How We Make Our Jeans
OUTSTANDING FULL WIDTH DENIM
A pair of Whooper jeans starts as natural, unbleached American-grown Upland cotton. The cotton is spun and rope-dyed in indigo nine times in Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. The resulting indigo yarn is woven into full width non-selvage denim on a Toyoda JAT810 air jet loom, also in Fukuyama.
To create Whooper’s four types of denim, the indigo-dyed warp is filled with unbleached cotton weft in one of four different weaving patterns: a 3×1 right hand twill, 3×1 left hand twill, 3×1 broken twill, and a 1×1 plain canvas weave.
Once woven, the denim is steamed and singed, to pre-shrink it and burn off excess cotton fluff. The denim is not pre-skewed because we want each different weaving structure to twist differently with washing. The finished weight for all four types of denim is an easygoing, year-round 12oz.
4 WEAVING PATTERNS
All Whooper denim is woven from Z twist weaving yarn, which is spun clockwise. Depending on the weaving pattern used, it will create different characteristics in the cloth.
In our right hand twill denim, the diagonal twill line on the face of the fabric runs from top right to bottom left. In this weave, the yarn is tightened during weaving, forming a springier, dryer, structure. As right hand twill denim relaxes with washing and wear, the seams will twist clockwise. JC Penney’s ‘Foremost’ jeans were cut from right hand twill denim, and so are Whooper’s Greyhounds.
In our left hand twill denim, the diagonal twill line on the face of the fabric runs from top left to bottom right. Left hand twill denim causes the yarn to unwind as it is woven, making for a softer, drapier, cloth. Sears ‘Roebucks’ jeans were usually cut from left hand twill, as are Whooper Hi Tops. As the jeans age, the legs will twist anticlockwise.
Broken twill denim is woven in alternating rows of left and right hand twills, visible as a zigzag pattern on the back. Broken twill was popularised by the Blue Bell company, to eliminate leg twist, and is found on ‘Maverick’ jeans and Whooper Backwoods.
Plain canvas weave is the most basic, untwilled, fabric construction, and looks the same from the front and back sides. It will not twist with age, and was often used for overalls, from the likes of Big Mac and Osh Kosh B’Gosh. Whooper Interstates are cut from plain weave denim.
MADE WITH CARE
Whooper jeans are sewn in Okayama, by a factory with expertise in making jeans and industrial workwear since 1962. Twenty-five people work on each pair, operating Brother, Mitsubishi, and Singer sewing machines and Union Special machines No43200, No51800 and No35800.
Our hardware is all made in Japan: Universal zippers are made in Toyama, Whooper branded buttons and plain copper dome rivets in Saitama. Whoopers are sewn with 100% polyester thread, for stronger seams. The jeans are washed at 70°C for 10 minutes to remove any final shrinkage, and to start the twisting process.
PLAYING WITH TRADITION
We have considered every Whooper design detail in light of the denim traditions that have come before, adding another layer to this history.
Sewing thread colours can tell you a lot about the philosophy behind a pair of jeans. The traditional yellow and brown stitches on early Levi’s are said to represent gold and tobacco – the dreams and solace of the prospector. Whoopers, naturally, are sewn in the feather white, web black, and bill yellow of the adult whooper swan.
The Whooper Arc
On our back pockets, the arcuate stitch and the angled bottom of the pocket recall the black webbed foot of the whooper swan (the point of the pocket is the swan’s middle toe). There is good precedent for this: Levi’s winged arc is said to represent the American eagle in flight. Our web arc is sewn with black thread – almost invisible when the jeans are new, but increasingly apparent as the denim fades.
The Whooper back pocket insert features an original illustration of the whooper swan, on her migration between Japan, the US, and the UK. Echoing the card flashers made famous by Wrangler and Maverick, which had a window through to a vinyl patch, Whooper jeans are branded with a metal pin badge. Your badge may be worn anywhere on the jeans, on a jacket, bag or cap, or kept as a souvenir.
See A Penney, Pick It Up
The fifth pocket on a pair of jeans is usually sewn into the front right facing. In jeans’ early days, Levi’s had a match pocket, so you’d never be with- out a light. Wrangler provided a coin pocket, sloped so that change would run down into the corner, while Lees offered the factory foreman a larger watch pocket. Whoopers pay homage to the great mall brands with the Penney pocket, roomy enough for loose coins, yet tucked in neatly to the pocket mouth- there if you need it, unobtrusive if you don’t.
Pretty On The Inside
The waistband is double-stitched and fully finished on the front side. The inner end, however, is run off and overlocked back, leaving a hidden reminder of the practical spirit of jeans picked up for work or the back yard. Rivets (branded “Japan Made”) are backed up by hidden stitched bartacks, sewn in before the metal hardware is applied. You may just see the ends of the bartacks peeking out from behind the copper domes.
The outside seam is pressed back and double-stitch felled. This echoes the construction of Western boot cuts, and is a reminder that Whooper is proud to cut from non-selvedge, regular weave full width denim.