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Sanforized? Unsanforized? Selvedge? Raw? - What does it all mean? For the worlds most worn clothing item, there sure is a lot confusing terminology around denim. Here at Suarts London we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy a good quality pair of denim jeans. That's why we've put together our very own Denim Dictionary to help you confidently navigate the world of quality denim and get that perfect pair just for you.

Abrasion

Acid wash

Arcuate

Atari

Back Pocket Flasher

Bar Tacks

Belt Loops

Big E

Buffies

Bull denim

Caste/ Cast

Chambray

Chain Stitching

Coin Pocket

Colour Fast

Cone Mills

Density

Distressing

Double Stitching

Doughnut button

Dry Denim

Fading

Five-Pocket Design

Frosted denim

Garment Dyed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand/Handle

Hank Dying

Heavyweight Denim

Hemming

Honeycombs

Indigo

Inseam

Japanese Denim

Jelt

Left Hand Twilll

Leg Opening

Loom

Loomstate

Natural Indigo Dye

Onewash

Oxidasation

Pigment Dyed

Five-Pocket Design

Frosted denim

Garment Dyed

Hand/Handle

Hank Dying

Heavyweight Denim

Hemming

Honeycombs

Indigo

Inseam

Japanese Denim

Jelt

Left Hand Twilll

Leg Opening

Loom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Loomstate

Natural Indigo Dye

Onewash

Oxidasation

Pigment Dyed

Pre Shrunk

Pull Strength

Raw Denim

Rigid Denim

Ring Dyeing

Ring Spun Denim

Rinse

Rise

Rivet

Rope Dyeing

Sanforized

Selvedge/Selvage/Self-Edge

Shrink To Fit

Slasher Dyeing/Sheet Dyeing

Slub(byness)

Starching

Stonewashing/Stonewashed

Stretch Denim

Tab

Tobacco Stitching

Twill

Warp

Weft

Whiskers

Yoke

 

 

 

 

Abrasion

Abrasion

The distressed section of a pair of denim, where the fabric shows the results of heavy wear. Often created
with the use of the washing technique and pumice stones on pre-washed jeans.

Acid Wash

The washing technique could singlehandedly represent the 1980s. acid wash used pumice stones soaked
witch chlorine, this would strip off the colour of the top layer of the fabric creating sharp contrast all over the
jeans which were popularized by hard rock and metal acts in the 80s, candida laundry patented the process
in 1986.

Arcuate

Arcuate/Arcs

Generally, refers to the decorative double stitching on the back of the pockets shaped like bat wings. Levi’s
is credited with the first using it on their very first 501s and they are commonly still associated with the
iconic jean. It goes further than mere association though- particularly in the U.S. where no other denim
brand is allowed to sell jeans with patterns that even remotely resemble the Levis arcs.
Japanese reproduction brands have imitated the arcs, an act that resulted in several law suits.

Atari

A word borrowed from Japanese, the term describes the selective fading alongside the ridges of the
seams, and in most cases, it concerns the seams on the back-yoke, back pockets, the belt and the zip fly.

Back Pocket Flasher

Back Pocket Flasher

Traditionally a paper or cardboard flap attached to the right back pocket to indicate differences in size,
finishing, fabrics and shapes. Also used as a marketing gimmick, it often featured illustrations that referred
to a specific theme associated with that specific model, like westerns.

Bar Tacks

These tacks are closely spaced stitches forming a band or bar on virtually all denim garments that act as
reinforcement on stress points such as zippers and pocket openings.

Bar Tack
Belt Loop

Belt Loop

As the name indicates these were places around the waist to hold a belt, they replaced the suspender
buttons in 1920s to supply the trend of belts that emerged after WW1. Most jeans have five loops but some
brands like wrangler have seven for extra support.

Big E

This term denotes collector’s item from the Levis Strauss & Co range, prior to 1970 all Levis Strauss & Co jeans and jackets
featured a red tab with an embroidered E and are now much sought after by collectors.

Big E

Buffies

Artificial creases around the thighs that are created during the finishing process, the term buffies is taken
from the Italian word for moustache ‘baffi’.

Example of Baffies
Bull denim

Bull Denim

Heavyweight weave (from 14oz upwards) bull denim is an ecru fabric and during production is either
printed, piece or garment dyed.

Caste/Cast

This refers to any extra colour tones that might be present in denim fabric that is sometimes added by way
of an additional dyeing process, indigo denim can have a black, brown, grey, green, red or yellow caste to
it.

Caste/Cast
Chambray

Chambray

Also known as ‘cambric’, chambray is a plain woven, medium weight cotton fabric usually made from blue
and white yarns, used for making shirts, dresses and children’s clothing. It takes its name from the town
Cambrai in the north of France. A heavier version was used for workmen’s shirts in USA and as such
supposedly the source for the term ‘blue collar’.

Chain Stitching

The traditional stitch used to hem jeans, it uses one continuous thread that loops back on itself and ends up
looking like the links of a chain.

Chain Stitching
Coin Pocket

Coin Pocket

The fifth pocket, strictly functional. This small added pocket can be found inside the right front pocket also
known as the watch or match pocket, it supposedly first appeared in 1890 and has become smaller over
the years yet retains its functionality.

Colour Fast

The level of attachment of dye to the garment, indigo is common for use on denim garments because of its
colourfastness, the contact of the garment with water and exposure to sunlight often results in loss of the
colour.

Colour Fast
Cone Mills

Cone Mills

A name that sounds familiar to denim heads all over the world. Not surprising since it’s to this day one of
the biggest denim manufacturers in the world. It started business in 1891 in Greensboro, North Carolina it
was founded by Moses and Cesar Cone and started out a wholesale grocer, a few years after opening its
doors it began weaving cloth, it then started supplying to Levis in 1910 and became an exclusive supplier
for the 501s.

Density

The density of denim refers to the number of yarns that make up the weave, four categories differentiate
the density, Low, Medium, high and Super high, and this is the difference between the looser or tighter
fabric constructions.

Density
Distressing

Distressing

Jeans that underwent excessive wear and show strong abrasions and have been ripped or torn can be
artificially created to give the jeans a real vintage and worn-out look. Taken to extremes with the frayed
hems and seams the denim is torn and ripped and so on.

Double Stitching

Also called ‘twin needle’ a method that is used to create a perfectly parallel seam, most often used to make
jeans stronger and more durable. Double stitching on back pockets is a tell-tale sign of a classic jeans look.

Double Stitching
Doughnut Button

Doughnut Button

A button used on a button fly pair of jeans that resembles a doughnut design, containing a hole in the centre of
the button.

Dry Denim

The original production form of denim when it is still unwashed and untreated. After dyeing and weaving of
the fabric the cloth is still quite stiff and has a deep blue Inigo colour with a shine, it is left up to the wearer
to break in their jeans made of dry/raw denim. In this condition the jeans would mould to the wearers body
type and shape creating unique folds and fade marks along the way.

Dry Denim
Fading (Fades)

Fading (Fades)

An effect that is obtained after repeated wear and wash of indigo-dyed denim. The indigo is attached to the
cotton fibres detaches and therefor the denim fades. Recognizable by its lighter colour other than the
standard dark shade of blue or black. Multiple methods exist to create this effect artificially, for example by
stone washing or bleaching.