13 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND TO CARE FOR YOUR RAW DENIM
Know the difference between unsanforized vs. sanforized denim.
WHAT IS SANFORIZED DENIM?Sanforized denim has been stretched, fixed and shrunk in length at the mill. This is done in order to reduce the amount of shrinkage that can happen after your jeans’ first wash. The result of sanforization leads to 1-3% shrinkage, as opposed to 10% shrinkage with unsanforized (shrink to fit) denim.
WHAT IS UNSANFORIZED DENIM?Unsanforized denim, also known as “loomstate” or “shrink-to-fit” denim, has not been through the sanforization process. In sanforization, the fabric is stretched, fixed and shrunk in length at the mill in order to reduce the amount of shrinkage that can occur after the first wash. Since unsanforized denim does not go through this process, it is expected to shrink up to 10% after the first soak.
SANFORIZED VS. UNSANFORIZED DENIM
Sizing :Unsanforized (shrink to fit) denim does not go through a shrinking process, meaning you’ll have to size up appropriately to compensate for the amount of shrinkage that will happen after the first wash.
Texture : Unsanforized denim retains its rougher characteristics, as it remains unaltered until the day it is purchased. Jeans made from sanforized denim go through the process of pre-shrinking at the mill, meaning you don’t have to size up when buying your jeans. People prefer sanforized jeans for this exact reason, and feel more comfortable buying jeans they know will fit.Undergoing the process of sanforization not only affects the sizing of your denim, but the texture of it as well. This process of stretching and shrinking will lead to smoother looking denim. ( read more here Denim Future ).
All Raw Denim will stretch out : When you factor in vanity sizing, stretching, and shrinking, the size it says on the tag can be incredibly inconsistent across brands. Superfuture has a good thread on brands and how they run sizing-wise. If there’s a particular brand you’re interested in, it’s a good idea to research them first so you know you’re buying a size you’re not going to regret later. For instance, APC jeans stretch about two sizes, and they should fit tight, at least for the first month.
- The first rule of raw denim: Do not wash the jeans. SOAK THE JEANS. If you wash your jeans too soon, you run the risk of ruining your fade, as well as any future fading (premature washing will eventually make it twice as hard to get that perfect creasing). Soaking the jeans in warm to hot water for a couple of hours will shrink the jeans to their natural state, so you have a better idea of where the real hem length will fall. It should also remove some of the excess indigo dye so you’re not leaving blue stains everywhere you go.Remember that the hotter the water, the more they will shrink.Quick note: If the denim is sanforized, it’s not necessary to soak the jeans. Just start wearing them.
- Hang the jeans to dry — don’t fold them. Use clothespins, pants hangers, or binder clips. Don’t fold them or you’ll make extra creases. While the jeans are still damp, this is a great time to put in a little extra work to wearing in your jeans. Put them on and move around. Sit cross-legged.
- You could wash once after you buy them: One-wash denim has already been washed once, eliminating the shrinkage issue. It should still fade exactly like any other raws.
- Starch helps you achieve those dramatic creases. The reason why a new pair of raw denim jeans are so stiff is because they are highly starched. It comes off in the initial soak, so many raw denim fanaticists insist on spraying their jeans with starch. You can DIY your own in a spray bottle: 2 heaping teaspoons of corn starch to a liter of hot water.This isn’t totally necessary, unless you are deeply concerned that your creases won’t be profound enough. source: Rawr Denim
- First wash after 4-12 months:The thing about raw denim is that you’re not supposed to wash it. If you wear your jeans everyday, you can probably get away with washing them 4–6 months after purchase. If you alternate jeans, you’ll want to wait longer. If you feel happy about how your jeans are fading, it might be time to finally give them a wash.Wash them alone in a washing machine on the gentlest and shortest cycle at a low temperature (ideally, using a small amount of Woolite Dark) and hang dry.If you’re really concerned about the sanitary conditions, rest assured that not washing your jeans will not result in any unusual bacteria growth down there .source: Styleforum.net.
- Wash at least once before you complete 12 months : The bacteria will eat away at the nether area and you’ll blow out the crotch, which sounds even more painful when you consider how much you paid for these things.
- Avoid washing them too often : Washing your jeans constantly when they aren’t particularly soiled or sweat-laden will break down the fibers and drastically reduce the lifespan of your denim.
- Look for Jeans with Ring spun yarn : “One of the main characteristics of ring spun yarn is its slubbyness and uneven surface, which is a result of its varying diameters. This gives the fabric an authentic vintage look once worn and washed. Additionally, ring spun yarn is both softer and more durable compared to open end yarn.”[source: Denim Hunters]
- Selvage does not mean more durable: “Selvedge” is one of those buzzwords that no one actually knows the true meaning of, yet it evokes a vague sense of authenticity. It simply means that the edges are sewn on old-style shuttle looms. This finish is usually the sign of a higher-end brand, but if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly not something that should make or break whether you buy a pair of jeans. It is no longer a definitive indicator of quality.Quick note: If you’re cuffing your jeans, a selvedged edge might appear slightly cleaner than a non-selvedge hem.
- Choose the weight of the denim carefully : The weight will determine how comfortable your jeans feel depending on what climate you live in. However, heavier denim will result in sharper fades.
- You have three options when it comes to hem and cuff : These are your three options when it comes to your jean length.Hemming: Do not hem your raw denim jeans prior to soaking as the denim will naturally shrink in length.Cuffing: Cuffing can look great with sneakers, but some people are diametrically opposed to this look. Any cuff over 1.5–2” could result in some unwanted rockabilly connotations.Stacking: This is the technical term for the effortless “bunching up” of the jeans at the ankle. Too much stacking looks awkward, but just the right amount can leave you with some nice, natural-looking creases.
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