I visited Jack/Knife Outfitters in SOMA in San Francisco yesterday to begin my bespoke denim process. John and Nick, the owners of Jack Knife have studio that is shared with other creative businesses.
They asked me to bring my best fitting jeans. I selected a favorite pair of LVC 1947 501 XX. I also brought along a pair of LVC 1933 201 XX since they where the last pair of Levis to have both belt loops and a cinch. I wanted my new jeans to have a more modern fit, like the '47's, but with the cinch detail. I brought the 201XX along so that I had a visual example of the look of the cinch and discuss with Nick the placement of it. The 201XX has the cinch on the belt line and I wanted it below the belt loops.
Nick began by measuring the jeans and then took my measurements. We then discussed what fit, rise and inseam I would like. John began to show me their denim options. They range from special weave Cone Mills made in USA to rare Japanese denim. I selected left hand twill, Japanese denim from Kurabo. It uses an unlined selvedge in keeping with pre-1927 denim. (1927 was the year that Levis asked Cone Mills to add the red stripe to their selvedge to make it distinctive from other brands)
The Kurabo denim is woven using on a vintage, fully manual, wooden shuttle loom. The process gives the denim a distinctive finish due to variations in tension from the hand woven process.
Here is the denim I selected: (click on images for a larger pic)
Here are examples of some of their other denim
One of the more interesting fabrics was a very dark inky blue that is shown above. It is a second generation run of overdyed duck canvas from Cone Mills. What a beautiful color! But I wanted a denim for my first jeans.
Since the look of denim, as it wears, varies depending upon the color of the weft threads they have many choices of denim with different weft colors. Some were dyed in mud, others bleached white and others left more of a natural cotton color. You can see the effect on the reverse side of the denim and you will enjoy it as your jeans break in and the color of the weft becomes more apparent.