Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim – In addition to interesting facts about Jeans, durability, weaving, raw denim, something from history. We also learn new possibilities for your choice of a new pair for spring 2022. Now you can get a new dark blue pair of raw jeans that will shape your body and fade as you wear them. In choosing the price-quality ratio, the recommendation is the model of the American brand Tellason Stock, for $99. But if you appreciate the “eternal” Levis, Vogue also suggests a female model Levis 501, made of raw denim. Purchase is possible at a local store or by e-buy, for 150 USD.

I will briefly refer to historical facts about the origin and the transformation that took place with this, nowadays universal pant type. Blue jeans (blue jeans) originated as rough clothes of miners in the times of the “gold fever”; Texas cowboys in movies celebrated blue jeans; Since the middle of the last century, the external mark of numerous rebellious movements; To this day, jeans have become a global symbol of clothing. In our country, in Serbia, the common name is denim jeans or just jeans. The specific focus of this post will be on clarifications of technological features where I find it necessary.

Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim – Creating a brand Levi Strauss & Co

Levis and jeans have generally become what they are, thanking the idea for workers’ pants to make stronger with copper rivets on the critical spots. Jacob Davis, a tailor from the Reno in 1871, sewed pants from a blue denim twill from the Levi Strauss trade. These were the so-called suspender trousers. The invention was that he hardened the item with copper rivets on the pockets and edges, places that tear. Realizing the great value of the invention, the proposed to Strauss to pay the costs of patenting in exchange for half of the shares in the business. In 1873, they received a patent for trousers with rivets.

Jeans Selvage Raw Denim-copper-rivets-with-date-and-patent-ownership.jpg
Copper rivet with the date and patent ownership.jpg
Hardening-with-copper-rivets- inventors-Levi-Strauss-Jacob-Davis.jpg
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis invented hardening with copper rivets.jpg
Denim-Advertisement-patent-riveted-clothing-Levi Strauss-1874.jpg
Advertisement about patent riveted clothing, Levi Strauss, 1874.jpg

This made the trousers stronger for a laborer’s daily wear. Very soon these pants became the favorite clothing of miners, foresters, and cowboys who “tamed” the Wild West at the time. At first, the original design was called “XX” then in 1890, a model with serial number 501 was launched. Men wore them with suspenders, what for was named, until the mid-1930s, when the names jeans or blue jeans were introduced. In 1960, The Company erased the previous name, suspenders from advertisements, and used only the name jeans.

Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim-LEVI’S-mark-on-red-canvas-sewn-to-back-pocket-1936.jpg
LEVI’S mark on red canvas sewn to back pocket 1936.jpg

Denim fabric from Europe (the material for first Jean pants ) a cult American product

The fabric is sturdy and coarse twill weave technique, using blue colored warp and white weft in the opposite direction with the weft passing under the warp threads except one above.  A widely held view is that it was ‘born’ in Nîmes, France. Named “Serge de Nîmes” (twill from Nîmes) or Bleu de Nîmes (blue from Nîmes).

According to a legend about invention, weavers in Nimes tried to copy cotton fabric from Genoa existing in the 16th Century. So they created an even better quality material. Since the blue indigo color originated via Genoa, hence the name jeans, from the French name for Genoa (Gênes). It was the blue fabric, Genoese blue “blue de Genes” which phonetically turned into gin. Italians called this material a gene, the French – jane, and first in England and then in America, jean. In our country first denim, then later jeans, and finally the influence of the media, denim.

For the first half-century after the creation of jeans, only work clothes remained at first, miners, foresters, cattle breeders, sailors, and all workers on dirty jobs. Durable but cheap and repulsive to others, which would have lasted longer if the children’s fashion of cowboy pants had not happened.

Since the 1920s, as a cowboy costume, jeans overcome despised just work clothes. Children free from conventions, fascinated by western movies, wanted jeans for themselves to dress like their idols from the screen. Adults rarely wear them except for dirty work. Of the early jeans makers, Wrangler and Lee Cooper survived alongside Levis.

In the 40s, workwear in factories: during World War II, many Americans first wore jeans in factories to produce for U.S. Warfare.

Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim, phenomenon since mid the 20th Century

In the 1950s, decent society did not accept wearing blue jeans: When the war ended, many soldiers and workers continued to wear jeans. But this brought them the countercultural and anti-social etiquette in the majority’s eyes of society in the 1950s. Teenagers from the suburbs, on the contrary, identified with the defiant denim characters in movies. Marlon Brando as a fierce biker in the 1953 film “The Wild One” caused a wide promotion of Levi’s 501 styles with boots and a leather jacket.

Western star Tom Mix wearing jeans in “The Untamed” 1920.jpg
Jeans-Selvage-Raw-Denim-Marlon-Brando-in-The Wild One-1953.jpg
Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” 1953.jpg

Also, about women’s jeans, millions of girls, both fashion and celebrity fans of that time, imitated Marilyn Monroe. The pair of blue jeans could be an image of the moderate sexuality of Marylin as a sex symbol of the time. Finally, Elvis Presley brought jeans global popularity. The turning point was his film “Jailhouse Rock” in 1957. The “King’s” following extravagances were impossible to ignore. Thus, over the following decades, Texas became a common casual clothing option.

In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe was among the first women to wear the Levis 501, 2016.jpg
Elvis Presley brought jeans global popularity. The turning point, film “Jailhouse Rock”, 1957.

Denim Blue Jeans as a pop culture instrument

A century and a half after the American patent from 1873, no. 139,121 jeans become the most common clothes Now everyone wears them, whether they are prestigious originals or copies. Jeans today have the character of a universal phenomenon of popular culture. Jeans have reflected its universality in wearing worldwide; and the universal characteristic of wearing jeans is social equality, unisex, worn regardless of race and age, in rural and urban areas.

Jeans as a symbol of solidarity and the struggle for racial equality; March 250,000 protesters in Washington 1963.jpg
San-Francisco-Levis-starting-point- hippies-rebellion-movement-wearing-jeans.jpg
San Francisco, the Levis starting point and hippies` rebellion movement spirit wearing jeans from head to toe.jpg

According to John Fisk, a theorist of contemporary culture, jeans are among the main fields of action of popular culture. An individual reshapes clothes and thus denies the offer of mass production. Appearance creates one’s meanings and broader messages.

Fisk illustrates this with a survey of students. In the total of 125, 118 wore jeans that day. The answer to the question of what jeans mean to them personally came down to two points: jeans deny social differences, and jeans represent the freedom to be who you are. Both illustrate the essential contradictions that are the basis of popular culture. Jeans stood out among the main fields of action of popular culture, which undermines the offer of mass products to create their meanings and messages.

Production of Selvage Raw Denim fabric

The raw material for weaving denim fabric is natural cotton100%. After burst mature seeds, follows the harvest soft fluffy fibers. Next, people clean cotton from seeds and sort the fiber by length. Both warp and weft, are long fiber yarns of the best quality.

Ring or double-ring spun denim is more desirable, because it is thicker, which leads to stronger fade contrasts. The spinning technique consists of stretching, twisting, and winding spun threads. Such yarn is thicker, with unevenness, which later gives stronger contrasts on the fabric when rubbing the color. The reason is the indigo dyeing technology that absorbs the surface, while the middle of the thread remains uncolored.

Denim, face, enlarged detail of my slightly worn jean pants.jpg
Denim, the reverse of the same item, enlarged detail.jpg

Uneven warp-faced twill is the standard technique of weaving denim. The fabric is direct Z-twill 3/1, less often 2/1. Hence, 3/1 twill is the most common in selvage denim. Any denim over a 10.5 Oz. per square yard weight is 3/1.  The technique defines an intersection in which there are several warp threads above, and only one warp thread crosses below the weft thread. Hence, the twill weave has a diagonal ribbed structure. Most denim is in the Z direction (from the lower-left corner to the upper right).

The woven fabric wrap in rolls of canvas and sent in a brand that will create and sew garments. Some brands of jeans of selvage raw denim organize production serial operations, while others favor the manual work of an individual on a piece of clothing as a whole.

Selvage denim fabric with edges, woven at traditional shuttle loom

Until the 1950s, denim manufacturers produced almost all fabric on narrow shuttle looms. It was traditional denim, woven by hand with a shuttle across the whole width, inserting continuous weft. On the weaving loom, warp threads are parallel, tightly stretched lengthwise, and weft wound cotton coils into some kind of shuttle. The weave is with a continuous weft because it passes back and forth on both sides of the loom. So, collectively, the warp and weft compose a piece of fabric.

The lengthwise threads of the warp dyed blue interlace with the weft of natural color, i.e. not dyed cotton yarn. That is why the finished fabric has a dark blue fabric face, while the opposite reverse look is mostly white. Handweaving at shuttle loom is incomparably slower, so it makes production more expensive. But the finished fabric has solid edges because of weaving with a continuous weft in both directions. That is why such material has both side edges flat and firm. This incomparably contributes to the quality of the fabric, the efficiency of the weaving process as well as the quality of the final product.

We have an example, plan for tailoring jeans, how are large quarters of a pair of jeans in ideal positions along solid edges in the fabric format. The width, a little more than 90 cm, is perfect for arranging all the components. You can see four main designed pieces of jeans at the outer edges of the fabrics. In addition to the economical use of materials, this tailoring plan also allows for a consistent, smooth look of the denim texture. When sewing, it saves the seams of the hem, and most importantly, ensures the strength of the outer seam of the jeans.

Selvage jeans made of fabric with firm edges

The total production of denim from the 19th until the middle of the 20th century was with solid edges. The much narrower fabric, in addition to the solid edge structures on both sides, is a much more even structure than with wide automatic machines. In the dense, tight material weft evenly compacted over the entire surface.

This type of fabric is the hem kind of denim. The name Selvage derived from “self-edge” means prevented from unraveling. The edges produced on these old looms are simple, woven with a continuous weft, which prevents them from unraveling and does not rip. At both ends, are stripes of characteristic color for a certain brand between the longitudinal threads. Those colored lines are Selvage IDs, which indicate the mill which produced the denim. Denim fans, being proud of that, often wear their trousers folded and rolled up so that the hem is visible. Selvage as the category refers to the process of making fabric, therefore, if woven in this way is always selvage denim.

Selvage-ID-marks-mill-which-produced-denim-red-traditionally- Cone-Mills-North-Carolina.jpg
Selvage ID s marks mill which produced denim. A red traditionally marks Cone Mills in North Carolina.jpg
In 2022. Trend Worn-Core is inspired by core wardrobe pieces worn as we consider what we need instead of what we want.jpg

The great consumers’ come back to traditional denim (with flat edges) has happened due to the fatigue of often ridiculous transformations, through decades of global mass popularity. Which led to saturation in the market with the mass production of jeans without a striking identity. At the beginning of this century, there was a great demand for classic shapes and solid quality. With the return of 1950s denim models, selvage denim became wanted. But in the meantime, manufacturers have replaced narrow looms with modern wide-roller machines.

Selvage Raw Denim from weaving mills of manual production

When the market grow up, several, still existing old weaving mills in America, had a minor production. However, several Japanese companies turned to the production of vintage denim and jeans in the way that American brands did around the 1950s. Copied antique yarn and weaving, remade buttons, and rivets. They searched for and bought old sewing machines that were once used in the production of American work clothes so that they could produce their own new “vintage” jeans.

Designers and staff especially insisted on reviving the controlled production of fabrics with a living edge. That detail, visible on the twisted legs, soon became the ultimate feature of the new jeans, and the vintage jeans are a must-have piece of clothing. Today, the Japanese Selvage is among the best, but The Cone Milles in North Carolina has survived in the American market (since 1891).

Mildred Bolenin, a denim weaver, spent her 50 years at the loom in Cone Denim’s factory, Greensboro, N.C. But her skills are still in hot demand.jpg

The key to the success of quality Japanese brands was conceiving and raising on the basis of the production of materials on the re-used American antique looms. Handmade production began in small family weaving workshops. These small producers have maintained the tradition for decades. As well as, owners of the looms carefully used them and took them care of in good condition.

Today, Japanese brands produce high-quality denim which customers consider almost the best in the world. The fashion of antique jeans in Japan spread in accordance with the attitude towards shopping. The Japanese focus their needs on what is important. In the late 1990s, this inspired many American brands to recreate vintage jeans.

Premium Jeans, Selvage Raw Denim

The Premium is currently the top category of jeans production for particularly demanding tastes, made in smaller series. In a time when the demand for vintage models grows up, special projects occur with the intention of offering the market something better. Meaning supreme here refers to a fully controlled standard of the entire production process.

It originated from the idea conceived in Los Angeles, to establish a special system for the production of jeans. Primarily, a network of domestic producers organized a specific concept of producing high-quality clothing based on local resources. In terms of quality and under those conditions, the price of producing a pair of jeans is necessarily significantly higher than the standard offer. However, buying from a local brand, in addition to quality, a larger selection of models, and custom orders, is especially important since it is an environmentally conscious decision. For example, due to the deprivation of harmful effects of exhaust gases due to the minimum transport in local production.

Los Angeles, CA is home to most premium denim production. There are fittings and wear testing aimed at ensuring the best quality jean for every body type. Each pair of denim is different from the other. It is because craftsmen distress, dye, and finish all working operations by hand. That makes each pair of denim different from the other. The secret to premium denim is all about finding your perfect fit.

Los-Angeles-USA-respected-premium-brands-denim- jeans-sold-over-world.jpg
Some of the most respected premium brands of denim. These jeans are sold all over the world because people love them.jpg
The details on your pocket say it all about the brand you carry. Pockets are definitely a critical place, the main target of the look at jeans.jpg

Raw selvage denim jeans in a modern offer

When we talk about raw denim, that means the fabric that remains without washing or any other mechanical or chemical treatment, from the moment when removal from the loom to the moment until a piece of clothing is sold to a customer. It’s denim in its undisturbed condition. Usually rough and stiff to the touch, and easily leaves traces of its indigo dye when rubbed against another surface. So keep it in mind, when wearing a new pair of raw denim jeans. For example, when visiting friends, you might leave a bit of blue dye behind.

As the raw fabric is stiff and tightens you, you need to endure some time of discomfort in a new pair of jeans. In order to shape them, it is optimal to wear them for several months before washing them. Thus, stiff jeans take on the imprints of the owner’s body shape and wear patterns. The fabric presses the body and stretches it, so the fabric becomes soft. Jeans took on a completely individual, unique shape. It is best to move gradually in them for housework, so you stretch them by adjusting.

Over time, the surface shades with natural wrinkles as you move and sit; by the shapes of the things, you carry in your pockets, how you gird yourself. Making raw jeans is identical to the pattern of a certain brand. They performed all the details, including the color and shape of the seams, the thickness of the thread, the strips, and specific seams. Thread design, their arrangement according to the prescribed reinforcements. As well as the thread of a certain color as the DNA of the brand in the living edge.

Benefits which new offer of raw jeans enables to you

Adjusting raw jeans for wearing comfort seems quite complicated. Then why would you pay significantly more for such jeans than an already processed pair?
It is a matter of your choice. You will pay if you want a pair of top-quality jeans, made in a small series. Models work from skilled hands, in a family workshop. There were carrying the craft for generations.

Special magic is how it will perfectly fit your body and became a part of your daily life. It will be a piece that you often wear, your favorite clothes that will last you for years.

There are also pragmatic arguments for choosing Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim:

  • Great durability, since the fabric is not chemically treated and sandblasted, you will get the full long life of the fabric. Just like the former work clothes from denim lasted a long time.
  • Ecologically-friendly production is related to the importance of controlled water wasting. The finishing treatment of one pair of jeans uses about 42 liters of water, much more than growing the amount of necessary cotton. Buying steamed, raw jeans saves all that water. At the same time, workers are not exposed to chemicals harmful to health.
  • Limit your wardrobe to the optimum need, because fans of raw denim will wear their effective and comfortable jeans for months or years. This could be your only pair in the wardrobe!
  • A higher value regarding quality, such items are highly valued. You will gain benefits reflected in durability. Believe me, which, in addition to higher purchase prices, brings much more savings.

Instructions: on how to choose new jeans from raw selvage denim

When you shop for raw jeans, in a store or e-shop, you must have some information. According to the type of model you want (straight, balloon, narrow or tight), in addition to the size, you should also take into account the characteristics of raw denim that subsequently affect the piece of clothing:

  • Weight – depending on the purpose, you choose a pair of fabrics of a certain weight. This indicates the weight in ounces (oz) per yard (91 cm). The range is ultra-light 5 oz. until extra-heavy 32 oz. Heavier fabric is firmer, stiffer, and will adapt to your body longer. The best choice compared to most of your needs, is an average of 12 to 15 oz is .
  • Selvage ID – You need to know the standards of the manufacturer because not every selvage denim implies the highest quality fabric. That’s why you pay attention to the colored stripe in the hem (weaver’s ID). Branded fabrics are always with this sign.
  • Sanforization – as you know, brands usually don`t treat raw jeans shrinkage. Otherwise, there is in declaration.
  • Fabric shrinkage – If the denim is completely raw, 5 to 10% pants should decrease measurements. Of course, depending on the quality, you may choose the size for you.

Measures: To buy raw denim online, you need eight key measures
By the way, there are scales of measures on the sites related to the subsequent shrinkage of the material. So with these instructions, you can buy any jeans, anywhere.

Jeans: measurement example.jpg

1. Waist

2. Front rise

3. Hip

4. Thigh

5. Lenght

6. Knee

7. Inseam

8. Leg opening

Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim – Levis, a unique continuity

The forerunner of Levis jeans was pants with rivets from 1853, made of hemp cloth prepared for the ship’s sails.

In 1873, tailor Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss patented the XX “jeans” of blue denim reinforced by copper rivets, the pants of the pioneers of the Wild West.

Levi Strauss & Co launched cult model Levis 501, in 1890. Over the past century, this model has symbolized the importance of jeans as a unique piece of clothing that represents the expression of multi-layered global change (cultural, social, economic, and technological). In step with the struggle for women’s equality in society, in 1934, the Lot 701 women’s model appeared, Lewis for ladies practical for an active woman.

Levis for ladies, in 1934, the Lot 701 women’s model.jpg

In the post-war period, in the 1950s, a self-conscious woman rejected the conventional image of a lovely female housewife. She wears jeans outside her own garden. As women feel attractive in jeans, wearing them if gather out on informal occasions.

But, in the 1960s, through the rebellion of “flower children”, jeans and informal clothing equally expresses the attitude and opinions of girls as well as young men.

Vogue magazine 1971, was for the first time, portrayed women in jeans on its cover.  While also has strongly promoted the status of jeans in the world of fashion with a collage of fashion photos. Additional comment: denim style (ideal of women of the world, they like how they look at it, they move easily, quickly, and gracefully) is a way of life. Jeans are casual and constantly evolving, which is actually the essence of their symbolism.

Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim/Levis`-501-  cover-Vogue-1971.jpg
Levis` 501 on the cover of Vogue, 1971.jpg

Among the fashion predictions for the next season, Vogue from October 2021, as the first proposal, cites Levi’s 501, the original women’s jeans. This raw model is without any treatment, but according to instructions for the whole shrinking process, the customer can perfectly shape according to the body. Some customers practice sinking into the bathtub.

To the great joy of Levis fans, at the moment, Levi Strauss & Co. has a collection of premium standards in its range. Although manually woven on narrow old shuttled looms, it is not exclusively the local product. Because the Japanese company Kaihara supplies Levis with twill fabric in limited quantities. But, Levis models are launched in small series.

Recycling denim jeans means high quality and eco-efficient production

Recycling materials, as I firmly believe, is worthy of support in all possible ways. Concerning the global wearing jeans in the world, denim is very important for recycling. It is because develops a lot of versatile effective modalities. Starting with the purchase of worn-out clothes, admission, and discount when buying new ones. Along with various secondary production, there is also recyclable denim. One such example is Vivienne Westwood’s model of recycled denim jeans. For a slightly deeper pocket, this kind of designing piece promotes the environmental benefits (saves water, uses chemicals, emits less carbon…).

In July 2021, Levi’s launched Jeans of Selvage Raw Denim made with Circulose, a material made from reconstituted cotton derived from old recycled jeans. Combined with biodegradable wood pulp, this denim enables the best quality, suitable for recycling again and again. That makes denim production highly Eco-efficient.
Projects on recycling consist of full-circle, by carefully calibrating the design process to ensure its meets recycling specifications to allow each pair of denim to have a second life when it’s worn out.

Launched in the Wellthread collection, for men available in the 502, and High Loose for women.jpg 

For the next post, I will try to localize the topic Jeans Selvage Raw Denim, approximately „Jeans in my country, my time and in my life“
Sincerely, Branka on Textiles

2 thoughts on “Jeans —  a timeless phenomenon —  how they are made and Raw Denim then and now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 1 MB. You can upload: image, document, text. Drop file here