I WANT TO PLACE AN ORDER FOR A REPAIR! HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Awesome- I'd love to repair your jeans! Since I'm just one person, and because high quality repairs take a lot of time, I currently have a waitlist for my mail-order repair service. To get on the list, email me with your full name. Full disclosure as of 4/1/18: the list is a few months long, so plan accordingly and perhaps add your name before your jeans blowout of control, or cycle your pairs a little more to minimize the beginnings of damage! I am working hard to keep wait times down, but quality is my number one objective and I will never waver on that- this is my promise to you and I believe that you already know, or will soon know that I make sure the wait is definitely worth it!
If you live in Portland, or are in town visiting and would like to drop off your jeans, you do not need to sign up for the waitlist. I am still accepting local/drop-off work. I also am currently accepting mail-order and drop-off hems and tapers.
Ok, so you just got an email with a password letting you know it's time to place an order, yay! Here's what to do next:
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 minus shipping and handling will be refunded.***
DO I HAVE TO WASH MY JEANS BEFORE SENDING THEM?
You must fully wash your jeans with soap and water, and dry them completely before sending. 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 be fine for daily wear for you, it does not remove the dirt and sweat from your jeans. If jeans submitted are not adequately clean, they will be washed for a fee of $10 added to your repair price.
Beyond hygienic reasons for this policy, dirty denim actually does not repair as well as clean denim. On clean denim, darning sinks into the weave of the fibers resulting in a seamless repair that ages beautifully. On dirty denim, old sweat and grime caked up on the surface of the weave prevents the darning from sinking into the fabric, resulting in a repair that sits on top of that layer of grime. The dirt is then trapped inside the fabric, and the cotton will not be able to breathe, which causes premature breakage. So, repairing dirty jeans is actually a roundabout and costly way to accelerate the damage and kill your jeans.
Sending dirty jeans in for repair is not only unsanitary, it's disrespectful to the person repairing your jeans. Have I said enough? Wash your jeans!
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.
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 plus shipping. If you are sending multiple items, please order the correct number of items at checkout. Most repairs are going to cost more than the initial deposit, $50 is the minimum repair + shipping cost. This minimum generally covers small repairs like quarter-sized knee holes with little to no wear on the leg, hardware repairs, new belt loops, buttonholes or broken stitching. Additional repair work will be invoiced with the amount due. 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 huge blowout is going to be a lot more expensive than the tiny beginning of a hole. A minimum 4-panel crotch repair starts at $50 (plus shipping) and goes up from there depending on size and severity of damage. Here's an example invoice:
RGT Stanton (example)- Total $110, Outstanding= $60
+ 4 Panel Crotch repair ($55)
+ Back right pocket ($20)
+ Buttonholes ($15)
+ Round trip shipping to 90210 (shipping cost depends on location, west coast it's usually about $10 each way)
For international customers: customs limitations prevent me from providing you with pre-paid postage, so after placing an order you will be responsible for shipping to Indigo Proof independently, return trip shipping is calculated in your total repair price invoice when I receive your jean. Email me if you have questions about international orders!
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. I use priority shipping with tracking to make sure your jeans arrive safely and quickly!
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 high quality restoration. All repairs are done on my Singer 47w70 darning machine, and the fabric is rewoven using thread- that means no bulky patches or crude heavy stitching. I especially love to blend thread colors to recreate unique faded denim patterns. Read more about my philosophy here!
While I can only quote firm prices with the jeans in hand, you can always email me detailed photos and I can give you a ballpark on cost to give you an idea of how much your repair will run.
HOW DO I MEASURE MY INSEAM FOR A HEM?
Check out this quick video for step-by-step instructions on how to measure your inseam!
- WHAT CAN YOU REPAIR ON MY JEANS? DO YOU ONLY REPAIR JEANS? WHAT ABOUT BLACK OR UNIQUE COLOR DENIM?
I can repair pretty much anything that happens to your jeans. From rips, holes, old failed previous repairs, broken zippers, missing/broken buttons or rivets, belt loops, torn buttonholes, ripped pocket bags, shredded pocket entries, broken stitching, broken chainstitching, hem reconstructions, and the list goes on! I can repair pretty much anything made of denim. Jeans, jackets, vests and jorts are all fair game. As far as non-denim items, most pants considered “workwear” and made from heavier, natural-fiber fabrics like canvas, duck, and various twills are usually fine to work on. I have an extensive library of thread colors that covers pretty much every shade of denim- all colors of indigo, stonewashed, black, gray, tan, white, red, purple, green etc! 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.
WHAT'S YOUR TURNAROUND TIME?
As Indigo Proof is a one-woman operation, with me, 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 and season. Generally turnaround time is in the neighborhood of 6 weeks, but 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, OR I'M VISITING FROM OUT OF TOWN! CAN I COME BY AND DROP OFF MY JEANS?
Yep! You can drop by my shop at 211 SE Madison St, Suite 1 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 12-6pm, and Saturday by appointment. I am currently accepting local and drop-off repairs, hems and tapers. I'm located around the back of the building, so use the entrance on 2nd Ave for easy access to my shop. If you have an odd schedule and can't make it in during my hours, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to set up a different specific time or for Saturday appointments. Please check in with my instagram or business listing on Google for schedule changes before planning your trip!
- WHAT MACHINES DO YOU USE FOR REPAIRS?
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.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DARNING OR PATCHING REPAIRS? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DARNING ON A DARNING MACHINE AND STRAIGHT-STITCH "DARNING"?
Darning is the process of reweaving the missing area of a hole back into the fabric. It is superior to patching because darning is actually repairing the denim itself. 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. Not to mention how bulky multiple layers of denim patches must feel on! With darning, the hole is rewoven and re-integrated into the denim, so it lasts so much longer.
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, and using one I can "reweave" the denim using thread. 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 have more shape than a repair done on a flat bed machine.
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. If your damage is extreme, your repair will likely out-price the new cost of your jeans. 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 JEANS?
Stretch denim can be repaired, however, the repaired area will be a bit stiffer than the rest of the jean, and the repaired area will not stretch. Unfortunately stretch jeans are just really not built to last like 100% cotton jeans, and even though I can repair the damage, once they are on their way out they will continue to deteriorate. That being said, I do my best to repair stretch so they'll last longer than if you didn't repair them. If you're sending stretch denim- email me and give me a heads up, as some stretch fabrics have too high a synthetic content for repair. Also If your jeans have any puckering across the lap or seat that means the fabric is breaking down, and unfortunately those puckers cannot be fixed.
MY JEANS ALWAYS BLOWOUT AT THE CROTCH, HOW CAN I PREVENT THIS??
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'VE ALREADY REPAIRED THEM, BUT WANT TO SEND THEM IN? CAN YOU FIX OLD REPAIRS?
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 maybe 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!
ANY TIPS ON DENIM CARE AND HOW TO MAKE THEM LAST THE LONGEST?
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.
DO YOU DO CUSTOM WORK? CAN I HIRE YOU TO SPEAK AT AN EVENT OR COLLABORATE ON SOMETHING?
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