Jump to content

Tender Co. Denim


Recommended Posts

once the fly's made, the front and back legs are sewn together, starting with the inseam. This is done with a safety seam and single chainstitch, like Levi's repros, but I reversed the direction of the inseam inlay, so that from the outside it points up rather than down. I find that one of the first places that my jeans blow out is at the inseam on the thighs, where the topstitched edge rubs against seats/bike saddles etc. I just reversed it so that the seam points away from whatever you're sitting on, and now it doesn't rub. My first pair is now pretty much knackered, and has fallen apart in plenty of places, but the inseam's still intact, so my experiment seems to have worked!


next the outside seam is sewn on a straight lockstitch machine


I like quite a narrow selvage seam allowance, just 6mm each side:


and the outside seam is pressed open by hand


Link to comment
Share on other sites

the hip sticth, sewn from the outside, keeps the pocket inlays in place. I don't like back-tacks in general, and particularly at the end of the hip-stotch, so the thred endes are pulled in to the inside of the garment. Here you can see Natu tieing off these loose ends so they don't ravel. This picture also shows the seat seam, which is a triple-stitch run and fell seam, and the yoke stitch, which is double needle. Again a place I get blow-outs is the seat, so and extra stitch line just keeps it going that bit longer


Now the waistband goes on, with a folder on a Kansai special chainstitch machine:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

the waistband edge stitch goes round in one, starting and ending with a vertical stitch:


The first time I visited Natu and Sarla's factory, in December, they offered me a cup of tea, and I was introduced to marsala chai for the first time. For anyone that's never had it, it;s one of the best hot drinks I've ever had- Indian tea mixed with cinamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, served with milk and sugar. Ive since had Somalian spice tea, which is similar but with more ginger and no cardamom. Pretty good too.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had a thing for lined belt loops for a while. TENDER's are lined with the same Lancashire-woven selvage calico that goes inside the hip pockets. First the loop and lining are pulled through a folder and pressed flat


then Natu sews them together on a twin-needle machine


the loop lining is a nice detail (particularly after the jeans are hand dyed in natural indigo, and the lining takes on the lovely rich sky blue), but it also keeps the back smooth against your belt, and as all the inlays are in the centre, forms a nice ridge which wears beutifully

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the belt loops are cut up into 2 lengths. The side belt loops are slightly longer than the rest, so that the can reach down onto the yoke seam, which gives them a bit of extra support. I also quite like havign extra long side loops so I can hike my jeans up...



the loops are bartacked on. TENDER jeans have 6 belt loops, which I think is a good number- 7 (Wrangler) seems overkill, but 5 (Levi's, Lee) leaves too much space between the centre-back and side loops, which can cause your belt to ride up above the waistband


Link to comment
Share on other sites

the hem is double folded inside- this is something I've seen on Japanese repros, and it gives a great raised ridge on the hem, which will improve the roping when the unsanforized fabric is washed, and skews.


Natu doesn't have a chainstitch hem machine, so the hems are sewn with a lockstitch. He used to have a Union Special, but he sold it when they downsized their factory. Very frustrating!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

next the waistband buttonholes go on. First the regular buttonhole:


then the little straight hole that the removable hand-cast brass waistband button fits into


finally the rivets are put on with a kick press


I'm using Japanese UNIVERSAL copper dome rivets. I'll get into why I'm not a fan of hidden hip-pocket rivets some other time...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

and there you have it! that's the process up to the raw sewn stage. They're still not shrunk, so they;re pretty massive


The jeans and jackets are now in suitcases in my office/dining room, waiting to get back on the train to Norfolk next week (hopefully- depends on the weather) for dyeing. I'll keep you all posted!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty gangsta stuff man. Interested to see the final product.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i want to know who the fuck ringring is.

He's the fucking master.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

can we buy these directly from you? any discounts for sufu?
Same thing.

Plebs. Just fucking plebs.

You are seeing this whole amazing process and the first thing that springs to mind is a fucking discount?

For shame! :mad:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@opie, I agree that the process is amazing. but the price of denim is not entirely related to its process. There is nothing shameful to buy directly from source and get a good deal. 50%-60% (i.e. around 110% markup) of the price you pay goes towards the middleman -the retailer. if we cut out the middleman it's natural that we pay less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread just blew my mind. I was expecting some obscure lore about these jeans, maybe a few mutterings about seeing them in some lookbook... Those process photos, along with the commentary, are unreal. Thanks for showing us the shop-floor! These things look amazingly beautiful. I'm sure we'd all love to.. uhh.. "beta test" them, if you need any evolutionary data/telemetry for your marketing purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@opie, I agree that the process is amazing. but the price of denim is not entirely related to its process. There is nothing shameful to buy directly from source and get a good deal. 50%-60% (i.e. around 110% markup) of the price you pay goes towards the middleman -the retailer. if we cut out the middleman it's natural that we pay less.

I take it back then. It just sounded like the first thought was "kan i haz 4 cheep" instead of ?!?1?"show me the pictures of your indigobath!".

From nerd to average consumer ;)

Also i'm sure he'll sell straight from source.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for all the enthusiasm guys! It really means a lot. no offence taken at all at beng asked for discounts :), but I'm afraid at the moment I'm not able to sell direct. The main reason is I'm on a tight budget and can't afford to hold stock, but also I'm working with some really great shops, who've helped me out a lot so I want to send people their way. The stores that'll be stocking TENDER from June/July are:

http://www.superdenim.co.uk/ (York, UK)

Few and Far, London, UK (http://fewandfar.net/)

http://www.hickorees.com/ (Brooklyn, USA)

Unionmade, San Francisco, USA (http://www.unionmadegoods.com/)

Douglas Fir, Los Angeles, USA

Tenue de Nimes, Amsterdam, NL (http://www.tenuedenimes.com/)

they all carry some really interesting stuff, and are well worth a look in case you don't know them already

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So this morning I popped in to see the people who are grading my patterns, in North London. I've made a first prototype for a new fit of jeans (for the second season) but I made it in my size, which is bigger than a sales sample, so I needed to get it graded down, and also have the home-made pattern tidied up a bit.


The patterns are digitized with a sort of electronic puck on a lightbox, and then cut directly by computer. The 'printer' they have is brilliant:


It cuts directly from the roll of card, so that you can just pop out the finished pattern pieces


I appreciate that this may not be as interesting as some of the other making processes, but one of the things I've really enjoyed about this whole project so far is finding out about all the different trades and skills that go into making a product that you never really think about before trying it for yourself. It's been a very steep learning curve!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about the jacket?

Here you go:

As with the jeans, first the pattern is marked out on the denim. I cut the jacket without shoulder seams- there's no yoke, but the back is seamed to the fronts at where the front yoke would normally be. The idea with this is that the bias fabric over the shoulders will mould to the body and become really comfortable. Howver it does make for a very wide panel piece, which only just come out across the narrow fabric:


In fact you can see it's so tight there's actually a tiny bit of selvage left on the point of the shoulder:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

the next job is to prepare all the pieces that will be sewn onto the shell panels. First the lower patch pockets, which are lined with the same Lancashire selvage calico as the jeans pockets:


then the side straps, which are folded on the selvage:


Now the various pockets are sewn onto the shell. The lower pockets are sewn into the side seam at the side, and into the hem at the bottom, and the left chest map pocket is sewn into the side and yoke seams. There's also a swinging inside pocket on the inside right chest, sewn into the yoke seam.


You can also see the selvage side straps, which are sewn into the side seams just above the lower pockets.

The vertical stitch lines running parallel to the front opening are where a strip of cotton herringbone tape is sewn in with buttonholes to take the removable blanket lining.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks Viv! ^^^ Leather pics will come up sometime soon. On a side note, I found out today that my belt factory are able and happy to do the bag I've designed for the second season, so more excitement to come!

back to the jacket...

I'm afraid I don't have a very vlear picture of this, but the next stage is to put the collar on. I like the Levi's Type I/II stitch (Levi's history experts I may be misquoting here, but it's true of what I've seen). The collar is put on in 2 stitches- first the outside is seamed to the jacket neck hole, and the then the inside is topstitched over it. On later Levi's jackets (III/IV), the collar is put on in one operation. To look at, with the earlier version you don;t see the topsticth when you lift the collar up. This jacket's collar is also cut in one piece, folded along the outside edge.


You can also see in the foreground jacket in this picture that there's a small inverted box pleat at the centre back neck. This just puts a bit of extra cloth into the back across the shoulders, which lets you move your arms freely while still allowing a nice neat high armhole.

The sleeves go in on the run and fell machine, in one line with the side seams (like a shirt), and the cuffs are hemmed with a double fold, like the jeans hem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love blanket-lined denim jackets (storm riders et al), but my problems with this for TENDER were that 1) I'm using unsanforized fabric, so that after a wash any sewn-in lining would be far too big, and sag out all over the place, and 2) as the jacket's going to be dyed after it's finished, any sewn-in lining would have to be dyed too, which wouldn't necessarily look good (also air bubbles would get trapped between the 2 fabrics, causing the indigo to oxidise unevenly). The solution I've come up with is to make the lining button-in, which also makes the jacket more versatile.

The lining fabric is a Kojima-woven repro of Storm Rider lining, woven from recycled wool, rayon, acetate, and polyester. It really feels exactly the same as the originals, down to the little flecks of random colour from the recycled wool:


This is a bit out of sequence, but while Natu was cutting the lining fabirc, Sarla was hemming the jackets. At the point where the lower pockets are sewn into the hem, the fabric gets so thick that Sarla has to hammer it down before sewing the seam. On the plus side though, the different layers will make for fantastic fading.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

When the lining's buttoned in, it covers the swing-pocket in the inside right chest, so I put an extra patch pocket on the lining inside right. This is also nice if the liner is worn separately, as a vest. The pocket has a TENDER label sewn on in a looped stitch that runs off at the sides, as with the jeans and jacket labels.


The lining is sewn together on a flatlock machine, as is normally used on jersey sweatshirts, in a contrast white thread. We talked about matching the stripes across the pocket, but I decided against it- I like the slightly patchwork effect this gives, whereas if they matched the pocket would merge into the main fabric- more sophisticated perhaps, but less appropriate in this case:


In this picture you can also just see 2 parallel stitch lines across the front lining panel behind the pocket mouth. This is for a strip of cotton herringbone tape which supports the pocket. The lining fabric isn't as strong as denim, so a line of tape stops the pocket corners pulling out when it's used. This is a system commonly used on duffel coats. The corners are further fixed down by rivets which go through pocket, lining panel, and herringbone tape.

When the lining's all sewn up, black plastic Savile Row tailor's 'strap buttons' (traditionally used for braces) are sewn onto the outside fronts of the vest, and the jacket's finished.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...