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Fabric Guide

Know your Denim Weight - WEIGHT DOES MATTER

What does this term actually mean and why is it so important - You may have noticed that some brands list different weights for different denim styles. You would also notice on our website we have referred to the weight for all our fabrics. So what is it and why is it so important?


The whole idea of categorising a jean by weight comes from the weight a square yard of fabric weighs in ounces, which relates directly to the density of yarn woven in and the weight of said yarn. The weight refers to how much a yard of fabric weighs. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll break the weights into three main categories:

  • Lightweight – under 11 Oz
  • Mid-weight – from 11 Oz. – 14 Oz
  • Heavyweight – anything above 16 Oz

LIGHTWEIGHT DENIM – LESS THAN 11 OZ.

Lightweight denim is the easiest to wear category. It is suitable with warm temperature and is very comfortable. Lightweight denim is particularly easy to break in as it won’t require anywhere near as much wearing time as a heavier fabric to attain a pleasant level of comfort.


The only drawback is that the fades achieved with this level of denim won’t look quite as spectacular as a heavier weight of denim. Also their life would be lesser as compared to heavy denim.


MID-WEIGHT – BETWEEN 11 OZ. – 14 OZ.

This is probably the most common of the denims in the market today. The positives include the potential for a much better fade, long lasting, and good for winter. You will, however, take a longer break in time, and will have a little bit of lost flexibility upfront. Standard denim jeans in market are often 12 oz. they are also a great gateway for the raw denim unless you are not interested in the all break in process.


HEAVYWEIGHT – ABOVE 14 OZ

Finally the heavy weight jeans, the over 16 Oz. jeans, which is rare in the market. They’re going to take time and effort and honestly won’t feel great at first. You’d have to be slightly self-loathing to want to stick your legs into a jean that can stand up on their own, but if you keep at it long enough you’ll be left with a very impressive reward. These can last you a lifetime, as they’re incredibly well built and hefty, but you’ll take up a bit of that lifetime to break in enough to enjoy.


So lesser the weight, the lighter and softer the fabric will be. Traditionally, 12 to 15 oz. is most popular for denim jeans. Lightweights are more comfortable to wear, but it is actually heavier denim that results in sharper and more spectacular fades. The weight does matter. The heavier the denim, the less likely it is to rip, tear or bend. Also, the longer it is going to take to mold to your body and really break-in. So, the choice of denim weight is a personal decision

Most people want a jean that strikes a balance. Too lightweight and the fabric will tear too easily–too heavy, and the fabric will be as stiff as a board. Most preferred is between 12-14oz.


RAW DENIM/ SELVEDGE DENIM

There is lot of hype about Raw and Selvedge Denim. But do we really know what actually they are -

Raw denim (sometimes called “dry denim”) jeans are simply jeans made from denim that hasn't gone through the pre-wash process. Because the fabric hasn't been pre-washed, raw denim jeans are pretty stiff when you put them on the first time. It takes a few weeks of regular wear to break-in and loosen up a pair.


However, raw denim is more durable, and many raw denim advocates claim to wear their jeans thousands of times before they wear out, thus making them a strong value when you look at the number of wears vs. the amount paid


Selvedge

To understand what “selvedge” means, you need to understand a bit of history on fabric production.


Before the 1950s, most fabrics — including denim — were made on shuttle looms. Shuttle looms produce tightly woven strips (typically one yard wide) of heavy fabric. The edges on these strips of fabric come finished with tightly woven bands running down each side that prevent fraying, raveling, or curling. Because the edges come out of the loom finished, denim produced on shuttle looms are referred to as having a “self-edge,” hence the name “selvedge” denim.


During the 1950s, the demand for denim jeans increased dramatically. To reduce costs, denim companies began using denim created on projectile looms. Projectile looms can create wider swaths of fabric and much more fabric overall at a much cheaper price than shuttle looms. However, the edge of the denim that comes out of a projectile loom isn’t finished, leaving the denim susceptible to fraying and unraveling.


Most jeans on the market today are made from non-selvedge denim. The pros of this have been the increased availability of affordable jeans; Thanks to the “heritage movement” in menswear, selvedge denim jeans have slowly been making a comeback during the past ten years or so.


The problem with this selvedge denim revival has been finding the selvedge fabric to make the jeans, because there are so few factories in the world using shuttle looms. For a while, Japan held a near monopoly on the production of selvedge denim because that’s where most of the remaining shuttle looms are; Japan remains the world’s top producer of high-end selvedge denim. But there are a few companies in the U.S. producing denim on old shuttle looms as well.

Don’t Confuse Selvedge with Raw Denim

A common misconception is that all selvedge denim jeans are raw denim jeans and vice versa. Remember, selvedge refers to the edge on the denim and raw refers to a lack of pre-washing on the fabric.

While most selvedge jeans on the market are also made with raw denim, you can find jeans that are made from selvedge fabric but have been pre-washed, too. You can also find raw denim jeans that were made in a projectile loom, and thus don’t have a selvedge edge.


Pros and Cons of Selvedge and Raw Denim

The Cons

  1. Upfront costs are typically very high. Also Remember, price does not equal value. So they may be highly priced but does not imply mean that quality is very good.
  2. They take a while to break in. Unlike most mass-market jeans that are oh-so-soft when you first put them on, when you initially own a pair of selvedge/raw denim jeans, they’re going to be super stiff. Depending on the weight of the fabric, it may feel like you’re wearing two plaster casts on your legs. Give it some time, wear them every day, and your jeans will soon start to soften up.
  3. Sizing can be tricky
  4. Indigo can rub off. Because raw denim hasn’t been pre-washed, there’s a lot of indigo dye in the fabric that can easily rub off on whatever it comes into contact with, like seat cushions, car seats, and your shoes. After a few weeks of wear and a washing, it stops.

The Pros

  1. They’re durable. Because of the selvedge edge and the often heavy weight of raw denim, selvedge and raw denim jeans can hold up for a long time, even with near daily wear. A quality pair of raw/selvedge jeans, properly taken care of, can last anywhere from a few years to a decade. And if they do rip or wear out, they can always be patched up and repaired and put back into service!
  2. Better value. While raw and selvedge jeans can have a high upfront cost, because of their durability, the long-term cost-per-use can actually make raw and selvedge denim a value buy. Instead of replacing a pair of mass-produced globocorp jeans every year, your raw and selvedge jeans will likely last you for a long time.
  3. They look great. Raw denim is dark denim and dark denim is probably one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you can own. Raw denim jeans look much sharper. They’re personalizable. While mass-produced jeans come with faux fading and distressing that is the same for every single pair, with raw denim, you create the fading and stressing based on your body type and how you actually wear them. There are different types of wear patterns that may appear in your raw denim such as honeycombs on the back of the knee or “whiskers” on your thighs. Each pair is uniquely yours

100 % COTTON DENIM AND STRETCH DENIM

Non lycra denim fabric is 100% cotton with no elastene. For men generally 100% cotton fabric is preferred and for women a small percentage 1-2% lycra is preferred. Stretch or Lycra fabric incorporates an elastic component, such as spandex. Only a small percentage (about 3%) of spandex is required within the fabric to create a significant stretching capacity of about 15%. However, this feature will shorten the wearing life of the garment. Lycra fabrics give added comfort and ease and are usually figure flattering since they nicely drape over the body. Lycra denim is generally good for women who want skinny tight or very tight jeans. On our website we have classified fabrics into 100% cotton and Stretch Fabrics and then further classified on the basis of colour, weight and % of lycra content.