Nouvelle de Nîmes Nº 5

Page 9

Warp A specific construction of yarn in which the vertical yarns are alternately woven over and under the weft. It makes the resulting material stronger. In denim, warp runs parallel to the selvage and is usually blue. The term ‘warp’ is said to have been derived from either the Norwegian varp or from the Dutch verb werpen i.e. to throw across.

Weft This is the term for the horizontal threads that pass through the warp threads via the shuttle during weaving. They run perpendicular to the selvage. See also ‘Twill’ and ‘Warp’.

Weight Twill Twill is a weave technique that gives the fabric a characteristic pattern of diagonal lines. Twill weave is not limited to a certain type of material and can be applied to cotton, silk, linen, wool, or any combination of these materials. All twill fabrics consist of warp threads and weft threads. The warp threads run along the length of the fabric and the weft across the width. The way in which these threads are crossed determines the strength and look of the woven fabric. Thread quality and width also influence the fabric’s flexibility and sustainability. Denim is often specified as 3x1 twill, which refers to the number of weft threads per warp thread. Denim fabric is traditionally woven using 3x1 twill, as opposed to a more lightweight denim (under 10.5 oz.) with 2x1 twill. With a 3x1 fabric, the weft thread is woven three times over the warp thread, one time under, then again three times over the warp thread, and one time under, and so on.

V Vintage (Denim) A term that is thrown about a lot these days, but it means anything from the past, or second hand, when clothing happens to have been worn previously. Generally clothing older than 25 years is considered as vintage. Vintage clothing can also be clothing that has not been worn before, but stored in its original state, and is referred to as ‘dead stock’ vintage.

W Waist Overalls This was the original term Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss used to describe their riveted work pants in 1873. ‘Jeans’ was a word that wasn’t coined and used until almost a century later, during the 1950s.

Woad (Isatis tinctoria L.) Prior to the great overseas voyages in the 16th and 17th century, woad was the European version of indigo and was the primary blue dye for textiles. Woad is also a plant, which can be used to extract indigo blue pigment. This plant has oblong leaves and small yellow bunches of flowers, and grows approximately 90cm high. Woad favours mild climates, growing in regions such as the Netherlands, Germany (Thüringen), France (Toulouse, Languedoc) and England (Northumbria). In the Middle Ages, woad was considered the queen of medieval dyes, partly due to its high value to the economy. See also ‘Indigo’.

Y Yarn A long, continuous length of spun fibres. Used for the production of fabric through the process of weaving.

Yarn Dyed Fabrics where the yarn has been dyed before the weaving. Denim is a prime example of a yarn dyed fabric.

Yoke The v-shaped section at the back of a jeans that forms the curve of the seat. The deeper the ‘V’, the greater the curve. There are many types of yokes found on jeans, all meant for the different backsides of their wearers.

Denim is graded in terms of weight per square yard of fabric, in three categories: light, medium and heavy. The material usually weighs from 5 oz. to 20 oz., although exceptions of extremes like 30 oz. do exist. Most jeans are made of 12 or 14 oz. denim. Lighter denim is mostly used on skirts, shirts and other garments.

Wet Processing A collective name for different finishing techniques that all use water, or some other liquid, in combination with mechanical treatment of the denim fabric or garments.

Whiskers The horizontal crease lines around the crotch, thigh and knees of jeans. Formed by wearing dyed jeans resulting in an aged look. They can also be artificially applied with industrial fading techniques such as lasering or sandblasting.


Worn-in Denim Denim that has a faded and worn look to it, because of intensive, frequent wear or by means of artificial treatment.

U Union Special

Worn Out

The Union Special Machine Company of Chicago was the leading US manufacturer of commercial sewing machines. They are nowadays highly regarded for their distinctive quality of chain-stitch machines, especially the rare 43200G model. This model is known to produce such a tight and strong chain stitch that creates a ‘rope effect’ after wear and wash.

A form of wet processing where sandblasted garments are stonewashed as well for an (artificial) appearance of wear and fade.

X XX The name of the model jeans made by Levi’s before 1890, when they introduced the name 501, meaning ‘Double Extra Heavy’. However the XX symbols have been present on the tag until 1968, signifying the quality of the denim fabric woven by Cone Mills.

Unisex A pair of jeans is the perfect example of a unisex garment, a garment that can be worn by both men and women.

Unwashed Denim See under ‘Dry Denim’.


Zip Fly The zipper was invented in 1893 and perfected in 1913. Originally it was called the hookless fastener. After sanforization of denim fabrics became institutionalized, the zipper was more widely used. Lee introduced their first zip-fly jeans in 1925 on the 101Z model.

Z-Twist The majority of cotton yarns are right-hand spun, resulting in a z-twist. This type of yarn is normally used for left-handed twill, because its counter-clockwise construction results in a softer fabric. S-twist yarn is then similarly used for the right-handed twill.

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