Brown Tabby Works X The Bandanna Almanac – Part 2

As each of these pieces trickled out through instagram I was happy to see people’s positive response towards our philosophy of vintage stuff. Each of these have been added to the Etsy store. Both of these items turned out excellent. We briefly talked about concept and the details of the repairs over coffee, but the results speak for themselves. Narita-san did an excellent job getting the personal touches right.

Brown Tabby Works X The Bandanna Almanac Part 2 1

This Lee jacket came unlined and full of holes and deliciously faded and stained denim. I wanted to use a few of the scraps I had of some quilt fabric. It added a new dimension to the jacket, and really brought out a different character of the old denim. It was missing a cuff so we added one.  On the back we decided to just keep it simple with one contrasting patch below the collar.

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This Red Head Brand hunting jacket was a lucky find. The wear was excellent to build from with plenty of rips, tears, and stains. The denim adds a more cheerful tone to the mute beige of the canvas. Little pieces of leather, and corduroy patches to mesh the wear with the repair. The tassel was Narita-san’s personal touch on this piece, that I think adds some needed humor.

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Repair | Pocket Patching

Pocket Patching 1 This is the final post in this series on repair. In the last post Narita-san demonstrated The Hand-Darn. This time he will show you how to patch your pockets. Believe it or not, the most frequent repair for jeans are the pocket bags. With custom made jeans the pocket bags could be any sort of fabric. In this repair my personal pair of Albuquerque jeans needed some holes patched in the pockets. Bandannas are probably not the best material for pocket bags, but with some regular maintenance you can keep them functional. Plus after several patches the result is a hidden-beauty that the wearer can really appreciate. Start off with a soft cotton thread (egyptian cotton works best) and a standard hand-sewing needle. Pocket Patching 2 The front-side patch is used here effectively to cover the holes, and to avoid additional tearing around the patch. Usually sewing machines stitches have too much tension for such delicate fabric, so hand-stitching is required. The overhand stitch is the most practical here, as it is best to use many small stitches. Pocket Patching 3 Thank you all for reading the repair series. I have enjoyed the feedback thus far, and I am happy to know that this has been helpful to some of you.

Repair | The Hand-Darn

Hand Darning 1

In the last episode the backside patch was featured. This time Narita-san will be demonstrating a completely hand-stitched repair. The hand-darn is the strongest and most time consuming of the repairs I will be featuring.

Start off with good sturdy thread. In this case we used indigo-dyed hemp. The darn repair can be used in knit repairs, especially socks and sweaters. If your jeans get a premature blowout then this is the repair you will want to use, as it can be blended with unfaded fabric easier. I surrendered by self-dyed kakishibu canvas hat for this repair.
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A big thick needle will take care of the heavy thread and make weaving it through much easier. Just look at the difference between a standard sewing needle and this darning needle.

Hand Darning (1)

As a note, darning can be done by hand, but so much of the beauty which is part of a hand-darn is lost in the machine. The hand-darn is a beautiful repair, and with enough practice and patience you can make your repairs really special.

First start with a knot on one end of your thread it pull it tight.

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The first stitch should be small right next to where the thread came out from the knot hole. The second stitch should come out about 2 or 3 mm from the actual hole (in the example there is no hole). Then bring the thread over the hole and push the needle through the front side about 2 or 3 mm from the hole. Then make another small stitch almost right next to the hole the thread came through. From here you will do the same thing to cover the hole with weft stitches.

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Take your time on these and try to get them to line up neatly.

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If the hole is not circular don’t worry you can shape the darn as it goes along.

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Once you get to the other end of the whole you will push the needle through to the back one more time. Now you will start to weave the warp threads in.

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Over under over under, again and again. Remember to push the needle through and back to the front after you finish each row.

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Really take your time here and tap the threads into place so it is all neat and tight.

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At the end make sure to squeeze the last weave in tight. This will ensure a solid and secure repair.

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Use an embroidery knot to finish the stitch on the reverse-side of the fabric.

Repair | The Front-side Patch

Front-side patch 1

This is the first post in a series on repairing clothing. I chose simple repairs, that you can do at home with either a sewing machine or by hand.

Narita-san of Brown Tabby explained and showed me how to repair worn-out garments. First thing is the design. We dug through his collection of vintage rags some rare Levi’s scraps. We are of the same breed, and we both believe that if you aren’t using it you’re wasting it. So instead of just looking at or collecting vintage clothing we are giving it a new life.

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Narita-san chose a scrap and started trimming off the excess fabric and thread. He pointed out that he wanted to keep the worn edge so it blended with the with the wear on the jeans.

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Next he went to the machine to start sewing the patch on.

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Cotton thread is the best to use in a well-worn repair because the thread will naturally fade and shrink and give a more natural, imperfect aesthetic to the repair. Polyester won’t fade, and definitely won’t look as good as cotton.
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Narita-san folded the edges over by hand as he sewed them down. Puckering the fabric and shaping the patch is important to keep the vintage aesthetic and to avoid putting stress on one point of the fabric. This will avoid additional tears and rips from the stress of the stitching around the patch.

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Once he sewed one side of the patch he quickly stitched up the rest of it with a buzz of the Juki.
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He ran the stitching around again this time making the stitch lines uneven. The purpose for this is to keep the fade uneven to maintain continuity with the repair and the base denim.The puckered patch also looks more natural and the imperfectness brings out a very unique character to each repair. Front-side patch 7

Personal preference will be a major factor in your repair. The most important thing is to choose your patch fabric to suit your repair.

Denim Repair | 9 and 17 Years of Wear

I have had a few requests over the last few months for repair information and how-to’s. Who better to ask about repairs than Osaka’s own Mr. Narita from Brown Tabby. This post will be an intro to appreciation of repair and reusing old fabric to turn your jeans into something more personal.

Wearing the same pair of jeans for 1 to 3 years is pretty typical nowadays, especially with the current global interest in high quality denim jeans. However consumer behavior doesn’t change all that much even for jeans that cost in excess of 200USD. People like to fade their jeans, but few understand how to repair their own jeans. Over the next week or so, I will be going over how to do just that, simply, and cheaply. No special equipment required.

But first, onto the aesthetic appeal of damage, and repair. Let’s appreciate and respect what we have-

Denim Repairs 1

This first pair is Narita-san’s pair of Warehouse jeans. 9 years of wear and tear. Well-worn and the repairs are impressive. The backside and front-side patching breaks up the indigo and adds more texture to the fade. The puckered patches have their own unique wiskering. The best way of going about repairing jeans at this age is using vintage fabric, to maintain a faded look. This also saves money and wastes less if vintage fabric scraps are used.

Denim Repairs 2

Denim Repairs

This second pair of Warehouse is a masterpiece of 17 years of wear. An unforgettable amount of texture and contrasting colors. If these jeans could talk…

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Even the reverse side is something remarkable. The patching and stitching has so much character, and they are a very true representation of their wearer. Narita-san is an interesting character.
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A stitched-portrait of his daughter on the knee shows his loving side, and also his sense of humor. A mix of machine and hand stitching add so much detail to the fade of the denim.

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The depth and amount of stitching, the variety of vintage fabric used for patches: these jeans are coveted by their owner.  The love and care for these jeans is a reflection of character. It shows his admiration and respect for things, and not to waste. I respect this mindset, we can all learn something from repairing our own clothing and not just tossing or storing it. This is the appeal of boro, having the skills to make something beautiful, unintentionally and naturally.