S-111. Quite happy with the result of their first wash. It's hard to predict when raw how the denim will turn out, but this one has already surpassed my expectations. I wish I had more of it -- I only have enough left for one more pair.

#selvedgedenim #selfmadejeans #handcraftedjeans #eurekajeans #s111 #ww2model #justahobby #notforsale
Back to my own work. Having worn these for 9 months after just a first soak, I think it's time now for a first wash.

#selvedgedenim #rawdenim #selfmadejeans #eurekajeans #s111 #justahobby #notforsale
1940s Lee Riders (7 and final)
Finally, I'll take a closer look at the back pockets. Here it is not so much the sewing that is sloppy, but rather the folding of the pockets. I assume these were hand-folded as they were being sewn, without ironing.
The tab on the right pocket is the old type without the "R" trademark. It is so heavily faded that "Lee" is still barely legible.
The pockets are reinforced with the same cloth as that used for the front pocket bags, and they feature the "lazy S" stitch design sewn with a double-needle lockstitch machine. One thing I like a lot about old Lee jeans is that the stitch design on the back pockets actually had a purpose, namely to hold the pocket reinforcement in place, while the Levi's arcuate stitch design was purely decorative. Of course, in the later Lee 200 model the pocket reinforcement was abolished, and still later the lazy S stitch was sewn with a double-needle chainstitch machine (which is more efficient for mass production as the bobbin doesn't need to be changed all the time, and was possible because of the lazy nature of the design, while it wouldn't be possible with the Levi's arcuate design, but that's a whole different story...)
The left back pocket has a union ticket in it, which was sewn on first, and then the pocket was sewn on continuously in the same motion with the same machine.

I could go on with more details, but I think this covers most of what I find really special about these Lee 101 Riders jeans.
I'll take a bit of a break now, but I'll do this again once in a while with some other garments in my little collection. Next time I'll probably introduce a pair of 1950s JC Penney's Foremost jeans that I bought new old stock about 20 years ago -- another real favorite of mine and a great source of inspiration for Eureka jeans.

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #pocket #backpocket #reinforcedpocket #unionticket #tab #lee #lee101 #leeriders #eurekajeans
1940s Lee Riders (6)
Looking today at the way the waist band is sewn on. There are many different ways of doing this, and there's a great deal of difference depending on the brand and the period in which the jeans were made.
1940s Lee Riders use this old method which is very easy to do and requires only a regular single-needle lock stitch machine. No folder or other special equipment is needed. This method was actually also used by Levi's until the early 1900s, when they started attaching the waist band using a chain stitch.
Characteristic of this method is that the stitch on the inside falls off of the waist band in most areas around the waist. This is often misunderstood to be a "mistake". Actually, the stitch is intended to run off of the waist band, just below it. The few places where it runs on to the waist band could actually be considered real "mistakes". The purpose of sewing the stitch "in the ditch" is to protect the cotton thread from friction and thus make the garment last longer. This is actually the same method that was used a lot by Lee, Levi's and many other brands for sewing the cuffs and the collar onto denim jackets, and it makes a lot of sense because the cuffs, the collar and the waist band are all parts that sustain a lot of friction on the inside.
It is one of my favorite ways of doing the waist band, and I use it on quite a lot of the jeans that I make.

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #waistband #lockstitch #stitchintheditch #lee #leeriders #eurekajeans
1940s Lee Riders (5)
Today I'll look more closely at the top stitching on the side seams next to the front pockets. Besides being quite sloppily sewn, these top stitches are interesting in that they are sewn with two rows of chain stitches, just like the outseams I wrote about in my previous post. In later Lee Riders models the top stitching on the side seams was changed to a single lock stitch.
The top stitching on the side seams was done using the same type of double-needle machine as that used for the outseams. In my previous post I wrote that one needle must have been positioned about 1/4 inch (6 mm) behind the other, and here is the evidence for that; in pics 3, 4 and 5 you can see that one row starts a couple of stitches or about 1/4 inch after the other row, which must be due to the spacing of the needles. This is the starting point, by the way, not the ending point. Due to the nature of their structure, chain stitches easily unravel from the end, but not from the beginning. These side seams were therefore sewn towards the waist belt on both sides, so that the end is safely caught inside the waist belt to prevent unraveling.
Another interesting detail is how the overlocking is just long enough to cover the pocket bags, leaving some of the seam without selvedge unfinished. It's a mystery why they wouldn't have gone one or two inches further, but it appears to have been quite common in Lee Riders from this period. The overlocking is done through all layers of the front panel and the back panel together, by the way. In later Lee Riders models the front panel and the back panel were overlocked separately. Which makes me wonder whether the overlocking was done before or after the outseams were closed ... If the overlocking was done first, it may well be that the top stitching on the side seam was done right after closing the outseam by the same operator. Quite a puzzle!

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #outseam #topstitch #chainstitch #lee #leeriders
1940s Lee Riders (4)
Next we'll take a look at the outseams. It wouldn't be Lee if these weren't also a bit different from most other brands. The distinguishing feature is the double chain stitch used for the plain seam. If you look closely you'll see that there are two rows of stitches right next to each other.
Were these seams sewn in two passes on a single-needle machine, or in one pass on a double-needle machine?
My theory is that they were done in one pass on a double-needle machine with one needle about 1/4 inch (about 6 mm) behind the other, ever so slightly offset as to result in two rows right next to each other.
My reasoning for this is twofold:
1. The overall sewing in other areas is fairly "sloppy", so if these two rows were done in two passes I would expect them to be unevenly spaced or overlap here and there, but they don't -- they are perfectly parallel along the length of the seams.
2. The top stitching on the side seams next to the front pockets holds concrete evidence, but I'll write about that in my next post.
This double chain stitch is one detail that most better quality repros usually get right, which is good because the bulk of the double chain stitch affects the fading on the outside.

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #outseam #chainstitch #lee #leeriders #eurekajeans
1940s Lee Riders (3)
Next I'll focus on the inseams. There are many different ways of sewing the inseams, but as with so many aspects of Lee jeans, the Lee way is fairly unique and used by only a handful of other brands (some of which, like Copper King, were owned and made by Lee!) It is, however, surprisingly easy to do and can be done regardless of whether the inseams or outseams are done first. The resulting seam is strong while being less bulky than other types of seams.
The characteristic features are that only the back panel edge is overlocked, and the front panel edge is folded and sewn onto the back panel with a two-needle chainstitch machine. The front panel edge is left unfinished and is mostly hidden underneath the serged back panel edge, which often results in some characteristic fraying, especially after washing (as seen in pic 2). The last pic shows me sewing an inseam using this method.
The inseam is another detail that most Lee repros, even the more authentic ones, get wrong in varying degrees. There are two points to check whether the inseam is done the authentic Lee way:
1. only one layer of denim is overlocked
2. there are only two rows of (chain) stitches, both visible on the outside and on the inside of the jeans
Better quality repros indeed have only two rows of stitches, but almost always have both layers of denim overlocked together. Lower quality repros have an additional third stitch -- a plain seam visible only from the inside of the jeans. I've always wondered whether they get it wrong unintentionally simply because they don't know, or intentionally because they figure almost no one will notice.

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #inseam #lee #leeriders #eurekajeans
1940s Lee Riders (2)
Today I’ll focus on the way the fly shield was sewn. Lee used several different methods for constructing the fly over the years, but this is a particularly interesting one. If you look closely, you’ll see that the topstitching on the fly shield extends onto the waistband. In close-up (pic 3), it is clear that the waistband was sewn on before the fly shield was finished. As the waistband was clearly sewn in one go, it logically follows that the outseams must have been sewn before the crotch and inseams were done. So the order must have been: outseams → waistband → topstitching of the fly shield → crotch → inseams.
This is different from the way Levi’s and most other jeans are constructed. In fact, the Levi’s way (fly piece → crotch → inseams → outseams → waistband) is a lot easier and seems more efficient, and it is a mystery why Lee chose to do what they did. But then, with Lee, things are often not what they seem, which is what makes them so fascinating.
This particular detail of how these jeans were made is so unknown that even the Lee Archives repros get it wrong. Some of the models have topstitching on the fly shield that extends onto the waistband, but if you look closely you’ll notice that the topstitching actually stops below the waistband, and then an additional few cm of stitching was added extending onto the waistband after the waistband was attached.
Another characteristic of the fly on these Lee Riders is that the fly shield envelopes the front body, whereas with Levi’s and most other jeans the front body is sewn onto the fly shield. I like this Lee method a lot and use it in most of the jeans I make.

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #fly #flyshield #flypiece #lee #leeriders #eurekajeans
1940s Lee Riders (1)
I'll start with the center tag. The tag on this pair is referred to as a "red tag" because of the red thread used for the text 'UNION MADE' and 'Sanforized' and the red box enclosing the text. The tag itself is made of black material and has faded into a light grey. I'm pretty sure that the color has faded, and that the material must have been black when new, as I've never seen any deadstock Lee jeans with a grey tag. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)
What intrigues me is that some Lee jeans from this period have tags that fade like this one, while others have tags that remain black. I've even seen a few pairs on which a third or half of the tag has faded like this one, and the rest has remained pitch black, with a very sharp division between the two areas (e.g. https://webstore.berberjin.com/view/item/000000048949 ). It's therefore not a matter of how they were washed, but it must rather be a matter of the material of the thread that was used in weaving the tag. Any Lee expert out there who can enlighten me on this mystery?
Pics 2 and 3 show the tags I use on Eureka jeans. They are made from rayon and were woven at a small mill, one of only a handful of mills left in Japan that weave with rayon thread. The look and feel of rayon tags is quite different from that of polyester tags, especially after washing. They don't fade though, which is why I also had some made with light grey thread to imitate the feel of faded tags.

#vintagedenim #vintagejeans #realvintage #redcentertag #lee #leeriders #eurekajeans
From my humble collection…
So far I have only posted pictures of my own work. As I'm away from my sewing machines and can't make anything new for a while, I thought I'd post some pictures once in a while of real vintage denim in my very small collection. I'll write a bit about what makes each of these unique and special, and how they inspire me in what I make and how I make it.
Starting with a late 1940s - early 1950s pair of Lee Riders; a so-called "red center tag". This is a pair I've worn on and off for about 20 years.
I'll focus on some details over the next several posts.

#selvedgedenim #vintagedenim #realvintage #lee #leeriders #redcentertag
The second S-111 pair I made at the same time as the pair in the previous post. The belt loops on this pair are the opposite; the one on the right is offset and sewn onto the front pocket, while the one on the left is in the usual position. This pair is still raw -- I'll start wearing these when the other pair starts falling to pieces.

#selvedgedenim #selfmadejeans #handcraftedjeans #eurekajeans #offsetbeltloop #beltloop #justahobby #notforsale
A rather rare detail on this S-111 pair I made last October. The belt loop on the left is offset and sewn onto the front pocket. The one on the right is in the usual position.

#selvedgedenim #selfmadejeans #handcraftedjeans #eurekajeans #offsetbeltloop #beltloop #justahobby #notforsale
Two pairs of S-111 Eureka jeans I made in October last year. I've been wearing one of them almost daily for the past 8 months after a single soak, and I'm keeping the other one as a kind of deadstock.

#selvedgedenim #rawdenim #selfmadejeans #eurekajeans #justahobby #notforsale
Wall of denim.
I bought a couple of racks to display some of my work at home. As I'm away from my sewing machines, I can't make any new ones for a while, but I can enjoy wearing and watching ones I made in the past.

#selfmadejeans #wallofdenim #eurekajeans
#川口工器 #justahobby #notforsale
Button hole on a jacket I made some time ago. Made on the little domestic zigzag sewing machine in my previous post.

#selfmadejeans #buttonhole #eurekajeans #justahobby #notforsale
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