Utility Jacket, Denim.
“Saigon Cowboy” mfsc Spring 2015
I must fully credit the US Army for the design on this number. The overall pattern of the MF® ‘Utility Jacket, Denim‘ is lifted from a first issue HBT M1941 utility jacket. In 1941, this olive drab HBT short work jacket had replaced the blue denim work uniform. It appears the R&D labs had picked up a bit of influence from civvy work clothes with this specific GI garment, very much resembling a pair of mechanic coveralls chopped in half.
We pretty much stuck to the original pattern, but what we didn’t lift is the awkward oversized original army fit. Some of you who have tried on vintage ones will relate. The HBT M1941 jacket was to be worn as an outer protective layer while on chore duty, rendering it about as flattering as a pair of coveralls. Unless you’re Veronica Lake.
Speaking of curves, some of my favorite features on this jacket are the attractive lapel line curve, and the armpit gusset construction. I don’t often take photo of my armpits, but next time I do, I’m wearing this jacket.
Veronica Lake in M1938 coveralls (1943)
There is a well-documented mention in the “United States Marine Corps. Uniforms, Insignia and Personal Items of World War II” book (ISBN:0-7643-2264-8) of a custom theater-made USMC jacket based on that M1941 pattern, cut from a recycled frogskin shelter half:
” …some enterprising Seabee might have set up shop and sold/traded such camo sets to anyone who so wanted one, that is, as long as materials lasted!“
Such historical anecdotes (or plausible story in this case) tend to spark all kinds of ideas when designing clothes, which beats staring at what the other guys are doing for “inspiration“.
Now the fabric… If the Army went from blue denim to OD HBT as the cloth of choice for their utilities sometime in the late 1930’s, we figured we’d go back to denim for our jacket. I always had a thing for the lightweight 2×1 denim of the 40’s-50’s US Army barrack bags. Who doesn’t like those old stenciled WW2 beat up ones. Some 10 years ago, I was lucky to come across a stack of about 80, gathering dust in an old military surplus storage, outside Paris, France. Talk about custom markings inspiration.
Through our Sugar Cane Co friends, we managed to have some selvedge denim woven to the specs of an original un-issued bag part of that loot that we had kept in the archives. The Japanese mills did a great job. Spot on NOS military denim color face and reverse, slight nep (woven ‘imperfections’ in the form of tiny whitish cotton balls), stiff, dry and crispy. Perfect for our lightweight jacket.
Vintage M1941and barrack bag inspiration
GI Mule Skinners (1944) Courtesy Sam Cox
US Army line-up (1943) (M1941 on right)
For the geographic requirement of our “Saigon Cowboy” collection, we took Mr. Glenn‘s Seabee bit from the Canal to the ‘Nam.
We had mentioned CISO declassified true story in a previous post, its logistics role in the Vietnam war and how custom gear was manufactured on Okinawa in the 1960’s to outfit US personnel en route to Vietnamese jungles or other across the fence places…
As a ‘work’ garment, our jacket looks quite subtle from the outside. We opted for black-painted ‘burst of Glory’ type metal buttons, black color cotton thread tonal stitching, and a skillfully orchestrated selvedge galore on the inside… That’s if you can take your eyes off the attractive armpits.
The “Utility Jacket, Denim” is (re)designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
10 Oz. indigo-dyed 2×1 denim, solid white ID selvedge. Milled in Japan.
* Revisited pattern of the US Army M1941 Utility jacket.
* Waist length.
* Side cinch straps, mil-specs metal sliders.
* Selvedge waistband, chest pocket fold and inner pocket.
* ‘Bat sleeve’ pattern with gusset for arm hole comfort.
* Expanding box pleat chest pockets.
* Inner chest pocket.
* ‘Burst of Glory’ type metal buttons, painted black.
* Adjustable cuffs.
* Chainstitch construction, black 100% cotton thread.
* mfsc ‘tailleur‘ woven label on the inside waistband.
* Made in Japan.
Our “Utility Jacket, Denim” comes raw/un-rinsed and will shrink to tagged size after a rinse/dry process.
We recommend an initial cold soak, spin dry and line dry.
I had to SIZE DOWN on this one, and opted for a SMALL, preferring the fit on me over a MEDIUM that looked too big.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements reflecting a 30mn cold soak, no agitation, light machine dry.
CARE: Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
Available RAW/unwashed SIZES:
“Supplément Canal Plus” 14Dec 2014. Is Michel Rocard the King of Denim in Los Angeles?
These dirty clothes were not worn by Michel Rocard.
I know what you’re asking…. Is Michel Rocard the real king of denim in Los Angeles??!
Right? That’s what I thought. But, be your own judge.
And let us know what you think after watching Dec14 2014 episode of “Le Supplément de Canal+“, a popular French TV show hosted by Maïtena Biraben, featuring a main political personality each week and punctuated by several short docs (from roasts to current affairs.)
Should you be well-versed in the french language, you will enjoy the entire show:
Many thanks to Canal+, producer Maïtena Biraben and journalist Marc Beaugé for the consideration, field reporter Camille Girerd and journalist/cameraman Guillaume Cauchois for their kindness, hard work and professionalism and energy.
Extended gratitude to comrades and historians Mike Harris and Russ and Charla, Tina Wakino from “Bazar” in Venice… and Lady Luck!
The trained ear will recognize the rockin’ sounds of Mr JD McPherson spicing things up during the documentary.
Mike Harris showing recent finds, before heading out to the unknown…
At the first gas station stop, Tina “Eagle Eye” Wakino was already on to something. H&M Spring 2013?
Now if I could just remember where I buried that thing…
It’s no Club Med for Canal+ reporters Camille Girerd and Guillaume Birot taking 5
Big John, Big John… Big Bad John!! Is it lunch time yet?
Let us know when you reach China.
Whaaa?… a Levi’s paper ticket from 1576? Go dig some more, son
Canal Plus has a free smartphone app that works great for US viewers to download or replay shows, available here.
Thank you for watching 🙂
SEPT 2016 UPDATE:
The show is not streamable anymore, but here is a screen capture done at the time of airing. Sorry about poor image quality and sound.
For those of you who wonder if we have come up with any bottoms for the Fall chapter of our “Sea Hunt” collection, one of the answer is right here.
We called in the USAF to the rescue on this one, and freely borrowed from a New Old Stock pair of 1957 -brace yourselves it’s a mouthful- “TROUSERS, UTILITY, COTTON, SAGE GREEN, CLASS 2, HEMMED BOTTOMS, SHADE 509”. Issued to Air Force mechanics in the mid 1950’s those original sage green sateen “grease monkey” britches featured front pleats and side tool pockets, but are mostly immediately recognizable by their long cinch-waist adjusting tabs.
We have adapted the pattern and features of the vintage military work pants for our ‘Mechanic Utility Trousers’. If we kept the cool side tabs, off went the front pleats and side tool pockets. Instead we re-positioned a single extra pocket along the inseam of the left leg. It is ‘sandwiched’ in the flat felled seam and is located at mid-calf, not lower as our previous flight suit-inspired ankle pockets originally introduced in 2008 with the N1-K Deck Pants.
The back of the calf might seem like an unlikely location for a pocket, but it will be quite convenient for the many of us who fly jets daily.
Think about it next time you sit in the cockpit of your X-13 VertiJet. And let us know how easy we have made it for you to access your iPod playlists after take-off. We’re thoughtful like that.
Back to our Mechanics Trousers…
The side snap tabs will allow for quick cinched waist release, a special Thanks Giving feature.
The fabric we opted for is our original indigo ‘Cavalry twill’, previously introduced with our numéro deuxMap Shirt.
This denim-like double twill is 9.7 oz. and features a solid white selvedge. In its unwashed state, this fabric appears to be dark blue-grey, but the warp yarn is actually indigo-dyed. After an initial cold soak, natural wear will bring out the indigo blue color over time.
The rear pockets appear to be lelt-hand twill denim, but are in fact only displaying the fabric horizontally, not vertically as the rest of the trousers. The fabric selvedge is folded inside the pocket, and is showing on the hem.
After the initial cold soak and line dry, the back pockets will shrink and torque slightly differently than the body. This is visible from the resulting subtle wrinkles. This is not a default but the specific character of our Mechanics Trousers rear pockets.
The ‘Cavalry Twill’ Mechanics Utility Trousers are designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co. Fabric milled in Japan.
FABRIC: 100% cotton indigo ‘Cavalry twill’, 9.7 oz., solid white selvedge ID. Milled in Japan.
* Pattern freely inspired by 1950’s USAF mechanics utility trousers.
* Patch front pockets.
* Single inner calf pocket.
* Button fly.
* Corrozo wood buttons, golden brown.
* Waist snap adjusting tabs.
* Rear patch pockets, single flap.
* Concealed selvedge on rear pocket folded hem.
* Cotton USN-type chambray button-fly facing and snap backing.
* Flat-felled seam construction.
* 100% cotton thread, tonal.
* Made in Japan.
The mechanic trousers come raw/unwashed and will ‘technically’ shrink to tagged size. I opted for an original cold soak/line dry, which resulted in minimal shrinkage. I personally never use hot water/heat dryer for denim garments, which guaranties full shrinkage but also loss of color and excessive softening, in my opinion.
If you are opting for the cold soak/line dry, I recommend sizing down on these. I am usually a 32 in msfc bottoms, but went for a size 30, as I had done with the Spring 2014 Crew Pants.
I might hem them later, but decided to wear them with a fat cuff for a while.
The leg is still quite generous with a 30, and these are definitely not slim fitting, limiting the target audience to about 12 people Worlwide.
Again, maximum shrinkage to be expected with the use of hot water and heat dryer, although this is NOT recommended, as unnecessary loss of indigo dye and unattractive color marbling might occur.
This indigo cavalry twill fabric should be treated like premium indigo denim, as it will bleed, shrink/stretch, and fade with normal wear and subsequent washing.
When needed, hand wash in cold water with mild detergent and line dry.
Pleased see size chart for measurements. Please note that, for your reference, we have shrink-tested two waist 32. One cold-soak/line-dry for minimal shrinkage, and one cold-soak/heat-dry for further shrinkage.
Here is numéro trois in our Map Shirt trilogy, its pattern as always inspired by the M1953 Utility Shirt issued to the Marine Corps in the 1950’s. For those feeling we have sufficiently milked that cow, knowing this is the final addition will come as a relief.
Having reached my batrachian-related joke quota I will respectfully mention that “MN” refers to “Marine Nationale“, aka the French Navy.
Sometime in the 1960’s, denim twill dungarees replaced the set of linen work clothes originally issued to French seaman recruits. These linen work tops and bottoms came in both white and bleu chiné. Our Spring 2014 Crew Pants, the “MN” model in cotton/linen, was a reference to that heather blue 1950’s version the cols bleus (the “blue collars”, aka the men with the red pompom) had in their sea bag.
Vintage “Marine Nationale” linen work uniforms
The cotton denim the French opted for as the replacement fabric for the work uniform in the 1960’s was in no way comparable to its dark indigo blue US Navy dungaree counterpart. It was much lighter in color. The warp had a definite purplish tone. The weft gave an almost solid white aspect to the reverse side of the denim.
I have to admit that I was not a big fan of that denim when the French Government decided to tell me what to wear in the mid 1980’s. Mostly embracing American culture courtesy of Hollywood at the time, sporting denim shorts (the summer issue of the work pants) and leather Hoh-Chi-Minh sandals, was quite the brutal departure from “The Wild One”, in my eyes. For years, I relegated that tenue n°105bis to squaresville. Until…
This denim eventually grew on me, as its own thing with its own History, to the point where it was no longer a pale version of something else.
Still referred to as bleu chiné in Naval circles, the contemporary Marine Nationale version of this work-clothes fabric is today made of a 65% poly and 35% cotton blend.
My fondness is limited to its earlier 100% cotton version.
The textile experts at Sugar Cane Co did an amazing job at instructing their factory in milling this “MN denim twill” from the authentic vintage swatches we had supplied. To be honest, the first fabric sample roll lacked the purplish hue and was too grey, but this production batch is spot on!
We chose to have it milled on shuttle looms, a costly process, opting for a solid white selvedge ID.
The result is an exclusive mfsc 9.4 oz. denim twill I am quite found of and proud to introduce for our “Sea Hunt” Fall 2014 chapter.
In our “Map Shirt” grouping, the pattern for the “MN” issue is shared with its “Cavalry Twill” sister, displaying the twill fabric selvedge on the front panel fold and on the button hole placket (only visible on the inside of the shirt).
For the batrachian-inclined, the frog skin version of our Map Shirt is discussed here and available there.
The “MN” Map Shirt is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.
Fabric milled in Japan.
9.4 oz. denim twill, 100% cotton, solid white selvedge ID.
* Pattern inspired my 1950’s UMSC-issued utility shirts.
* Comfortable over-shirt fit.
* USN-type chambray accents (collar facing, wrist gussets, pocket flap facing, inside pockets)
* Two chest pockets with flap closure.
* Concealed button front closure.
* Selvedge button hole placket and front panel fold.
* One large map inside pocket, side opening.
* One concealed chest pocket, top opening.
* White corozo buttons (these buttons are wood, NOT plastic).
* Side slits.
* Flat-felled seam construction.
* Tonal 100% cotton thread stitching.
* Made in Japan.
This garment comes raw/unwashed and will shrink to tagged size after an original cold soak/line dry.
I soak mine, spun dry and wore it damp to shape it. It fully dried on a hanger overnight and was crispy and ready to wear in the morning. Do not be alarmed if the fabric wrinkles, this is normal and not a defect.
Our Map Shirt is intended to be quite a comfortable fitting garment, easy to wear over a chambray shirt, a Tshirt… If you are a Medium in mfsc jackets/shirts, you are a Medium in the “MN” Map Shirt.
Maximum shrinkage to be expected with the use of hot water and heat dryer, but is NOT recommended, as unnecessary loss of color and unattractive marbling will occur.
This “MN” denim twill will eventually fade a bit with normal wear and subsequent washing, but the contrasts will not be as gratifying as the honeycomb-obsessed dream about.
When cleaning is required, we recommend hand washing in cold water with mild detergent and line dry.
Please refer to sizing chart for raw/rinsed measurements.
Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL
‘Californian’ Blue Jeans, Lot.64 Okinawa issue Fall 2014 ‘The Sportsman’ Catalog
Some of you might already be familiar with the Mister Freedom® five-pocket blue jeans called the “Californian”…
Now part of the Sportsman catalog, its several reiterations so far have been as follows:
* Californian Lot.54 (NOS Cone denim), Spring 2010.
* Californian Lot.44 (Assorted NOS denim), Fall 2011.
* Californian Lot.64 (SC1966 denim), Fall 2013.
* Californian Lot.64US (SC1966 denim, Uncle Sam edition), Spring 2014.
This will come as disappointing news to Tony Manero expecting a Lot.74 with an elegant 14-inch flare, but up next is yet another straight leg Lot.64…
“Yes Tony we do lay-away. As long as it doesn’t turn into a ten-year mortgage”
So what’s new you’re saying? Well, if the cut and fit stay unchanged compared to previous Lot.64s, a traditional 1950’s era-type blue jeans with a 1960′s twist, we made this Californian with a 14 Oz. left-hand twill indigo denim referred to as “Okinawa 301”. Milled in Japan from a blend of 50% Okinawan recycled sugar cane fibers and 50% cotton, this narrow loom denim has been a Mister Freedom® favorite for some time.
In its 14 Oz. version, this “Okinawa 301” denim was featured in our 2013 Vaquero Jeans and Loco jacket… all the way down to the 2008 denim Utility Peacoat of our pre-iPhone days.
Serendipity dictated that the island of Okinawa was, in the 1950’s, the temporary home of US advisors en route to the Laotian border and other relaxing retreats around the Vietnamese countryside…
We imagined some members of this Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) had some locally-made five pocket jeans while training or transiting on Okinawa, using left-over surplus stocks of fabrics. Locally-loomed indigo denim, with HBT cotton “Duck Hunter” M1942 reversible camo aka “Frogskin” for pocketing. The hardware was also locally sourced from surplus stocks, such as the black painted “13 stars” or “Burst of Glory” tack buttons typical of US military WW2 utility/work uniforms.
Our choice of un-marked labeling is a reference to ‘sterile’ clothing worn by advisors/Special Forces, when on “over the fence” operations, in places where they were not officially supposed to venture. As in, you get caught you’re on your own…
There is no visible branding/marking on our Californian Lot.64 Okinawa, in an effort to ‘sterilize’ them and their provenance. Besides sizing, both cloth and natural cowhide leather patch are left blank. So, not your typical billboard.
We couldn’t help sticking a “Made in USA” tag on the inside waistband however, rendering the entire spill above slightly incoherent, thanks for noticing.
If you’re thinking “That’s right there sweet Charly, SF wore blue jeans on black ops in ‘Nam! Haha ya numbnuts”, see food for thought below, courtesy of Seal Team 1, Juliet Platoon, 1970.
Seals Team1, Juliet Platoon, 1970 (Photo Credit goes to the shadow at 07:00)
But as usual, let’s not let History get in the way of a good story and move on.
The Californian Lot.64 “Okinawa” are designed and made in Los Angeles, California, by Mister Freedom® in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co, from fabrics loomed in Japan.
Note: Some of the product photos are featuring a worn pair of Californian Lot.64 “Okinawa” (rinsed twice over a 7 months period), in order to show potential denim evolution and natural wear. These photos are not intended to deceive one into thinking we offer factory-distressed garments. Mister Freedom® original denim goods are still only available UN-WASHED/RAW from us.
Original Mister Freedom® pattern, inspired by traditional 1950′s era blue jeans with a 1960’s twist. Silhouette inspired by vintage fits and old photos, BRMC meets Beatniks. Traditional mid-rise with straight slightly tapered leg.
“Okinawa 301”, a 14 Oz. left-hand twill indigo denim, white with green line selvedge ID. Milled in Japan on narrow shuttle looms, from a blend of 50% Okinawan recycled sugar cane fibers and 50% cotton.
POCKETING HBT cotton “Duck Hunter” M1942 reversible camo aka “Frogskin”, milled in Japan for Buzz Rickson’s. We were told it accidentally fell off the truck, courtesy of Sgt. Ernie Bilko.
* Classic five-pocket design, button fly, selvedge leg seams,…
* Original “M” stitch design
* Unmarked/un-branded cowhide leather patch and cloth patch.
* M1942 ‘frogskin’ camo pocket bags, alternate visible jungle/beach pattern.
* Hidden back pocket rivets with top pocket reinforcement zig-zag stitching.
* Fully lined back pocket with M1942 ‘frogskin’ camo.
* Coin pocket with concealed selvedge.
* All cotton thread Olive Drab color, assorted gauge combination.
* Selvedge button hole flap (yes, it’s under the overlock)
* Flat black-painted Metal “13 Stars” tack waist button (paint will chip off)
* Flat black-painted donut-type fly buttons.
*Unmarked copper riveting for reinforcement.
* Made in USA
The Californian Lot.64 “Okinawa” comes UN-WASHED and “oversized” so that the actual measurements will approximately match the labeling AFTER an original cold soak/line dry.
Example: A tagged W32 x L34 “Californian” actually measures about 33” x 36” before wash. They will shrink to approx. 32” x 34” after rinse/dry.
Which size works for you depends on how you like your jeans to fit. I wear a comfortable waist 32 in the Lot.64
We recommend getting your usual waist size, although proper fit is a subjective matter and everyone has their own idea of what looks good.
As with all denim twill, shrinkage and stretching will occur for a while and will depend on the wearer’s body, activities and initial fit.
Please refer to sizing chart for approximate raw/rinsed measurements. Please note that in our case, ‘rinsed’ means a 30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry (ie minimal shrinkage).
W28 x L32 and L32
W29 x L32 and L32
W30 x L32 and L32
W31 x L32 and L32
W32 x L32 and L34
W33 x L32 and L34
W34 x L32 and L34
W36 x L32 and L34
W38 x L32 and L34 Retail $329.95
Available on www.misterfreedom.com.
Please email email@example.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered in the above ramblings.
Thank you for your support as always.