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Denim has been immensely popular for many years, and is rarely not at the very centre of fashion. It may be quiet for a while, but would then reappear in  new ways.

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Denim wear has also become a “heritage”  garment, so there are many enthusiastic followers of denim who require either original vintage garments, or accurate modern versions of them.

Denim wear pattern cutting has an extra dimension that most other areas of pattern cutting do not. Much of denim wear has to have shrinkage added to the pattern. This shrinkage varies, and can be up to 20%.  As a rule, the length will shrink more than the width.

So, when we make denim patterns we have to add in this extra allowance. Consequently the patterns may look unusual to an eye trained to know what normally looks right and what does not.

Denim used to be woven on a narrow 36″ shuttle loom with a  single continuous weft thread woven back and forth across the fabric, forming a seal down the edges .  These shuttle looms provided a denser weave and a heavier fabric. While today denim tends to be made more economically on wider machines, the old “selvage” or “selvedge” denim is still  produced, although it is more expensive than the more modern method. Japanese selvedge denim is widely regarded as the best. While denim fabric can range from 5 to 32 oz, most denim  jeans are made in 12 to 16 oz

Selvage denim jeans demand a premium price today.  They were originally cut in order to make best use of the fabric, by having a straight outside leg seam. the outside leg would be laid down the edge of the fabric. This compromises the shape and fit of the garment as all the leg shaping has to be placed on the inside leg. The resulting shape, whether by accident or design, would be suitable for a bandy legged cowboy. And this is who they were originally designed for, as well as or other manual workers who demanded tougher clothing.

Early Levi 501`s were selvage jeans. they had the selvage running down the length of the side seams rather than being overlocked as the modern versions are.

The original five pocket  denim jeans were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873. They were designed to be strong pants made to withstand hard work.  They had two back pockets, two front pockets and small pocket on the right hand side. Some refer to this as a  ticket pocket, others call it a watch pocket. And others thing it was used to carry a small packet of matches so that the cowboys could light their cigarettes one handed by using the rear leather patch to strike the match.

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Freelance Pattern Cutters For London, Kent and U.K.