The long sleeved Bench shirt is an edited interpretation of a draughtsman’s shirt, with a single breast pocket and pleated cuffs. The stitching at the shoulders appears to make a traditional seamed split yoke, but in fact it shows how the front and back panels overlap, forming a double thickness at the shoulders without any additional seams. The construction is top-notch. It features 2-hole pressed aluminium buttons and split side seams.
The fabric is an indigo covert. A covert coat is a traditional British tailored overcoat, used while hunting, and intended to act as camouflage in thick undergrowth. They are usually cut from ‘thornproof’ fabric, supposedly woven so that a briar thorn could be wiggled all the way through the structure of the cloth without breaking the yarn. Tender’s indigo covert cloth is woven in the same pattern as a traditional thornproof, trapping the contrasting rope dyed indigo cotton weft behind the ecru cotton warp. It is made in Britain using 25-dip deep indigo dyed yarn, ring-spun and rope-dyed in Japan. The yarn is taken directly from production of Tender denim and is unsanforized and unfinished.
Tender fabrics are generally cut raw, or loom-state. This means that the cloths are not preshrunk or given standard finishing processes after weaving. The clothes have to be made up large, and are shrunk to their final size either with a rinse, or during garment dyeing. Shrinking the fabric on the garment, rather than as a flat textile, gives the clothes life and three dimensional character which is not achieved with a finished cloth.
Tender shirts are sewn by a husband and wife team of two, in their own small factory in the Midlands. One of the reasons that Tender’s clothes have their own special feel is the selection of machines used. Even lightweight shirts are produced on heavy machines designed for workwear and industrial purposes. By retooling and adjusting to allow for the fabric weight, garments come out with uniquely twisted or puckered seams. Longer stitch patterns give a feeling of practicality, but also avoid damaging the fabrics with unnecessary punctures and allow slight flexibility in the seams, helping the clothes to mould and form even better to the wearer’s body over time.
Tender is a small label created in Stroud, United Kingdom, by William Kroll and greatly inspired by classic British workwear and the garments used by the railway workers during the second industrial revolution.
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