Union Special Sewing machine
With any kind of industrial process, machines come and go and get replaced with time. The Denim Production process has quite an interesting history, as for the last 30 years not only have the way we produce denim been modernised, from lovely Shuttle looms to modern counterparts, but also the way we make jeans from older sewing machines and the transition to modern industrials sewing machines.
There are so many little touches which have been lost when we modernise. When i look at old vintage denim styles, one thing for me stands out, Wow that stitch is amazing ! Researching and learning which machines created the styles has become just as important for me as the fabric its made on. You got to understand the past to move forward. Its one thing to use to get Antique looking denim, made on old drapers looms, but a whole other thing using vintage machines to make them… I have been slowly buying up / and finding out what machines I need for my studio, and nothing seems to get me excited like a “Union Special” Sewing machines… Simple things like button holes, bar tacks, overlocking stitches, roping effects /skewing or buckering on hems of jeans, irregular tiny stitches are all super amazing and fresh today. Most Brands Like LVC / John Bull / Kapital and 45rpm are only using these types of machines to make there collections on, its easy to see why.
his old Levi’s denim pant, notice the small tight "SPI" stitches per inch…
Picture (C) Michael Allen Harris
modern denim is nothing like this…
Modern industrial sewing machines fall flat when it comes to these small details… These older machines were to slow and labor intensive operate, but produced very unique characteristics in the way the denim was produced, which cannot be fully replicated now. There are a number of amazing vintage sewing machines, but I just want to touch on two…
1st is the Union Special 43200G.
Picture credit: Victor & Sarah @ Raleigh Denim (beautiful set up guys !)
Info on Google & http://mohsinsajid.blogspot.de