PBJ's Double Natural Indigo Sashiko Selvedge Jackets

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Sitting at the top of the metophorical Sashiko pyramid, sits PBJ's Double Natural Indigo Selvedge fabric. We have seen this quintessentially Japanese weave come in many forms and dye colors, but nothing comes quite as close as the Slub Master's foray into Hank dyeing Sashiko in Natural Indigo. Following up PBJ's initial drop of this incredible fabric in the form of five pocket Jeans, we are delighted to announce the release of the Slub Masters' Type II and Type III Double Natural Indigo Sashiko Selvedge Jackets.


Hank dyeing is a tedious process of hand dyeing the individual cotton threads in a rope-like fashion. The entire process is conducted and regulated by the Tokushima Indigo Artisans who have been recognized as intangible cultural treasures of Japan. Natural Indigo dyeing practices date back nearly 800 years with each generation of shokunin(Japanese for Artisan) honing their craft over decades of training. Continue below to follow the process of creating this coveted fabric.

Creating the Natural Indigo dye
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  • Indigo leaves are grown in Tokushima. Each batch is dried and processed for a year prior to becoming part of the Sukumo for the Natural Indigo dyeing process. Pictured here we not only see the dried indigo leaves and branches of the Indigofera plant, but also the root and soil of the plant.
  • All of these components are added to the indigo bath to create a thicker consistency in order to help the Natural Indigo Sukumo bind to the cotton yarns. 
  • The different elements help create a balanced dye which must be mixed before and after each time the yarns are Hank dyed by the shokunin, in order for the indigo to effectively penetrate the yarn.
  • Here we see a sample of fabric which was briefly dipped and agitated in the indigo vat to demonstrate the process of oxidation once removed. As soon as the fabric is removed from the vat you can see the intense deep green color as a result of the oxidation. However after a rinse, you are able to see the beautiful lighter hue of indigo.
  • Bonus pic! Here are Master Shokunin Bando-san's boots that he wears everyday in the factory. Note the complete difference in color between the top and bottom halves. Maybe we can ask him if he's interested in auctioning off his pair for charity?
Hank dyeing
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  • Displayed on the wall of the dyeing factory, we can see the different hues of indigo which are the result of the increasing number of dips in the dye to achieve the ascending darker colors.
  • For the Hank-dyeing process, the shokunin will slowly dip, twirl and finally ring out the yarn bunch. This process is repeated multiple times. Following this, the yarns enter the rinse process which is conducted on custom-made machines produced for the dyeing factory. The water itself is not discarded after use but filtered and recycled to be used again for the rinse process. The shokunin will then ring out the yarns after they have been rinsed in water.
  • The yarns featured here have all gone through approximately 12-16 rounds of dyeing and will now be re-spun onto the wooden bobbins through the spinning process, in order to be weave-ready for the shuttle loom to produce the fabric.
Spinning the yarns
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  • Pictured here are one of many machines responsible for spinning the yarns into bobbins which will then need to be individually and strategically fed into the shuttle looms.
  • While the majority of the machines are occupied by the Natural Indigo yarns for the warp and weft of the fabric, a few are reserved to produce the Selvedge ID. In this particular case, we can see the undyed yarns on the right which will form the white part of the Selvedge. Meanwhile on the left, pink yarns are being spun to form the eye-catching ID color.
  • And here is the fruit of the machine's labor. Each bobbin of Natural Indigo dyed yarn contains approximately 125g of thread. In order to make one roll of fabric measuring 50m, we need 20kg of natural indigo dyed yarn. Doing the math, that is 160 bobbins of yarn for one roll.
Weaving the fabric
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  • And this is where those bobbins eventually end up. Here we see the several meter high racks where the bobbins are first placed by hand. These racks are responsible for holding the thread while it is being wound into the feeding machine of the loom.
  • Unravelling the mysteries of the Universe would seemingly be easier than having to strategically and manually guide each thread into the machine we see below. Without the skill and experience of each individual worker, milling this fabric would be nigh impossible.
  • The placement of the yarn is done in eight seperate parts to complete the approximate 36 inch width (most Selvedge Denim's width). There can be anywhere from 2000-5000 individually placed yarns on the shuttle loom to create the fabric. This is undoubtedly the most tedious and time-consuming aspect of the weaving process, and that's considering the actual weaving hasn't even begun yet...
  • Here we see a worker placing a bobbin into the wooden shuttle which is reponsible for forming the weft of the fabric. While the fabric is being milled, the shuttle moves back and forth along the width of the loom to carefully weave the Sashi-ori(刺織) fabric. The rapid movement of the shuttle is estimated to go back and forth approximately 70-75 times a minute. Yup, it's fast AF.
  • Slow and steady is the key to producing an intensely textured fabric that will get the stamp of approval by the Slub Masters. In order to produce one roll of the Sashiko fabric (yielding enough fabric to produce 13 1/2 jackets), it takes one 8 hour working day shift. That is, if the machines are able to continually output fabric without breakdowns!
  • Bonus pic. PBJ founder Iwaya-san inspects each shuttle loom producing PBJ's coveted AI Selvedge fabrics. The Rampuya factory in Tokushima is a crown jewel of manufacturing in the region, being literally the only factory left in the prefecture that can both skein dye yarns and weave said yarns into an array of fabrics under one roof.

The Type II Silhouette

Following traditional cues of the iconic Levi's 507XX Trucker Jacket, PBJ's Type II Jacket featuring this Double Natural Indigo dyed goodness, drags a vintage icon kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Expect some familiarities such as the lower double check pocket arrangement, knife pleats and adjustable waist buttons. From there on out, it's all PBJ's bells-and-whistles that complete this piece. Embossed iron buttons, deerskin leather patch and that eponymous PBJ leaf logo will age in tandem with the Hank dyed fabric.
Sizing - CM
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Sizing - Inches
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The Type III Silhouette

Here's PBJ's rendition of the most recognizable jacket silhouette in the world.
Compared to the Type II, expect the fit to be more trim with a downwards taper from chest to hem. Along with a higher chest pocket line, PBJ have replicated those pointed pocket flaps and iconic front torso seam construction to perfection.

 To help ease the stress of sizing, each jacket has gone through a thorough factory wash process to eliminate any further shrinkage. Given the loose weave of this fabric, you can expect a little bit of stretch at the chest over time.

Sizing - CM
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Sizing - Inches
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The PBJ Double Natural Indigo Selvedge Jackets drop on 9/21 @ Midnight (JST)

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