From Raw Materials To The Final Product - How Is Denim Made?

Since first being used around the mid-19th Century, Denim has always maintained high popularity when it comes to clothing. Tough, durable and stylish, it is not surprising that denim is still widely used for a variety of clothing, from fashion to workwear.

While the process of making denim has developed over the years, it is still a complex routine which sees natural or synthetic materials completely transform into denim. While some methods differ, we’ve dissected each step of the most common way of making denim:

Raw Materials

Traditionally, the vast majority of denim garments were made from 100% cotton. However, these days other materials like polyamide, polyester and nylon are used for a stretch fit and to add durability. As you need cotton to make denim, it is still the predominant material used in the making of denim.


After the cotton is collected, it will then head to the spinning stage. The cotton fibres are aligned, then the ropes of cotton are stretched, twisted and spun. The purpose of this is to make the cotton fibres stronger. At the end of the spinning stage, the cotton will form yarn. It is also at the spinning stage where other materials like polyamide, polyester and nylon are added for increased stretch and durability.


After the spinning process, the yarn is then ready to be dyed. Rolled into large balls, the yarn is then dipped into the dye. The dye used to get that classic denim look is an Indigo colour. You can get the colour naturally from a plant based dye. However in recent times, synthetic dyes are more common. To get different coloured denim (black, grey etc), different synthetic dyes are used. The more this process is repeated, the darker colour the denim will be.


The weaving process is when the yarn now begins to look like denim. The indigo dyed yarn is woven together with a white yarn, called weft. Before this process, the yarn is dipped into a starchy substance. Not only does this help the yarn withstand the rough process of weaving, it will also make the final denim product stronger.


After the weaving is completed, the denim will be inspected for any faults or imperfections before going through a number of different finishing touches. The denim will be brushed to get a smoother, more even surface. Some will even go through a process called singeing, where a controlled flame burns the surface of the denim for a better quality feel. The denim will also be washed to give it a more faded look. Again, the number of washes will determine the colour of the denim, and there are a variety of washes that give the denim a different effect. Some of the denim produced will also be pre-shrunk to prevent any shrinking in the future. After one final quality inspection, the denim will then be sent to those who shape and sew the denim into all sorts of garments and designs.

At Workwear Express, you will be able to find a growing range of denim products. From a collection of fashionable jeans, like these from Skinni Fit, available for both men and women, to robust jeans perfect for construction workers, like the Deductive Denim Trousers by Tactical Threads. We also have trendy denim clothing for those who work in catering and hospitality like the Waist Apron, Denim Chefs Jacket and Denim Shirt, all from Premier, all of which would add a contemporary and stylish look to any uniform.