I used to teach French (fabulous job to have, by the way) and so I always heard that denim was connected with France. I just read a terrific blog post about the origin of “being under the weather” so I decided it was high time I researched the origin of the word denim. Here are 15delightful facts about denim and jeans.
1.Name – I had to find this out first. In the denim facts page I read that the name is associated with the French city of Nîmes. A cotton fabric made there, serge de Nimes was shortened to denim. I get it now!
2. Jeans – The French did not invent denim but they popularized the fabric created in Genoa, Italy in the 1500’s. Italian sailors wore pants of this fabric and the French called people from there Genes, or jeans. I am not creating this out of thin air, I read it here.
3. Color – I loved the explanation here about how Indigo denim is the most popular. The fabric is dyed its distinctive color which is why your jeans are a different color inside than outside. Why blue? To hide stains, handy to this day. Indigo dye doesn’t truly penetrate the fabric so that is why denim fades over time, a fact which makes them very attractive.
4. Levis – Levi Strauss and his partner, Jacob Davis, made trousers from denim (jeans) in 1873. Levi was a really cool guy, here are more facts about him. His actual fist name was Loeb and he was born in Germany.
5. Rivets – His partner, Jacob Davis, invented the pants with rivets to make them last longer. Levi had access to dry goods from his brother in NYC and money to mass produce the trousers. I read it all at this website. They switched to denim and jeans were created, called waist high overalls.
6. Early use – These jeans were very durable and were popular with miners and cowboys. Yeehaw, read more here. It’s such an interesting fabric!
7. Oldest pair of jeans – There is an existing pair of jeans from 1879, the oldest jeans in the world. You can see them here.
8. Popularity – As jeans were worn by the working class and were associated with the west, jeans became popular in the 1950’s as people like Marlon Brando wore them because they wanted to, not because they had to. Their popularity exploded in the 1960’s as they became a symbol of a youthful, rebellious and casual life style. I was fascinate by this information and much more on this post.
9. Own – According to Glamour magazine, the average American owns 7 pairs of jeans. I own two so that means other people must have a lot more. I rarely wear mine and I’ve even read that half the world is wearing them at any one time. There’s obviously no way to prove that!
10. Upcycled jeans – You can find ideas all over Pinterest for repurposing your jeans. I personally liked this site which had 40 ideas with links to the tutorials. There is a placemat is really cute, I wish I had saved more old jeans.
11. Quilts – I have seen various examples of quilts made from jeans. The most memorable was the Best of Show at QuiltCon 2016 entitled My Brother’s Jeans by Melissa Averino. You can see it in a post I published. If you have been saving jeans, wash them, cut them up and get sewing, there are lots of tutorials out there.
12. Sewing jeans – I can’t imagine taking on this project but I bet lots of people do. Here is a step by step tutorial.
14. Most expensive – I do not own any of the most expensive jean brands. The two pair I have I got years ago when my niece worked at NYDJ and she got me them at cost. Other people must feel differently. Here is the list, the top of which is a 1.3 million dollar pair. Yowza!
15. Tailored jeans – For sure, you can order them from various sources. Here’s one way.
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