From Fiber to Fabric: How is Selvedge Denim Made?
Here we are going to talk about how selvedge denim is made. Starting as a plant all the way to the finished rolls you can find at Pacific Blue Denims, Inc. Step 1 starts at the cotton fields were cotton …
Here we are going to talk about how selvedge denim is made. Starting as a plant all the way to the finished rolls you can find at Pacific Blue Denims, Inc.
starts at the cotton fields were cotton is planted, grown, and harvested.
is when the newly harvested raw cotton is moved inside it goes through cleaning process where the seeds and other impurities are removed.
blows the cotton lint which remain after the filtering process to separate and align the fibers into strands.
the strands go through a funnel-shaped device called a trumpet which turns the strands into a rope-like strand called a sliver.
spins a few slivers together to create yarn. Depending on how many slivers are spun together and how many times the slivers are spun per inch will determine the thickness of the yarn called the “count”.
the finish yarn is wrapped around spools and ready for commercial use. This yarn is ready to be used, typically for the weft(bottom) of the denim.
some of the spools are sent to mills to dye the yarn indigo, and various other colors. Indigo was originally dyed using the indigo plant and still used by some mills today however most mills use synthetic indigo to dye yarns. This dyed yarn is typically used for the wrap(top) of the denim.
takes the wrap yarn and feeds it into the loom and the weft yarn into the shuttles. This setup we will discuss now is for shuttle looms used to make selvedge denim.
weaves the denim with the loom throwing the shuttle containing the weft yarn through the wrap yarns coming down the machine. Normally 2 or 3 wrap yarns are woven on top of 1 weft yarn. This produces the classic twill weave of the 2×1 or 3×1 denim.
rolls the raw finished denim onto a tube referred to as framing the denim. Typically on a shuttle loom 100 to 120 yards of denim can be woven per a 24 hour period of the machine running at capacity. This does not include the setup time.
takes the raw denim to be sanforized. This is a dry process that minimizes the shrinkage and torque of the fabric. This process can be skipped to create what is popularly known as shrink-to-fit, unsanforized, or loomstate denim.
does a quality control check on the fabric with high tech machine that marks the specific locations of the fabric where a defect or imperfection has occurred during the weaving process. Most mills tolerate up to a 5% defect on the fabric to be called 1st quality. Anything over that 5% mark will be labeled as second quality. As many shuttle looms are older technology the defect rate is higher and you will see more 2nd quality on these types of fabrics.
is packaging and labeling the rolls before sending them off to customers.
Note: This is the process for basic indigo 2×1 and 3×1 denim. There are many other types of yarn including polyester, stretch, linen, tencel and others used to achieve different textures and feels. There are also many other types of dyes including sulfur dyes and other reactive dyes used to achieve different colors and shades. As well as many other types of advanced projectile, rapper, dobby, jacquard and other looms used to make a variety of denims.
We hope you can now have a better understanding of the process and time that goes into making some of the worlds favorite fabric. Follow us for a more behind the scenes look @pacificbluedenims on our Instagram.