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The Denim (contrast) Thread

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Stupid names. It's actually Ober-Bluenck -- the u umlaut is written that way. For instance, when you can't type München you type instead Muenchen, but never Munchen. But no German would ever think of calling anything Oberbbluenck -- it would sound ridiculous to him. Also, he would write it as either Oberbbluenck or Ober-Bluenck. Never Ober Bluenck.

 

I just came home from meeting Suraj and he mentioned Victory York to me. It turns out custom jeans is uncommon even in Singapore.

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Met briefly with Suraj again today to talk about some silk facings for dinner suits.

2016-03-02%2019.15.03-1.jpg?raw=1

 

These were produced by a tiny obscure silk specialist in Vincenza. When I checked out their website, I found they also weave silk denim.

image_zps95hi2kd3.jpeg

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Selvedge denim arrived today

image_zpsyhyy8ldn.jpeg

 

image_zpsfwmvck3h.jpeg

 

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The first impression is not a positive one. I approach this from the point of view of a bespoke tailor who handles some of the finest cloths in the world daily. This here is like egg cartons. Very cheap cotton. No finishing to speak of. Rice sack material.

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^ Those are actually Cone Mills denim.

 

PSX_20160309_000239.jpg?raw=1

The first ever jeans produced by me. Soktas denim. Sort of a prototype. Quality is...meh. I need to spend a lot of time here to get the quality to go up.

 

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Union Special double chainstitch machine
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I was told that, once upon a time, KL had many small jeans-sewing workshops. But their fortunes dwindled as the supply of cheap jeans from abroad proliferated. The owner of this jeans workshop used to have dozens of full time seamstresses. Today, he has only two. Who comes to work on only two days a week. The business is essentially dead.

 

Never mind, kotmj is here to rejuvenate things. I'll be working with the two remaining seamstresses to gradually get quality up to very high levels. The path is typically hot, stony, and parched. But it's ok, that's what I do.

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No fit pics since that jeans is for a customer, but the quality just isn't good enough so I'll have to produce another one with close supervision. All beginnings are tough.

 

Not to mention, the customer has a 33" waist and they produced a 36".

 

I was told these are highly competent people sewing to a very high standard with profound pattern making capabilities with a wide range of trimmings. Well, maybe two decades ago. Now, it's just two "mui chai" (young women) as the boss calls them. The boss himself has moved on to other businesses.

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PSX_20160309_201703.jpg?raw=1

 

My own pair of sacrificial jeans. Sacrificial because, while wearable, it may not turn out all that great. Meanwhile, I've been neglecting the regular suit workload.

 

Notice the white selvedge running down the sides. The yoke is curved because I believe that is the whole reason yokes were used -- straight yokes would be missing the point. I think. Even cut out the waistband because I found myself enjoying cutting this 12oz rigid denim with the Shozaburo. A major change of pace from cutting suiting wools.

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Phftt. Dumb. Regular trousers have always had the U shape crotch. This ad oversimplifies things, there is a lot more to the story of V vs U.

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I went to the jeans workshop today and finally met with the two jeans seamstresses. I had gone on two previous occasions only to find they were not sewing that day. I didn't do much except hand over my work package and a bit of discussion. When I say "discussion", some of you imagine a meeting where everyone is putting on their best behaviour and trying to come across as smart and as professional as they know how to, speaking in full sentences and maybe even projecting a spreadsheet or two to the wall. In the tailoring trade, discussions with sewing tailors take place while they are still operating the sewing machine.

 

My personal jeans will be ready this Tuesday.

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Just ordered a load of stuff from Japan (denim, buttons, rivets, tool to affix buttons), including these solid copper and brass rivets which look so cool.

SL4R-CPCX1.jpg?raw=1

 

Also sold my second jeans today.

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Met briefly with Suraj again today to talk about some silk facings for dinner suits.2016-03-02%2019.15.03-1.jpg?raw=1

These were produced by a tiny obscure silk specialist in Vincenza. When I checked out their website, I found they also weave silk denim.image_zps95hi2kd3.jpeg

Ach, was just told by Suraj this little silk mill went into receivership this month.

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Looking good, I must say.

 

The belt loops look like they can accomodate a monster belt.

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Kinda annoyed at the arch designs of the back pockets. Not sure why the need to do a Levi. Expected more of you - could have used an embroidered design of your surname or something creative. 

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The belt loops are that way because the seamstresses are not familiar with this method of attaching loops. The problem will be solved the next time I'm in the workshop.

 

(The seamstresses are a bit reserved in dealing with me because they find me "foreign"; my Cantonese is too "sophisticated" for them (ahem ahem), and I come across as very different from most people they know. They asked me which country I came from.)

 

I was mostly curious to see how the yoke will turn out when sewn. The seamstresses call the yoke "fei kei" -- Cantonese for aeroplane. Almost no commercial jeans maker cut their yokes with such a strong curvature; moreover, my yokes were cut on a full bias. Curved, bias-cut yokes. The seamstresses have never seen such a yoke.

 

Here is a very typical selvedge jeans pattern by Workers Jeans of Japan.

workersjeans_1.jpg?raw=1

 

To any cutter familiar with dress trousers, the first impression of such a pattern is of extreme crudeness. Jeans are like a Paleolithic form of trousers with no evidence of any patternmaking refinements manifest in dress trousers. The result is an ass fit like this:

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In making my own pattern, I wanted to try cutting a jeans which respects the convention of a ruler-straight outseam while having all the pattern refinements of dress trousers. The seat seam is very concave for a clean ass fit. Since there are no darts in a jeans, the yoke carries the function of a dart by being curved. I also wanted to avoid fullness at the fly area which often makes this part bulge out in commercial jeans.

 

Now that I see how these concepts turned out in real life, the next pair should be better.

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Kinda annoyed at the arch designs of the back pockets. Not sure why the need to do a Levi. Expected more of you - could have used an embroidered design of your surname or something creative.

 

They do a Levi's arcuate on every pair of jeans they sew, LOL! I forgot to tell them not to on my jeans. It doesn't really matter since these are early days. I'm really more interested in the patternmaking aspects for now. It may take us 100 pairs of jeans before we become good at this -- in cut, in construction, in dream-value.

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