DIY Raw Denim (aka Higher Standards part 1)

Raw denim jeans before and after wearing, from this great article about the history of raw denim.

I used to have this pair of A.P.C. Petit Standards. They were raw denim, zero stretch, mid-rise straight leg jeans, actually unisex. I wore them a ton and loved them. Now, however, they don't pass my fit test! When A.P.C. launched women's denim (with stretch, even, omg what) I was verrrry tempted to make a purchase but then I thought of my amazing handmade jeans collection and decided to do some experimenting instead of online ordering.

The High Standards, the new higher-waisted women's raw denim, are 98% cotton, 2% polyurethane (presumably the stretch) and just look like dark-wash jeans, you know? The magic, of course, is that the fabric is not pre-washed, and then you go as long as humanly possible without washing (like, 6 plus months) and when you finally do, you wash very carefully, and eventually, you get all these beautiful (to some) natural fade marks that are perfectly suited to your body and the way you wear the jeans. People go wild for this stuff. I recommend not getting involved.

It was absolutely perfect timing that Fashion Fabrics Club (of all places) had a nice selection of Japansese selvedge denims. I picked a heavier one (11.5 oz) described as such:

11.5 oz. Cotton Dark Wash Selvedge Denim
-Made in Japan
-Weight: Heavy
-Transparency: Opaque
-Hand: Dry
-Stretch: Slight Horizontal Stretch
-Drape: Stiff
-Luster: Matte

They things that suggested this fabric to me were the keywords "dry" (raw denim is often described as such) and "stiff" as well as the deep indigo color, all of which seemed promising. 4 yards (since it's only about 30" wide) come to less than $50 with shipping--definitely cheaper than A.P.C.!

Even though this fabric is not prewashed (gulp) and not very stretchy, I'm not planning making any pattern changes--my expectations are that they will be very tight when I first put them on, they will loosen up gradually as I wear them (without washing, for as long as I can stand it), and then after the first wash they were be very tight again--also, likely a decent bit shorter.

I haven't started sewing yet, but I wanted to put down some thoughts since I think there are probably some other people out there on the internet who are trying to do the same thing. I'll update y'all when they are all sewn up (assuming they fit okay) and again after the magical First Wash. First step: decide which pattern to use: Ash or Ginger? I think I'm leaning towards Ash, and using the slim, rather than skinny leg, maybe with some modifications since it seems a shame to cut off those pretty selvedges...


ps: is it 2011? because this blog seems like its 2011.

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  1. "I recommebd not getting involved" lol. Yeah, it's a dangerous slippery slope. Good luck with this project!! don't forget to take "before" flat lay pictures to compare with the eventual fade!

    1. The menswear internet is SO over the top, any time I have to delve into men's fashion I come away overwhelmed haha! Flatlay photos are a great idea, and I totally would not have remembered to do that :)



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