Genue Inc.
March 5, 2018

The Patterns of Yarn Dyed Fabrics & Clothing Brand Ace & Jig

A selection of Ace & Jig textiles


Typically when you think of a patterned textile, you think of a print: a bold graphic t-shirt or an all-over small floral. Or perhaps even a one color logo, or a multi-color, multi-layer geometric pattern. While it is true that printed textiles tend to be cheaper to produce, and quicker than the alternative, there is, in fact, another way to create a patterned textile: a woven pattern.



But how do you tell the difference? If you’re new to textiles, the easiest way to tell is to flip the textile over – is there a pattern on the back as well? That means it’s probably a woven pattern.  If it’s blank on the backside, it’s most likely printed. But, if you want to take your textile knowledge to another level, we’ve got to discuss the difference between yarn dyed and piece dyed fabrics. A yarn dyed fabric is when each yarn that created the warp and weft in a woven textile is dyed before weaving. A piece dyed textile means the fabric is woven as a greige good (meaning in its raw or natural state) and then dyed, or bleached after weaving.



A woven striped fabric? Always yarn dyed. A solid blue linen shirt? Probably pieced dyed. Denim jeans? Well, they’re usually both. What we consider denim is usually a white warp and a dark blue weft woven in a twill pattern, but then they are overdyed to create the closet staple: dark indigo blue jeans.



What’s happening now more and more, especially in fashion, is fabric is woven as a greige good (natural state, remember?), and then printed to look like it is woven. When it comes down to it, weaving is a lot of work. It is painstaking and time consuming, and in fashion, there just isn’t the profit margin to support beautiful, intricate woven designs anymore.



Cary Vaugh and Jenna Wilson


Enter: Ace & Jig, one of my favorite contemporary fashion brands. Founders Cary Vaughan and Jenna Wilson made one rule when deciding to collaborate on Ace & Jig—every single piece would be yarn dyed and woven. The resulting collection is something that feels both fresh and modern, but with a heirloom quality and an antique sensibility.



Ace & Jig customers at a swap


Ace & Jig now has a cult following. There are women all over the world that collect the clothing, not just for the cut or color, but for the textile. There are instagram accounts and fan groups where it’s not that unusual to hear two customers agreeing to swap one of the brand’s iconic patterns for another. Each textile design has a name, and a dedicated archive on the Ace & Jig site.



Ace & Jig Spring/Summer ‘18


I met Jenna and Cary last year at a textile conference in Santa Fe, and heard them speak about the motivation and inspiration behind the brand. Ace & Jig clothing has an inherent value to the customer, which they support by facilitating group swaps and mending get-togethers on their site. It’s so heartening to see artistry, value, and care in the work they create and the community they attract!



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