We should have our first production quantities of DENIM by February of 2024. Not sure what we will make yet!
In October and November, 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! We'll make a few garments as soon as possible. Here is our first Denim garment, a Chore Coat, made by Advisor JR Morrissey. This garment is 100% Batch 9
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 and Classic Brown.
From right to left: True Black Denim (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.
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!
Maybe three months ago, 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 and weft (vertical and 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
- 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 dye the warp yarn at American Woolen
The fact that American Woolen can do all the spinning, dyeing, weaving and finishing of our denim will make turnaround quite a bit quicker than for our other Fabrics.
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 palette of potential Denim colors, courtesy Arthur Lam of American Woolen
This is really sweet!
26 November 2023 --- Ralph