Monday, May 29, 2017

A Shocking Lack of Denim

Dear Ladies,

This is a very "materialistic" post. There is a shocking lack of denim in these parts. Goodwill had no long denim skirts and the short ones were in very short supply, making it impossible to use the fabric to make an adequate denim skirt to work and play in that would provide the great protection that denim always does so well.

We used to cut denim jeans apart and make skirts but there was a shocking lack of denim jeans in thrift stores, Goodwills and Walmarts. 

Some of you remember how people kept denim clothes until old and torn and faded and then still kept them, because denim is such a comfortable fabric when washed and worn to softness.  Later on the fashion industry imitated the worn, torn look. I suppose it was one way they could get denim-lovers to buy more. Otherwise, they are usually content with worn-out denim.  

Denim began as a fabric suitable for men working in the mines in the 1900's, because it did not easily   puncture or tear. The homesteaders and farm workers liked it too, and it made the fashion scene through catalogs where it was marketed with gingham shirts and bandanas.   We wore it all winter and by summer it was thin enough for warmer temperatures.

Those of you who are familiar with the ending "lack of satin" remark in the 1995 movie "Emma" will understand the title of this post. 
The fabric stores yielded nothing, and catalogs like Blair, Chadwicks, the Paragon and others had nothing left in denim clothing for ladies.

I mentioned fabric for possibly sewing,  but prefer factory made denim clothing because the industrial machines do a good job on the flat-felled seams and other doubly sewn areas. 

Denim is a western staple, so I hope we aren't losing our denim.  It is the most adequate fabric for just about everything:- travel, house work, western-wear and ranch work,  errands, outings and innings! A comfy cotton, which takes years to wear thin, it is makes very protective garments for the home and garden.  

When my friend Roxy of Living From Glory to Glory Blog came to see us, she wore a cute denim jacket and she looked so very chipper and youthful! Denim makes you feel young, for some reason.  I remember the fabric stores used to sell denim in other colors, even pink, but most of us prefer blue denim. 

The thing we are all very weary of is the jeans. We get tired of seeing the torn jeans, the bleached jeans, the ill-fitting jeans, the jewel encrusted jeans.  It is time for a design change in the jeans department.  However we are really missing our denim skirts and jackets. The fabric of these garments is so sturdy it can be worn for decades, and the skirts do not show up as cast-offs and donations in the thrift stores.  

Here is a skirt from an older Spiegal catalog. At the time it was dreadfully expensive but it would still be a classic style today.  Denim skirts and vests were a very feminine look when paired with cotton lace blouses; a pretty contrast of rough and refined. A skirt or vest looks particularly good with a white cotton eyelet blouse.

I have seen floral printed denim and other types of denim. Chambray, a thinner cotton similar to denim, seems to be getting scarce too.

It would be good if this outfit was reproduced and made available. The jacket is so nice.

When I get my sewing room and supplies more orderly you may see some garden aprons and other garden garments here (at least I hope).  

It is Memorial Day and so may people are now using it as a remembrance of all families in the past. Many people have fought battles on the Homefront, both spiritual and in a physical way building homes and livelihoods. We honor the sacrifices of parents and grandparents who have done more than they were ever given credit for.  People usually have a family and friends lunch and activities at home this day.


living from glory to glory said...

Hello, I so agree with you about the denim being harder find in thrift stores or the actual fabric. So nice you mentioned my denim jacket I wore while visiting you. I kid you not I just added that photo of me sitting on your porch on my sidebar. Looks like we were thinking alike, this morning!
I do hope a new style of classy yet modest denim jumpers would be all the rave again. Some things just never lose their charm and appeal. And the cotton denim is a mainstay for the country and the rugged look that is so appealing for both men and women.
I just think the skinny jeans are so awful and really do nothing to ones figure.
I have been looking for a new jean skirt for ages...
Very interesting article Lydia!
Always, Miss You... Roxy

The Grahams said...

I have purchased skirts from these 3 sites and recommend them.


Joyce Ackley said...

You mentioned several catalogs that did not carry denim clothing. I checked online, but only at two places: Macy's and K Mart. Macy's has a big selection of denim skirts, although many are short skirts or pencil skirts. They did have some midi-length ones and a few A-lines, I think. Some were on sale.

They also have denim jackets.

K Mart has fewer items in their selection, but still, a couple of longer skirts. They have a few jackets as well.

Jenny said...

Vermont Country Store has an excellent denim skirt. I purchased one for $40 in desperation after having my baby in 2015 and not being able to find a suitable one anywhere else. This one in particular was worth the money because it is cut in an a-line, falls well below the knee, and has an elastic waist, which is exactly what I needed. The fabric is of excellent quality. I'm still wearing it on a several days a week(with apron, of course!). I highly recommend it. Every catalog I receive from them, I breathe a sigh of relief when I see that they still carry it!

Lydia said...

Thank you ladies for the lovely links to denim skirts.

With fabric and clothing I prefer seeing and touching it and trying it on, so I was disappointed not to be able to find anything in the usual stores. However it's great to know that denim is available in other places and can be ordered when searches in local places are exhausted.

Linda said...

Hello Lydia, May I add another online retailer to the group. Modest Apparel. They have many dresses and lots of denim skirts. I have never bought from them, so I can't speak from experience.
I appreciate all the suggestions here. I will start checking them out.
Thanks ladies.

Blessed Homemaking said...

I also wanted to chime in that I purchase my denim skirts from New Creation Apparel (they actually are longtime advertisers on my blog), and also from
I really love the skirts from both sites--they have nice long ones, and lots of different styles. They come in different lengths, so just be sure to check measurements to make sure you get the length you like (I like mine pretty much down to the floor).

It is really hard to find long, modest skirts at stores. These two sites do use pretty good descriptions, so you can imagine what they feel like, weight of fabric, etc.

ladypinktulip said...

I love the picture of the last skirt you posted here. Ruffling on denim
is so pretty! I agree...a lack of denim in stores. I have numerous jumpers of denim that I wear cute shirts with that are flowery etc. Thankful for the links the other ladies shared. Kelly T.

Paulina Marie said...

I'd love to find a practical, yet feminine long denim skirt that actually flattered my straight figure :/ But I agree. It's hard to find denim in thrift stores nowadays!

I second the recommendation to buy from New Creation Apparel. Their long khaki skirt with a ruffle on the bottom is so pretty! I love wearing mine.

Anonymous said...

Oh I can completely understand the lack of denim in the fabric stores. The denim that the manufacturers are making now, all have Lycra woven in the cloth! I don't particularly care for Lycra, but it is better than nothing I suppose :-/

Thank you for sharing Lydia :0) mari

Lydia said...

Hello, I don't have any accounts to be able to comment on your blog, but I do read it - I wanted to mention that Serengeti Catalog ( has a number of denim dresses available. I've ordered some of them and never had any troubles with the company or product. I've been very fond of denim, and it was so readily available for a number of years that one almost starts to just feel it will always be so easy to find denim skirts and dresses! The Orchard Brands website (which includes Blair, Haband, Appleseeds, and similar family of their brands - has a few results if one searches for denim dress or skirt. National also has one or two denim dresses sometimes ( and their quality is quite nice.

Lydia said...


Yes,nits a stretch denim now. Also The designers have done everything with denim except maybe evening gowns or swim suits and I wonder if they just don't want to work with denim anymore. I find it a very protective fabric. I noticed with jeans you could still get skin damage from hot water, snow , wind and rain, thorns and thistles from outside in the garden, and several other things, as the jeans are closer to the skin. However a denim skirt cannot be best for vei g a barrier to weather, spills and roughness. The denim over-dress or "jumper" was great because all only had to change your blouse ecery day, and with an apron worn over it, cloud wear it quite a long time. I also remember when denim was first worn by women who liked it for the quality.nit never clung and it covered so well.

Lydia said...

Ladies, while I see by the links you provided that denim clothes are in catalogs and online stores, it bothers me not to find anything locally that I can see and touch and try on. I have not seen anyone wearing a denim skirt in a long time. I am thinking maybe our denim is gone and people won't be wearing it. I don't see men in denim as much, either, yet in Australis only a couple years ago a lot of people were wearing it. Maybe denim was outsourced like everything else!

anonymous said...

I love your post about denim and wear it most days. I started making A-line denim skirts about four years ago and got my pattern from the evening gown section of Mc Calls and Simplicity. Its a four piece pattern with waistband and back zipper. I bought several of the patterns when they first came out and use them so often they wore out. My last one was preserved by attaching it to a piece of iron-on Pellon stabilizer.
Whenever I find denim in JoAnn's I purchase some in 4 yd. lengths. JoAnn's carried about 4-5 colors of denim in different styles, such as heavy non-stretch, med. stretch and a soft light chambray.

An alternative to denim that comes in many colors is Twill. It also comes in heavy and fashion weight, which is softer. Twill wears as well as denim and launders beautifully. Price is comparable.

I would like to see your skirts when you finish them. That blue dress pictured would be so cute with a white lace sailor collar and ties.

Unknown said...

I recently found a pair of boots for my boys on Amazon. My husband said no as we need to be able to see them first before purchasing. I thought of you Mrs. Sherman, as you have said before you like to feel and touch before purchasing!;)
God bless
Mrs. O

Lydia said...

Mrs. O. I do not think its progress to go back to ordering things. From furniture to teacups and shoes and fabrics and clothes, it is always better to be able to touch it and feel the quality.

Joyce Ackley said...

You mentioned that Paragon and Blair have nothing in denim for ladies. I'm wondering if you are checking an actual catalog or if you are looking online? The websites might actually be more current as they can update quickly by adding photos of new merchandise.

The denim dress with the floral accents is on the Paragon website.

Blair has several skirts and dresses in denim on their website. Right now, there is $.99 shipping on any order.

Anyone interested in denim skirts or dresses might want to check out Blair website. They seem to have quite a few in both classic and trendy styles.

Unknown said...

Hello Ladies, Thank you for all your interesting comments about denim skirts, it's what I wear everyday, and it's so hard to find them at the stores :( specially for tall girls like me, or plus sizes like some of my friends.

From the stores mentioned in your comments I have ordered skirts (tall) from :) Their skirts are modest, beautiful and elegant at the same time, without mentioning their good quality.

They offer 20% discount code (Sk20r) that is good until July 15, it helps :)

I enjoy reading all comments...