Mister Freedom® “McKARSTEN” Trousers, indigo métis & HBT denim, SS2019 mfsc SURPLUS catalog, made in Japan.

Mister Freedom® “McKARSTEN” Trousers, indigo métis & HBT denim.
SS2019 mfsc SURPLUS catalog.
Made in Japan.

We are adding another set of “might-have-beens” to the Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co mfsc Surplus catalog, our on-going collection of made-in Japan classics á la MF®. Matching companion to the recently-released McKarsten Jacket, here are the “McKARSTEN” TROUSERS.

The moniker is a reference to our beloved Peter Karsten, and workwear label Lakin & McKey‘s early days (founded in 1908, known today as Key Apparel.)

The vintage garment that inspired our McKarsten Trousers pattern is an original pair of work dungarees produced by “Lakin & McKey” in the 1930’s. This vintage goodie was purchased by Peter on behalf of the MF® archives. The pants were scored with a 1930’s “Test” jacket, and came as a workwear extravaganza top & bottom denim highly-collectible set. This “suit” initially belonged to a railroad worker, who lived somewhere in the American Midwest… Both of these specimen of workwear history can be seen at the MF® HQ, hanging as rag-hunting trophies amongst other bygone eye candy that inspire us.

Vintage TEST railroad jacket with Lakin McKey dungarees, courtesy of the outstanding MF® Store IG account.

Inevitably, these old denim pants featured a dreadful period fit, even for our “Heritage Style” esthetics. We thoroughly tweaked the pattern and turned them into a contemporary wearable, yet keeping the early workwear full leg-high rise style. Our interpretation is otherwise fairly literal to the original’s period details: utilitarian dungaree pattern without back yoke, early tailoring split waistband open back gusset, buckle-back, branded tack brass buttons, full top front pockets with fancy stitching, utilitarian “carpenter” style rear patch pockets… We removed the side tool pocket to tone down the contractor vibe.

Our trousers’ hardware features fancy mfsc original workwear-style brass tack buttons, a new toy for us this Spring 2019, a design introduced with the McKarsten Jacket. These metal buttons will naturally age and acquire an attractive patina overtime.

We are releasing the McKartsen Trousers in two distinctive fabrics.
The first one is a 10 Oz. HBT indigo denim. This fabric is what happens when you weave the components of traditional denim fabric (indigo-dyed warp yarns and natural color weft yarns) into an Herringbone Twill (HBT) pattern. If the fabric face only subtly displays the HBT pattern, the geometric eye-dazzling weave is very obvious on the reverse. The HBT pattern should yield interesting fading specifics. For the Jailhouse Rock look, we opted for contrast stitching on this fabric.

The second fabric option is a 7 Oz. blend of 75% linen and 25% cotton (referred to as métis in French), plain weave, indigo and black yarns. This fabric was inspired by a 1920’s pair of French work pants, and milled with similar specs. Our version is very “breathy” and not tightly-woven, making it a great summer-weight fabric, with a somewhat see-through quality not uncommon on vintage tropical garb. Tonal stitching conveys elegance making this option less workwear-ish. The fabric drape and wrinkly dry hand is typical of high-content linen métis.

The mfsc “McKARSTEN” TROUSERS are designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.

Two distinct fabric options:
a) A sturdy 10 Oz. HBT dark indigo denim, 100% cotton, milled in Japan. (Option featuring contrast stitching.)
b) An elegant 7 Oz. plain weave dark indigo métis, blend of 75% linen and 25% cotton, indigo warp and black weft yarns, solid white selvedge ID, milled in Japan. (Option featuring tonal stitching.)

Pocket bags: cut from mfsc double-sided calico print twills, “NOS” from the Trade Shirt and Nixon Shirt.

* An original mfsc pattern, inspired by 1920’s-1940’s work dungarees.
* Vintage 1930’s silhouette, full leg/trim high waisted top block.
*  Early tailoring split waistband, open back gusset.
* Cinch back, no back yoke pattern.
* MF® mfsc branded tack brass buttons.
* Fancy full top front pocket design and stitching (with selvedge facing for the indigo métis fabric option)
* Utilitarian “carpenter” style rear patch pockets.
* Brass donut fly buttons.
* Thin & wide belt loops (accommodates 2’’ wide belts)
* Coin/watch pocket.
* Pocket bags cut from mfsc “NOS” double-sided calico print twills.
* Felled seam leg chainstitch construction.
* Contrast stitching for the HBT denim option, tonal stitching for the indigo métis.
* Single needle bottom hem.
* Original mfsc SURPLUS woven label.
* Made in Japan.

Both options come raw/unwashed.
We recommend the usual initial 30mn cold soak/occasional hand agitation/spin dry/hang dry process. The tagged size reflects the size of the garment after going through this process.

Although the drape of each fabric is very distinct, both fit the same, and the same sizing advice applies to HBT denim and indigo métis.
Our target image was a vintage 1930’s silhouette, full leg/trim high waisted top block. These trousers feature a wide leg and high rise, an acquired taste by today’s menswear fashion standards.
Due to the split-waistband pattern, the waist is quite generous and the open gusset allows about one inch play. I could fit a snug Waist 30 but opted for a very comfortable Waist 32, and cinched the waist with the back strap.

The original bottom hem is single needle, an easy alteration, with enough length to accommodate all types of cuffing preferences for most.

Please refer to chart for approximate raw/soaked measurements. This explains how we size our garments.
Soaked = 30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry.

When needed, machine wash the MF® McKARSTEN Trousers on DELICATE, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry.
Wash separately to avoid color transfer to light-color garments. Turn the pants inside-out to avoid potential marbling of the indigo fabric. Using hot water wash will result in unnecessary color loss and excessive shrinkage.
Full wash cycle and heat dryer are not recommended and could damage the garment. 

Available RAW/unwashed.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane MFSC Spring 2012 (Part 4): “GUNSLINGER Denim Pantaloons”

MFSC Gunslinger Pantaloons Box

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane MFSC Spring 2012 “Men of the Frontier“: Gunslinger Denim Pantaloons, Indigo twill & Desert twill.

Here is our fourth installment of the “Men of the Frontier” journey, the denim “GUNSLINGER PANTALOONS”.
Borrowing from both the American West and the Old World, we have mixed European gentlemen’ trousers detailing with early workwear construction and fabrics.
The inspiration for those jeans came in part from this 1904 photo. This saloon scene showcases several interesting trousers styles worn by ranch hands at the turn of the Century. One of the cowboys (second from right) seems to be wearing denim, according to the cuffs showing the contrasting reverse of the fabric. A closer zoom reveals an obscure European trousers pattern, not a ‘classic’ five pocket type pants.
So we went with our own original trousers pattern, staying away from the more obvious Lee/Levi’s/Wrangler type work jeans back yoke piecing/pocketing. (As once mentioned in front of a Denim Industry audience, the genius iconic “501” must be the most actively milked cow in the jeans making racket… not a crowd pleasing statement.)

We had two different denim twill exclusively woven in Japan for this collection, both inspired by vintage swatches from our archives. One indigo denim with indigo back, and one white back unbleached natural denim. Both were milled in limited quantities, not the easiest nor cheapest stage of the making of those jeans.
Those jeans are also Made in Califonia, US of A 😉

PATTERN: An original MFSC pattern, inspired by both the New and the Old World. European type trousers tailoring mixed with work wear construction.
FABRIC: The Gunslinger Pantaloons come in two very different fabric options (not two colors of the same fabric.)
Exclusively milled for us in Japan, in limited batches.
a) MFSC Indigo denim twill: Dark Indigo warp x dark Indigo weft, 100% selvedge Cotton, 12.4 Oz., Solid white selvedge ID. A very rich dark indigo color, with purple hues, in and out.
b) MFSC Desert denim twill: Natural warp x White weft, 100% selvedge Cotton, 12.8 Oz., Solid white selvedge ID. This is not your typical off white twill. This fabric has a lot of texture, character, ring and slub.

* Higher type rise, early work pants type silhouette.
* Selvedge outer seam.
* 100% cotton natural color sail cloth pocket bags and seat lining.
* Gun metal color donut button fly. Double button waist band closure and inner waist tab.
* Cinch back strap and selvedge gusset. NOS metal sharp prong buckle (we have sadly run out of our stock of these, so this is one of the last time we use them for production)
* Five wide belt loops, unbalanced positioning.
* Original pattern single back pocket. The pocket ‘bell shape’ and specific selvedge construction allows storage for larger items.
* Flat felled inseam and seat construction.
* Copper riveted back pocket and back strap.
* 100% cotton tonal stitching.
PACKAGING: For the USA, the GUNSLINGER’S come in an old school cardboard box with original MF artwork. This sturdy box can be used for storage of small items, please re-use.
Both denim options come RAW (un-washed). Both fabrics are un-sanforized and will shrink down to the same fit after several wash/soak/dry cycles.
The Desert denim (natural) shrinks ‘faster’ than the Indigo denim. I recommend doing an original cold soak and hung dry. See how it fits and take it from there. With rinsing/wearing, the fabrics will shrink/stretch back and forth for a while and settle eventually.
Because of the back gusset, the waist can expand 1 ¾ inch when the back strap is not cinched, quite useful around Turkey Day. The measurements on the chart below are done with the gusset opened, with more shrinkage to come.
I am about a true 31 waist, and wear a waist 30 in those. I have only done an original cold soak/no agitation/line dry with both pair, so there is some more shrinkage to come. The indigo pair looks a bit wider than the natural pair, but I’ll wait until a wash is really needed.
Do not just wash your indigo gunslinger’s in hope of fading them faster, wear them instead.

Click on chart below for measurements of the INDIGO Gunslinger’s (the measurements are similar for the Desert version):

MFSC Indigo Gunslinger Pantaloons sizing chart

: Because of the nature of the double indigo dyed yarn, bleeding is expected with the INDIGO denim twill, on BOTH sides of the fabric. You WILL get some color rubbing on other garments and body, legs and Tony Montana type sofas alike. The bleeding stops overtime after normal wear/wash, and overtime, your gunslinger’s will get an amazing patina inside AND out.

Garment designed and manufactured in California, USA by Mister Freedom® in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co (MFSC). Limited Edition

Available RAW/Unwashed
Waist 28 x L36
Waist 30 x L36
Waist 32 x L36
Waist 34 x L36
Waist 36 x L36
Waist 38 x L36
Retail $379.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.com and from our brick & mortar store. Mail sales@misterfreedom.com with questions not answered above. We ship internationally.

Much obliged for your support.

Recommended reading and viewing:
* “The West“, a 1996 Stephen Ives/Ken Burns documentary
* “Jeans of the Old West” by Michael Harris
* “Saloons, Bars and Cigar Stores” by Roger E Kinslingbury
* DenimBro denim workwear research interactive forum


Mister Freedom ® x Sugar Cane original “seven pocket” jeans: Ride ’em home in September 2009…

(This original garment is part of the Mister Freeddom® x Sugar Cane FALL 2009 collaboration “MFSC Speed-Safe Clothing for Modern Riders”. Starting late September 2009, it will be available at the MISTER FREEDOM ® store in Los Angeles, and other select retail stores worldwide.)

MFSC ghost rider…


My MFSC 7161md, riding a 1937 “Derby” cruiser.

After a quick cold soak, worn to shape, it was left hanging last night. This morning, bored, it decided to go for a spin. I said “Keep the rubber down and be back for lunch, pal…”