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  • Denim Glossary H-O

    • H
    • hand
    • The "hand" of a fabric refers to the sensation of the denim cloth against the fingers or the back of the hand. The"hand" serves to sense the characteristics of the fabric such as, for example, the softness or elasticity.
    • hangtags
    • Hangtags are tags made of paper that "hang" from garments. Hangtags, along with labels and tabs, build and protect brand image in the global marketplace while keeping the final customer well informed regarding the specific characteristics of a determine product.
    • hank dyeing
    • Hank dyeing is a very particular dyeing method that only few manufacturers use. The yarns are coiled over a hanger in hanks. The skeins are soaked in a dye vat being immersed in and out. Each dive gives the yarns an increase of the colour gradation. Pure and natural indigo dyeing creates different hues and shades of blue. Hank dyeing increases the penetration of colour in cotton threads and the yarns aquire a very delicate and silky feel.
    • heavy weight denim
    • Denim fabrics that are heavier than twelve ounce have to be considered belonging to the group of heavy weight denim.
    • hemming
    • A hem is a garment trimming process in which a cut edge of an item of clothing is folded up two times and then sewn down, so that it cannot unravel. Vintage and modern valuable jeans are hemmed with a "chain stitch".
    • herringbone
    • Herringbone refers to a type of wave, which looks like a broken zigzag. Herringbone is easily recognizable for it's unique V-shaped weaving pattern, which reminds the skeleton of a herring fish. Herringbone patterned cloths are usually tweed and twill. Herringbone fabrics are mainly used for the production of suits and jackets.
    • hige
    • Hige is the Japanese term for "whiskers". Wiskers or "mustache" refers to the horizontal discoloured folds formed by prolonged rubbing of indigo dyed denim. Wiskers are mainly visible around the crotch and the hip section of workpants and jeans.
    • hip huggers
    • Hip hugger is a model of trousers fitted closely around the hips and thighs and flared on the lower leg. The hip-hugger jeans are characterized by a low rise and a tight fit. This tyle was in vogue during the 1960s and 1970s.
    • hipsters' jeans
    • Hipsters' jeans are low-rise jeans, designed to sit low on the hips (or below), for both men and women.
    • honeycombs
    • Honeycombs or just "combs" are the discolored lines behind the knees of a jean, which resemble honeycomb patterns. Honeycombs are caused by wear of the denim and occurred after the blue indigo fades away for rubbing.
    • hot pants
    • Hot pants are the shortest jeans available for women. They are usually cut-off just below the crotch. Hot pants became a simbol of sexuality and emancipation during the 1970s and are still popular today. Hotpants are also called "Daisy Dukes" from the female protagonist of "Hazzard" who often appears wearing tight and short denim shorts.
    • hyper-washed
    • Hyper-washed jeans are denim pants that have been completely discoloured due to wear and repeated washings.
    • I
    • inch
    • Inch is a unit of lenght in the British Imperial and American system of measurement. The international inch is 2,54 centimeters. The international standard symbol for inch is "In".
    • indigo
    • Indigo refers to the colour between blue and violet. Indigo is one of the seven colours of the rainbow. The color indigo was denominated after the indigo dye used for denim, initially taken from the Indigofera tinctoria plant. Indigo's natural properties are good colourfastness and incessant fading. In fact, indigo pigment doesn't penetrate cotton fibers completely. This permits the blue colour in jeans dyed with indigo to always appear uneven, ever changing and unique. Main tones of indigo are: electric indigo, deep indigo, light indigo and tropical indigo. Additional variations of indigo are: bright indigo, denim indigo, imperial indigo and Japanese indigo. Vintage denim garments were usually dyed with natural indigo, which presents a light red cast. Unfortunately, most of indigo used today is synthetically made.
    • inseam
    • The inseam refers to the measure of the leg taken from the inside of the jeans, from the crotch down to the hem.
    • iro-ochi
    • The term Iro-ochi is Japanese term for "dinginess" referring to the fading of indigo dye in jeans. "Iro-ochi" in particular relates to fading in localized areas and not across the entire garment.
    • J
    • japanese denim
    • Denim manufactured in Japan is reputed to be one of the best denim available on the market because Japanese premium denim makers still apply the same ancient methods of dyeing used in Japan centuries ago. Japanese denim is also well known for its incredible high quality, resistence, and excellent construction.
    • jeans
    • Jeans are sturdy pants made from denim fabric. The name is probably originated from the French word 'Genes', which is the translation of the Italian city of Genoa, where the fabric was manufactured. The term "jean" was originally refereed to the trousers of the sailors from Genoa. The jean fabric was also used as a protective cover. In the 17th century, Genoese sailors exported jeans worldwide. Vintage jeans were dyed to a deep blue colour using natural indigo dye. Altough the historical definition suppose that all jeans were made of denim, the word jeans today can easily refer to a pant that has five pockets made from corduroy, twill or bull denim fabrics.
    • K
    • khaki
    • Khaki refers to a shade of beige colour. Khaki is largely used for both uniforms and civilian pants such as combats, cargo and chino trousers, which are named khakis.
    • L
    • label
    • An identification label, or more simply the label, is a sheet applied to any garment to allow the identification, indicate information of any kind and promote the image of the manufacturer and the brand.
    • laser
    • A special type of laser is used in textile manufacturing. The laser beam is used to remove the color from the surface of the fabric or to cut the tissue itself. It is mostly used to obtain tridimensional effects, such as localized abrasions or cat-whiskers. Like every other industrial operation, laser is much cheaper than manual intervention.
    • launderette
    • A self-service laundry, also named coin-laundry or coin-wash, where clothes are washed and dried. Other terms used for "launderette" in the United States of America were "laundromats" and "washeterias".
    • laundry
    • In the 'Apparel Industry', a Laundry is a manufacturing company that receive unwashed garments and processes them. Among the various washing operations are: stone bleaching, stone washing, sandblasting, garment dyeing, finishing, enzymes washing, laser processing, and sandpapering by hand (or by machine) to obtain tridimensional vintage effects on jeans. Industrial laundries are critical in preparing jeans for sale and technique development has become fundamental in the denim industry. The most skilled and advanced laundries are located in northern Italy.
    • left-hand denim
    • Left-hand denim is a twill weave in which the grain lines run from the top left-hand corner of the fabric towards the bottom right. Left-hand denim generally has a much softer hand feel after washing when compared with right hand denim.
    • leg opening
    • Leg opening refers to the opening at the bottom of a jean. The width of leg opening is determined by the design of the denim pant and varies for each model.
    • leg twist
    • Leg twist refers to the tendency of right hand and left hand twill to twist in the direction of the weave. It is the outcome of the movement of the denim after washing. This phenomenon is easily seen in most vintage jeans and particularly in selvedge jeans. Leg twist doesn't appear on broken twill denim and can be prevented with skewing process.
    • loom
    • Loom refers to the industrial machine that produces tissues by weaving horizontal threads (weft) with vertical threads of yarn (warp).
    • loomstate
    • Loomstate refers to the denim fabric as it has been woven, without having undergone any processing such as skewing, dyeing, singeing, nor any other stabilization process such as sanforization or starching. Loomstate denim fabrics are also named "gray goods".
    • loop dyeing
    • Loop dyeing refers to one of the three main industrial systems of dyeing indigo yarns, along with "rope dyeing" and "slasher dyeing". In the loop dyeing process the yarn is repeatedly dyed in a single vat instead of numerous. The wished shade of colour is achieved by immersing the yarn through the same bath manifold times. The coloured yarn is then exposed to enable the indigo to oxidize before the subsequent immersion. Loop dyeing process allows more homogeneous indigo gradations than other methods.
    • M
    • mercerization
    • Mercerization is an industrial method used on yarn or fabrics to enhancee its strength and shine. This process modifies the chemical structure of the cotton fibre. In denim industry, mercerization is often utilized for keeping indigo dye on the outside of the yarns or fabrics in order to impede blue colour from completely penetrating the texture.
    • microsanding
    • Microsanding is an industrial treatment in wich denim fabric is pulled over a group of rollers enveloped either in abrasive paper or chemical abrasive agent. This process gives the denim fabric a very soft and smooth hand. Microsanding may cause colour fading.
    • moustache
    • See under "hige" and "whiskers".
    • N
    • natural dye
    • Natural dyes are colored materials originated from vegetables, animals or minerals. Vegetable dyes derived from leaves, roots, stem, fruits and seeds and other organic substances. The basic method of dyeing requires immersing the substance containing the dyestuff in water, thus obtaining a solution named "dyebath", and taking the solution to a simmer for a prolonged time, in which the fabric or yarn is dyed. Most of vegetable dyes need the use of a chemical named "mordant" to fix the color in the yarn. In some cases fabrics and yarns are prepared in advance with mordants. Other times mordant is added to the dyebath. In traditional natural dyeing standard mordants is iron, salt, vinegar, alum and ammonia. Textiles can be dyed as a raw fibre, as spun yarn or after weaving. Common colours obtained from natural dye are: reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, browns, greys and blacks.
    • natural fibres
    • Natural fibres refer to any raw material directly obtainable from plants and animals source that can be transformed into yarns and then into woven clothe after spinning.
    • natural indigo
    • Indigo dye is an organic mixture with a unique blue hue. Natural indigo dye is obtained from a variety of plants of the species Tinctoria. The main use for pure indigo is as a dye for the manufacturing of denim fabric for blue jeans and other denim garments. A single pair of blue jeans requires from five to fifteen grams of natural indigo, and it takes up to almost three months to prepare the dye obtained from dried leaves of Indigofera tinctoria, which is named "sukumo" in Japanese. This solution is then shuffled with mordant and fermented. The Indigofera tinctoria plant was largely cultivated in India, which is considered the main center of indigo dyeing worldwide. Indigo is one of the most ancient dyes to be employed for textile dyeing. The Romans utilized indigo as a colour for dyeing and for cosmetic sake. They give the Latin name "indicum" to the pigment originated from India, which became "indaco" in Italian language and later "Indigo" in English vocabulary. Natural Indigo is a very diffuicult dye for the reason that it's not soluble in water. To be melted it must be subjected to a chemical reaction, which transform indigo into "white indigo". When a soaked cloth is took out from the dyebath, the withe indigo immediately begins the oxidation process in the air and returns to the insoluble, deep blue shade. The dyeing is obtained by immersing the yarn of the cloth in and out the indigo dye solution: the more deep, the more intense the blue colour of indigo.
    • O
    • one wash
    • One wash refers to the basic washing of denim, applied to the single garment. The "one wash" consists of the desizing more rinsing. Also called "dark wash", one wah has as its main purpose to make the jeans more soft and comfortable to wear. In fact, during the production of denim fabric, starch and other substances are used to reinforce the texture. This process makes the fabric denim rather stiff and unpleasant to the touch. Desizing is usually combined with the purge and has for objective to clean up the fabric by weaving dressings. Along with the scouring, used to clean up the fabric from impurities of natural origin, it is usually done in water with addition of detergents, softening agents and desizing solutions. Once washed denim is the standard wash for Japanese deep indigo dyed blue jeans.
    • open-end denim
    • Open end spinning refers to a technology for producing yarn without the use of a spindle. It was designed and fabricated in Czechoslovakia In 1963. Open-end denim is the denim fabric manufactured by open end spinning machines. In open-end denim the cotton fibres are "mock twisted" by pressing them together, therefore denim produced using this technique results less expensive than ring-spun denim. Open-end denim presents greater yarn thickness and has a fuzzy aspect and touch. Open-end denim is more voluminous and rustic if compared with ring-spun or ring-ring denim. Altough cheaper to produce, open-end denim is not considered the finest denim available on the market. This type of denim fabric is well known for absorbing more indigo dye, creating darker, sturdier, more resistant jeans and workwear clothing.
    • organic cotton
    • Organic cotton is cotton grown using methods and products that have a low impact on the environment. For the production of biological cotton, organic production systems are used to fertilize the soil, eliminated the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, toxic and persistent in the environment and in the cotton itself. The production of organic cotton is certified by third-party organizations, which verify that producers use only methods and products allowed in organic production. In addition to the ban on the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, organic cotton does not have to come from genetically modify seeds (GMO). The production of organic cotton is growing every year visibly. At present, however, the percentage of organic cotton cultivation accounts for about 1% of world cotton production. Organic cotton is grown in 22 countries around the world, where the top 10 producing countries are India, Turkey, Syria, Tanzania, China, the United States, Uganda, Peru, Egypt and Burkina Faso. Currently about 220,000 farmers are involved in the production of organic cotton.
    • overall
    • The bib overall is a unisex garment. It consists of a pant having wider legs opening than normal, which has an extension on the bust in the form of a bib, maintained by two braces crossed on the back. It is normally made of denim, and is equipped with multiple pockets. The overall was born in the second half of the nineteenth century as a workwear garment and was mainly used by the workers (men and women), because of its strength and its practicality. The overalls became part of the casual wardrobe of many people during the sixties. Following the overalls began to be realized in different materials and in different variants (the skirt-overalls is an example), which allowed the garment to hire specialized purposes, such as to be worn as a snowsuit. It is particularly prevalent in fashion maternity.
    • overdye
    • Overdye refers to a dyeing technique that is to dye the garment or fabric already packed. The visual difference between a garment packed with already dyed fabric and a garment dyed after the package is the outer appearance, which is cleaner and more uniform in the case of clothes made with dyed fabric, washed and more used instead in the case of overdyed garments. Many fashion houses today, because of the timing, require dry cleaners to an overdyed product having the same characteristics of the finished garments produced with dyed fabric, therefore free of abrasions and uniform in all its parts. The machines that are used for overdyeing technique are different from those used for the dyeing of fabrics, while dyes and auxiliary products are the same. The dyeing of the garments already packed is carried out in particular washing machines, where it is possible to adjust the number of RPM (revolutions per minute of the drum) according to the type of article to be treated and according to the effect we want to obtain.
    • oxidation
    • The oxidation of indigo occurs when oxygen reacts chemically with the natural dye. The oxidation process is made possible when the yarn, previously immersed in the bath of indigo, is extracted from the basin before the next dive.