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Tender Co. Denim

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Just through dyeing and appearing in the outside world any day now, type 933 Zoetrope Coats are an experiment in pleating from the neck, starting from the look of military jackets with chest darts into the collar, working through more abstract ideas of snapshots of movements fanned out across a piece of fabric, and Edweard Muybridge's use of the zoetrope technique of animation (zoopraxiscopy!)

Here's what it actually looks like...:

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Along with various iterations of the season's fabrics and dyes (including the really lovely English-Woven double indigo cotton Taunton above), I've got a single piece made in ecru cotton Taunton (a simple 11oz cloth, this one's broken twill) which was put into rinse with a batch of double indigo garments. It's come out pale blue, but rather than being actively dyed it's coloured entirely from dye lost by other pieces of clothing. Here are some pictures:

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because the big pleat in each side pulls the grain all over the place it's going to be really interesting seeing how these wear in.

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I especially like the Zoetrope in the walnut dye. Thanks for sharing, William. I just caught a glimpse of the side cinch trousers on the web stores. Any chance we'll be seeing restocks of any of the older Tender model pants? I'm looking for small sizes in the 132s and the unborn seem to have been sold out everywhere for quite some time. 

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7 hours ago, SallyKolchine said:

I especially like the Zoetrope in the walnut dye. Thanks for sharing, William. I just caught a glimpse of the side cinch trousers on the web stores. Any chance we'll be seeing restocks of any of the older Tender model pants? I'm looking for small sizes in the 132s and the unborn seem to have been sold out everywhere for quite some time. 

Thanks very much for this. Yes, new 126 side-cinch Oxford trousers are now in stock. Here's how they work:

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I've been wearing a pair of these in indigo/indigo broken twill Taunton for about 6 months, and I'm really pleased with them. Here are some photos:

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Here they are new, in indigo/indigo Taunton (as above) and in the same fabric woven with ecru cotton yarn:

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Standard jeans have indeed been out of stock for a while, sorry about this. I'm expecting a full restock around the end of June, although if it's of interest I do have a pair of 136s in Unborn denim in a size 2, which are the same style as 132, just wider in the leg. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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Some more Type 444 Boomerang shirts and jackets have just gone up on the Stores, and will be at stockists over the next few days. Here's how they work:

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This style is cut quite long, and the bias fabric means they stetch into shape really beautifully, especially across the shoulders. I have one in rinsed Carding Cloth, and it's a favourite.

 

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Posted (edited)

One of the most exciting things about this Spring/Summer 2019 production has been making a striped warp. Up until now, all the fabrics have been woven onto plain warps, so all the stripes and patterns have been textural, through rigging the loom, or fed in as contrast weft yarns. This makes for some really interesting textures and allows me to experiment with short lengths of different designs, but there are some things (a check, for example) which can only practically be woven with a striped warp.

The warp in a woven piece of fabric is the yarn which runs along the full length of the cloth (eg in standard denim you have an indigo warp, which goes up and down, and an ecru weft, which runs across). Weaving is the process of filling in the warp with weft, on a loom. The way this work industrially is that you have a big roll of warp yarns, on a 'beam' which looks like a gigantic cotton reel, on one side of the loom. The weft is fed though the warp across the width of the loom, and woven fabric comes out the other side of the loom, back onto another waiting beam. At the start of the process you have a full beam of warp on the back and an empty beam on the front; at the end you have an empty warp beam at the back and a full beam of woven fabric at the front.

Unlike a cotton reel, where you have a single length of thread wrapped round and round and back and forward over the full length of the reel, for a warp beam there are lots of 'ends' (warp strands) of yarn rolled up parallel to each other. If you unwound a warp beam you'd have a set of parallel yarns lying on the floor, right next to each other. They mustn't get twisted or overlap each other, so setting up a warp is a very precise and extremely fiddly process. Here are some pictures:

Yarn arrives from the spinners as 'packages', or cones of yarn, about the size of a mid-sized pumpkin. These get set up, on their sides, on a big frame called a creel:

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each one of the packages will get wound onto the warp beam until it runs out, at which point another package will be 'mended' (tied) on and continue to run through.

The yarn is fed through a set of guides all along the length of the creel:

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then down through a set of stepped vertical pins called 'sheds':

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until you move from a set of stacked packages across multiple frames in the creel, down to a single neatly spaced horizontal plane of ends, ready to wind onto the warp beam:

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the beam gets rotated on its axis, winding the yarn through the sheds, until you have a full warp beam, which gets labeled with tailors chalk to mark what yarn count (thickness- this is single twelves, meaning twelve count yarn which has not been plied up):

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Now you have a warp beam, which could be woven from right away. But for this particular fabric I wanted to make a striped warp. I had assumed that this would be done from different yarns on the creel, but in fact to make a stripe you take a complete warp beam of each colour and combine them.

A plain indigo warp was made up in the same way as the ecru warp above, then the two warps are set next to each other, at one end of long series of rollers and spacers:

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The yarn that will become the finished warp runs flat along the lower level of rollers in the photo above- to the left you can see the plain ecru, and to the right of the indigo beam you can see that the indigo yarn has been laid on top of the ecru, and they're almost mixing together. Note, too, that the ecru and indigo on their own are relatively loosely spaced, while the combined warp to the right of the picture is much more closely spaced. Here's a closeup:

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The combined warp yarns are still just raw spun cotton at the moment, quite fluffy and also fairly fragile- you could easily break the yarn with a firm pull. The next step is to starch the yarn, called 'sizing', ready for weaving. This is done to the whole warp, which gets treated as if it was a piece of woven cloth.

The warp is drawn up, under tension, across a series of rollers and into a vat (under the red line):

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into which a slurry of hot water and potato starch is poured:

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you can see the size really changes the quality of the yarn- coming in steamy but unsized on the right, and leaving the sizing bath all sticky on the left:

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The sized yarn passes over a series of heated rollers (the big green drums), which sets the starch and lets all the water in the yarn evaporate:

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This next bit I found really difficult to get my head around, but even though the indigo and ecru yarns have gone through the whole sizing process together, one set of yarn (indigo) is still sat on top of the other set (ecru), and they can be split back out easily on the other side of the sizing machine:

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These two flat planes of yarn are pulled under tension across another open section (to allow the yarn to cool off the rollers, and thoroughly dry out), and are met at the other end by someone doing one of the fiddliest jobs in the whole process:

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Another set of sheds (the zigzag of vertical pins that allow the creel to be arranged onto the original ecru cotton warp beam) is set up above yet another slowly revolving warp beam- this is the beam that will finally hold the finished warp. Every end (thread of warp yarn) is arranged in groups through the sheds, depending on the width of the stripe:

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the hardest part of this, of course, is getting the stripe set up in the first place, which these images don't show. At this point, the job is to keep an eye of every single end coming through and spot if anything is broken or tangled. If it is, the whole process is stopped and the yarn is mended (knotted back together). This is one of the reasons you see those nice little bumps in traditionally woven denim.

As the warp finally comes off the end of the process it's nice and even, crisp from the sizing, and all at a consistent tension:

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it gets wound onto the final beam, which will then be ready to be driven over to the weaving factory on the back of a lorry, to be filled with a plain ecru cotton weft (Indigo Welsh Stripe) or with alternating sets of ecru and indigo 'picks' (weft yarns) to make Indigo Welsh Check. The fabric names come from traditional Welsh woollen flannel shirt cloths, which were often woven in stripes or checks of quite small equal widths.

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The reinforced metal ends of the warp beams are traditionally painted with different colour combinations, to be able to tell the contents of the beams apart from the distance. This, I believe, is basically the same system that selvage denim weavers used to differentiate between different fabric qualities (eg red line selvage for Levi's, yellow for Lee, etc).

Edited by rodeo bill

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Great info and pics - hope we get to see the next stages documented as well...

any more details on the yarns (spinning & dye)?

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This is very interesting and cool. I to, look forward to part 2 :)

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Just was graced with a pair of 127's from Standard & Strange's mystery sale. I have to admit I never heard of or seen this brand before. So I was pleasantly surprised to find all these unique details in them. However I am unsure if these are rinsed, washed, or raw? I'm thinking these are straight raw but could you guys help me out?

 

 

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5 hours ago, kalenov said:

Just was graced with a pair of 127's from Standard & Strange's mystery sale. I have to admit I never heard of or seen this brand before. So I was pleasantly surprised to find all these unique details in them. However I am unsure if these are rinsed, washed, or raw? I'm thinking these are straight raw but could you guys help me out?

Thanks! I'm really pleased you've got these. S&S ordered these quite a while ago, but looks like they're warm rinsed, so they'll shrink a bit more with a hot wash and tumble dry, but if you hand/cool wash and hang dry they'll stay as they are. You can tell because the Elephant label is a bit puffy- it was sewn on flat bu the fabric shrinks behind it, pulling it in at the sides where it's stitched down.

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11 hours ago, rodeo bill said:

Thanks! I'm really pleased you've got these. S&S ordered these quite a while ago, but looks like they're warm rinsed, so they'll shrink a bit more with a hot wash and tumble dry, but if you hand/cool wash and hang dry they'll stay as they are. You can tell because the Elephant label is a bit puffy- it was sewn on flat bu the fabric shrinks behind it, pulling it in at the sides where it's stitched down.

Thank you very much! I appreciate it! 

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Pulling out some indigo socks for their first real wear this evening—the artificial lighting doesn't do justice to the depth of color on these!

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After a year or so of wearing mostly Tender socks, I don't see myself going with anything else any time soon.

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x-post from WAYWT: just got in a Prussian Blue carding cloth boomerang shirt that's looking like it'll be just what I've been after. Exciting!

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Thanks so much for the photos! I'm so glad you're enjoying it, I particularly like the shirt and it looks lovely on you.

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  • Luisa via Roma (US)
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