This is part one in a series of guest posts on how to create a pair of raw jeans. This series is written by Christopher J. Brown, the owner of denim label Brown, Deim. In case you missed it, we featured Brown, Deim in a previous article that also launched our third denim giveaway. Check for part two in the near future.
To produce your own pair of raw denim is a very exciting experience because it stokes creativity on several fronts. Even within the micro-niche world of fine raw denim it’s great fun to see classic ideas experimented with and new styles develop. In doing so, it allows raw denim to move forward with better design.
Your desire to create your own pair of raw jeans originates with creativity. Specifically, the creativity to produce your very own fresh jeans with either a different fit, design, fabrique, or other qualities.
Now let’s start with what is needed for that creativity to be turned into a final product. You’ll want to start with three things: Fabrique, a pattern of some sort, and a tailor or contract sewer.
Fabrique, as we know it, should entail some unique textiles in both denim and what we call “pocketing”. Its recommended that the textiles be unique because they will help distinguish your jeans from what the off-the-rack brands have to offer.
An average pair of jeans will require 1.5 yards of denim per pair. For starting out, its recommended that you create two pairs in order to keep the price advantage. To give oneself plenty of leeway, think about sourcing five yards of denim fabrique that moves you.
A small yardage of denim fabrique should be sourced from what we in the industry call textile jobbers. The denim mills of origin host very high yields on small production runs and offer small cuts. That leaves the jobbers who purchase surplus high quality yardage of raw denim from various mills in the USA, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Pakistan, and China.
The current craze in raw denim is short-roll milled selvage end-lined denim. Selvage denim is fine, but I personally don’t find it that special when it’s shortcomings come to light. (More about that later.)
With five yards of the desired denim fabrique on hand, we now need it to be fitted and designed to preference. To be honest, a pair of denim jeans is quite easy to produce. All that is needed is the cut/fit to create a pattern. Once the pattern is cut to size, it is then sent off to be made into cardboard pieces of the fabrique sections. These cardboard pieces are called oak cards.
From the oak card, the denim will then be chalked and cut from the pattern pieces. A tailor or contract sewer then sews the pieces of your jeans together according to your design specs. More on that next time.