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…Welcome to my Japanese Denim Adventure

Hey everyone,

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…Making really good progress on the Bias Skirt Video… I have to admit, it’s a lot of work when you are working on it yourself… camera girl, editor in chief and personality (well, I’m working on my camera personality :)    And, of course, I have 10 other things going in the background.

One of the other things I’m working on is the Japanese Denim that just arrived for me.  Mary Jo, one of the students in my Jean Fit Workshop in RI alerted me to the fact that Sawyer Brook Fabrics had some in stock.  Of course, I had to have  some…

Japanese Denim is also known as “Selvage Denim”  This denim is only 32″ wide because it is woven on older looms…  the result is a tighter, denser weave that has interesting imperfections that reveal themselves over time (and washing).   Check out the interesting article I found on the History of Japanese Denim for all the juicy details.

One way to identify authentic Japanese Denim is to take a peek at the selvage edges.  They are most commonly woven with a red thread running down the middle.  Here’s a close-up of the selvages on my denim…

selvageSo, I’m in a little bit of a quandary about washing this denim.  This highly prized denim is very popular with designer of custom, hand made jeans.  The thing is, they don’t wash it before they start working with it!!!!   Anyone who has taken my classes knows I’m a fan of multiple washings before I even start working.

The reason why jeans made from this denim are not washed (pre-washed… or washed very often once they are worn) is because washing removes the dye and the signature distressing that comes from letting them live a long time between washings.  The trick is to get a gauge of how much the jeans are going to shrink as they are washed as a finished garment…

Here’s my plan.  I’m going to cut a few 10 inch squares of denim that I can use to experiment with.  I’ll wash the first square once, the next twice … and so on till I think I have the final answer in terms of shrinkage.  That way I can carefully measure and figure out how much larger I have to make my pattern in order for it to fit in the end!

In addition to posting this exciting adventure here, I am going to be joining my student, Mary Jo, in a sew along in the Savvy Sewer’s Salon at Sawyer Brook Fabric.  Mary Jo is going to be posting her progress on the jeans she is making in class and I’m going to be chiming in with Japanese details… Very Fun!  There’s not much going on with it yet, but it is set up in the Salon.

So, stay tuned for more Japanese Denim Adventures :)

 

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