Knit Denim Technology


Maeen Md. Khairul Akter


Now- a- days denim is the term which conquers the world with spectacular fashion appeal. Denim is that fabric which goes through all forms, looks and washes to match with the ever-changing fashion trends of people. Conventional denim is a durable and heavy twill-weave fabric made from cotton; it is woven from coarse indigo dyed or sulphur dyed warp and grey un-dyed weft yarn. In the competition with smooth and extensible knitted fabric, denim has made a suitable place in fashion market earlier. Since denim takes up a large share of the market in the present world, and as knitted fabric has various structures which allows it to fit body shapes and be comfortable, a new way of combining the two methods of fabric construction to create a “Denim effect using knit structures” can be found. Research has been carried out using single jersey circular knitting machine to create denim effect with knit and tuck loop separately.

Classical to Comfy Transformation

Denim exists in all varieties, looks and washes to equal any attire all over the world. But it’s hard to believe that denim firstly was used in clothing for the pants worn by miners on the west coast of US. Gradually, due to technological advancements, denim turned as a fashion symbol. Denim has been widely acknowledged by all the age group throughout the world since many years. In the three dimensional world, denim is not only a three-dimensional material, metaphorically four dimensional because it changes with time as well.

Denim is a sturdy twill textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. It is a characteristic of most indigo denim that only the warp threads are dyed, whereas the color of weft threads remains plain white. As a result of the warp-faced twill weaving, one side of the fabric shows the colored warp threads and the other side shows the white weft threads.

The classical denim is a strong durable heavy fabric made from cotton, woven from coarse indigo dyed or sulphur dyed warp and grey un-dyed weft yarn characterized as hard- wearing, high density fabrics with a high mass per unit area.

Conventional woven denim is not as soft in texture as other knit fabrics and so applications of denim in fashion design is limited. Knitted fabric has certain special characteristics that make it suitable for creating a wide range of garments and accessories like tights, glues, underwear and other close fitting garments. Modern consumers are interested in clothing that not only well in appearance but also has great feels. Denim is the right fabric at the right time, and its market is expanding. As lifestyles change, so does denim – with new weights, fibers, finishing techniques, application treatments and end-uses.

Though Knitting and weaving are two different technologies in fabric manufacturing line, it can be now possible to imitate the same appearance and properties in different products. Since the denim has great demand in the market at present and knitted fabrics are popular for their shape fitting properties, softer handle, comfortable nature and high extension at low tension, a new way of combining the two methods of fabric construction to create a “Denim effect using knit structures” has been effected so as to create Value added Product. Knitted denim has made great inroads: Sometimes, knits look like woven; and sometimes, woven denim looks like knitted4. Knitted denim fabric with its delicate structure, clear lines, softness and breathable comfort affirm the ultimate solution putting both fashion and comfort in balance. Knit denim is also available in attractive indigo blue shades and is made for variety of applications and in wide range of qualities and shades, the most popular being black denim. This denim is comfortable, fashionable, affordable and durable and popular in all the age group.

Knit Denim Technology

While both techniques support weaving and knitting are used to produce denim effects on fabrics, the Woven denim is conventional and vastly used by valued consumers and knit denim is novice but substantially preferable due to flexibility, user-friendliness. The comfort ability of knit denim garments as well its stretch ability makes the fabric mold and move easily with body movement thereby creating huge demand to the customers.

Technical Parameters Machine and Materials
100% cotton combed yarn, ring spun 

Yarn count:  24/1 Ne

CSP:   2420

IPI:   29.8

CV:   7.0

TPI:  17.74

Dyed yarn: 6.18 kg;    

No. of cones = 51

Grey yarn: 6 kg;      

No. of cones = 48

Lycra: 40 D;   

Single Jersey Circular Knitting Machine

Sample Yarn Dyeing Machine

Winding Machine

Inspection Machine

Hydro extractor (For Yarn dyeing)

Dryer (For Yarn dyeing)

Stenter (For Finishing)

Compactor (For Fabric)


One of the researches showed that “denim” effect on knitted fabric could be made from three types of technologies5.They are: Float plated technology, Thread fleece, Interlock plaited jacquard. The structure using knit and float stitch, using knit cams and sinker cams as well as sinkers to do a knit on one side of the fabric and a very tight float on the other where the float gives the woven effects. Depending on the cylinder cam arrangement, the machine generates the ability to do one-, two- and three needle floats.

The global leader in textile and clothing, China is the first country that has created and implemented idea of creating knit denim look in knit fabrics with French terry structure (cloth that features loops and soft piles of yarn). Though the indigo knits have been created for a long time, a huge increase in demand for these products came from the time Jeggings trend in woven denim became popular. With the woven denim fabrics being initially used to create the super tight Jeggings, the need for further comfort – while maintaining denim looks – was felt strongly and this has given chance to knit based fabrics, what we called knit denim.

Total 6 kg fabric of two single jersey fabrics: Knit denim and Tuck denim were produced in a single jersey circular knitting machine with lycra attachment. The fabric produced has been passed through a stenter and compactor in order to heat set the fabric as well as the lycra. The fabric is then tested in the best way and in the right condition.


The two fabrics that got developed during this research are softer and comfortable as well as less complicated to be produced. Though only two fabrics of same count were being produced during this research, scope remains for developing the fabric further in the future. Polyester can be used in alternate to cotton yarn to minimize cost and show different characteristics. Further developments such as knitting with rotor yarn during the production of knit denim and tuck denim by using half of the creel loaded with rotor yarn and feeding it to those feeders that undergoes less knitting action during compared to others can surely open a new doorway for rotor yarn to be used in knitting. Knit denim is the fabric of the future, a future that we must understand and adapt so as to survive in this competitive market. This novel application of knit denim production technology is developed by Bangladeshi engineers in a local knitting factory using conventional knitting machine opens new opportunities for innovative product fabric development.


Engineers contributing to this technology development: Salim Azad Didar, Sarif Patwary, Shahidul Kader and Toufique Ahmed