Denim Basic & Premium Finishing

Denim Basic Finishing

Many casual jeans are simply stonewashed and/or treated with enzymes, then softened, dried, inspected, pressed, and finally, shipped.


The process begins when loomstate jeans—that is, jeans that have not yet been through the finishing process—are brought to a rotary washing or belly washing machine and loaded. They may be directly stonewashed or may be desized prior to stoning. Enzymes may also be used either before the stonewashing or with the stonewashing.


Once the process is complete, the jeans are unloaded and transported to an area for de-stoning. There, the stones are removed. Finally, the jeans are then placed in another machine to be washed and softened. At the end of the washing process, the jeans are centrically extracted in the same machine and then unloaded.


Modern rotary machines operate at high extraction speeds so most jeans don’t need additional extraction. But in the case of older machines, a second round of extraction may need to take place. After extraction, the jeans are tumble-dried. They are then sent to be inspected and graded. If they are found to be first quality, they get pressed, bundled, and shipped.



Denim Premium Finishing

Premium jeans go through many of the processes that casual jeans go through with some additions. Typically, those additions involve techniques that age the jeans or give them a special effect.


As in casual jeans, premium jeans begin as loomstate jeans which are brought to a rotary washing machine, loaded, processed with a resin formulation. They are then dried. Once dry, the jeans are taken to be whiskered and pressed. The goal is to give the jeans sharp, distinct whiskers on the lap area and behind the knees.


After whiskering, the jeans are placed on hangers and passed through a continuous curing oven to cure or set the whiskers. The next step in the process is to add additional premium details such as abrading the cuffs with a grinding wheel and performing additional abrasion with a Dremel tool to other areas, such as the pockets and belt loops.


Next comes hand sanding. The jeans are placed on an inflatable mannequin and hand sanding is applied to the whiskers, creases, thighs, hip pockets, and other areas. Another premium step is to apply potassium permanganate discharging chemistry. This is done with a brush with the jeans mounted on an inflatable mannequin.


Once the discharge has developed, the jeans are neutralized and washed in a rotary machine. Enzyme washing may also be performed. As with the casual jeans process, the premium jeans are then centrifugally extracted in the machine and unloaded. If needed, additional extraction may take place. Next, the jeans are tumble-dried, then sent to be inspected. If graded first quality, the jeans are pressed, bundled, and shipped.


TERMS TO KNOW (click to flip)

Stone Washed

Garment wet process that imparts a worn, washed out look. Can be done mechanically (pumice stone or dingers) or chemically…

view in glossary
Resin Finishing

Chemical used to impart durable press properties in a fabric or garment.

view in glossary

Localized surface effect that changes the appearance and color of a substrate. Often called frosting.

view in glossary

The abrading of a fabric surface with sandpaper or some abrasive substance. Can be performed on all types of fabrics.

view in glossary