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Tender Co. Denim


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I think the sun faded/ woad dyed 420 is pretty rad. I haven't seen Tender use sun fading just yet. Typically not a huge fan of predistressed but it's an interesting approach for sure.

:) thanks! I'll post more on this soon. I agree, and I wouldn't normally have considered anything pre-faded, but this seemed like a really nice way to combine the brands....

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^I'll get back to that one, but first here's something that's literally fresh out of the oven! I've been finding out about glass blowing these last few weeks, and today I picked up a finished set of tumblers for the trestle shop. Here's how they came about:

Here are the pipes on which the tumblers will be blown:


The first job is to collect a gather of molten glass. In preparation, the pipes are kept very hot, at the same temperature as the glass:



a pipe gets pulled out and is used to scoop up a blob of viscous hot glass from the furnace:



It goes without saying that the glass is very very hot, but you really feel it, even from pretty far away, where I was standing.

The people in the workshop operate as a team, passing the glass between them. It was fascinating to watch, they work very smoothly. The glassblower himself sits at a bench in the middle of the room, and gets passed the blow pipe with the glass on the end of it:


First, he shapes the gather in a hemi-spherical cup, by spinning the blow pipe in his hand, while gently moving it into the damp wooden scoop:


Rather than long blows, like inflating a balloon, glass blowing is a matter of short, contained, puffs.


In between each puff, the glass is inspected, and shaped by hand, this time with a protective mat. All the time this is happening, the pipe is kept rotating, so that whatever shape is introduced happens equally across the whole form of the glass.


With each puff, the bubble gets a little bigger:


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And every time the glass blower shapes the bubble it becomes smoother and more cylindrical



When the bubble is looking good, the thickest part of the glass, around the end of the pipe, is thinned out, using a pair of tongs.




Now we're on to the next stage, and another glass worker brings over a punty iron, which is a solid steel rod, again heated to the same temperature as the glass bubble and with a small gather of glass on the end:


The punty iron is carefully attached to the centre of the end of the bubble. This will end up as the middle of the base of the tumbler. This is a very delicate operation, with the two glass makers working together, to attach the bubble to the punty iron:



and then break it away from the blow pipe:



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Now the blowing is finished, but the next part is ready to go. First the glass is held into the furnace, on the end of the punty iron, to get it back up to temperature:


Now the small hole where the bubble was taken off the blow pipe must be opened out, with tongs, into the mouth of a tumbler:





This is another very skilled job, which has to be done very quickly, before the glass cools too much to be workable.

When the tumbler has reached its correct proportions, it is ready to be detached and finished:


Where the tumbler has been separated from its punty iron, a punty mark is left, like a belly button. This mark is often ground away, but they've been left on Tender's tumblers, as it's the sign that they have been traditionally mouth-blown. Finally, the base is reheated, and a cast brass jeans button is pushed into the soft glass, leaving a Plautus face mark in the base:





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I think the sun faded/ woad dyed 420 is pretty rad. I haven't seen Tender use sun fading just yet. Typically not a huge fan of predistressed but it's an interesting approach for sure.

as promised, here are a few more details. Lineage of influence put up a nice post today:

Morten Kristensen is a Copenhagen based designer and the man behind For Holding up the Trousers, making hand-made leather braces and belts by himself at his workshop. A friend and former intern of William Kroll of Tender Co. the two have recently collaborated together to make a unique range of belts and shirts.







The shirts are based on old chambray work-shirts, which have been bleached out in the sun, except from where the owners overalls or suspenders covered the fabric up. This is the first time William has done any sort of pre-distressing on a garment, but it seemed like a really nice way to do a collaboration between the two labels and it’s fair to say it came out great.

Each piece came out slightly differently, which is the beauty of a process like this and in turn makes each piece unique. The finished products are now available online at the Tender’s Trestle Shop, here andhere. For more information on this new label, go to the website here: For Holding up the Trousers.

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Any insight on the wattle dyed denim? I know that it's brown overcast but any other interesting features to take note of? Since overdyed won't really affect the outcome of the faded weft and warp right?

just got my jeans back :) here are some pictures of 132 Driver's pockets wattle dyed, at about 6 months:









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A recent burn on my hand can attest to how hot the furnace is! Quite fun, though. And I love those creases from the knees to the cuffs.

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^nice! it was a pleasure to watch and learn from the glass blower.

while I was taking some photos of those jeans, I thought I'd also get some snaps of Deborah's flower pot canvas trews. She doesn't wear them every day, but they've had quite a bit of attention, and they're starting to fade nicely. It's a stronger dye than indigo, so they're not fading dramatically, but still starting to look rather nice I think;



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nice little piece, with some good garment photos, over at Peggs & Son :)

Tender Loving Care

Posted on October 24, 2012


In a world of throw-away fashion, where clothes go from the zeitgeist to obsolete in a matter of months, William Kroll – the mastermind behind Tender Co. – is a welcome return to traditional values and clothes that transcend fashion, functionality and most importantly, time.

From the research of fabrics and cut to the dyeing processes and finish of each handcrafted garment, Kroll painstakingly and meticulously sources his product to ensure that when you finally get your hands on the finished article, you really are getting your moneys worth – down to the very last penny.

We caught up with him to see exactly what goes into the wonderfully crafted Tender goods we stock here at Peggs & son.

Q. Hi William, so how did you get into making clothes in the first place?

A. I started making clothes for myself when I was 14. I’d seen a pair of Evisu jeans and saved up 2 months of paper-round money to buy them. I loved the way they were put together, and I thought I’d have a go myself. My mum showed me how to use her sewing machine, and I started making things then. Around that time I was also really into woodwork, and making furniture, so it all happened in parallel.

Q. How long does it take to make each piece?

A. The design process can take a very long time, but I don’t really sit down and design a collection, ideas just work through while I’m doing other things. There are garments I’m doing now which had their first versions in things I made when I was a teenager. As far as actually making this goes, I tend to make rough versions myself at home, to sort out the shape and construction, then these will be made up at the various small factories in England who produce Tender. Normally I’ll then use and wear the garments for a few months before they go into production, so I can find out what they’re actually like to live in.

Q. What inspires your work?

A. The tender is the coal and water truck on a steam engine, and from a basic aesthetic point of view, I love the machinery and uniforms of the Steam Age. I’ve been interested in civilian uniforms for a long time, I like how they are both functional and idiosyncratic in their fitness for a particular purpose. On a more philosophical level, I love to think of how the things I produce will go off and evolve with their owners into something personal and worn. I’m lucky to be in the middle between a set of (to me) fascinating production techniques, and an end user who will make the products more special than when they leave the shop.

Q. Do you have a certain type of customer that buys from Tender Co.?

A. I’m not entirely sure! But I hope that it’s people who appreciate the amount of work and pride that have gone into all Tender’s thins, and who will enjoy them for a long time.

Q. Of the Tender clothes we stock at Peggs & son, which is your favourite and why?

A. There’s an overcoat, which is exclusive to you guys in navy. There are only 3 in existence, and one of them’s my own! I had the fabric woven in England especially for this coat- it’s a beautiful double-face wool, natural brown from black Jacob sheep on one side, and a double navy tweed on the reverse. While it’s quite heavy, and warm, it’s got a great bounce to it, which makes it very easy to wear. The design’s adapted from a 19th Century riding coat, lined to the waist with cotton calico, and the back’s cut in one piece, but darted all the way down to the seat, where it kicks out in a pleat. The buttons are custom made in England from natural cow horn, and sewn on by hand. It’s a design that’s appeared in various forms since Tender’s first production, when it was a short denim jacket, but this version is among my favourites.






Posted in Tender Co. | Tagged coats, handmade, Tender, trousers, wool | Leave a comment

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On the 411 pullovers.. Which are aesthetically my favorite piece from this season.. is there a significance of the front pleat? I don't own this shirt but in all the product images I've seen there is a dart below the buttons.. Just seemed interesting/unique to me.

This shirt is a move on from a similar shirt in the second production (S/S11), which in turn is an interpretation of a the type of shirt worn in England around 1700. Something like this:


Before sewing machines (invented by Thomas Saint in 1790), a seam was a bigger deal than it is now. Also, as weaving was a lot slower, fabric was highly valued, and might well be reused from one garment to another. Because of both of these factors, older clothing often has fewer seams than more modern garments.

At this period, shirts were considered underwear, and wouldn't be seen in public. The only parts visible, the collar and cuffs, would be removable pieces of lace, tied onto the neck and sleeves with ribbons. Therefore, the shirt itself was utilitarian, rather than decorative. It would be cut in 3 basic pieces, the body (folded across the shoulder, with no shoulder seam) and 2 sleeves. There would sometimes be gussets under the arms (see the pattern above), but I took these out in the Tender shirt as they can get a bit bulky.

To cut down on sewing, a placket opens up from the neck, but it stops at mid-chest height. In order to pull the shirt over your head comfortably, you need as much fabric as possible. This was sometimes dealt with by putting in lots of pleats around the neck (think sticking your head through the neck of drawstring bag), or with a larger, single, pleat at the bottom of the placket. I went for this as it seems a bit less fussy. There's also an inverted box pleat at the centre of the back at the neck.

here's the original sample I made at home in SS11:



There are 2 versions of this shirt in the AW12 poduction, in Welsh-woven woollen flannel and in and English left hand twill cotton, dyed woad or wattle. The cotton shirts are made from the same fabric throughout, the woollen versions have contrasting cotton calico cuffs and collar, nodding to the lace on the original.

The buttons on all of them are rubber, as used for rugby shirts. I like these buttons a lot, but I also like how they fit in with jeans lore. Classic chambray/denim western shirts have snap fasteners, which are apparently used so that a rodeo rider couldn't be picked up and gored if an animal got tangled in their shirt (snaps would just pop open). It's the same deal with rugby shirts- you can't get picked up and injured as the rubber buttons just pop through if they're yanked at too hard.

Here are some pics of my own woollen shirt (the proto, the production version also has splits at the bottom of the side seams, which makes it a bit more comfy)




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  • 2 weeks later...

[shameless plug] it's been a while, but we finally have a few more watches back in stock at the trestle shop:


also, this time around, straps are available separately. The straps has a few improvements on the original, now they're cut from oak bark-tanned leather rather than wattle-tanned (not an improvement exactly, but still nice), and the hardware is a bit chunkier, solid brass, sand-cast in England. The reverse is silver foil-stamped:


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also, this time around, straps are available separately. The straps has a few improvements on the original, now they're cut from oak bark-tanned leather rather than wattle-tanned (not an improvement exactly, but still nice), and the hardware is a bit chunkier, solid brass, sand-cast in England. The reverse is silver foil-stamped:

So happy the straps are available separately! I ordered one somewhere else and the leather was so thin it broke after one day.

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Hey William, Anywhere I can get that Guards Wool Overcoat that was on peggs and son? It's sold out, If I remeber correctly it was exclusive to that store.

Also are the shorter wool guards jackets from this season made of the same type of wool?

Edited by bbcapone
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^I'm afraid they've all gone- I got a call from Pegg's & Son asking for more, but the fabric's used up. Some went to Japan, if you like I could try to track you one down- please email me if that's interesting.

The shorter wool jackets, in natural black and also (exclusive to superdenim) in navy, are made from the same wool, but it's single face, rather than double-face. So the coats were the navy jacket fabric on one side and the brown jacket fabric on the other face. I hope that makes sense!

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Thanks Bill,

Thats too bad. I did manage to track one down at a Japanese stockist, however it was a bid too much. Might have to look into the shorter ones.

Thanks for the first class customer service as always.

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i had the pleasure to meet steve, who writes the excellent style salvage the other day. he asked me to bring over something for his treasured items series:

Treasured Items... William Kroll

Over the last few years William Kroll has worked tirelessly to nurture an evolving family of British artisan producers to supply his needs. The result is Tender, a small clothing label that specialises in denim and making an ever growing inventory of products by hand. From a pair of wattle dyed hand linked cotton socks to a hand thrown red clay coffee mug and graphic interlock t shirts to cotton acetate sunglasses, each Tender item is is a personal and exhaustively conceived, sourced and manufactured celebration of craftsmanship. Each is a labour of love. It should come as little surprise that his most treasured item shares these values. Here, Kroll tells us the tale behind his favourite piece of knitwear...


William Kroll and the Grandmother knitted Guernsey knit.





"This is a Guernsey sweater that my Grandmother knitted for me. One of the reasons that I love Guernsey knits in particular is the tightness of the knit pattern is and how the wool reacts to rain to help seal it. It affords you that bit more protection from the elements. Another, is how they are knitted. They have a pattern from the middle of the chest up to the neck whilst the rest, including the sleeves is left plain. They are the same front, back and inside out so you can wear them four ways which means you get extra wear from them. Also, when you get washed overboard and drowned, the pattern on the top represents your village and means you get returned to the correct place. Each village or town has their own distinct pattern and is complete with initials on one side.

I chose a relatively plain stitch because I liked the look of it in all honesty but if I were to be lost at sea, or anywhere else for that matter, I would be returned to Scarborough which is where my Grandmother used to go on holiday. My initials of W.A.K. are on the back and are a little stretched because she got the pattern a little mixed up.

I've had it for about three years now and wear it almost every day during autumn and winter. These days, I only tend to wear things that I have designed but this is one of the few things that I didn't, yet wear regularly. It was a real labour of love because it is navy blue and she didn't find the yarn easy to see. It is packed full of interesting features. It's not completely faultless but that's one of the reasons why I like it so much. Ultimately, I love the fact that my Grandmother knitted it for me, that there is only one of them and when I first got it there were a few white hairs knitted in to it. It's just a lovely thing." William Kroll.

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  • 2 weeks later...

a quick 2 month update on my 129 woads. loving them as well as my purple logwood socks and watch strap.




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A shameless plug, today I went to see the potter who hand-throws coffee mugs and beakers for the main Tender line. He's done some special sgraffito (incised) pieces, which have just gone up the trestle shop. Before packing things up into boxes together, for the mainline production, we had to test out one of these new mugs :) :


Here are some detail photos of the mug and bowl, which as well as being hand thrown, slipped, and glazed, are incised entirely by hand, with a wooden stylus. Each piece is unique, and they're a real labour of love.






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