Selvedge Denim Jeans

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I’ve made a pair of selvedge, raw denim jeans. These are made from Cone Mills 13 oz raw denim, and the pattern is originally from Angela Kane. 

These are not the first jeans I’ve made, but they are the best so far, and I thought they would do to go on the blog.

The pattern is from Angela Kane, but it has been altered beyond recognition. The original was very tight through the hips, and then pencil thin down the legs. It was somehow simultaneously loose in the waist, and skin tight everywhere else. Over the past year or so, I’ve added lots of room into the seat, cinched up the waist, and created a straight leg.

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Selvedge

Cone Mills was the last American producer of Selvedge Denim until a couple of years ago when they were shut down by their parent company. I’ve fortunately been able to hang onto a few yards of their signature 13 oz denim.

For folks who aren’t into denim, selvedge denim, especially raw, or loom state, is desirable because of its toughness, unique fading, and iconic place in American history. Its raw state means that is untreated, which makes for a lot of shrinking (7%), and the indigo dye rubs off to make unique patterns that reflect the users lifestyle. It’s a niche thing that isn’t practical, but is pretty interesting.

Here’a a comparison shot of some commercial jeans that are broken in, and the new ones. Both are made with the same denim, but the older pair has really changed over the years.

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I won’t go into much production details, as jeans are all sewn up pretty much the same, but I will throw some pictures detailing the process, and will make notes of important areas or steps.

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Button fly covers, shields and facing. Pocket bags are in the background
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Back pocket stitching details

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I have yet to find the perfect process for flat felling the crotch seam in conjunction with a button fly. Once I do, I’ll let you know!

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Next time, I’ll overlap the left front over the right a touch more so I can hide the right front top-stitching under the fly cover.

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Flat felled inseam
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Finished fronts
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Finished back

Flat felling the back seam requires an offset of the yoke and waist seams. The left side of the pant should be intentionally sewn higher than the right. Doing this ensures that the folded edge of the flat felled seam falls in line with the right side of the yolk. The pattern needs to be altered to reflect this, to ensure that the crotch seams stay aligned.

Don’t be afraid to hammer the shit out of bulky seams before sewing them! It makes a huge difference when sewing.

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Trials and tribulations of raw denim. Indigo. Everywhere.

 

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