13. Gabby’s Fitting Series – A Denim Exploration in Three Parts. Et voila, fin!

Hi Sewcialists!

Welcome to part three in our denim series. This is the third in a three part mini-series, each divided into thirds, where we will explore some trivia, common fit issues, and things to watch out for when working with denim.

Twill Trivia!

We’ve all heard the term Canadian Tuxedo. Double Denim. Generally thought to be a fashion faux-pas. But do you know where it originated?

Once upon a time, in the salad days of the early 1950s, Bing Crosby was denied entrance to a hotel in Vancouver, Canada, because he was wearing denim on denim. It was a huge kerfuffle, which lead to the American denim brand Levi’s creating a custom-made denim tuxedo just for him. (He was eventually allowed to enter the hotel- I can only imagine after how many times of asking, “Do you even know who I am?!”)

A black and white photograph of Bing Crosby striding through a crowd of applauding fans. He wears a stetson hat, a denim tuxedo suit and is smoking a pipe.

It was made of the sturdy denim used for 501® Jeans, and decorated with a lovely corsage of Red Tabs, held onto the lapel with a cluster of shiny copper rivets. Inside the jacket was a huge leather patch printed with a “Notice to All Hotel Men” stating that denim is a perfectly appropriate fabric and anyone wearing it should be allowed entrance into the finest hotels.
(via levisvintageclothing.com)

Read more about it here.

So, are you loving this look or what? Cowboy chic is back, you know! Here and here and here are great articles for styling inspiration, if double denim is what you’re going for. Remember, fashion is for rule breaking – no such thing as faux-pas!

Common fit problem:

Our video this week talks about how to evaluate leg balance, and an easy way to tell if you need to adjust for a full thigh or calf.

Here’s a quick visual of what I mean. I picked an extreme example with a vertical railroad stripe that is very close fitting, but it allows you to easily see how far forward the outseam is pulling. Also, you can see easily just how much I need to add to the entire front thigh/leg panel to straighten and balance it out, by drawing a straight line down.

Image showing pants side seam pulling towards front

I usually do this with a tailor’s chalk, by eye, but if you are finding you need a little guidance, drop a plumb line using a retractable measuring tape held at your waist to create your vertical guide line to mark your garment.

Something to watch out for:

Stretch Blow Outs! We’ve all seen it. Wearing a pair of high-stretch denim, and you notice rippling at your upper thighs, across the butt, and at the knees. The rippling is noticeable when you wear it, and when you take it off? Woof – it’s bad.

A close up photograph of the front pocket area of blue denim jeans. There is a line of ripples running horizontally across the fabric. A graphic arrow points to this area and is the caption reads "ripples indicate stretch fibers have blown out".

This happens when your jeans depend too much on the stretch of the fabric for the fit, in combination with heavy wash treatments. The wash process will wear away at the denim fibers to create the ombré effect on the indigo, but it will also severely damage any of the elastane (or polyester if the fabric is a blend). So as you wear the jeans, the stretch fibers will stretch and stretch until they break. Drying your jeans on high in the dryer will also contribute to the degradation. This means the usage and life-cycle of the jean is limited – once the stretch blows out, the jeans are pretty much done, unless you cover it with patches/applied repairs.

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into denim and jeans! My next post will be a preview of an entirely new direction – stay tuned and see what we’re whipping up for you!

Have questions? @ me in the comments!

xo gabby

Gabby is a technical fashion designer, fit specialist, and prolific googler. She lives in Denver, raises tiny littles, reads, embroiders, makes, experiments, fails, learns, tries again. See her on instagram @ladygrift.