Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 120 | Happy new year

Here we are at last, at the end of another year. So much has happened in the past year, but I'm looking forward to 2009 in a way that I haven't before. I have just started my company here in Sweden, and moved into new offices at the beginning of December with new partners. So I am very excited as to the possibilities that the new year will bring.

This year is also the year I'm going to wash these jeans of mine for the first time. Although that's only in March. We'll see what is in store for them till then. So far I've had mud and snow sprayed on them, baby food messed on them, more dirt on them and also lots and lots of rain soaked through them in 2008. There was a couple of drops of beers and some white wine in a club once, but other than that, I think they survived the past 120 days pretty well. Now I'm going to clean them a bit for tonight's party.

Hope you have a fantastic new year. See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 119 | Swedish jeans brands

As I said yesterday, I was searching for some information on Swedish jeans brands. Apparently there were over 100 different brands in the 70s in Sweden alone, but they have all but disappeared. Today some of the bigger brands weren't even around way back then.

I found this article from 2006 on called "Denim Land Sweden", discussing Acne, Nudie and WESC. There was also this article on called "Swedish Denim - A Success Story", about Acne, Nudie and Cheap Monday. The most interesting article of the lot was this article by Emma Lindblad on the London Global University website about "Consuming Ethical Denim in Sweden".

Tomorrow I'm going to get my jeans out on the kitchen table and really clean it with a damp sponge. I got to get the snow and mud off for real this time. Need to look my best for the new years party.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 118 | Skiing in jeans

I've just come back from a week in the mountains about halfway up north in Sweden. We've had lots of snow up there, but down south, here in Gothenburg we've only had snow for one week in November, and since then nothing. It's been around the zero degree range all the time. Last night however it dipped below that and we woke up to frost. It was white everywhere. Really beautiful, but also exceptionally cold.

It doesn't really help just wearing your jeans outside. The cold goes right through them. So I've been wearing my thermal underwear too. It helps a lot. It was strange however, seeing a guy skiing in his jeans. He must have been freezing. I know I was, and I had on proper clothing in various layers. Apparently it was all the rage here in the 80's, to see people on the slopes in jeans.

I've been doing some searches on other Swedish jeans brands, and stumbled across this article about the Swedish brand Cheap Monday, where they discuss the logo. Very interesting.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 117 | I cannot believe it has been this long

I am really astonished at how time has flown by since I bought these jeans on day 1. 117 days already with just 64 more days left, then I can throw them in the washing machine for their first wash, and see them shrink, to provide me with that perfect fit. Or so I hope anyway.

Now that I'm back home, I've been searching the internet for some advice on how to get snow, mixed with mud and sand, off a pair denims, as I needed to know do on day 114, when my "parents in law's" car was stuck in the snow, and I got caught in the spray of a spinning front wheel. I did manage to get most of it off with a damp sponge, without removing too much dye, but if you look carefully, you can still see some traces of the dirt.

The online advice was not really helpful, because everyone suggested waiting for the mud to dry, and then throwing them into the wash. That is exactly what I cannot do for the next 64 days, or until the 3rd of March, because of the test, which requires no wash for six months. Perhaps tomorrow I will just do one more clean with another damp sponge, and hopefully not remove too much dye in the process.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 116 | Home at last

Today has been by far the most beautiful day in my life. We left the slopes early this morning for our road trip back south to Gothenburg, where we live. The car temperature gauge was on -18*C when we left. There was not a cloud in the sky, just a soft mist hanging on the mountains. Although we didn't have a ton of snow this week, it was still lying about half a meter thick on the ground from the previous week.

Kläppen, the place where we were at, is not even half way up in Sweden. So I didn't want to know how cold it was all the way north, where there's no sun for 6 weeks of the year, or how much snow they must have there at the moment.

The trip was really beautiful with the perfectly clear skies and the small towns along the way, all covered in a white blanket of snow. The light conditions were also perfect for photography, so I took a lot of photos, because it's not the typical scenery I'm used to in South Africa.

I am glad to be back home though, but sad that there's no snow down here in Gothenburg. Maybe we can expect some for new year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 115 | Boxing day

Boxing day has arrived, and with it our final day on the slopes. We're heading back to civilization tomorrow, which means I can blog from my laptop again. Blogging from my mobile has its limitations.

I finally managed to clean the dried mud and sand off my jeans, I spoke about on day 113. I thought a brush would do the trick after it had all dried, but it didn't. In the end I used a damp sponge. It did the trick beautifully. And although it appears clean, I wouldn't call them as good as new.

It's stuff like that though that gives each pair of jeans its own characteristic, and will forever make mine different from another pair.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 114 | Christmas day

First of all, Merry Christmas. Hope the day's been fantastic. I spent it snowboarding with my extended family, in the sun. It's been absolutely fantastic. Tonight the other part of the family comes over to us for a turkey dinner, followed by sled racing with the kids.

The photo you can see is what my jeans look like right now, after helping my father in law get their car out of the snow. It was stuck, so I went to fetch some sand to throw behind the wheels, to help with the grip on the snow and ice. This proved to be a good idea, cause we got the car out, but a bad end result for my jeans. They got caught in the spray of the spinning wheel, and ended up covered in sand, snow and mud.

I'm waiting for it to dry, so that I can assess the damage, then see if I can brush the worst off. Any other ideas as to what to do? Still have 3 months left before I can wash them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 113 | Fresh snow

I didn't go out to snowboard today, opting instead to take a break and give my wrists time to heal. It was a tough decision, because we had some good snow falls over night, and the slopes would have been perfect. Instead I spent the day reading.

In Sweden we celebrate Christmas eve, the 24th, where everyone gets together and has a traditional Swedish meal together. The presents are also handed out and opened today. It's a bit different from where I'm from, where everything is done on the 25th.

Tomorrow I think it's time to go out early for a snowboard, get some hot-chocolate on top of the mountain and then a sauna to finish off the day back at the house. Have a good Christmas wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 112 | In a bit of pain

The weather has been absolutely fantastic here, which gives us some great views from the slopes and the house we're in. The photo was taken at 9am just outside our house. The sun has just come up and it's cold. It is a bit of a problem when you're this far north, because the sun sets at 3.30pm. So you have really short days.

The place we're at, has flood lights on half their slopes, which allows you to snowboard or ski, long after the sun is down.

Today however I had my first worth while wipeout on my snowboard. I'm blogging at the moment with both my wrists and hands bandaged up, and a really sore backside, so I'm in a little bit of pain. I need to take it easy tomorrow if I'm going to make it through the week in one piece.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 111 | Nice and cold

We've had some good snow over night, which made the snowboarding today excellent. A lot of the slopes were closed because of the wind, but we got by. Still no big crashes, just a little bit sore muscles.

The weather report is for more snow at night, then clear days. I'm looking forward to my second white Christmas, because so far it's been nice and cold.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 110 | Snowboarding

We had some good snow yesterday, and with today's sunshine the snowboarding was fantastic. It's been just under 3 degrees C the whole day, with some more snow expected for later on tonight.

While on the slopes I was thinking how big the market is for snow clothing, yet you see no denim material. I mean everyone I know wears denim 6 times a week, yet for some strange reason that's where it ends. Would be really interesting if there could be some denim brought into the snow market.

Material that looks like denim, but is waterproof, windproof and still stylish.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 109 | In the snow

I'm blogging from the car, because we're currently on the way for a week in the snow. It's been so beautiful to see the landscape change the further north we've been driving.

It started out rainy and 5 degrees C, then 2 degrees C and slush snow on the ground and at the moment it's 0 degrees and snowing. The whole world this far up in Sweden is white already. Fantastic.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 108 | Chain Stitching

Here's some good information I found on a website called about chain stitching. Seem the people there know their stuff, and worth a look.

What's in a stitch?
When you buy a pair of jeans at Blue in Green, they will hem them for free. All hemming is done with a vintage Union Special 43200G chain stitcher, the same machines that hemmed the original American work wear of yesteryear.

So, what's a chain stitch? A chain stitch is the type of stitch you see on the hem of premium jeans. It is made of two threads chaining and locking together for superior strength and flexibility. It's much stronger than a regular single stitch. When you cuff a pair of premium jeans, a beautifully stitched chain-stitch is the perfect compliment to a nice double-selvage outer seam. . . .

Why use a Union Special machine?
Union Special sewing machines were the machines that constructed the original jeans of old. These vintage machines are still some of the strongest machines out there and are highly sought after by jean aficionados worldwide. Because of the unique characteristics of the machine, it has a special "pull" to the fabric while stitching, this creates a slight directional pressure in the hem. As the jeans shrink after several washes, this tug will develop a pronounced "roping" effect in the hem. This effect is most pronounced when the hem is stitched with a vintage Union Special chain stitch hemmer machine.

When possible they apply the same thread used by the manufacturer for sewing the jeans and match the color as close as possible to the thread used in the original hem. They go to great lengths to match the color, weight and texture of the thread, even if the original chain stitch uses two different color threads. The end result is an exact reproduction of the original hem.

They also offer hemming for online orders, just make your request when checking out in the "Customer Note" section.

Tomorrow I'm off to the slopes for a week of snowboarding and cross country skiing. It'll be my second time trying it. Hope I don't seriously injure myself. At least there's some good snow already. Klä

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 107 | You know you're addicted

I've been reading a lot lately on other people, and their life with denim. Two days ago I quoted someone who's username was denimdestroyedmylife, and lately I've been reading a thread on, called "You know you're addicted", started by chicken, about what it's like to be addicted to denim jeans.

He starts off by saying you know you're addicted: "When you're seriously considering buying a new cell phone, just because you don't like the shape of the pocket fade your current phone creates."

Here's some others I thought was good.

keri: "When you pet them. And kiss them good night."

mickawes: "When you drag your legs when hopping fences to create authentic holes. Hell, when you hop fences just so you can get some wear on the jeans."

krisis: "When you rub your butt on benches to help that killer wallet fade come through."

Alvahroe: "I notice that when ever I wash my hand and they drip blue, it gets a bit of a smile out of me."

greentea: "When you spray the inside of your car with starch. to get the new raw denim smell."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 106 | The evolution of jeans

Here's a good post on about the evolution of jeans. It basically started off with one guy showing his jeans on day one, then some photos after 2 years of regular wear, and challenging the other users to show off theirs too. So far they are on 1349 pages. That's a lot.

Mine still have a long way to go before we reach 2 years. So far it's only been 106 days.

There's one thing that this guy did say that has made me think a little, and that is that if he was to do this all over again, that he wouldn't have washed them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 105 | Washing Samurai style

This has been so funny to read on with everyone contributing their experiences as to washing and drying their jeans. Here's the best I could find. It's called washing, Samurai style. Chicken says: "It begins saying that this is just one example of how to go about washing your denim, but by no means a definitive method. Since denims are personal, there should be personal styles of washing, too. Makes sense."

"Soaking: The guy demonstrating (they call him "Master") prefers a 42 degrees C or cooler, lukewarm water with a small tablespoon of salt. Some people prefer adding vinegar but most people don’t put anything in it. People believe salt will help get rid of the "glue" (I wonder if they mean starch and stuff) and extra indigo. At the same time, salt will help the main indigo to stay on the material better. So it says. And some people soak at body temperature. I’ve read in other places you’re supposed to soak after you turn the jeans inside-out, but Master is doing it normal, outside-out.

Make sure to take all the air bubbles out and let it soak for about 1-2 hours. Anything longer than that could be annoying to the rest of your household, but also unnecessary."

"Wash: Detergents without bleach or phosphate(?) are best to use, but sounds like it really doesn’t matter that much. Master used a detergent soap and swirled it in the water few times. The key thing is to make sure that the water’s not too soapy — it shouldn’t be foaming. Even with the non-foaming water, you’ll see that by the end of the wash the water has turned quite blue. It says wash is important because you get rid of oils accumulated during the making of the jeans. Oh and Master washed the jeans inside-out."

"Rinse: The key to rinsing is to rinse very well. Make sure all the detergent’s gone. Some people add a tiny bit of detergent at the end of the rinse cycle to add a little sheen to the jeans, but Master thinks that’s really stupid because it will hurt the cloth. So rinse."

"Getting rid of moisture: Try to use your hands and get rid of water BEFORE the washing machine gets into the spinning drying cycle. Denim, which is heavy to begin with, with water can spin in an awkward way inside a machine, which can, in the long run, cause some unwanted damage to the jeans. Definitely, do not twist. Which will hurt the denim, again. Instead, push and massage the moisture out. And don’t use the spin cycle too much. It’s not good for your denim."

"Drying: Master dried the jeans still inside-out. Make sure to get rid of the wrinkles, especially in the salvaged area before you hang it. Some people will hang it upside-down, but that’s up to the user. The best time to dry is morning ‘till noon, but as long as it’s in a place with a good air current in a shady area, it should work just fine. Drying it right in the sun is bad. It’s because the moisture in the jeans can “boil” suddenly and cause damage to the cloth. Air drying in a freezing weather is also horrible. Dryer machine is not a bad thing, since you can get a steady and controlled environment for the jeans to dry. But the downside is huge. Over-drying can cause an irreversible damage. So they can’t recommend it. Some experienced dryer machine users, though, have tricks using towels and/or tennis balls with the jeans."

Master used mink oil on the patch when it was half dry. For long-term effect. I guess it’s kind of like baseball gloves. Master also recommended cutting off all the excess strings that come out after the wash. Some people prefer to have them fall off naturally, but that’s up to the user."

So there you have it. Some more tipe to think about when you dare to wash your jeans.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 104 | Spin cycle

I've been trying to find some answers about drying my jeans after a wash. There's a lot of opinions out there. One thing almost everyone agrees on, is tumble dryers are a big no-no. Most agree with washing them, then hanging them out in the sun to dry.

I've been following a thread on about whether or not you should use the spin cycle after the wash to help with the drying process. Here's some advice from denimdestroyedmylife: "I'd go for a warm or hot wash even, but I wouldn't spin cycle. If you must, neatly fold them in half lengthwise, carefully line them along the inside of the washing machine for the spin cycle so that they don't get weird creasing and inside out, of course!"

Here's Swych's comments on spinning them in the washing machine: "I spun my Samurai s500wx just to get the water off (no heat) and regretted it. After 10 mins, I checked on my baby and found a murder scene in the machine. It was blue everywhere. Don't do it."

So as you can see, I think it depends on how new your jeans are and when you decide to use the spin cycle. If they're new, you might lose a lot of indigo in the process, more than you'd like to. If, however they've been washed a couple of times, and most of the excess indigo is already gone, then follow denimdestroyedmylife's advice. And as always, good luck.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 103 | Home-made jeans

Here's an interesting thread I picked up on a website called The thread is about making your own jeans at home. Some subscribers have even published their own photographs and such. It's so interesting to see how much some people love their denim. But I guess that's how everyone starts out in the beginning. Just you alone in your room or garage with a pattern, some rolls of denim, a sewing machine and a desire to make your own pair.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 102 | Brush the marks away

I picked up this mark on my right shin. It's not really a stain, because it didn't soak into the material. I don't know what it was, because it was dry already when I saw it the first time, but it looked like a mix of chocolate and mud.

I managed to get most of it off with my fingers and nails, as you can see from the top photograph. The rest I managed to brush away or off the denim.

The reason I use this brush, is because it is soft, and doesn't damage the denim. It also manages to penetrate the material just enough to get the dirt out, with a couple of hard brushes, leaving the denim as good as new.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 101 | Some dry-cleaning

Tomorrow I'm going to take some time and "dry-clean" my jeans a bit. By dry-cleaning I mean with a brush, my nails and a cloth. There's some patches of dust, some stains and a couple of marks I am going to try and get out, without too much of a fuss.

I'll post some photos tomorrow. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 100 | Who would have thought?

I still can't believe I made it to one hundred days. I don't really think about what I am doing with the jeans when I put them on in the mornings anymore. It's only at night when I blog about it, that I can see the days counting up.

It's been interesting to see where most of my visitors have been coming from. 44% of traffic to this blog come via search engines. The ten most popular searches, after removing general words like Dr.Denim Jeans, are "denim washes", "", "about raw denim 6 months", "cleaning denim jeans", "dry clean jeans", "dry cleaning jeans", "superfuture supertalk", "washing instruction", "will dry cleaning shrink jeans", "a good pair of jeans is like a member of the family" and "black raw". Most visitors seem to be interested in finding out how to clean their jeans. No wonder the most popular post by far is Day 35, which is about dry cleaning your jeans. It is still the most visited page, even 65 days after writing it.

Perhaps it's a good idea to find out a little bit more about all the ways you can clean your jeans. There's so many styles, colours and types of denim, surely there must be different ways to clean them all when they get dirty?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 99 | More blue

It's quite difficult not get water close to your jeans, when you live in a country like Sweden, and of all places Gothenburg. It has so far rained five out of seven days for the past month. The temperatures have been hovering between zero and ten degrees Celsius, so it's always wet. I do not mind the cold, but it's much better when the temperatures go below zero degrees Celsius, because that means that everything is frozen, and there's no rain.

I'm not that lucky though. My white Coverse have been on the receiving end of the blue denim dye dripping on them. It's usually the bottom hems of my jeans that stick out from under my long winter jacket, and never gets protected from the rain when I have my umbrella out. So it is always wet and hanging over my white shoes. Maybe not the best shoes to have on when it rains, but I just love them so much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 98 | Folding up the hems

I started wearing the jeans without folding the bottom hems up. There was no need to in the beginning, because they fitted well. Over the past ninety eight days though, they started stretching more and more. They are now sitting a little bit lower on my hips, which means I need to fold the bottom hems up, otherwise they look too crinkled down at my shoes (See day 27).

I don't know if it was such a good idea to fold the jeans or not, because now there's a permanent crease about 3cm from the bottom of the jeans. I know it'll be OK to wear the jeans without the fold again after I wash the them, because the raw denim is sure to shrink. I'm just not sure for how long it'll last before they stretch again. Perhaps I should have bought a 33 or 32 leg instead of a 34 leg?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 97 | Behind the knees

Yesterday I showed the front of the knees and the way they have stretched so far, because the jeans aren't being washed. Here's what the back of the knees look like today.

I last showed photos of the back of the knees on day 55 and day 81, and it's much worse now. These creases are never coming out. I sit in front of my laptop for about 8-10 hours a day, and my knees are bent most of the time, so I can understand them looking like this after 97 days of daily wear.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 96 | Stretched knees

I showed pictures of the knees on day 46, then also on day 81. Then I did a comparison on day 55. This is the part that probably stretches the most on jeans, but they always tend to recover a bit after a wash.

On the left is what they look like today, sixty nine days of continuous wear and no wash. Really shiny too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 95 | Baby food

I helped a friend fix up his new apartment today. Ripping down old wallpaper, and tomorrow there's plastering and painting. All of that however was done with old jeans on. Wasn't going to put my new jeans through all of that.

I always knew that I was going to mess something or other on these jeans sooner or later. I just didn't know it was going to be baby food.

This happened while trying to feed a friend's child that did not want to be fed. I did manage to get the food off the jeans, as well as the smell.

I'm definitely going to be more careful in the future, as to what I volunteer for.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 94 | The button holes (2nd comparison)

Today I compare the button holes. The photograph to the left has 3 pictures in it. The picture on the left is from day 17 the middle picture is from day 61 and the right hand picture is from today. Not so much difference on the inside, other than the denim seems more folded and creased, as if they've finally found their own shape.

The bottom photograph is from today. Lots of light blue marks from the wear. I've been wearing them every day for the past ninety four days, so it means that I did the buttons up and down at least twice a day, so that is one hundred and eighty eight times. Let's average going to the toilet during that time to twice a day, which is open and closed four times a day times ninety four days, gives us three hundred and seventy six times. Add all of that up, and I have opened and closed the buttons on these jeans about five hundred and sixty four times during the last ninety four days. I thought they would have been much more worn by now through all that chafing.

I also did some comparison photographs of other jeans brands and their button holes on day 17, just to show the different styles and so on. But this was the last part of my 2nd comparison. I'll do the 3rd comparison right after new years day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 93 | The bottom hems (2nd comparison)

I last compared the bottom hems on day 60, and even then you could see the wear from where the jeans get caught under my feet at home. I hardly wear them without folding them up, but at home, walking around barefoot, sometimes I forget.

The top photograph has three picture in it. The top picture is from around day 14, the middle one is from day 60, and the bottom one is from today. The only big difference between day 60 and today, is that the folds are by far more evident today than then. There's a distinct line where I fold the bottoms up every day. I think that's better than having them wear out at the back and damaging the back hem under your shoes too much.

There's a lot more creases on the denim too, but that was to be expected from wearing them everyday for the past 93 days. Tomorrow I'm comparing the button holes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 92 | The front pockets (2nd comparison)

Today I compare the front pockets. A lot more creases and by far more marks everywhere. The main changes are the creases from sitting in front of my laptop everyday, in the places where my hips bend. It's like my jeans are permanently moulded into that "sitting" shape, even when I take them off. The pictures on the left in the two top photographs is from day 14 and the middle pictures from day 59 and the right side picture is from today.

There's plenty of light blue marks from the wear on the button holes as well, and as I mentioned on day 90, a lot more shiny from not having been washed for 92 days. Will be interesting to see how shiny they'll become after the full six months with no wash.

I spoke about my front pocket wallet on day 33, and showed photos of the marks it usually makes on all my jeans. The bottom photograph show what the mark looks like at the moment on these jeans. Much more visible than on day 59. Tomorrow I compare the bottom hems.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 91 | The inner seams (2nd comparison)

Here we go with the inner seams and what they look like now, after 91 days of everyday wear. I last compared them on day 58, and by then already they were showing signs of wear. I don't think it got much worse since then, but still, there's a lot of light blue worn out spots, directly on the seams.

There wear is more evident down close to the hems, where the jeans hang over my shoes and brush together when I walk, than say the knees or between my thighs. The top photograph consists of two pictures. The one on the left was taken on day 58 and the one on the right, was taken today. Not a lot of difference if you ask me.

Maybe there's be lots more in a month or so. Tomorrow I'll compare the front pockets.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 90 | The back pockets (2nd comparison)

Here's the start of my second series of comparisons, such as I did on day 57 - day 61. The pictures on the left is from day 14, the middle picture is from day 57 and the right hand picture is from today, day 90. I'm trying to do this at the beginning of each month.

As you can see, the jeans are by far more shiny, not just from the wear, but also from not washing them. Today is basically halfway, with 91 days to go before the first wash, so I have worn them every day for past 90 days. I have noticed a lot more wear during the past month, than any of the two months before that. As if the wear accelerates as it gets past a certain point.

There's a lot more light blue patches on the corners of the pockets where I sit, and a lot more permanent looking creases, that don't look like they're ever going to be smooth again.

Tomorrow I'll be looking at the inner seams, which have shown lots more wear too, from chafing against each other everyday.