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Denim Production Timeline: How Our Raw Denim Jeans Are Made

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When it comes to making our jeans, we know that by starting out with unprocessed raw denim that our jeans will last considerably longer than a pair that has been processed to death with chemicals, stones and tons of water. 

Our raw denim is produced at Cone Denim's White Oak Plant in in Greensboro, NC, who reserves the best cotton that comes in from the fields for their selvage fabrics. 

We’re very proud of the fact that our denim is made at this historic mill (circa 1905) and even more proud that the pocketing, thread, buttons, rivets and leather patches are American-made as well. Here's a sneak peek at the fabric production process and a look behind the factory doors at how our raw denim is made:

*Special thanks to our friends at Cone Denim for sharing this information and for making everything we do possible. Cone Denim started manufacturing denim in 1896, and continues to produce millions of yards of authentic, top-quality denim to this day.

  1. Cleaning
  2. It all starts at a cotton farm, where cotton is picked and fed through a cotton gin. After all the seeds are removed from the cotton, the cotton is compressed into bales for transport.


  3. Carding
  4. When cotton arrives at the processing center, the cotton is inspected and cleaned. Once the cotton bales pass inspection, the cotton fibers will be decompressed and separated. To shape the fibers into yarn, the separated cotton fibers will go through a carding process. This process will condense the fibers into a fragile rope, also known as a sliver. Six sliver ropes will be wrapped together to create a single drawing sliver.

         


  5. Drawing
  6. During the drawing process, the slivers are blended and straightened to create uniform strands. At this point, the strands are too thick and coarse to be made in to yarn. So the strands go through a roving process, where they will be thinned out and refined.

         


  7. Roving
  8. The roving process refines the yarn by twisting the drawn slivers in to an unfinished yarn. After twisting the slivers in to yarn, the roving machine wounds the unfinished yarn around small bobbins.

    Did you know: these small bobbins can contain up to 5 miles of yarn wrapped around them.

    This unfinished yarn is still too thick for weaving, so the yarn goes through one more refining process, also known as link-ring spinning.


  9. Link-Ring Spinning
  10. The link-ring spinning process thins out, refines, strengthens, and lengthens the yarn. Before dyeing or weaving the yarn, technicians put the yarn through a winding process.

         


  11. Winding
  12. During the winding process, the yarn goes through optical clearers that detect and clip off any anomalies on the yarn. After the anomalies are clipped off, mechanical splicers, also known as twin discs, splice the yarn back together.


  13. Open-end Spinning
  14. Open-end spinning is the last step for the yarn before it is prepared for dyeing and weaving. The process repeats all the previous steps to ensure the yarn is strong and refined.


  15. Warping
  16. After the yarn is spun, the yarn goes through a warping process. During the warping process, the yarn is pulled and separated in a parallel motion by a large comb. This process prepares the yarn for the next step - dyeing.


  17. Dyeing
  18. Yarn that is used for warping is dyed before weaving. In order to dye the yarn, the yarn is dipped in to a series of dyes and aired out. To achieve a darker blue shade, the yarn is dyed multiple times. After the yarn is dyed, it is steamed dry.

        


  19. Beaming, Slashing, and Weaving
  20. When the yarn is dry, the yarn is once again separated and set parallel to the comb. Once the strands of yarn are separated, the strands are coated with starch. Starch prevents the yarn from breaking during the weaving process. During the weaving process, the warp and weft threads are laid out and interlaced by a large machine.

    Did you know: it takes 2,000 yards of warp threads to create one roll of fabric? Each of these antique Draper shuttle looms can only produce five yards of selvage fabric per hour


        


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