Whom is wearing Jeans?

 

Jeans: everyone's choice.

Jeans can be worn to work, in the garden, for lounging, dancing or just hanging out.

Especially fashion jeans come in many different styles, colors, fabrics and washings. People from every social level have at least 1 pair of jeans in their possession, making it the most common item on the planet.

Basic Materials

Most jeans are made from 100 % cotton or a mix of cotton and other fibers. Fashion jeans depend mostly on a blend of spandex (Lycra ©) and cotton to create the stretch effect for best fit and comfort. A percentage of between 2 and 8 percent spandex is most popular and can be easily found in most denim producing countries. Recently, several smaller jeans manufacturers have started to use Tencel / cotton blended fabric to produce jeans.

Denim tends to soften by wearing and washing it, thus creating the feel of well-worn blue jeans. If the denim is blended with Tencel fiber the wear will be similarly to cotton, but as it dyes easier, much more colors are possible.

Fabric

Regular denim is a very tight woven twill construction. From top to bottom yarns are dyed with indigo dye or blue/black dye and from left to right the yarns remain white. The yarns have a very strong twist to make them more durable, but this affects the color also. The yarns are twisted together so tight that the indigo dye usually only colors the surface, leaving the center of the fabric white. As the fabric wears away during use, the white cotton yarn surface appears, giving denims a lighter or medium blue color. This same feature is an advantage in sandblasting and whiskers making process, but more about that later.

Nowadays many types of jeans will receive an extra (over)dye in the textile mill. These jeans will, therefore, have colored yarns in both directions and thus preserve their color much longer.

The yarns used in denims can vary in weight from 5 to as much as 15.5 ounces / square yard of fabric. The heavier the fabric, the more durable it will be.

Distressed Denim

For several years now, fashion jeans in distressed denim are highly popular. There are several treatments or looks available, like acid washing, stonewashing, damaged look, aged, white washed, bleach washed, super bleached and rinse washed. All of these resulting in a pre-worn look. Treatments will result in more texture, different coloring from frosted, bleached light to faded looks, and distressed edges.

Before the jeans buyers would break in their own denims by wearing, washing, bathing and sometimes even bleaching them. Now, it is more trendy (and easy) to buy jeans that look like they are already broken in. The distressed denim look is mostly achieved through the use of chemicals (bleaching), mechanical treatments (rubbing or abrading), or a combination of both. They can be achieved by variations of washing the denim fabric with special pumice stones soaked in a bleaching agent called potassium permanganate, in a huge washing machines. Different sized stones create different effects. By combining the bleaching, the pumice stones rubbing of the fabric surface and the laundry action itself the fabric will soften and abrade and create a worn or second hand look on the surface. A relatively long rinse wash is needed to remove the leftover bleach from the denim. If this step is skipped, the fabrics will turn yellow when they come in contact with warm water, hot air, or sunlight and this can then not be repaired. Even though this particular look is sometimes called "acid washed", there is no actual acid used anywhere in the process.  

Recently quite a few new processes have been introduced to achieve the same effect as, for instance, stonewashing, but at much lower costs. Sandblasting is a process which blasts small particles at denim fabric. This treatment uses very little chemicals. Another approach uses enzymes which break down cotton fibers used in denim, causing the highly twisted yarns to release indigo dye and soften thus lightening the fabric. Regardless of what method is chosen to make distressed jeans, the lifetime of the garment will be shortened. Excessive bleaching and abrading could even weaken the fibers to the point where holes will appear and seams may break. It is estimated that an average acid wash affects the fabric more than 25 home washings. In the past we have seen several do-it-yourself kits available to the end user. If you wanted to "distress" your own jeans, with your own unique patterns, this was the way to do it. Most of these kits used some type of mild bleaching agent or just a plain pumice stone for rubbing. Although these processes are not as strong as the industrial treatments, they will still lower the jeans wear life. Denim producers may also use special yarns and weaving techniques to give the denim softer touch than regular denims. Some of these techniques will result in an "antique" look but without the damaged edges. This, combined with a mixture of finishes, such as sandblasting and stonewashes, are used to enhance the antique or worn looks.

Shrinkage

Most Jeans are made of Sanforized denim. Sanforzing is a process that prevents excessive shrinkage and reduces wrinkling. Jeans that have been pre-washed (nearly all) are preshrunk during processing.

Styling

The most basic of styles is probably the standard 5 pocket jeans. This style was made famous by Levi's © in its 501 model. Nowadays you will find that there are a lot more styles available. Below are some of the details that are of importance when creating a style. First, there is the leg width. Straight leg, boot cut and flare, are just some of the choices available in the jeans market today. Straight leg jeans for men measure about 20 inches at the knee and 20 inches at the leg bottom. The boot cut is like a light flare with a 19 inch knee to a bottom width of 21 inches. The flare is roughly 21 inch at the knee and 23 inch bottom. Fashion and styling details are given more attention by designers, as reflected in market offerings with much styling variety beyond traditional jeans looks. Oversized, baggy models in various washes and with localized abrasion are newer offerings. Other looks are achieved in combining different fabric, using fabrics inside out, button enhancements, and more creative pocket designs. Brand differentiation is also done through different pocket designs, especially for hip (hop) pockets. The pocket shape, stitching pattern, paint and colorful embroideries are varied to create interesting and distinctive garment detail. Four- and five-pocket styling dominates the jeans market. Brand name clothing designers are creating jeans for all members of the family. In some cases there are special or almost hidden details, such as designer name or initials on snaps or nails, embroidered signatures, or symbols on coin or leg pockets. Although some designers make jeans for a full figure, most jeans designers now cater to persons with slender bodies. New model names for different fits or cuts clearly show on how jeans fit. End users mostly cite satisfaction in fit as the main reason why they select a favorite brand or style. Another popular feature is partly elastic waistbands for senior men's pants, but also for fast growing children, that adjust as the individual moves or bends. Other accessories may include (decorative) belts. Jeans come in many colors, differing from traditional indigo blue or black to frosted, washed, powdered lights or dark washes. These days you will find other colors in denim or twill cotton like: brown, tan, wheat, gold, brick red, olive, purple, etc. A few factories still offer very bright colors such as bright turquoise, fuchsia, and even loud orange. In the middle of the nineties, manufacturers were expected to provide tinted neutrals and soft hues such as straw yellow, terra cotta, and stone. Deep tones and overdyes can make extra or stronger colors. The use of various color thread for top stitching can add decorative detailing. Instead of matching thread or standard orange thread, red, white, or light blue thread is used on blue or black denims.

Construction

The way jeans are cut, assembled and finished will greatly influence their appearance as well as the durability. Since most jeans are worn quite often, they must be made very well. In general, make certain that the stitching is straight the stitch length is even, and that the threads are secured (locked) at ends of stitching. Bar tacks and rivets may serve as reinforcements on places of stress like the belt loops, at pocket openings and under the zipper. Other important details are:
Waistbands - The band should be cut in one piece, unless the design allows this. Check to be sure belt loops are securely attached, evenly distributed along the waist band and big enough to hold different kinds of belts in place.
Fly - The fly area should be of a double fabric thickness. Again, look for straight stitching and at least one bar tack to reinforce the bottom of the fly. The zipper should be strong and long enough to easily put on jeans. It is possible that the zipper will not open smoothly the first few times. This can be considered normal and is a result of the factory washing. Make sure that the zipper has a secure lock feature. That is, the zipper glide should remain in place at the top when stress is applied to the hip area of the jeans.
Seams - Check to be sure that the seams on the jeans are smoothly constructed and the sewing has been done evenly. A three line stitching is not necessarily stronger than a two line stitching. Also check the crotch and yoke areas, both inside and outside. They should be properly finished for a smooth appearance and durability.
Other details - The button holes should be stitched closely, with no loose threads or exposed edges and should open easily. Good pockets have the edges turned inside and they have been placed evenly and securely on the jeans. Lining or inside pocket fabric should be dense and not pucker. Unlike the out seam stitching, the lining stitching is stronger if three lines are used. The bottom hems should be even, flat and securely stitched and locked.   

Size/Fit

Jeans are available in sizes for everyone: men, women, misses, juniors, boys, girls, teen, and special (big and tall) sizes or cuts. What size and type to buy will be influenced by: - Your measurements - Your body shape - male or female - current fashion

Generally, men's jeans are chosen by waist size and inseam measurement in inches. Boys' jeans may be sold by size number, such as 8 to 18. Misses' and women's jeans are sold by garment size, such as Misses 8, 10, 12, etc., or women's sizes 36, 38, 40, 42, etc. In Europe and other continents jeans sizes may even be an expression of length in cm's, 128, 164 etc. Jeans are usually cut to fit different body shapes. Some jeans have just a regular styling while specialized brand make extra or big sizes. Other terms used may include "cowboy cut," "relaxed fit," "full cut," or "loose fit." If girls want to purchase men's jeans, they may want to refer to special conversion charts available at most department stores. However, they should be prepared to experience some discomfort as the front- and back-rise as well as the general hip measurements in men's jeans are quite different than the women's body shape. It's best to try on jeans whenever possible. Make use of size/measurement information and consider if regular, full, or slim would be comfortable. Remember to allow about 3% extra for shrinkage.

Bach to the jeans factory startpage or on to the jeans designers info page