Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Month of Denim - Day 29

One Month of Denim is coming to an end. I was thinking about writing about the big three - Levi's, Wrangler and Lee, but you probably already know a lot about them, and if you don't it is fairly easy finding some trustworthy information elsewhere. Furthermore I figured giving you some Danish denim history might expand your horizon a bit.

Today's post may bear a resemblance to yesterday's post, however I figured it would still be of some interest. This FE Engel jacket I found recently. It is probably from the 50's or the 60's like the other jacket, but this is probably more recent. In case you are wondering, this jacket is slightly too small for me, so I'm sending off to a new, good friend of mine, who I think will appreciate it.

F. Engel was founded by Carl J. Engel Senior in 1927 in the Southern part of Denmark. Today the business is still family owned, however production has moved to Lithuania, just like it is the case with a lot of Danish makers.

Back in the days everything was cut and sewn in Denmark, often using what is known as "Bull Denim" from Erwin Mills in the US. For your information; Erwin Mills were the first to use Sanforisation, as mentioned in a previous post. Bull Denim is a rather heavy denim weave with the typical twill construction, except it is later piece dyed.
I don't think F. Engel continued using denim from Erwin Mills, I suspect, that they - along with other workwear makers - started using denim, that was woven locally on Grenaa Damvæveri, which closed it doors 10 years ago.

On to the jacket.

The construction is pretty basic. Short jacet with two front pockets.

Big front pockets with brass snap buttons. The pockets are internally reinforced.

As you can see all seams are felled and triple stitched. The two top buttons are snap buttons, whereas the rest are regular buttons.

Selvage runs down the placket and the buttons are hidden. Pretty crude construction.

Concealed button.

The waist is elasticized, which gives a more modern and in my opinion a better fit.

The denim is has a purple hue or cast.

Furthermore it is quite hairy and slubby, which is a sign of using a cotton with a short stable length. This is normally a sign of a poor quality, but it ads to the character in my opinion. Purists are sometimes going for this look - For instance Roy Slaper made a pair of contest jeans for Superfuture, which was made of a special fabric from Cone Mills, that was very hairy and slubby.

It even has some mill flaws, which again ads to the character.

The American inspiration becomes quite obvious, when you see, that the snaps are made by Scovill, which also supplied many of the big American jeans and workwear companies - including Levi's.

The tag is quite cute. You don't see anything like that anymore.


  1. Just realized that I have a pair of pants from Grenaa dampvæveri. They are pretty battered, but the quality shines through and I love them.

  2. Great.

    What pants are they?

    We need pics :-)

    I have a book, that Grenaa dampvæveri published called "Bomuldsnøglen" (the cotton key - directly translated to English) and it's quite fun to read. I'm quite sure, that they also made a lot of crap.