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Paul T

Who can hem jeans - chainstitch?

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Sitting at the bottom of my wardrobe I have a few pairs of LVC 1920s reissues, picked up in sales etc, that are the right size - but way too long.

Sadly, I am bothered by the fact that the hems on these jeans are chainstitched - so I want them shortened chainsitch.

A while ago, Cinch in London were planning to get a chainstich machine for exactly this reason - now their previous manager has moved on, and they've dropped the idea.

So... does anyone know of any tailors in London etc who have a chainstitch machine???

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you can hem them and retain the original hem but you end up with a bulk of fabric at the bottom, so its not a good idea if you wear your jeans cuffed...

but i dont know about anyone who would have a chainstitch machine

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Why is it so seemingly difficult for jeans stores or even places like Denim Doctors in L. A., who supposedly specialize in altering jeans, to have machines that can chain stitch when in Japan just about every jean store, including the levis stores, can chain stitch your jeans in around 15 minutes while you wait?

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does anyone have a pic of chainstitched denim??? i'm not sure i know what it looks like.

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Why is it so seemingly difficult for jeans stores or even places like Denim Doctors in L. A., who supposedly specialize in altering jeans, to have machines that can chain stitch when in Japan just about every jean store, including the levis stores, can chain stitch your jeans in around 15 minutes while you wait?

--- Original message by Bert and Pat Guiterrez on May 22, 2005 02:44 PM

you can pickup a used industrial chainstitch machine for $500-1000, which would be great for a place hemming a lot of jeans (plus they dont use bobbins so you have a continuous supply of thread)

a standard lockstitch is a lot stronger, but i agree a chainstitch looks much cooler

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paul,

if you're in nyc you can get them hemmed at 45rpm's store. i go there and they can do it right away since they have it downstairs. ask for john.

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Paul - I don't know where they chainstitch in London, but across the water at the Paris 45rpm, they've got a nice Union Special chainstitcher stashed away.

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they would alter for a small fee. i think 10-15 dollars, but don't quote me on that.

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Why is it so seemingly difficult for jeans stores or even places like Denim Doctors in L. A., who supposedly specialize in altering jeans, to have machines that can chain stitch when in Japan just about every jean store, including the levis stores, can chain stitch your jeans in around 15 minutes while you wait?

--- Original message by Bert and Pat Guiterrez on May 22, 2005 02:44 PM

Hey Bert, you mentioned my store Denim Doctors and we do chainstitch for hems.If you were told otherwise they were wrong.If an employee told you that they were very wrong! Good luck. And to some other post on my store, yes we are a little more expensive than your local tailor but people have to realize that what we do is above the rest.That is why we developed a business around this particular type of work.We have also been doing it before denim even became such a craze.So when we do something like a superhem(which we coined) it is actually custom work.It's not your 8$ or 10$ dry cleaner hem.Other tailors are now trying to do our superhem and it just isn't the same.We do many fix-its on other tailors work.A few have been able to do a pretty decent job but the two I know of charge 30$ and up for a superhem.So I don't think 18$ is that expensive.People have to understand it is much harder to work on denim than even the finest suit.That's why we are farther ahead in the game than most other tailors.And we have been perfecting it for years.I also hear complaints on the turn around time.Yes it is much longer than I would like it to be but in the last year alone our business has increased so much that it's hard to keep up with the demand.If there were more sewers qualified to do this type of work we could bulk up our staff.I am baffled when someone actually gets "angry" at us for the wait, if you don't want to wait shrug your shoulders and find another place.I would never get angry at a restraunt if they told me the wait was really long I would either mosy up to the bar or find another restraunt.How can I be angry at an establishment for being busy?It's that simple.

REVIVAL

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Why is it so seemingly difficult for jeans stores or even places like Denim Doctors in L. A., who supposedly specialize in altering jeans, to have machines that can chain stitch when in Japan just about every jean store, including the levis stores, can chain stitch your jeans in around 15 minutes while you wait?

--- Original message by Bert and Pat Guiterrez on May 22, 2005 02:44 PM

Hey Bert, you mentioned my store Denim Doctors and we do chainstitch for hems.If you were told otherwise they were wrong.If an employee told you that they were very wrong! Good luck. And to some other post on my store, yes we are a little more expensive than your local tailor but people have to realize that what we do is above the rest.That is why we developed a business around this particular type of work.We have also been doing it before denim even became such a craze.So when we do something like a superhem(which we coined) it is actually custom work.It's not your 8$ or 10$ dry cleaner hem.Other tailors are now trying to do our superhem and it just isn't the same.We do many fix-its on other tailors work.A few have been able to do a pretty decent job but the two I know of charge 30$ and up for a superhem.So I don't think 18$ is that expensive.People have to understand it is much harder to work on denim than even the finest suit.That's why we are farther ahead in the game than most other tailors.And we have been perfecting it for years.I also hear complaints on the turn around time.Yes it is much longer than I would like it to be but in the last year alone our business has increased so much that it's hard to keep up with the demand.If there were more sewers qualified to do this type of work we could bulk up our staff.I am baffled when someone actually gets "angry" at us for the wait, if you don't want to wait shrug your shoulders and find another place.I would never get angry at a restraunt if they told me the wait was really long I would either mosy up to the bar or find another restraunt.How can I be angry at an establishment for being busy?It's that simple.

REVIVAL

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denimrevival, that is really good to hear!

I've been grumbling about this for a while now, and yes one of your employees told me that you didn't have a machine that could do a chain stitch. They told me that the best you could do is the "cut off the existing chain stitch hem and sew it back on higher up" trick. Is this what you mean by a "superhem?"

If you have a proper chain stitch machine like all the jeans stores in Japan have, I'll be in with a stack of jeans to have shortened for sure.

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correct me if i'm wrong, but chainstitch is a weaker seam....right...

One snag/break of the thread and the whole seam/hem comes undone---whereas a lock stitch would still hold....

I don't get the appeal?

Edited by bloden on Oct 7, 2005 at 10:01 AM

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I'ts purely for looks, so that the shortened jeans look like they've never been altered. Chainstitch is how most jeans were hemmed originally. Some Lee jeans and early Levi's had regular hems.

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correct me if i'm wrong, but chainstitch is a weaker seam....right...

One snag/break of the thread and the whole seam/hem comes undone---whereas a lock stitch would still hold....

I don't get the appeal?

Edited by bloden on Oct 7, 2005 at 10:01 AM

--- Original message by bloden on Oct 7, 2005 10:00 AM

Chainstitching is strong and importantly, flexible. The chainstitching on jeans is a double lockstitching and not the simple, single thread chain stitching that some people have referred to (that type of chainstitching is designed on purpose to unravel easily and is used to join 2 pieces of fabric together temporarily - like basting).

I wrote this on another forum, but I don't have the patience to rewrite it, so here it is again:

Chain stitching machines also come with dual threads. Sometimes some companies may use 2 different coloured threads in their chain stitches, so you can easily tell - or try unpicking some chain stitching and counting the threads. 2 Thread Chain is not cheaper than single stitching (aka lock stitching). It uses a lot more thread and the machines themselves are specialist. Single stitch machines are far, far more common.

2 Thread Chain stitching will not unravel easily -I've many jeans where the chain stitching has been broken, usually at the heel side of the hem, without the entire row of stitches unravelling. It's known for it's strength and flexibility.

Chain stitching is so highly regarded that many denimnerds will actively seek out chain stitching machines to hem their jeans. Most notably the old 'Union Special' machines. (you can buy modern chainstitching machines as well)

Single thread chain stitching is often used as a temporary 'tacking' stitch. eg to hold two pieces of fabric together for dyeing, which are then separated. For this application the single thread chain stitch shines.

Like I mentioned in another thread,(on another forum) in most jeans, you'll find chainstitching in the seams that have to withstand the highest level of stress. ie. crotch, inside leg, back yoke, waistband. It's there for a reason.

Think about it, if chain stitching was so weak, why would jeans manufacturers put it in the points of the highest stress - and why on jeans, which are designed as hard-wear work garments? It's certainly not to save money (chain stitching costs more). Jeans are one of the most time-tested garments in human history and history has shown that chain stitching works exceptionally well .

Most jeans use chain stitching on the waistband, crotch seams, back yoke and inside leg seams as well as the hem. Coincidentally those are all the seams that have to resist the greatest amount of stress - a lot more stress than a hem would come under. If chain stitching was in any way weak it would not be used in those places.

Chain stitching is strong also because it stretches and shrinks with the denim. You can stretch out a seam that is chain stitched with rarely a problem. Sometimes if you stretch out a seam that has regular stitching, the tension will 'ping' the stitch line (snap the thread).

Flexible is strong

Chain stitching is also one of the factors that make jeans look like they do. It gives the jeans a 'rugged' look.

For example, chain stitching creates a more pronounced 'roping' effect on the hems. Sometimes you'll see jeans, usually from fashion (catwalk) brands that aren't jeans specialists that aren't made on jeans production lines - ie. they may be 5-pocket jeans, but sewn on regular trouser production lines. Such 'jeans' often look unconvincing. Too prissy, too neat.

There are, of course, exceptions. Most notably Sugarcane's Hawaii, which uses high density single stitching throughout (about 4 stitches per cm, compared to about 3 stitches per cm on 'regular' jeans) - and hand felled seams. But in most cases, chain stitching in jeans is highly desirable

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Great post! I've never thought about how regular stitching affects the look of the jean, that's a really good point.

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Cheers Paul. When a pair of jeans does not feature extensive chainstitching they often look like 'jeans made in a trouser factory' as opposed to made in a jeans factory. Just not quite right.

Sugercanes' Hawaii SC40400 being a notable exception icon_smile.gif

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Thanks for the info ringring-

I've been skooled on chainstitching.

But the reason I question the strength of chainstitching is I have a pair of military pants that are chain stitched and when the stitch was broken the entire seam unraveled by just pulling on one of the threads. I've done this with other chainstitched seams as well-it only takes a break in the stitch and a pull on the thread and the entire seam will unravel-given these two things have to happen to make if a weaker seam. Someone else should try it on an old pair of jeans....

This is why I was under the impression that it would be a weaker seam....

and I don't think chainstitching cost more in production because eventhough it uses more thread and is a specialized machine it is ALOT faster becuase no bobbins right?

And I believe it's used at all the stress points because it stretches whereas a lockstitch would break if stretched. So still more applicable to denim, but just didn't understand the obsession with having hems chainstitched-aesthetics seemed to be the main concern- which is definitely applicable.

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Hey Bloden

Sorry, I didn't mean to come across patronising or anything.

You're right, chainstitching is pretty quick - but it uses a lot more thread than single thread lock stitching, hence the cost. Plus the machines cost more.

And yes, they are used in places where it's good to have the ability to stretch (as I mentioned previously). Flexible is strong. Here's a link that was posted by Amblus on another forum:

http://www.crazyweb.currantbun.com/vsm/g&b.html

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ringring, i seriously think you should write a book if you haven't already - pitch it to Phaidon or something - title it..

"my love affair with denim"

dig.

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Thanks for droppin that knowledge Ringring, very well done!

So anybody in the LA area ever have their jeans altered at DENIMDOCTOR? If so, can you post pics...I want to see how well the results are. Also, what is the wait and price for each jean?

I'm a noob in this game with a lot of jeans just wayyy too long! IF I happen to check out DenimDoctor, do I just drop off my jeans or do I have to ask for a specific service on them? I'm sure they'll know what to do....

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I mean that the fell seams were made by hand rather than on a felling machine. In the example that I was giving - Suganecane Hawaii's - if you look inside the jeans, you'll see the fell seams are very different to regular jeans. (only one line of lock stitching visible on the inside, instead of the usual double row of chainstitching - on the outside the twin rows of stitching don't run perfectly parallel....)

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hey ringring-no offense taken. it's nice to hear the technical side of clothing from someone who knows.

that is interesting about the Sugarecane Hawaii's- is there a purpose for the single stitching and hand made fell seams-it seems like it would be kinda homey/home made looking?

nice link-thanksicon_smile_wink.gif

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is there a purpose for the single stitching and hand made fell seams

Possibly Sugarcane decided to make a flagship style - so they made a pair of jeans using a process that is deliberately much much more laborious than normal.

If you turn the Hawaii's inside out, they are completely 'clean' inside. No overlocking at all (and not that much visible stitching at all compared to regular jeans). The inside leg seams are felled, and the fly facings are bound in the same yarn dyed check they use for the pocket bags.

Beautifully done.

Edited by ringring on Oct 8, 2005 at 02:20 PM

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Paul T - I was in Cinch just a couple weeks ago, and had a long chat with the guy working there ... One of the things we talked about was denim repair, and he said that one of his longtime associates was going to start offering professional repairs and finishes very soon, so if it's been a while since you asked or unless you know something different, perhaps it's worth going back in and asking again? Meantime, as I said in an earlier post I can't vouch for them cos I've only been in there once, but the Smart boutique in Rivington street EC2 seemed to be very confident about the denim alteration service they where offering when I was considering having a couple pairs of LVC taken in a while back, so it might be worth giving them a call.

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Hey Bert,

well I am really sorry that someone told you otherwise! Yes we have a chainstitch machine and always have had one.Understand that the reason for the repair business we have basically started from the need from dealers in the denim vintage biz.So it kind of sparked from there to the general public.Unfortunately because we are so bogged down with so many jeans that our turn around time is about a week.Unless you pay 10$ more for a rush.

REVIVAL

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Thanks for droppin that knowledge Ringring, very well done!

So anybody in the LA area ever have their jeans altered at DENIMDOCTOR? If so, can you post pics...I want to see how well the results are. Also, what is the wait and price for each jean?

I'm a noob in this game with a lot of jeans just wayyy too long! IF I happen to check out DenimDoctor, do I just drop off my jeans or do I have to ask for a specific service on them? I'm sure they'll know what to do....

--- Original message by bathe my ape on Oct 7, 2005 04:53 PM

Yes just bring them in.Understand that we are so busy that right now the turn around time is a week.So if you need them for something special wait until you have the time.

REVIVAL

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