- I want to place an order! How does this process work?
First, place an order in the shop for the number of items you are sending. You will receive a confirmation email of your order immediately. I manually process orders after this step. Within 24 hours of placing an order, you will receive an email with a pre-paid USPS shipping label, an order form and instructions on how to send them. Send the item(s) in any standard sized shipping box or package (Please do not use any flat rate or Express Mail packages, as those are different services, priced differently from the postage provided.) Immediately upon receipt of the jeans, I will use my expertise to evaluate the jean for all present and impending future damage, and invoice you with the full price quote plus shipping (minus your $50 deposit) before moving forward. Current turnaround time will also be specified in your invoice. Upon receipt of full payment, your spot in the repair queue will be secured. Repairs will be completed in the order that they were paid for.
In the event that you elect not to have your jeans repaired after receiving a price quote, your jeans will be returned to you and your repair order fee, less shipping and handling, will be refunded.
How will I know how much my repair will cost? How does your pricing work? What about shipping?
Repairs are priced based on the work that needs to be done to restore your jeans. This is a simple answer, but it also means that for an accurate price quote on a pair of jeans, they need to be in my hands for evaluation. Hands-on evaluation allows me to determine both the obvious areas of repair AND the areas of the jean that are weakening, and could benefit from reinforcement. This offers the value of a thorough repair, and also helps to keep your jeans from needing new repairs on different areas a short time after they are returned to you.
Pricing is inclusive of round-trip shipping for domestic customers. The $50 price of a repair order is the deposit that is paid up front per item to initiate an order, ship to Indigo Proof, and to receive an evaluation. It is then used as a credit towards your full repair quote. If you are sending multiple items, please order the correct number of items at checkout. For international customers, you will be responsible for shipping to Indigo Proof, and return trip shipping is added at checkout.
Shipping jeans, especially heavyweight and raw denim, is expensive, and operating a repair business is more than just sewing labor, so please understand that shipping and handling is not a negotiable cost.
My pricing is fair: I'm a one-person operation, and every step of the process is done with my two hands. From massive reconstructions of blowouts to preventative maintenance, I take the time to repair things right for a truly quality restoration. Read more about my philosophy here! It also goes without saying, but the experience of being able to wear your favorite jeans again is a very different thing than starting over and buying a new pair to break in. Also if you want the best bang for your buck, don’t try to save money by putting off repair until you have a massive blowout…pay for some preventive care on the front side to save money in the long run. A large blowout is going to be more expensive than a minor fray!
Do you only repair jeans?
Nope. I can repair pretty much anything made of denim. Jeans, jackets, vests, jorts and shirts are all fair game. As far as non-denim items, most things considered “workwear” and made from heavier, natural-fiber fabrics like canvas, duck, and various twills are usually fine to work on. Got something else? Email email@example.com with photos before placing a repair order to see if it's something I can repair for you! I do love a challenge.
Do I have to wash my jeans before I send them? Can I freeze/bake/air-out my jeans instead?
You MUST launder your jeans with water and some effective type of soap/detergent before sending them in. Dipping a pair of jeans that’s been worn for a year without any washing in mildly sudsy water for 20 minutes, and then hang-drying them doesn’t count…the jean will still be filthy upon arrival. I only work on clean jeans, and while freezing or airing out may make some small steps in removing some odor from jeans, it doesn’t mean they are clean by any means. If jeans submitted are not adequately clean, you will be informed as a part of your repair fee quotation that they require washing, and charge you accordingly.
Sending dirty jeans in for repair is not only unsanitary, but it's also disrespectful to the person repairing your jeans. So don't do it!
How long will it take for me to get my jeans back?
Current turnaround time is about 5 weeks from the date your invoice is paid after evaluation. As Indigo Proof is a one-woman operation, with Rain doing all repair work and running all other aspects of the business, the only real guarantee is that turnaround time will vary with the workload. You will be notified after placing your order and receiving your packing slip what the current turnaround time is. All estimates are subject to the realities of me being a human sewing on old machines, and I try to let people know if something has slowed down the queue, but feel free to reach out if you need an update.
I live in Portland! Can we arrange a local pickup/dropoff instead of shipping?
Yep! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can schedule something. My studio is located in the Industrial SE area, and is open by-appointment. I'm happy to set up a time for a local drop-off.
What’s the difference between repairing with darning and patching? What is the difference between darning on a darning machine and the kind done on more common industrial sewing machines?
Darning is superior to patching because it stabilizes the denim so much more than a patch can. It is the process of essentially weaving together the edges of the hole to create a reinforced area that can withstand more wear. With a patch, you are just covering a hole and creating stress on the places where the patch was sewn, causing weird wear patterns around the patch and premature holes in the newly stressed areas. With darning, the hole is rewoven and re-integrated into the jean, so it lasts a lot longer.
A darning machine and “normal” single needle lockstitch machines are very similar. However, a standard single-needle sewing machine has a presser foot to hold the fabric down, feed dogs to feed the fabric through, it sews in a straight line either backwards or forwards and the stitch length is uniform, dictated by the feeding mechanisms. The Singer 47w70 darning machines we work on differs visually because its standard configuration utilizes a cylinder bed as opposed to the flatbed of most common single-needle lockstitch machines. This allows the operator to put a crotch, or a leg on the machine to sew and provides the room necessary to execute the repair techniques we employ. The darning machine is also different because the stitch it makes is completely controlled by the operator– the speed at which you move the work across the sewing bed determines the stitch length. It is a lockstitch, but you can stitch in any direction since there are no feed dogs and the foot does not compress the fabric. The darning machine is designed to be able to connect one edge of fabric to another, so it actually can make stitches where there is no fabric. The cylinder arm of the 47w70 allows for work to be repaired in a way that maintains the natural 3 dimensional shape the garment has developed, which leads to repairs that sit and fall more naturally than their flat-sewn counterparts.
- What machines do you use?
I use a 1940’s era Singer 47W70 darning machine for all repairs. Hems are done on a 1960’s era Union Special 43200G chainstitch hemming machine. For all other work, I use several different Juki machines. I also use an iron press for installing rivets and buttons.
Are my jeans too destroyed to repair?
Anything can be repaired, the real question is “does this make sense to repair”? The more destroyed a jean is, the more a repair is going to cost, and the more obvious it’s going to be that extensive repair work was done. However sometimes, for sentimentality or other purposes, you just need to get something in wearable condition again. Evaluations are done on a case-by-case basis, and I'm always up for a challenge. Email email@example.com if you have any questions about cost or repairability of your jeans.
Can you repair stretch denim?
Yep! Stretch denim can be repaired, however, the repaired area will be a bit stiffer than the rest of the jean. Unfortunately stretch jeans are really not made to last, and even though I can repair the damage, once they are on their way out there’s pretty much nothing else you can do to stop them. That being said, I do our best to repair stretch so it’ll last longer than if you didn’t fix it.
My jeans always blow out at the crotch— why does it happen and how can I prevent it??
If I know one thing from my years of repairing jeans, the crotch area is almost always the area that frequently needs repair attention. This can happen for a few reasons, most simply stated as tearing, abrasion, and deterioration. If a pair of jeans is sized down, sagged, or if the cut is such that it sits very tightly on it’s owners hips, the crotch is subject to a lot of pressure and pulling in the course of a normal days wear which can contribute to tearing. The fact that the crotch seam combines a high movement area with thick seams, and in the case of raw denim, rigid fabric, gives high potential for abrasion based wear. Lastly, the fact that the crotch is often a high sweat area means that especially in infrequently washed jeans, sweat and resultant bacteria can coat the natural fibers of the denim making them brittle, and even start to break them down chemically, leading to fiber deterioration.
If you’re interested in having your jeans last as long as possible before requiring crotch repair, wash your jeans frequently. This obviously addresses the issues related to deterioration through keeping the cotton fibers clean and allowing them to breathe (which also allows them to more easily stretch to accommodate movement). Especially as it pertains to newer, rigid denim, it also helps alleviate damage caused by abrasion by washing the starch out of the denim and thusly softening the areas that may rub against one another in wear. Sizing/cut selection is the other thing that can make a huge difference…either buying a size larger than the smallest size you can absolutely squeeze into, or choosing a cut that allows a natural, non-binding fit in the hips/thighs definitely goes a long way too!
Should I repair my jeans at home? What if I already tried and it failed, can you guys fix that?
DIY repairs are fun, and I've done them a million times before I got into professional repair. They're great if you enjoy stitching and want to try it as an experiment, or if you bust your pants open when you're on vacation or by mistake one morning on a commute! But, if your goal is to prolong the life of your jeans as long as possible, while also preserving the things you like about how they look, then you should bypass the home repair and let me utilize a studio that’s been optimized for denim repair to give your jeans the best possible repairs.
I've seen (and seam-ripped out) my fair share of attempted home repairs gone wrong. If your jeans have prior repair work, whether you did it at home, or perhaps took it to a local dry-cleaner type tailor place for a quick patching job, it’s in your favor to grab a seam ripper, and spend some time watching The True Cost on Netflix and removing the work before sending it my way. In the service of providing the best possible repairs, I'll remove all prior repair possible (I cannot remove previous darning, patches that were glued with fabric glues, and some patches that have become irreplaceable to the garment structurally), and include the removal charge in the repair fee-- so taking it out yourself can save you some money. Either way, I'm happy to revitalize your jeans and provide repairs that allow you to wear them again!
How can I make my jeans last? How do I take care of them?
One of the best things about jeans is that they are tough, easy to take care of, and increase in beauty as they are worn/used. There are infinite variations on different denim care methods, and it can be fun trying something unorthodox or extreme that you read on the internet. But the idea that denim requires a ton of special care, and is constantly subject to being ruined, or having it’s “fading potential” shot by simple laundering is a complete and total fabrication at the hands of denim companies trying to get you to buy more jeans more often, and under-informed internet know-it-alls.
If your primary objective is to make your jeans last as long as possible, you will be best served washing the jeans when they're dirty fairly regularly in a washing machine with detergent, and air-drying them. This method combines all of the positives of keeping your jeans thoroughly clean without any of the deteriorative effects of a tumble dryer. It can be as often as once a week for someone who is super active that wears the same pair of jeans daily, to once a month for someone that rotates their jeans, and doesn't do a lot of crazy activities in them. The big thing is not being afraid to wash them! If they look, feel, smell, or just seem dirty, or if you’ve done something in them that you know has gotten them dirty, don’t hesitate to wash them.
As far as specific washing methods, the best combination of simplicity, gentleness and effectiveness would be washing your jeans alone or with only other jeans, inside out in cold water on a gentle cycle with a colorfast detergent like Woolite Dark, and hanging dry.
Can you work on my custom thing? Can I hire you to work an event?
I am always interested in hearing more about ideas for custom work or fun projects! Need that Pork patch sewn on your jacket? Want me to custom dye something for you? Want an apron designed and produced for your specific purposes? Want to hire me to speak at a conference? Want to hire me for an event at your shop? Need someone to dress up in full KISS makeup/costume for a birthday party? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org