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Repair and Restoration

No Matter the Quality of Raw Denim, Rips and Tears Will Eventually Appear.

Previously, we learnt that significant wear results in fading of Raw Denim. These fades evolve into rips and holes. As much as we like the look of distressed denim, it hardly feels secure to be wearing them.

rippedRipped Jeans

Ripped jeans do not just look and feel fragile, they actually are. Any abnormal moves such as a cheesy kung-fu pose for a photo can turn a small rip at the crotch into a depressing blowout.

crotchripCrotch Blowout (Photo Courtesy of Superfuture)

No one likes seeing skin from the nether regions. (Not in public at least) Although the damage is repairable, prevention is better than cure.

It is best to identify signs of rips before they happen.


Areas of Fraying

Fraying is a sign that Raw Denim is about to rip or simply fall apart. Hence, regular checking for frayed areas is recommended. (Especially for well worn Raw Denim)

These are areas that look and feel frizzy on the surface as compared to how they were originally.

fraying 2Frayed Area

They usually occur at stressed or creased areas. These include the crotch, knees, seat, whiskers, honeycombs, and front/back pockets.

ripsCommonly Stressed or Creased Areas

Fraying may be obscure. If undiscovered, areas of fraying may worsen and appear in the form of small holes. Identifying areas of fraying early means that they can be reinforced and strengthened before they escalate.

reinforcedReinforced Crotch

This results in prolonging the life of Raw Denim. Even if rips and tears happen, it is not the end of the world. (just yet)

Rips and tears are part and parcel of the journey to amazing fades.


Repair of Rips and Tears

Denim is one of the only garment materials that can get away with looking aged and distressed. In fact, they look better than before.

To prolong the life and retain the distressed look of well worn Raw Denim, the easiest solution is to sew patches to where denim has disintegrated.

This is known as Patching.

patchingPatching

It can either be done on a sewing machine or by hand.

sewingmethods(Top to Bottom) Machine sewn vs Hand sewn

There is no right or wrong way to patching. As long as the patch stays on, any sewing techniques can be used. (Click here to learn a few basic hand sewing techniques.)

Denim patches and basic coloured threads are commonly used.

Why stop there?

pocket_featured

Patching Can Be Done With Other Materials, Patterns, or Colours.(Photo Courtesy of Klader-Basta)

redthreadContrasting Coloured Threads Can Be Used As Well.

This method strengthens Raw Denim in terms of durability but retains the distressed look.

For those who prefer a less distressed look, there is an alternative method.


Restoration of Fabric

Instead of using patches to cover up holes, holes are mended by restoring the fabric itself.

This method is known as Darning.

darningDarning in Progress (Photo Courtesy of Stitched and Stitched)

This sewing technique is similar to the production of Raw Denim fabric. (where weft yarn is woven onto warp yarn) Using a darning machine and threads of similar colors, fabric is recreated and restored to its original state.

before darningBefore Darning

after darningAfter Darning (Photo Courtesy of Indigo Proof)

The end product looks almost like the fabric was never destroyed.

Darning can be done by hand if a hole is small. However, for larger scale repairs, it is best to leave it to specialists with darning machines. (Shops like Self Edge or Railcar Fine Goods provide darning services or you can check out www.indigoproof.com who provides worldwide darning services via mail)

Click here to see the full process of machine darning.


We hope this article helps you understand how you can prolong the life of Raw Denim. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below. Our team here would be more than happy to help.

 Long Live Raw Denim!

4 Comments

  1. Johannes Johannes

    Thank you for this article. I live in Switzerland and would like to use the darning technique to repair my favorite jeans (crotch blowout). Do you know if there are any European companies that provide darning services?

    • thekomitoadmin thekomitoadmin

      Hi Johannes, you are very much welcomed.

      I am afraid I do not know any repair services in Switzerland, however there are two highly reputable ones that you can mail your jeans to.
      One of them is in Manchester City, England:

        The Denim Doctor

      The other is in Kansas City, USA:

        Denimrepair

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi Johannes
      I’m living in Zurich Switzerland
      You can ask VMC for hemming
      Perhaps they know a place for darning too
      I’m doing little darning repairs by myself
      You can email me also to ruedi.karrer@jeansmuseum.org
      Cheers
      Ruedi Karrer
      Jeansmuseum of heaviest fadings
      Zürich
      Switzerland
      Instagram: @swissjeansfreak

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