Our article, Gi Weaves 101, has become one of the most viewed blog post and continues to be a great resource for anyone in the market for a new women’s BJJ gi. Since we get a lot of questions about single weave and double weave gis, we decided to do a write-up about new fabrics we are using; what single weave and double weave fabrics are, and how to tell the difference between those two.
SASHIKO WEAVE or RICE GRAIN WEAVE is the most commonly misnamed fabric by jiu-jitsu bloggers and gi reviewers. A great deal of sources call it a single weave. Sashiko weave can be single or double weave. As a matter of fact, any fabric can be single or double weave, depending on if there is only one layer of fabric or if there are two layers of fabric that are interconnected. In a single weave fabric a set of weft (horizontal yarn) and a set of warp (vertical yarn) are interlaced together in different patterns. The pattern of the warp and weft is called the weave of the fabric. In a double weave, a fabric should contain two detectable weave structures, two layers, which are connected to one another in some way. Below are some photos to illustrate the difference between single and double weave.
Sashiko weave has been used for judo gis for decades, it’s readily available and much more reasonably priced than pearl weave. It can be light weight 350-550 gsm single weave to 750-950 gsm double weave, the options are endless. A lot of jiu-jitsu gis in sashiko weave are in light weight category, very affordable and considered a good starter gi. However, cheaper gis shrink quite a bit, so sizing can be tricky.
More expensive double weave gis have controlled shrinkage due to extensive pre-treatment but those are not common in BJJ scene. Double weave gi sleeves are very difficult to grab, they are thick and rigid. The whole gi set weighs twice as much as a single weave gi. Most BJJ hobbyists don’t ever experience a double weave gi unless they cross train at a judo dojo and get their grips on an International Judo Federation approved competition gi. So, if you are buying a jiu-jitsu gi and the description is 350-550 gsm weave (pearl or any others), you are getting a single weave gi.
CHESS WEAVE combines plain weave with Sashiko weave to form a chess board look. Plain weave is the most common and basic weave where weft yarn passes over and under warp yarn alternately. Chess weave fabric feels softer than pearl weave but not as soft as crystal weave. It feels light-weight and does not stretch out excessively. It is a great addition to any gi collection if you are getting bored with pearl weave. Colored gis in chess weave will look more textured and dramatic after a while as the raised squares fade at a different rate than the flat squares. This is not better than any other fabric; it simply has a captivating look.
DIAMOND WEAVE or diamond pattern Sashiko weave fabric is widely used in judo and is not new in the market. It is mostly used for the skirt part of the judo gi but can be made into a BJJ gi. The lightweight but sturdy plain weave or twill weave is combined with diamond pattern in Sashiko weave. Sashiko yarn direction is horizontal which makes the fabric stronger to withstand the stretching and pulling. The fabric feels light and airy, does not shrink excessively and is comfortable on skin. It has a unique textured look that should become popular in jiu-jitsu because of its affordability and availability.
Canvas or Cotton Duck is a popular fabric choise for workwear, tote bags, beach umbrellas, awnings and is the base for the best oil paintings. It is a plain woven fabric that is sturdy, dense and extremely durable. Cotton duck or duck is the correct name for the fabric but people outside of textile industry call it canvas. Canvas, especially heavy-duty canvas, is not a popular choice for gi pants. The fabric is very stiff and full length, double layer reinforcement makes the pants twice as heavy as rip stop pants. The pants will last for years if you have the patience to wear them and put up with the stiff, slightly uncomfortable fabric. Canvas will soften up a little over time but it will never be as comfortable as cotton drill. Customers have very strong feelings about these pants; they are serious nail rippers, you cannot get a grip without hurting your hands.
Brushed canvas looks just like canvas but feels like cotton drill. The fabric has been treated and brushed on both sides so the stiffness you experience with canvas has been eliminated. The best way to describe the feel of this fabric is to think of a flannel shirt, it’s that comfy. Of all the fabric choices for pants, this has to be our new favorite. Brushed canvas is comfortable but does not stretch out as much as cotton drill, very soft yet sturdy and there is no unexpected shrinkage. So far it has been very well received by customers and we hope to add more brushed canvas pants in different colors to our product line.
No matter what fabric you prefer, it is important to take good care of your gi . Read more about gi care and stain removal here.
Our one day sale is happening again! Women’s gis are $75.00, girls’ gis $55.00, cotton belts $6.00, hemp belts $15.00, backpacks $25.00, leggings $25.00. Happy shopping everyone!*
*Quantities are limited, no rain checks. Please limit two gis per person domestically, three gis per person internationally. Please inquire about sizing before purchase to avoid returns. Please allow extra 2-3 days of processing and shipping time.
We are excited about fall; two new pearl weave gi designs are arriving in the first week on November. The gi jackets are made of 550 gr brushed pearl weave fabric and pants are soft, medium-weight cotton drill. White gis feature light pink and salmon color, oversized embroidery on the left sleeve and pants. Black gis are made of the same material and display stunning purple blossoms. Full picture of the gis will be revealed in a couple of weeks and we hope you like them as much as we do!
After a long hiatus we are bringing back black gis with pink embroidery. Pink is very dear to us since it was our very first color in 2009 and has not always been received well. BJJ women either love it or hate it, there is no in-between. This time we used 550 gr pearl weave plus fabric for jackets and 10 oz light-weight ripstop material for pants. Finely detailed embroidery is on our signature spot, right thigh, and the left lower corner of the jacket. These beauties are scheduled to land before the end of October.
If you are not too happy about the approaching colder weather and long, dark, depressing nights, grab one of our t-shirts which remind you of endless summer days; the fun in the sun and all sorts of shenanigans. Happy shopping!
A drawstring is one of the smallest components of the gi pants but it creates a great divide between customers. A while back we asked ladies which drawstrings they would prefer. As it turns out, one half loves what the other half hates. About half of the customers favor flat drawstrings because they stay tied, and keep the pants from falling. The cord lovers hate flat drawstrings for the same exact reason; the knot is too tight, and cannot be untied fast enough when sweaty. The cord lovers also praise the ease of tying and un-tying of cord drawstrings but the downside is that you can never really get a good tight fit because of the stretchy material, and some explode and unravel during washing.
We started making pants with generic, stretchy rope cords and included a flat drawstring for free. That seemed to make most people happy but at the same time led to quite a bit of waste, and the problem with exploding cords still existed so we had to find a better solution.
After searching near and far we found a factory that makes nylon custom cords, and decided to do away with the generic rope drawstrings for good. All gi pants now come with a standard flat drawstring and custom cords are sold separately for $5.00. A well-known BJJ blogger, instructor and gi reviewer Can Sönmez says that these are the best cords he has used, and he has worn 30+ gis over the past years. Give them a try and let’s see if you agree or not!
Some people say that belts and stripes are not important. Do you agree or disagree? We disagree. The wear and tear on your belt shows the hard work, hours on the mat and your dedication to jiu-jitsu. Stripes show your progress and that you are a step closer to your next goal. Why shouldn’t we be proud of it?
Let’s see the most worn out, unrecognizable color belts out there. Is your belt falling apart at the seams? Do people ask if you are a gray belt? Do you sometimes hope that no-one grabs your belt when rolling so that you don’t have to see the white filler slowly ooze out and hear the dreaded ripping sound? Has the belt served you well and is soon ready to be displayed in a shadow box to enjoy its retirement years? If so, send us a picture of your belt for a chance to win a brand new Fenom hemp belt.
Photos can be submitted on Facebook, Instagram or via email. Winners will receive a belt of their choice in any color and size. Five random winners will be picked on August 2. Good luck and happy training!
A few months ago we tested out gold weave gi samples; liked them a lot, and decided to make a good, heavy-duty, old school training gi for women. We took away all the fancy add-ons, and made a gi for ladies who like a clean, simple, and classic look. There is no nylon tape; there is no rash guard lining, and there is no oversized, fire-breathing dragon embroidery on the back.
This gi top is made of 550 gsm gold weave cotton that gets softer, and softer over time. The trim, and collar are 14 ounce canvas pants material. The pants have 4 loops, a flat drawstring, and are fully reinforced from the upper thigh to the bottom of the pant leg just like our standard pants. A pair of canvas A1s weighs 24 ounces compared to 16 ounces for the same size in ripstop. Try grabbing those without ripping your nails out! These are the heaviest pants on the women’s bjj gi market right now, and will last you for years.
Gold weave, and canvas do require stretching out after every wash when the gi is wet in order to maintain the size. The best way is to grab one sleeve, step on the other one and pull up; think of a kettlebell high-pull. Do the same with the pants; step on the pant legs, and pull up from the waist. It sounds rough but be assured, it works! You may want to go with the tall size if you are at the very top of your size bracket or go size up if you plan on drying the gi in the dryer. If someone bleeds on your brand new gi (which always happens), use a dab of soap and hydrogen peroxide to clean it. It works!
We get a lot of calls asking which one is our lightest gi, and what is the difference between weaves. When talking about the weight of the fabric, textile industry uses gsm, grams per square meter, measurement. This however is rather meaningless to the consumers who will never test the material for gsm. It is easier to use the weight of the full gi set, jacket and pants, when choosing a gi.
Our women’s gis range from 2 lbs 8 oz for an A0 to 4 lbs for an A4. The minor differences in weights between different gis can be contributed to the design elements: pants loops, cord or flat drawstring, collar thickness, extra embroidery, and variances that happen in cutting and sewing. Half an inch extra in jacket or sleeve length as well as added reinforcements, patches, and decorative tape can add some extra weight.
The trend in the gi industry over the past 5 years has been towards light weight gis. The lightest gis we have seen are 350 gsm, and the heaviest are 1150 gsm (samples only). A consumer needs to remember that the smaller the gsm number, the lighter the gi. Proper sizing is the key to feeling good about your gi. It is equally uncomfortable to train in a too small or too big gi no matter how light weight it is.
Sometimes the same weight material in different weaves feels lighter or heavier, and the gis feel like they are not the exact same size or fit. Also the expectation of having different weave gis behave the same way in washing and drying can be disappointing. If you are used to shrink to fit kind of gi that you can manipulate a lot, and then buy a pearl weave gi which does not shrink down a size, you may be upset “because it is not the same size” and vice versa. There are no bad materials, it is all about personal preference, and hard to measure feel factor.
Here is a list of materials we have used either in production or for sample gis. The short description may help you in the process of choosing your next gi.
PEARL WEAVE is the most popular weave on the market. Majority of the gis are 450-550 gsm but we have made our kids gis as light as 390 gsm. Pearl weave is tight woven, coarse, and at times can be super rough, and unpleasant on grips especially when wet. Most pearl weave gis are about 96% pre-shrunk, but some are close to 99% pre-shrunk. The gis are durable, dry fast, and feel light. Some pearl weaves stay rough, and stiff with air drying, almost like an armor. Pearl weave has very little pilling, and does not stretch out as much as softer weaves.
GOLD WEAVE used to be very popular about a decade ago. Gold weave has been replaced by pearl weave but old school jiu-jitsu peeps are familiar with this weave. If you started training in the past few years, you probably do not own a gold weave gi. Gold weave gis are slowly coming back to the market. The material feels soft and airy due to the looser weave. It feels sturdy but light at the same time. Gold weave gi lasts for years and years, and gets softer and over time. Well worn gold weave gi is as comfortable as a pair of pajamas. Older gis feel heavier because heavy-duty canvas reinforcements were added to all stitching lines. Gold weave is not the most attractive weave, its looks a little like a kitchen towel.
CRYSTAL WEAVE is the material we have been using since 2009. Crystal weave gis are our most popular gis because of the softness of the material. This weave looks like a woven basket, and is very loose. It also moves a lot, and is easy to grab. At the same time, it is comfy and gentle on the skin, no gi burns ever! It feels thicker because of the fluffy look but in reality is light weight as well. Crystal weave shrinks more than pearl weave but can be stretched out when wet. Pulling the sleeves and sides straight after every wash is required in order to maintain the size. Some pilling happens but it does not interfere with the functionality of the gi.
PEARL WEAVE PLUS is a new weave we added to our product line this year. The pattern looks like rows of diamond cut rope chain necklaces side by side. Shoyoroll calls it Pearl Weave Pro, Killer Bee Kimonos calls it New “KillerBee” Weave. We are pretty sure other companies have different names for it, since it is very new to the market, and everyone wants to claim that it is their special weave. Pearl Weave Plus feels like a softer version of pearl weave, just a little bit different look. It holds up well in washes, and has no unexpected shrinkage.
HONEYCOMB WEAVE gets its name from the partial resemblance to the hexagonal honey comb cells. This weave forms ridges and hollows that gives a cell like appearance to the texture. It is a soft material but does not stretch out too much. It breathes well, dries fast, and feels super airy and thin. We have just ran samples in this weave, and have not made a final decision whether or not to add this material to our gi line. Honeycomb weave feels somewhat like a waffle bath robe you would get in a fancy spa or a hotel.
Cotton Drill was once the only material used for gi pants. In the recent years ripstop pants have slowly pushed drill pants out but this material is still preferred by many martial artists. It is strong, heavily textured with its signature diagonal ribs, and lasts for a long time. Cotton drill pants shrink more in length than in width but the shrinkage can be managed by stretching the pants out after washing. The pants are super comfortable but may feel heavy when wet. The knees may stretch out while rolling and the after-training baggy look is not appreciated by gi snoobs.
Ripstop is a very light weight, and strong material. Most ripstop pants on the market are 100% cotton, but some gi makers offer cotton/polyester combination which has a waxy, parachute feel to them. Ripstop material has reinforcement threads woven in 0.5 mm to 0.8 mm intervals, giving the fabric its distinctive 3D, square pattern. Even though ripstop pants are very durable, the name can be deceiving. Ripstop pants do rip at the stress points when they are a size or two too small, and wear out on the knees over time. Fitted or slim cut pants tend to stick to the skin when wet, and constant adjustment during training is distracting. Ripstop pants are preferred in hot weather training and in competition. Both ripstop and drill pants cost the same to manufacture.
Second part of the series on new weaves, single weave gis and double weave gis can be found here.
Summer is the season that you look forward to all year, gripe about when it arrives, and are sorry when it’s gone. – Anonymous
As the weather warms up, sweaters and boots are packed away into the far corners of the closets, and colorful shorts, tank tops, and flowy dresses come out to play. Flip-flops are the go-to footwear in summertime. You can never have too many pairs!
Make some memories this summer in pretty Fenom flip-flops. Get a pair for now and one for later, and enjoy the sunny season.
It’s pretty exciting times around the Fenom shop. Our customer base is growing faster than ever before and we’re super grateful for all the support we’ve received from just about everyone — a testament to the Fenom brand and what it represents.
The cool, yet slightly nerve-wracking reality is that with this growth comes a lot more one-on-one interaction with our customers. Effectively managing and responding to emails every month has become difficult to stay on top of. With the help of a few tools provided by Google Apps we’ll be upgrading how we manage some internal processes to better serve you — starting with a web based help desk system. Support requests are separated by topic and routed directly to the appropriate team member for handling. Each customer interaction is viewable in thread form so we’ll always have a quick way to reference the entire conversation. No more “oh let me look back at your original email” moments!
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