Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 209 | Ink on the floor

I've been going through my photographs and found the one on the left. It's one of the oldest I have, which means the jeans were in their first week of "wear". There's not a mark on the denim yet, and no stretching.

The second photograph is of the ink running from the denim after they were washed for the first time. I was a little nervous on the washing day, because I was scared I would lose too much colour from the jeans. I did not have the washing machine on the spin cycle, so that saved a lot of ink, but there was still a lot of ink on the floor when I took them out. As you can see on day 184, when I compare the jeans before and after the wash, there's not a lot of difference in the darkness of the jeans. So I suspect that I didn't lose too much ink.

On another note, I was trawling through some of my favourite sites and stumbled upon an an article on this book, called "The Denim Book", which is produced by a company called Lightning. You can buy your copy from It's basically a who's who of the Japanese Denim industry. 70 brand owners, designers and retail managers were interviewed and photographed. They presented their favourite vintage to sample denim pieces. The book gives equal space to unknown brands as it does to the well known brands, which is a big change in the story line of previous Lightning books.

Next week I'm comparing the jeans again, but only month one vs. what they'll look like next week. They're still my favourite pair of jeans, but it's been a welcome change to wear my light coloured denims again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 202 | Some more about shrinking

I was wearing these jeans every day for 6 months and writing about it every day, right up until day 195. I then decided to only write about them every week, on Mondays, and it's been so tough. I thought it was going to be easy, to write less, not realising just how much part of my daily life this blog has become. There's still so much to learn, and so many people I meet via this blog, but I have other projects like this, which are now starting to take up a lot more of my time, but more on that, another day.

I was asked in a comment this week just how much the jeans have shrunk, so I thought I'd answer the question in this post. If I was to buy raw denim jeans again, I would make sure that they fit me perfectly around the waste and in length, or perhaps a bit longer. You have no control over how much they will shrink when you wash them the first time, so I wouldn't try and judge the right size by that when I buy new jeans.

The thing with wearing the jeans for 6 months have a lot to do with stretching the denim in all the right places naturally, by just wearing them. When they then shrink, they shrink all over, hence a better fit all over.

Have a look at the two photos of the legs of the jeans, just behind the knees. They are the same size. By that I mean the creases are the same size in all the photos if you were to put them on top of each other, but the width of the legs are narrower in the washed versions on the right. And narrower by a lot. My jeans shrunk by around 2-3 cm all over, which seems like a lot when you look at a new pair, but not so much on a 6 month old pair that's been "worn in" and stretched.

Look at the difference in where the jeans hang over the heels of my shoes in the picture on the left. Photo one is before the wash and photo two is after the wash. They shrunk a lot, but now the length is perfect and I don't have to wear a belt or fold the hems up any more. So to finish off, don't worry about the shrinking when you buy a new pair of jeans, because 6 months is a long time, and a lot still needs to happen before you wash them the first time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 195 | Front moustaches

Why do we use the word moustaches, when referring to the front creases on jeans? Isn't the word whiskers, as in cat whiskers, closer to what it is that we're all talking about.

Be that as it may, here's what mine looks like now, after 6 months of wear then one wash. Dependent on how you look at it, I haven't spent any time making any of the marks on the jeans "worse" or "prettier". They are from natural wear every day. That means a lot of time on a chair sitting in front of my laptop.

Today is the last day of writing daily. There's new projects on the horizon, but I'm going to continue blogging here on a weekly basis. Probably a Monday. There's still so much to learn about denim, that I don't want to give it all up, even after the test is complete. The next wash will again be in another 6 months, but I'll be wearing the jeans probably 3 times a week, instead of daily.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 194 | I'm so skinny

The day after the first wash, when I had the jeans laid out on the table to photograph, I noticed these "wear" marks just below the back pocket on both sides. The top photograph has two pictures. The left one from before the wash and the right hand one from after the wash. You can see them on the jeans before the wash, but they appear to just be folds, or creases. After the wash you can clearly see the denim is damaged, meaning really worn in. It must be from each time I sit down, when the denim folds and then flattens out again.

It's probably cause I'm so skinny. If I had a bit more meat on my bones, or specifically around my bum, the jeans would've been tighter, hence less creasing. Not that it's problematic or anything. Just a point of observation. And I'm really glad my mom doesn't read this blog or I'll soon get an email, telling me to eat some more food, cause it's not healthy being so skinny. hehe.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 193 | 360 degree before and after

Here's the same photos I posted on day 190, but in higher resolution. You can clearly see how much they shrunk by looking at the length. The top ones are after 6 months of wear and the bottom ones from the day after their first wash.

Just have a look at how stretched the knees were before the wash. They fit much better now. Less creases, less stretches, but more wear and a much better colour.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 192 | The back pockets before and after

Here's two more high resolution images comparing the back pockets. I still can't believe there's so much difference in the jeans. The top photo is with 6 months worth of wear and no wash (day 182). The bottom photo is on the following day (day 183), after the wash.

The jeans have even changed colour slightly. They started off as Blue/Black, and now has become a little lighter and bluer. The shrinking has worked wonders. I have them on again today, just because they really are my favourite pair at the moment, having spent a full 6 months in them and nothing else, and they fit perfectly. I would highly recommend doing the same. Not necessarily wearing them every day for 6 months as I did, but alternating between them and maybe 2 other pairs for perhaps a year, then washing them. The fit will be real good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 191 | The knees before and after

I said I'll publish some larger, higher resolution photographs today. Here's 2 of the left and right knees, before and after the wash. They were incredible stretched just before they got washed. It was difficult to get them flat on the table when I took the photos. The photographs of the knees after the wash came out really good, because the jeans lay perfectly flat.

You can see the blue lines in the washed version, vs. the creases in the per-washed version. I'm really happy with how they came out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 190 | Before and after

I've always wanted to do a 360 degree display of the jeans. The top row is on the day of the wash and the bottom row is the day after the wash.

You can clearly see how stretched the knees are from 6 months of wear and how much tighter they are after the wash. The same with the wrinkles and creases behind the knees. Now they're just softer folds. The jeans have also shrunk about 2, maybe 3 centimetres in length, so now they're not as bunched up at the bottom above my shoes. In the top photos I have a belt on, where I now wear the jeans without a belt, as I did when I bought them. Then there's also the colouring. Much lighter and tighter and the marks are now much more visible.

Will publish the same sort of photos tomorrow, but much bigger I think.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 189 | The button holes (5th comparison)

The buttons holes were last compared on day 160. Since then the jeans have been washed, but for some strange reason you can't see much difference in them. They've always just looked rough and a little unfinished.

In the top photograph, there's seven pictures. Each one from the 6 months of the test. The last picture in the photo is of them after they have been washed. Not much difference, besides for the shine that's on the others.

As always I will attempt my maths sum to see how many times I have opened and closed the buttons till the day they were washed on 183 days. Opening and closing the buttons whilst getting dressed and undressed, at least twice a day, so that is three hundred and sixty six 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 hundred and sixty days, gives us seven hundred and thirty two times. Add all of that up, and I have opened and closed the buttons on these jeans about one thousand and ninety eight times during the last hundred and eighty three days. I always thought there would be more wear on the button holes, but just goes to show how well they're made these days.

Tomorrow I'm publishing a 360 degree photo series of the jeans before the wash and after the wash. Then you'll be able to see how they have changed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 188 | The bottom hems (5th comparison)

It's only after the wash that I noticed how much more the wear on the denim shows than before. The folds on the bottom hems, that I used to wear before I started wearing a belt every day, can now clearly be seen. The same with all the other creases, on the knees and below the front pockets.

The photograph with the seven pictures in are from each month in the past six months, including the first photo after the wash. There's a huge difference between the last two pictures. Besides the obvious less shiny bits, you can now clearly see the fold damage. Fortunately now the denim has shrunk about 2 cm in length and I never have to wear the hems folded up again. The denim also seems a bit newer after the wash.

Tomorrow I'll compare the button holes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day 187 | The front pockets (5th comparison)

The front pockets for me, show the biggest changes in the jeans. Not just before and after the wash, but since day 1, up until day 183, because of the marks made by my front pocket wallet and the general creases or moustache marks. The pictures in the top two photographs are from the beginning of each of the 6 months and the right hand picture in both is after the first wash.

It's strange to see and feel the difference in the washed denim. It's softer, with more character, yet it shrunk quite a bit. They're by far more comfortable, even though I know they will stretch again from all the wear. Perhaps another wash in 6 months will show other changes. Perhaps a hole or two?

The bottom photo is of my front pocket wallet and the marks it made on the right hand front pocket. I had it in that pocket every day for 6 months. I'm really happy with how they turned out after 6 months and the first wash. Tomorrow I'll compare the bottom hems.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 186 | The inner seams (5th comparison)

Here's the 5th comparison of the seams on the inner leg. The 5th picture is the last day before the wash and the 6th picture is the days after the wash.

There's a lot of difference before and after the wash. Afterwards the denim seemed to have settled a bit more. It's not as compact, yet it shrunk. The folds are gone, and in their place are just light blue lines.

The second photo is of the seams a bit higher up at the knees. Here you can see the huge difference between before and after the wash. The stretches are gone from the front of the knees and the creases are gone from the back. Now there's just the light blue lines and scuff marks that remain.

The bottom photograph shows what the bottom seams look like close up, and that they look like new, but a bit worn in. Tomorrow I'm looking at the front pockets.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day 185 | The back pockets (5th comparison)

I wanted to show before and after photographs, but decided to rather carry on with my comparison series, which show the jeans in the process of getting older and older and more worn in. I have now included the comparison from the last day I wore the jeans before the wash, and the first day after the wash. Now there's seven photographs taken on the beginning of every month in the past 6 months.

There's a big difference between the washed and unwashed pair in the last two images. The washed jeans are not as shiny and the creases and folds are now only light blue lines on the washed jeans. The shrinking caused the material to tighten quite a bit. Tomorrow I'll compare the inner seams.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 184 | Before and after

Today was the first day that I had the jeans on again after washing them. I have to say that they now fit really well, and very much softer than when I bought them. They shrunk length-wise perhaps 2 centimetres, even though I stretch the seams out directly after the wash. When I have them on without shoes, they hang perfectly just above my ankles. Width-wise they shrunk a bit too, and they now fit better than ever. I do not have to wear a belt any more.

The colouring is also fantastic, because it doesn't seem like I lost too much dye in the wash. As you can see in the top photograph, with a comparison of the last day ,unwashed, and the first day ,washed. You can see that they're narrower around my legs and a bit shorter.

Only on the close-ups can you see that all the shine is gone from 6 months of wear. Over the next couple of days I'm going to do comparisons of them on the last day, unwashed, and the first day, washed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day 183 | Wash day

It's finally done. The jeans have been washed for the first time in 6 months. They're still a bit damp, so I'm only taking photographs of them tomorrow.

It was a bit scary at first when I put the jeans in the machine this morning. I can speak a little bit of Swedish and when I selected 30 degrees Celcius, I noticed the word "Ylle" next to it. I didn't know what it meant, and checked the machine to the left of it. That one said "Ylle/Handwash", so I knew it would be something to do with a gentle wash. I had to select the machine to the right, because there was a button where I could switch off "Centrifugering" or spin cycle. I didn't know how to do it on the machine on the left, which was a fancier model. Ylle, I found out later, means wool. So it was a safe choice.

When they came out the machine they were still soaking wet, and I stretched the seams out a bit from the crotch to the hems. This left blue water all over the floor. I rolled them up so I could get them upstairs without messing all over the steps on the way up. I hung them in the shower with the belt loops over a hanger, and left for work.

When I came home this afternoon, they turned out fantastic, but as I said, still a bit damp. I'm wearing them again tomorrow, just to feel how they've changed. I can already see that they're a bit lighter, but look great. The bottom photograph is the last on of me wearing the jeans unwashed. All shiny, oily and worn in.

It did feel weird wearing a different pair of jeans today for the first time in 6 months. It was however my my favourite Evisu/Puma jeans

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 182 | The final day

Today is officially the last day of the "wearing in" period. I'm washing the jeans for the first time tomorrow morning at 8am. Right after I take my final full length photos out in the garden.

Here's some photos of what they look like at the moment. The top photo is a comparison of day 1 and day 182, 6 months later, with no wash and wearing them every single day. I'm really excited to put them in the washing machine tomorrow. I had a friend suggest that I bath in them first, but we don't have a bath, and I don't think a shower will give you the same results. The bath apparently gives you time in the jeans while they shrink, to make more marks, and soap them up in all the right places.

I will wash them a normal washing machine, inside out, at 30 degrees Celsius and no spin cycle. Should take 30 minutes and then I'm stretching the seams out, from crotch to hems, and hanging them up in the shower to dry.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 181 | How to wash your jeans

I have 2 days left, then I've worn these jeans everyday for 6 months. I was contemplating taking a shower with them first, to sort out the shrinking, but I think think I'll settle for 30 degrees Celcius machine wash, with no spin cycle, then stretch them out along the seams and hang them up to dry. Here's how to wash your jeans according to the website

Washing instruction for raw/dry denim & jeans (wash and care)

"It is often a myth how denim products needs to be washed/treated. There is certainly no "right way" but many different ways, depending on how you prefer your denims to look. Here are some examples."

Denim enthusiast's way - Wear as long as possible, wash as less as possible
"This is the most commonly used technique for denim enthusiasts. Wear rigid-raw dry jeans a minimum of 6months (recommended) everyday, machine wash at 60c inside out without washing powder/liquid, then wear it again for the next 3months, then wash by machine at 30c (less colour fade at 30c than high temperature), dry it by hanging up in the shade where air is flowing."

Japanese magazine way - Wear your jeans and take a bath with it
"This was once introduced in a Japanese fashion magazine. Wear your denim for a few months, the first wash is taking a bath with your jeans in lukewarm water and use a scrubbing brush to create a colour fading effect (mostly the front thigh bit). Dry it by hanging up in the shade where air is flowing."

Japanese denim mania way - Wear your jeans after "the first wash"
"This technique is frequently used by many Japanese denim enthusiasts. Firstly, prepare lukewarm water (between 35c and 45c) in a bucket and put the dry/raw jeans in it for 1hour-2hours (Note 1: please bear in mind that jeans need to be submerged completely in the water. The raw denim jeans contains air which make it float in the bucket. Note 2: Some people add a table spoon of salt, or vinegar in this lukewarm water). Secondly, take the jeans out of the bucket, wash it inside out at 40c without washing powder (please do not long-wash as this damages the fibers of the denim). Dry it by hanging up in the shade where air is flowing. Second wash is preferably after 3-9months of wear."

Natural looking way - Wear and wash as you like
"Wash the jeans at 60c, dry it by hanging up in the direct sunlight (or tumble dry). This will make it completely shrink up to 1-2.5inchs and the jeans will not be as heavily starched. Wear and wash as you like, however, the jeans will not have the strong dense coloured effect achieved in methods 1, 2 and 3."

The above four ways are often used to treat or how to wash dry/raw denims. Allevol's favourite way is method 1. We wear jeans 4-6months. As soon as we see a break-in effect, machine wash at 30c. After that, we wash our jeans at least every month

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 180 | Levis XX

Tonight we went out for supper with friends, and the guy is a denim nut. Has more denim jackets than I have fingers to count them on, and knows more than I will about denim, in my life time. He showed me one of his books on denim, and in there I read a really interesting piece of information a pair of Levis from the 1880's. They were made before the first ever 501's. Here's where I think the pair of $1000 jeans from Tom Ford is cheap, because Levis paid $45000 for this specific pair of jeans on eBay in 2001.

Just imagine finding a pair of jeans in your granparents attic and then being able to sell them for that price? Amazing the value we place on everyday products like denim. Yes granted they're from the 1880's, but still.

The pair to the left is also from the 1880's, and called Levi's "XX” jean, which also pre-dates the 501 before it was called the 501. The 501 was first used in 1890 as a style number. XX means "extra, extra strong" and featured only one back pocket, with a second back pocket only added in 1901, two front pockets, awatch pocket, a back buckle cinch closure and buttons for suspender.