One of the fundamentals shared by Célestin Tuffery and other 19th century tailors responsible for the invention of trousers made from Nîmes fabric was:  “To design a practical, robust and easy-care garment.” . Jeans have survived the past century and today remain a sturdy and practical everyday clothing item. But to keep your jeans in perfect condition over the longer term, you should follow some essential rules.

Why take care of your jeans?

We are used to shouting loud and clear: “What ruins jeans is not wearing them, but washing them!” Indeed, the less you wash your jeans, the longer they will stay in tip-top condition in the future. The reason for this? It’s all to do with how they are coloured.

In jeans, half of the threads (the warp) are dyed with natural or synthetic indigo using an historical technique of colouring the threads using successive baths of indigo. During dyeing, this blue colouring appears on the periphery of the threads. This means the thread looks blue on the outside while the core of the thread stays white. Over time, the outer fibres of the blue thread erode a bit and therefore the colour fades to a lighter tone. And that’s what gives jeans their great reputation. Over time, jeans develop a patina.

What about washing? During washing, the jeans are tossed around in the drum of the machine and the fabric rubs against itself or against other clothes. This process accelerates the erosion of the warp threads. So that’s why jeans that are washed too often fade faster than others.


Alphonse Selvedge jeans dyed with natural indigo before and after three years of patina.

 

What are raw denim jeans?

In reality, there are raw denim jeans and raw denim jeans. At Atelier Tuffery, like many other brands, there are two definitions of ‘raw jeans’.

Definition 1: Raw jeans can be jeans sold dark, without any lightening of the fabric. These are jeans that have very often been rinsed between the time they left the garment workshop and the time they reached you. The purpose of this washing is to eliminate fabric shrinkage which could occur during their first wash. But it also removes excess indigo as well as the primer used on the fabric (starch used by the weaver to provide a rigid fabric that is easier to work).

Definition 2: Raw jeans can also refer to jeans that have never seen water. With us we are talking about jeans ‘straight from the workshop’ and this is often the case with high-end Selvedge jeans designed for a discerning audience. When choosing these jeans, opt for a comfortable size, because the jeans will shrink a little during their first wash. These raw, wash-free jeans will be full of indigo, which will create a  magnificent patina over time. Purists will never wash their jeans in order to preserve the excess indigo, which is responsible for the charm of ageing jeans.

What if we broke our habit of a lifetime that dictates we should wash our clothes regularly? For most of us, raw jeans are not dirty and can be worn for ages between washes.

 

 


Did you know? You can recognise Selvedge jeans by the presence of a band or border inside the jeans.

Not washing your jeans, the holy grail for denim lovers?

Have you heard the strange rumour that says denim lovers never wash their jeans? Well, it’s true! A lot of the connoisseurs of these trousers created from Nîmes fabrics never, or very rarely, wash their jeans so as not to alter the material and retain an exclusively natural patina.https://www.cbc.ca/news/student-wears-same-jeans-15-months-1.1014258

What about hygiene? Well, a CBC Canada study has shown that jeans worn for 15 months without washing are not much dirtier than jeans worn for a few days. The garment gets dirty almost immediately over the first few hours, but then the bacterial populations remain stable over time. Okay, so if you drop the mayonnaise from your sandwich on your jeans, it’s no good and you will have put them in the washing bin!

How does this work in practice?

If you never want to wash your jeans, your best bet is to regularly alternate which jeans you wear each day. And when they are not being worn, hang them up. This allows your jeans to be aired while avoiding contact with your clean clothes.

The freezer as an alternative

Some indigo denim purists put their jeans in a plastic bag and pack them off to the freezer for a few days per month. Stored for a few days at negative temperatures, it seems that the jeans are sanitised by the cold. Myth or reality? Well, it won’t cost much to give it a try.

A little bath from time to time?

Well, despite everything we have just said, it is still advisable to soak your jeans in water from time to time, for their sake if nothing else. Indeed, soaking your jeans in water removes the dust that can damage jeans over time and, in addition, allows the cotton to regain its flexibility.

Rest assured, you can still wash your jeans because they won’t deteriorate in the blink of an eye. But remember, wash them as little as possible. And all of this purist advice is especially valid for jeans in our Tailleur range. For other jeans, aftercare is much simpler and there are no risks.

The washing machine, sworn enemy of jeans?

No, relax. Machine washing can be done very successfully. However, you should still follow a few simple rules to ensure the moment your jeans meet the machine goes without a hiccup:

  • Load the washing machine very lightly. If the drum is overloaded, laundry forms a ball and no longer circulates correctly in the water. The laundry cannot move and only the folds are rubbed, which leaves white marks on the fabric which will never disappear.
  • Wash at a low temperature. The ideal washing temperature is 30°C. If the temperature is too high, indigo can deteriorate irreversibly.
  • Use small quantities of detergent. Both for your jeans and the planet, choose natural detergents, such as Marseille soap for example, in small quantities.
  • Opt for a slow spin. Too much spinning tends to flatten the jeans wildly against the wall of the machine. Even though our jeans are sturdy, this puts stress on the fabric and serves no purpose.
  • Remove the laundry from the machine at the end of the cycle. Ideally, shake the jeans a bit, holding them by the waistband, before hanging them out in the open. Leaving jeans in the bottom of the machine will lead to them being crumpled and difficult to iron, which can also cause very pronounced creases.What about the tumble dryer?

Avoid this torture at all costs! In beautiful raw denim jeans, the sudden very high temperature of the dryer will alter not only the indigo, but also the fibres. Dry jeans in the open air, hung upside down. There really is nothing better.

Ironing and storage

If your jeans have been hung correctly, ironing will be very easy. Ironing should always be done with the jeans inside out.  When it comes to jeans with an open side seam, like at Atelier Tuffery, be sure to flatten them out first. Then iron your jeans without extending the iron from the leg to avoid scoring creases. Steam will help you to flatten thicker fabrics.

Once ironed, jeans can be turned the right way round before being put away. However, just a little quibble, we recommend they are hung on a hanger instead of being folded. And to go even further, hanging them inside out will prevent light from damaging the indigo.

Some recommendations for Atelier Tuffery jeans

For jeans in our Originel range:

Our wonderful classics, combining sustainable practices and aesthetics. No special attention is needed for these jeans. We have already given them a simple rinse. Wash them as little as possible and follow the basic instructions.


For organic jeans dyed with natural indigo:

Again, nothing is particularly sensitive. The jeans are stabilised by us with a wash before being sold. If you like, you can apply the vinegar and salt technique (see below). Otherwise, simply following the basic instructions will suffice.


For our hemp fabrics and those incorporating wool:

Don’t worry too much about the peculiarity of these fabrics. Aftercare is very easy, simply follow the basic instructions. Be especially careful not to exceed 30°C when washing.

 

For Selvedge jeans in the Tailleur range:

Here, we recommend that you pay much greater attention to our instructions. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t stick to them you’ll ruin your jeans in a few days, but these are tips for enjoying these top-of-the-range jeans for as long as possible. Wash them as little as possible, if at all. You can use the vinegar and salt technique to fix the indigo (see below). Never exceed 30°C when washing and do not overload the machine, ideally washing one pair of jeans at a time.

 

For our fabrics incorporating silk:

For these jeans, we like to say at Atelier Tuffery ‘Air them in water’. There’s no need to scrub them much because these exceptional black jeans don’t get dirty and it is always advisable not to scrub the fabric too much to avoid creating localised changes in the shades of indigo.

 

 

YOUR QUESTIONS, OUR ANSWERS …

Keeping it simple, what is the ideal wash for my everyday jeans?

 

Some rules for simple, regular washing:

1 – Wash your jeans as little as possible.

2 – Always wash, dry and iron your jeans inside out.

3 – Never overload the machine (2 to 3 pairs of jeans maximum per wash).

4 – Wash at a maximum of 30°C and be sparing with the detergent.

5 – Avoid fast spinning (no more than 600 revolutions per minute).

6 – Don’t use a tumble dryer. Hang your jeans in the open, but not in direct sunlight. (Nor in a full moon!).

Jean français homme Alphonse brut selvedge - Atelier Tuffery How should I look after my exceptional Selvedge jeans?

For top-of-the-range jeans, there a few rules to follow:

1 – Before washing, soak your jeans in cold water so that the core of the fibres are thoroughly wet.

2 – Wash jeans turned inside out and alone in the machine for optimal water circulation. After the first 3 washes, the patina will be achieved and you can lower your guard a little by washing them with 2 or 3 other pairs of jeans.

3 – Always wash, dry and iron your jeans inside out.

4 – Wash at a maximum of 30°C and be sparing with the detergent.

5 – Avoid fast spinning (no more than 600 revolutions per minute).

6 – Don’t use a tumble dryer. Hang your jeans in the open, but not in direct sunlight.

How do I wash jeans that incorporate silk?

For Marianne Tailleur black jeans incorporating silk, it is imperative to follow a few rules:

1 – These jeans can be machine washed on a delicate/cold programme.

2 – Ideally, hand wash these jeans with a mild shampoo in a bowl of lukewarm water.

3 – ‘Air in the water’. There’s no need to scrub these exceptional black jeans too much because they are not dirty and it is always advisable not to scrub the fabric in order to avoid localised changes in colour.

4 – Don’t use a tumble dryer. Hang your jeans in the open, but not in direct sunlight.

Jean français femme Marianne brut soie
How can I get rid of a very localised greasy (or other) stain?

It’s very simple to get rid of a stain. Use a block or stick of Marseille soap. Wet the tip of the soap and apply it in a small circle to the stain. Don’t push too hard! Then, with a damp cloth, dab the fabric at the site of the stain to rinse the soap. Avoid rubbing with the cloth as this could mark the fabric. Avoid adding too much water if you need to quickly remove the stain, otherwise it will take much longer to dry. Repeat the process several times if the stain has not disappeared.

How do I stop the indigo in my jeans from bleeding out?

If indigo bleeding from your jeans really bothers you, you can use the proven white vinegar and salt technique.

To keep jeans looking raw without having to suffer the consequences of too much indigo bleeding, proceed as follows: in a large bowl of cold water, soak your jeans with a good handful of salt and a glass of white vinegar. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, stirring the mixture. Take out the jeans and wash them.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read all of our jeans care tips!

If you have any questions that we have not answered, get in touch.

 

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