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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Cotton Denim Fabric, 4 Main Points to Consider

All about cotton denim fabric: Understanding the ways to choose the right denim fabric.

4 points to consider when Choosing the Right Cotton Denim Fabric. Denim is a popular fabric for jeans and jackets. It has also crossed the boundaries of age and gender to establish itself as a fashionable yet comfortable fabric.

The most common denim is woven on shuttle looms to create what is known as selvage denim. However, some manufacturers use projectile looms that produce non-selvage denim.

Choosing the Right Cotton Denim Fabric


Fabric weight is one of a cloth’s most mysterious properties, yet it’s also one of the most important factors for choosing your perfect fabric. Fabric weight is determined by a combination of how thick the fibers are, how tightly they’re woven, and the type of fibers used. If the fabrics are blended, for example, with elastane, it’ll also change the weight of the fabric.

Cotton denim is a sturdy woven fabric made using a warp-facing twill weave, creating a diagonal ribbing pattern. It’s a thicker fabric than canvas or cotton duck, with enough heft to wear well. You can find denim in various thicknesses, from lightweight to heavyweight, and the thickness determines how much warmth or coolness the fabric will provide.

It’s worth noting that the fabric’s thickness can impact how difficult it will be to sew with a home sewing machine or how stretchy it will be. Similarly, the thread used is important for sewing denim as it needs to be strong enough to hold the fabric together. The good news is that most sewing supplies will stock a wide selection of threads specifically designed for denim and other sturdy fabrics. These are often available in shades of blue to match the fabric’s color or in brown to contrast.


Denim is a thick fabric that can be stiff to work with, and if you handle it well, it can develop creases in the right places. It is, therefore, important to iron and presses the fabric before starting any sewing. You can use a steam iron with a damp cloth or a wooden clapper to smooth and flatten the fabric as you work. You should also press and iron the garment once you’ve finished to give it a crisp finish.

When choosing your cotton denim fabric, pay attention to the fiber content, which can impact the fabric’s stiffness. A higher percentage of cotton denim will make the fabric softer and less stiff. Also, check if the fabric is stretch denim, as this can be a benefit if you make fitted clothing, such as skinny jeans. Most denim will have a percentage of elastane or spandex within the fiber, which gives them some stretch.

You should also choose a strong thread for your denim fabric, especially stretchy denim. There are usually threads labeled as ‘denim’ or ‘jeans’ designed to be used with this thick, sturdy fabric. Otherwise, you can use a heavy-duty polyester thread or upholstery thread. 

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The density of the cotton denim fabric is important to consider when choosing a piece of fabric for different types of garments. The denser a cotton denim fabric is, the more durable it will be and how thick and sturdy it will feel to the touch. Denim, in particular, can be made with various fabric weights, from very light to heavy. It is also widespread to blend with other fabrics like elastane to provide stretch.

Depending on the fabric weight, it can have a high or low GSM (Glossary of Textile and Clothing Terms). GSM is a standard way to measure the weight of a textile. The higher the GSM of a fabric, the thicker and heavier it will be. Denim can also be woven in various ways, but it is most commonly used on shuttle and projectile looms, which produce what’s known as selvage denim. This type of denim is recognizable by its distinct edge, which alternates the weft threads over and under warp threads, creating a smooth and sturdy selvage.

Research has been conducted to test the effects of stitch density and sewing thread count on constructed garments’ seam strength, elongation, and seam efficiency. It was found that the higher the thread count and stitch density, the better the seam quality and strength. Future research in this field could focus on comparing the effect of different-priced fast-fashion denim on their seam strength, elongation, and seam effectiveness.


Denim is a durable fabric that has existed for over 150 years. It is made from cotton denim, woven in a twill weave that creates the characteristic diagonal ridges on the surface of the cloth. It is often indigo-dyed to produce classic blue jeans and jackets, but it can also be colored with other colors or dyes and woven into various garments.

Depending on the yarns and fibers used in the fabric, denim can vary in thickness. This is usually measured in ounces per square yard or g/m2 (metric). For example, a 10oz denim will be considered light- to midweight while a 12oz will be labeled as heavyweight. It is important to read the label carefully to determine the weight of your chosen fabric, as it will affect how much bulk and stretch it has.

Some fabrics will also have a percentage of spandex or elastane added to them to help with the stretching and elasticity of the fabric. This is particularly common in stretchy skinny or fitted denim, allowing the fabric to hold its shape while providing extra flexibility and movement.

the ultimate guide to choosing the right cotton denim fabric
Choosing the Right Cotton Denim Fabric

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