If I Made Jeans (Part Three: Fabric)

by Jaime on July 10, 2009

This one is going to be short and to the point: choose the right denim weight for the right pair of jeans.

Part Three: Selvedge Skinny? I think not.

It’s amazing how many times I have seen a great pair of jeans virtually destroyed by being made with the wrong type of denim… and, most of the time, the culprit is selvedge.

What is selvedge, you ask? Here’s a quick wiki-definition:

Selvage denim (also called selvedge denim) is a type of denim which forms a clean natural edge that does not unravel. It is commonly presented in the unwashed or raw state. Typically, the selvage edges will be located along the out-seam of the pants, making it visible when cuffs are worn. Although selvage denim is not completely synonymous with unwashed denim, the presence of selvage typically implies that the denim used is a higher quality.

While one can argue whether or not it’s of a higher quality (like most things, it depends highly on the wearer’s likes/dislikes), one cannot argue its weight. Most selvedge is fucking heavy.

And, while some may argue with me (I know A. will most likely be at the top of that list) the skinny jean is just not meant to be made with Selvedge. Straight leg? Sure. But a skinny is supposed to be softer, lighter denim… like virtually every pair of J Brand.

But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are a lot of things that light to medium weight denim just don’t cut it for. They don’t last as long, don’t have the conforming benefits of most raw denim styles (Nudie jeans are a prime example of this… they create a totally different look for every wearer), and don’t provide the protection or warmth for those who may need it.

Plus, if I turn another white shirt blue, or stain another pair of shoes while wearing a pair of jeans that got a shitload of indigo dye in them (and I wasn’t informed of it), I’ll be sad.

Make it clear what kind of denim you’re using. Always.

Giving your customer what they want (without hiding some other details) the quickest way to get them to come back, me included.

And, be ready for the final (or hopefully final) Step Four: Distress to Impress!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan Teddlie November 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

My problem: I would like a light medium or medium weight jean fabric that is NOT styled like a regular 5 pocket jean. Rather a straight leg, regular slack
style. with deep side pockets in pull-on style. Currently all I have seen in this style are so light weight they might as well be twill. Can/will you help?

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Jaime November 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Are you looking more for the trouser style pocket (a la http://www.denimdebutante.com/2011/11/denim-deal-of-the-day-agave-nectar-jeans-at-88-off.html by chance?)

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