The Denim Glossary

 Sanforized Denim – This is denim which has gone through a process designed to remove all the shrinking potential from the material. When you wash sanforized denim it will stay the same size as before it was washed.

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One wash denim – This is denim which has been washed in water only to remove most of the shrink from the material. This denim may still shrink slightly further if it is hot washed in a machine. Expect between 0.5” 1” of contraction in the waist and inseam with minimal to no movement in other dimensions.

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Raw Denim (Kibata) – This is unwashed/ untreated denim, also known as loom state. This denim is in its factory produced state and will shrink when soaked or washed, most raw denims will shrink 1 – 2” in the waist and inseam, and up to 0.5” in other dimensions. It is worth noting that even if your denim shrinks past where is comfortable in the waist that it will stretch up to 1” with wear as it is a natural fabric.

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Weight – The weight is measured in ounces per unwashed yard of material. Unwashed denim will become heavier after washing due to the contraction of the threads; this also leads to the shrinkage of raw denim.

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Chain stitch – This type of stitch is performed by vintage sewing machines such as the famed “Union Special” or equivalent.

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Chain Stitch run off – This is the thread which is left behind by vintage sewing machines. Some manufacturers cut it off, some do not. It can be safely clipped without the seam coming undone.

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Selvedge – This term is derived from “Self Edge”, being the closed end on a role of fabric, this end was most often used to create the selvedge out seam on vintage jeans. Most vintage jeans were made using selvedge denim and so are most high quality jeans today. It should be noted that the use of selvedge denim and the presence of a selvedge out seam should not be seen as a stamp of quality, just as its absence should not be seen as low quality.

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Slubs – A slub is a general term for the uneven patches and runs in denim and is also known as “loom chatter”. It is generally an indicator of the use of vintage looms to make the denim as they ran with much more freedom and at a much lower tension than most modern looms. Most denim enthusiasts see a rough “slubby” texture as a mark of quality, authenticity and character as it is difficult to reproduce in a modern factory.
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