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WeatherWool Denim

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • 100% Wool ... same fiber as our Jacquard Fabrics ... but a Denim Weave
  • 13 ounces per square yard / 441 grams per square meter
  • The Denim has done great in our testing so far.  Durable, comfortable and more weather-resistant
  • So far, we are very happy with all aspects of this new Fabric.  But, it's new ... didn't ship any until April of 2024.  I don't think we'll be disappointed with it as time goes by.  Like all our products, if the Denim does disappoint, you get a refund.

ONE YEAR IN!  As of May, 2024, 100% Wool Denim has been on my mind for a year.  We've received excellent feedback on our South Shore Chore Coats, which we began to ship on April 10, 2024 ... a year since conception of an entirely new Fabric until enthusiastic reviews.  And it actually seems as if we are the ONLY people, globally, offering 100% Wool Denim.   And actually, 100% "NSW", 100% Wool Denim.

NSW stands for Non-SuperWashed ... that's another page I need to add to the website.  Superwashing is a technique employed to make wool machine-washable with little-or-no shrinkage.  Sounds good except that, near as I can tell, superwashing changes the wool in undesirable ways.  Even though superwashed fiber is the norm in woolen clothing, we have always minimized use of superwash, and we now avoid it entirely.  Clara Parkes' wonderful WOOL CHANNEL has a discussion of it.  But I don't know that Clara is concerned with wool performance in the way we are.

Anyhow ... DENIM has made this an extra-fun year!!

BACKSTORY ... Without ever actually thinking about it, I thought I knew what denim was. I've worn denim pants my whole life, and I like them. I thought denim was a heavy cotton because ... that's what the bluejeans were made of.

There are so many people who have the same thinking as I did that the original meaning of denim is being lost. Some sources will now say that denim is heavy cotton.

Margaret Polson, our Intellectual Property attorney, is coincidentally a weaving enthusiast! I wrote her about our "denim ideas". She is very familiar with the original meaning of denim, and mentioned she has a favorite SILK DENIM jacket!

In May of 2023, while scrolling through Instagram posts (that's actually part of work!), I came across a post from the International Wool Trade Organization that talked about wool denim. WAIT, WHAT??!!  So I was surprised to learn denim is a way of weaving, and did not originally refer to any type of yarn or fiber at all. At this point, because of the ubiquity of bluejeans, some will insist denim is cotton twill. But everyone agrees on the twill weave.

Many people love, love, love denim. The Denim Hunters are very much in that camp, and the link provides info on the twill weave that is fundamental to denim. If it's not twill, it's not denim.

Denim is different from our other Fabrics, and only partly because of the twill weave:

  • In our case, both the warp (lengthwise in the bolt of Fabric and the garment) and weft (horizontal) yarns in denim is a type of yarn we have previously used only for weft. That means American Woolen can do all the spinning, because our weft yarns are woolen-spun (not worsted-spun). AWC does not spin worsted (at least not yet).
  • A Dobby loom can weave twill. Our FullWeight and MidWeight Fabrics are all woven on a Jacquard loom in Lynx Pattern (even the solid colors). The Dobby loom cannot weave Lynx, so American Woolen coordinates weaving of our FullWeight and MidWeight Fabrics with Materials Technology and Logistics, a Jacquard loom specialist company. But American Woolen can weave the denim in-house because they are Dobby specialists.
  • Denim features the warp yarn, which is unusual, and the weft is usually left undyed. The undyed weft creates a sort of worn-and-washed look, which people have come to expect with denim. To achieve the most consistent colors, the fiber used in our Black, Brown and Drab Fabric is dyed before spinning. We do this type of dyeing at Tintoria Dye House in Georgia, a company that specializes in fiber-dyeing. But because denim, by design, is not a solid color, we can yarn-dye the warp at American Woolen.  American Woolen has been yarn-dyeing our Lynx Pattern yarns all along, and for similar reason.  Lynx is not intended to be a pure color.

The fact that American Woolen can do all the spinning, dyeing, weaving and finishing of our denim makes turnaround quite a bit quicker than for our other Fabrics.

 

 

The remainder of this page, for the time being, will list the reverse chronology of WeatherWool's "denim journey".

22 March 2024 ... Our Chore Coat goes "live" on the website

12 March 2024 ... Denim CHARCOAL! ... Debby and Cody like the name Denim Charcoal much more than Denim Black.  And they are right, the face of the Denim Charcoal, with the tiny white flecks from the undyed and unbleached weft yarns, does look just like Charcoal.

7 March 2024 ... Denim Pants in Development

In September of 2023, WeatherWool began to experiment with 100% American, 100% Merino-Class Wool Denim. As of 2024, we are putting the Denim into production with our Chore Coats and offering Denim Fabric

We will have more to say about this later, but we are testing pants at the current time and the Chore Coat made by Factory8 is now available.  But both are Batch 9.

 

5 March 2024:  WeatherWool Denim Fabric available for purchase.

15 February 2024:  Chore Coats going into production at Factory8!

25 January 2024:   We're going to make some Chore Coats (photos below) in colors Denim Charcoal and Denim Indigo.  We expect to ship the Chore Coats at $495. ... Hopefully in April of 2024.  We'll soon put up a page so the Chore Coats and be backordered and reserved.

22 January 2024:  We picked up our first production quantities of Denim at American Woolen ... and it looks great!!  We'll soon announce what we will make in Denim.  We have named the colors Denim Black [renamed Denim Charcoal!] and Denim Indigo

In October and November (2023), we asked American Woolen to make the Denim SOFTER ... and they did!  The latest sample has been approved for production.

On 22 September 2023, we received small samples of WeatherWool Denim and we are REALLY HAPPY with them!  Here is our first Denim garment, a Chore Coat, made by Advisor JR Morrissey. This garment is 100% Batch 9 

Chore Coat modeled and photographed by Advisor Cody Bokshowan

 

This photo shows the front and back of the Denim of an Indigo garment

 

All our Fabrics are woven, and denim is a type of weaving. Here is my understanding (and I am NOT at expert!):

  • Warp yarns (in all weaving, not just denim) run vertically/lengthwise through a bolt of fabric.  Weft yarns run horizontally (laterally) across a bolt of fabric.
  • Denim is a twill-weave, meaning there are (usually) three strands of warp yarn for each strand of weft. So unlike most fabrics, denim features the warp rather than the weft, and is therefore known as warp-face.
  • In denim, usually, the weft is left undyed and only the warp is dyed. Denim therefore characteristically has an almost-solid-color face, with much more white on the back side. The upturned cuff of dungarees are a great illustration of the dark-face/light-back typical of denim.

On 22 September 2023, we received from American Woolen small sample pieces of Denim in True Black (Charcoal) and Classic Brown.

In September of 2023, WeatherWool began to experiment with 100% American, 100% Merino-Class Wool Denim. We are excited to learn the possibilities!!

From right to left: Denim Charcoal (front and back); Classic Brown Denim (front and back); for comparison, a Lynx Pattern Blanket with Classic Brown border. One of the marks of denim is that the weft yarns are usually undyed. And because denim is a warp-face twill, the face of the denim barely shows the undyed weft, but the backside is the opposite, and shows mostly the undyed weft.

In actual production, we have made the colors DENIM CHARCOAL and DENIM INDIGO (no production brown, at least so far) ...
... and, some DENIM NATURAL is coming

 


And now that we love the small denim samples we've handled, the next steps are lab-testing of the properties of the denim, field-testing a couple of garments, and deciding what colors to make.

The potential color palette for WeatherWool 100% Wool Denim is large!

 The palette of potential Denim colors, courtesy Arthur Lam of American Woolen

 

This is really sweet!

 

Updated 4 July 2024 --- Ralph