Factory Tour of Dearborn Denim

I can’t resist a good ‘behind the scenes look’ of well…. anything.  Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to take a tour of a denim production facility in Chicago, called Dearborn Denim.

The factory is located on the west side of the city in a space used to be a laundry facility.

The first main room has all of the sewing equipment and cutting table/machine.  The second, smaller room has all of the finished jeans and some pressing equipment.

This is the large cutting table (or should I say tables).  Talk about my dream work space.

I dream of having a large cutting table in my sewing room but in reality my dream table would probably take up the whole room.  heh

They cut multiple layers of material at a time and each pattern piece is printed on the long strip of paper (above) and held down with those heavy pattern weights.

They have a plethora of industrial sewing machines, each with their own purpose.

Tool and pattern storage:

It’s fun to see how these startups’ function.  I’m always viewing these spaces through a lens of a home seamstress.  I notice some similarities as well as many, major differences.

Dearborn Denim is a 100% US company that sources their stretch denim from Georgia, if I recall correctly.

A whole bin of pre-sewn fly shields:

There were TONS of measuring tapes, all over the shop.  I really have no idea why they need so many…

The branding:

Comfy chair to sew in.  :)

While I don’t have any pictures of the jeans themselves, I did go home with a well-fitting pair for myself.  The slim, high-waisted style was pretty close to perfect for me.  Being short-waisted, the waist of these fall juuuust below my true waist.  And the back pocket placement was perfect for my pear-shaped figure.

What was a major selling point for me was they hemmed them right on the spot.  I hate hemming.

I’m hoping to take Felix back here to try on the men’s Tailored style – and again they’ll hem on the spot.  :D  Yay to no hemming for meeee.  :D

The denim is a light-weight style, more of fashion jeans than a thicker denim. While I’d wear these all season long, they would probably be considered too light in weight for deep winter.  Just an FYI.

Cheers & happy sewing.

In: Miscellaneous Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (5)

  1. Kathy February 16, 2017 — 11:29 PM

    Wow, I’m in Chicago so I’ll have to go and check them out! Sounds good.

  2. Elle February 17, 2017 — 12:10 PM

    I’ve been so curious about them! Good to see you had a tour…I’ve been meaning to email the company to investigate their labor practices, but this certainly doesn’t look like a sweatshop to me! I wonder how they keep the jeans so affordable though…did they mention anything about it when you were there?

    1. Liz February 17, 2017 — 12:51 PM

      Hi Elle. If I recall correctly, I believe the workers are in a union. But I would certainly reach out to them via email – the owner was very forthcoming with information and is running a transparent business.

      Dearborn Denim is open to visit and to try on jeans in person – you just need to set up a time with the owner that you will be stopping by. Unfortunately it was M-F, and did not include any weekend days. But again, reach out to them directly. They were very nice and helpful.

      I do remember hearing that they are able to keep prices so low because they are not retail prices – as they do not have any partnerships with other companies.

  3. Carla February 22, 2017 — 5:16 PM

    Oh man oh man. I’m gonna look them up, I need some new denim jeans. And that’s good the owner runs such a transparent business. I had a course on my fashion dept where we toured local fashion companies, and a wholesale sewist shop looked just like this.

  4. Thom Olson May 6, 2018 — 7:41 AM

    This is fabulous. I taught fashion design in Chicago. Jeans were one of the projects I had my student do. They loved it. Had I known this was around, I would have brought students in for a tour. Thank you for posting this. This is a great thing to have in Chicago.

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