An Odd Denim

originally published 9/22/10


Have you ever had denim grow? 


I don’t mean stretch denim.  I know stretch denim is supposed to grow.  When sewing with stretch denim, I like to wear my jeans for a few hours before stitching the final seams just because I know that stretch denim g-r-o-w-s.


And I’m not talking about how you put on your too-tight jeans by laying on the bed, sucking in the gut and pulling the sides together hard while trying to zip without catching flesh.l (Hey that’s why you need zipper guards.)


No I’m talkiing about a nice medium-weight (almost heavy) denim I purchased.  It was a dark wash but no lycra.  I have another 2.something yards left and potentially another pair of jeans from the same fabric.  Now, I know I retraced the size 12 pattern and I was careful to get the size 12 TJ906. 


I’ve gotten really fast at sewing jeans together. I mean I can pull the fabric off the shelf and have jeans in 2 hours (not counting the pair before this where I must have goofed the pattern alterations).So I don’t think that handling stretched the denim.  But nonetheless, when first finished this pair I could pinch a good inch on each side, so lets call that 4″ of ease, OK?



A little more than I like, but I assumed that being denim it would shrink over time, if not in the very first wash.  Can you imagine my surprise when after the first wash, I had 6″ of ease.  I’m not kidding I pinchedat least, at the very least 1.5 inches on each side.  OMG, how can that be? Of course, they stretched even more as I was wearing them.  By the end of the day, they were dragging the ground and could not be kept at my waist even with a very tight belt.


So what to do??? As I thought about it, I realized I had stopped the dryer before the jeans were hard dry.  Between DH and I, there had been a whole load of jeans but one of my jeans has a tendancy to wrinkle badly and needs to be removed early, smoothed by hand and hung to finish drying.  It fits the same everytime. I didn’t think this would have a negative effect on other jeans, so I had treated them all the same.  I wondered if somehow that was the cause.  Taking out of the dryer before hard dry I mean. Was that the cause of these new 906’s stretching?  I washed these jeans on my sanitary cycle.  The cycle runs for over 2 hours and uses the hotest wash water.  My machine will actually heat the water to reach the preset sanitary temperature.  I also dried these hard dry in the dryer on the hotest setting.  They shrunk back to 3 inches of ease they originally had.  Interesting, eh?


*** I’ll get back to my drafting and the Junk Jaunt.  I just wanted to share this interesting-to-me experience with fabric.