Fashion, Hat manufacturing, Denim Repair and Alteration, Vintage goods


Washing your indigo denim jeans can be a very controversial topic. There are some jean company’s that ask you to run into the ocean and let the salt water take effect to the denim and shape to you then there are some people whom do not wash their jeans at all. I have been doing denim repair and alteration for 5 years before starting my own raw shuttle loom produced denim company and I have to say there are a few good ways to clean your favorite raw jeans so I want to go over a few of the ways that we feel are best from our experience with our denim and others that we have tested and worn.  When you purchase a pair of jeans that you are wanting to break in, you want to decide what your end result is that you want. To obtain a perfect worn in look and not compromise the construction of the jean it does require that you soak wash the denim a few time within the first year of wearing them. Some people wear their jeans almost every day for a year or more. That will give you an awesome fade because only the areas where you put wear will wash out, the downside to that is the acids and salt that your body naturally gives off will eat away at the jeans in the seat and crotch area. For my denim repair business that means we stay busy repairing jeans to their natural state at a cost to the customer. You also will have a very stinky pair of jeans without washing them which is where the discipline comes in and depending on your situation personally can require patience from your relationship partner. So I have a way that we suggest to all of our repair customers and denim customers. This is our basic and easy way to maximise the construction, fade, and wearability of the jeans while wearing them every day to a few times a week.

1) When purchasing your new denim ask the sales professional if they are sanforized or non-sanforized. Sanforized is a term for compressed cotton which means it has very minimal shrinking. Non- Sanforized denim is a shrink to fit denim which requires you to soak the jeans and hang dry them to as many times as it takes to get to your specific fit.

2) We are going to assume that you are dealing with a sanforzed denim, so the first step is deciding if you need a soak before you start your wear period. If the jeans fit almost to tight then they are the correct size and do not need soaking. The rule is if all the buttons button firmly but close but the top is on the line of un comfortable then they will stretch to your exact size. When buying raw denim you have to almost under size one size so that they will stretch to your body and not end up baggy and out of shape. If the pair you bought is a perfect size with no room to stretch then you can do a basic soak in which I will describe later in this article.

3)This is the easiest step of all and that is to wear your jeans everyday that you wear denim for 6 months. There is no wash that is required even if you spill food, drink etc on them. If you have any dirt, oil, beverage, food etc.. then you want to get a towel that is damp and lightly rub in an up and down fashion to wipe the problem stain off the jeans. This will insure you to not look like a slob and wear your jeans in style while breaking them in.

4) At any point during the 6 month wear period you can take your jeans and lay them flat, put a fabric softener sheet or two on the mid part of the jeans and then roll them up from leg to waist. When they are rolled up put them into a freezer bag, seal it and place them in the freezer for 2 days and then pull them out and they will be ready to wear with no smell.

5) 6 Month soak: At 6 months we recommend you soak your jeans in the tub  woolite dark or all natural garment soap. Fill the tub with 6″ of water  and put the soap of your choice in the tub before you place the jeans in. Mix the soap in the tub thoroughly then place the jeans in the tub laid flat. Do not move the jeans around, just leave them for an hour then pull them out and let them hang dry over the tub with the water drained. If you do not have a tub you can do this in your sink or if this all is too much you can use your washer without the spin cycle and hang dry after the cycle is over. I like to put them jeans on when they are almost completely dry but not totally dry so that the jeans can conform to my body as they finish the last 10% of the drying process.

6) After these steps I repeat them exactly for the next 6 months and so on as I wear the jeans. unfortunately by the time I get them worn into perfect I usually am on to the next jean I want to break in. It always seems to be a bitter-sweet when they are completed but I hope to come back to them when I have missed them enough.

To finish, we currently have 15oz Italian denim produced from old Shuttle Looms that is a cross weave stitch and is rope dyed. It takes twice as long to break our jeans in due to the high amount of natural indigo that is used in the dying process. So I wish you well with your new jeans and we are always here if you decide to try ours.

Robert Schaeffer



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