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Blue Jeans-The Making Of The First Pair

Updated on June 16, 2011

Take Your Pick- Jeans

Your Jeans Have A History

Almost everyone in the world today owns atleast one pair of jeans. Denim jeans, to be precise. And the odds are that they are blue ! Sounds like you ? Ever wondered about the popularity of blue denim jeans ? And why it has become a fashion statement ? Well, here is the story of how the blue jeans came to be stitched and the man behind it .

16 th century : Sailors in Genoa, Europe wore pants made of a material that today is called denim. It was a coarse cotton-wool or linen blend. The word, 'Jean' is thought to be derived from Genoa. This material originated from Italy.

Late 16 th century : Lancashire, England began producing jean.

18 th century : Jean finally became 100 % cotton.

Late 16 th century : France had a fabric known as “serge de Nimes” which was a blend of silk and wool. This is thought to be denim although there are doubts because of its composition. Another fabric called nim also existed in France at the same time. And there is no evidence to prove that this is the famed denim fabric either.

But both fabrics, jean and denim were extremely popular but denim was more expensive and durable. Denim was woven with one-colored thread(the warp) and the other white(the weft), while jean was woven with two colored threads.

Late 19 th century : American weavers were making twills similar to the European denim with the locally produced cotton fibers. This material was strong and had a reputation for lasting long inspite of many washes.

Jean and denim continued to remain as two different fabrics and were used for different types of clothing. Clothes for workers were made from denim while jean was used for lighter clothes.

So, how did the modern jeans come to be made from denim? How did the two become one ?

How Did The Twain(Denim and Jean) Meet ?

Rather strange,isn't it ? Denim and jean were two different fabrics until a pair of pants stitched out of denim became the popular jeans. This happened because of a man named Levi Strauss.

Levi Strauss was a German immigrant who arrived in America in 1847. During the California Gold Rush in 1853, he traveled to San Fransisco from New York with a supply of dry goods to set up shop. He had a supply of rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, but he was told that good, durable pants were what was needed. So, he used the canvas to make waist overalls. The miners liked these for their work but complained that it chaffed easily. This time, Levi Strauss used the French fabric,"serge de Nimes". This fabric finally was called denim and the pants made out of it was nicknamed blue jeans.

1873 : Levi Strauss & Co. began using he pocket stitch design.

Nevada tailor Jacobs approached Strauss to patent the process of adding rivets to the pants for extra strength.

20 May,1873 : The birthday of the Blue Jeans, as it received the US patent on this day.

How The Blue Jeans Came Into Being


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    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      When I grew up Jeans were considered play or work clothes. as such in most catholic schools the dress codes forbade jeans. I still have a hard time thinking of them as stylish.Good history.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It was very interesting to learn the history of such a common and popular clothing item as blue jeans. I’ve never thought of their background before. Thank you for the information.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 7 years ago from Illinois

      Good history of blue jeans.