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Stronghold Herringbone Apron
Organic selvage denim with a classic herringbone pattern in natural indigo dye. Designed, cut and sewn in Los Angeles, California. Available short or long versions, depending on the job at hand. Ships free. (
The Stronghold apron in herringbone is made from a durable, zigzagging weave. The rugged, low-maintenance denim survives any tough labor, from wood shop splinters to garage work grease and flower shop thorns.
Selvage denim is woven on 1930s-era wooden shuttle looms. The looping process uses a whole strand of denim to produce a more durable fabric with a tidier edge. In the 1960s, however, much of the industry switched to a wider projectile loom to save on cotton, producing a weaker, indigo-free denim with frayed edges. Japanese manufacturers started buying the discarded machines and began producing denim in its original, durable form. Today, these Japanese-transplant, antique American looms provide most of the market’s high-end denim.
The distinctive herringbone pattern and similar twill weaves date back to ancient Egyptian and Turkish cloths. Commonly used in wool, the durable weave was found in Scottish kilts and later in American work overalls during the Gold Rush era. The herringbone name derives from the tightly woven rows of V’s resembling the rib bones of a herring fish.
The first denim company in Los Angeles, Stronghold opened its doors in 1895. When new manufacturing trends took hold the industry, however, the business shut down in 1949. Michael Paradise revived the label, as well as the original production techniques, in 2004.
Plant-based indigo dye has existed in textiles from as far back as the 5th century B.C., when it was applied to Persian rugs. Fifty years ago, the high cost of dipping jeans in indigo led manufactures to incorporate instead a cheap sulfur dye substitute. The indigo dye found today in the herringbone shop apron retains the rich, purplish-blue color even after several washes.
Use & Care
Selvage denim ages best when washing is avoided for the first six months. During this time, abrasion patterns from wear and creasing will appear where the fabric shifts and settles. This worn look becomes more pronounced the longer the denim is kept dry.
Brush dirt or sawdust off with the palm of your hand. If you've done something truly messy and the apron must be cleaned, wash in cold water with like colors and be prepared for shrinkage. Though Stronghold aprons are preshrunk, or "sanforized" all denim tightens a bit in the wash. Hang it out to air-dry.
Production & Design
The Stronghold apron denim is made in Japan using antique shuttle looms. Ropes of organic cotton yarn are first dipped in vats of natural indigo dye and air-dried for oxidation, then repeated until the traditional deep-blue denim color is achieved.
Each wood shuttle then weaves a continuous thread of denim back and forth, around the edges and down the entire length of the roll. The result is a fabric with a durable self-edge, or "selvage" that won't unravel like the loser denim made from a standard projectile loom. The old machine's lack of precision gives each denim apron its own unique character.
The Stronghold factory in Venice, California, cuts, sews and finishes all the herringbone denim for the aprons. Rivets and cotton ties are made in the U.S.
Twills: Herringbone and Denim. From Weaving: Methods, Patterns and Traditions of the Oldest Art, by Christina Martin, Google Books
The Stronghold, A Continuous Lean
Denim, Kaufmann Mercantile Blog
Organic Cotton, Kaufmann Mercantile Blog
approx. 27 inches long x 30 inches wide
approx. 38 inches long x 30 inches wide
One size fits all.
Organic Japanese selvage denim