Day 1 of 1.000! (A1, B1, C1)

First day of the project! My mathematical experiment – Thousand Days Of Hope And Glory. Yes!

Finished these three designs just in time for today. My first combination! And at the same time the very first items from our three categories A – A top, B – Bottom and C – Cover!

First A1 – The black cotton jersey turtleneck. I made this one today.

Then B1 – The black cotton denim jeans. Also made these today.

And last C1 – The black cotton denim jacket.

And this is how it looked together.

Each of these items are to be worn 100 time each. But never together again! So I have to go back to the sewing table tonight. To make more clothes. See you tomorrow!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Denim dreams. Part 2. (Today.)

My work with denim has changed much compared to back in the days. I feel much more relaxed about it after decades of practicing. And I’m experiencing a certain comfortness around this classic workwear theme. To be experimenting with small details seem more interesting to me right now, than radically changing such a very well-known concept. Alter seam-placements, investigating a fabrics’ ability to form and change under the influence of damp, moist, human temperature and usage. To test how different shapes are experienced by the user. And study “personal fading” – the individual fade – where all creases appear according to the user’s movements and washing preferences. All above, very specific things that to me has become so very important in creating great individual design.

I’m not saying that radical and shocking changes in orherwise pleasing looks can be fun, and sometimes even felt needed, but I do feel I’ve already been there. I’ve made comleatly hand-stitched denim-skirts. Done denim jackets in furniture fabric. Have tested all sorts of trousers and pockets. And even made suit jackets in denim, and other odd designs with added leather and sometimes studs. Now, I rather feel my hand-stitched denim buttonholes are actually more shocking than all the above!

Imagine to have buttonholes in your denim jacket that most people think are just machine-made in seconds, when they actually are durably made and thoroughly stitched by my two hands. With extra built in strength where it’s really most needed.

And imagin the feel of that just right owesized jacket, combined with a pair of greatly fitted jeans – all made just for you. To be worn and enjoyed for years to come. Comfort and coolness combined in one! A quiet protest against… well, one could say, unneeded excess.

So, I kind of like where I’m at, right now, with denim, design and connecting projects. I feel comfort and trust. Stability. A specific notion of having a great fundament to stand on. And maybe a desire to build more? Higher or wider? Maybe it’s time to take it further? To dream on. I wonder what next step would or could be? Let’s se what tomorrow brings!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Denim dreams. Part 1. (How it all started.)

I wanted to make real workwear back then! I liked the rugged 1950’s look – a bit worn and baggy. I bought torn and wasted second-hand jeans and re-made them to fit me and my own body size. It was the late 80’s. I was told it was the “original look” to have, and I wore it in layers together with cotton turtlenecks, worn denim jacket and a oversized blazer. All on top of each other. I was happy.

Then fashion changed. And I got confused. A whole new “original” denim look arrived. So how did that work for a true story, I asked myself? Not much. Not much at all. Everything was just fabricated lies. Marketing, was what they called it back then as I remember it. I wasn’t happy.

I gradually begun dreaming of my very own denim look and clothing! And, as a result of that, I also started making stuff myself. It wasn’t easy, I’ll tell you that! Some things even looked rather odd I thought. Not “original” at all. More “creative” and “personal” – and much less industrial. And precisely that, was the exact center of the conflict I started having with myself. Allthough I really wanted to make my own, I still wanted to tap in to the very thing that people understood about denim and jeans – the highly romanticized idea of factory produced goods, made super-robust and compleatly identical. And that wasn’t what I got with my true friend in arms – my home sewing-machine! It was absolutely too weak and “fine” in its stitching. I realized I had to move on and upgrade, to fulfill my denim dream.

Now I have a 1970’s heavy industrial leather machine, to which a airplane-mechanic have added a very powerful engine. I have imported heavy American denim twill fabric, wowed on old shuttle looms and dyed in natural indigo. I have thread in good colors and rivets to choose between. Durable zippers and rough stable buttons. And I also know how to make those good twisted seams, and a neat sharp look. But what happened?

Well, my dream shifted! And the world around me too! Now I see a lot of flimsy badly made jeans from shops everywhere! And I gradually realized that almost all worn looks today, are by no doubt artificially made with clorine, enzyme bleach and acids! I don’t want that!!

I’ve also realized, that what I myself want now, is just a simple cut with almost non-detectable altered detailing. I want comfortable garments that can evolve together with me. I want a durable, minimalistic and comfortable own design, where I know how and where and when exactly every stitch was made. I want something made for… well, just me.

I realized I now have my very own agenda. I’m actually making my own dreams real.

– Sten Martin

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Can denim jeans be made bespoke?

We often get that question. “Don’t you need a factory to make jeans?”

Well… No.

It’s all about making the right fit. Understanding the material. Getting the right fabric. Having a powerful industrial sewing machine – mine is from the 1970’s. And a good steam station. But a factory? I always skip that one.

I think it’s important to understand the history of a garment – technique, aura, feel and facts – before you create a newer own version. You want people to get onboard with your process to be able to appreciate your vision, right? Make them comfortable before you bring in the new. Correct?

I’ve been making denim garment since the 1980’s. I think we could try to experiment a bit with them now after 30+ years. Or should we just continue with the classics? What do you think? What’s next?

– Sten Martin / DTTA