Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Color of Comfort: Why is Denim Blue?

Denim is the only fabric I can think of that is associated with a particular color. Blue.

Denim is a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- "double") or more warp fibers. This produces the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric. (

The warp fiber is the one that is traditionally died blue.

So why blue?

The blue pigment obtained from indigo dye was the most significant natural dye known to mankind until the end of the 19th century and so linked with practical fabrics and work clothing. The durability of indigo as a color and its darkness of tone made it a good choice when frequent washing was not possible. In 1870 BASF in Germany, original suppliers of natural indigo, had started the search for a synthetic substitute. In 1894 the process was perfected. (

Denim Fabric Dyeing is divided into two categories; Indigo Dyeing and second is Sulphur Dyeing. Indigo Dyeing is traditional blue colors or shades similar to blue colors. Sulphur Dyeing (also called Color Denim) is done for specially black colors and other colors like Pink, Grey, Rust, Mustard, Green and Red. (

So there you have it. Denim is blue because of the best natural die at the time and it hides the dirt so we don’t have to wash them as often.

Can you imagine if denim wasn’t blue? That is hard to picture. It wouldn’t really seem like denim.

Blue denim goes with everything. You can wear any color with it. It can wear stains and rips like no other fabric.

Other fabrics seem to come and go; go in and out of fashion; this fad or that. But Denim has been around for hundreds of years. I don’t think it will ever go out of style. That’s a relief.

I think I’ll go slip into my favorite jeans and do something fun.

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