There’s nothing easy or convenient about stitching clothing from scratch. Here’s a few of the things we’ve bred into our stuff so it works hard, wears consistently, and lives long enough to earn repairs instead of being replaced.
The Gory Little Details
Snaps are serious business for us. Zippers fail. Velcro wears out. Buttons get lost. When we set a snap into webbing anchors, it’s there for good. In 15 years not a single one has failed from normal use. The webbing keeps the halves oriented, firm in the fabric, and easier to open and close with numb fingers.
Through and through.
Hook and Loop is a great way to adjust your cuff. Sadly, it wears out. That’s why we stitch these components through all the adjacent layers of fabric so they are easier to remove and replace.
Why? Why indeed.
800 pounds of clothing. That’s this years’ haul to the re-use store from our community garage sale. These were clothes that people bought, used, and passed on. Think about the quantity of fiber, the labor, the marketing, shipping, and sales of all that product. What a weird cycle.
Ruff and tumble.
20 degrees below zero in the wind is no joke. Each of our winter shells garments is built to accept a removable ruff. Zip it on any of them (one size fits all), and snap the ends down. Roll it back for regular cold, 1/2 way out for brisk days, or fully forward with the wire rim curved over into a tunnel for serious weather.
Round and round.
Did you know that $100 in quarters weighs more than 5 pounds! That’s an average afternoon of work for us. We pre-wash all our canvas and wool textiles, the nylon webbing and tape, and even our zipper chain. No kidding. That’s several thousands of dollars in quarters every year. Why? Because it’s harder to shrink something in the wash when someone already shrunk it in the wash. If we could figure out how to get our thread back on the spool, we would wash that too.
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Stainless steel. Tough. No muss. No fuss. All our snaps and grommets are stainless. It just makes sense to use something that won’t change, rust, warp, or bend.
Rubbed the wrong way.
Shock cord. It’s great for tinkering with fit, but it will wear through canvas and wool. For high contact areas like waist lines and hems, we err on the side of caution and route this magical cordage through tunnels of tough, yet soft Supplex Nylon. Problem solved.
Zippers. The best and worst thing to happen to clothing. We tend to avoid the vulnerable separating type if we can. All our closed-ended pocket and neck zippers have an access port so you (or we) can replace the pull when it wears out.
Cold? Drafty? Hardly a time to be delicate when cinching wintry air out of a shell garment. Go ahead and yard on the free end of any cord. Inside or out, it’s anchored through all the layers to a reinforced nylon tab, or tucked into a seam and captured by multiple passes of stitching.
Once is OK. Twice is better. Turn any of our products inside out, and you’ll find two, and possibly three complete lines of stitching on each seam. We’ll lock down serged edges, top stitch bulky sides, and even roll elbows out flat to keep them from wearing off as they brush your sides. Tougher seams last longer. Period.
It’s a cinch.
Our mittens are pretty burly. That means the wrist straps must be tough too. Over time, the plastic hardware may wear out. You can pull it off and replace it in the field without breaking a stitch!
That’s one beeeg spool of thread, bonded 45 or 69 Denier nylon to be specific. Normally you see it them in backpacks or work clothes. We use them for stitching some of our thicker canvas, wool, and leather items. They’re tough….probably tougher than most of the materials we sew. So far, so good.