all the handy information you need on caring for your denim at home including the perfect temperature to wash it at and the benefits of putting your denim in the freezer
(we promise it works!).
We’ve answered a few common questions below too...
Will Denim shrink?
We can all unite in that feeling of pulling on a pair of freshly washed jeans (jumping adds some dramatic effect) and feeling as if they have shrunk a few sizes. But that is because they actually have shrunk… just slightly.
Each pair of jeans generally shrink and stiffen in the wash and then expand when they become reacquainted with your body.
Should I wash Denim?
All clothes need washing regularly to remove smells or stains, but denim is a fabric that can endure a little more time between washes.
Many people resist the urge to wash their jeans too often to keep a shape that’s comfortable for their body. While it’s entirely possible to go without washing them for six months, we always recommend washing ours every 5-6 wears.
If you do choose to wash your jeans more regularly, consider a slower cycle or even hand washing them. There are plenty of alternative ways to wash denim which we’ve highlighted in our Denim Care Guide
Can you dye Denim?
Yes! As a brand that is always coming up with fun new prints, designs and ideas, we love to encourage our customers to do the same and getting creative with some dye is always a fun (but slightly messy) activity.
Dying your jeans is a great way to give some life back into tired-looking denim, or to simply create a unique-to-you style. There are lots of different colours available on the high street and online, so grab a bucket and some dye and see what you come up with!