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.

FABRIC:
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.

SPECS:
* 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.

SIZING/FIT:
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.

CARE:
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.
Sizes
28
30
32
34
36
38

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®
©2019

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

 

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

The latest “might-have-been” we are adding to the Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co mfsc Surplus catalog – our on-going collection of made-in Japan classics á la MF® – is the “McKARSTEN” jacket. 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.)

Our original pattern morphs several ill-fitting period garments into one wearable and  contemporary piece with a vintage turn-of-the-century Old World vibe. The body of the McKarsten was inspired by a 1940’s medical field work cotton jacket made by “Nostrand Uniform Co“. The pockets were lifted from a 1930’s “TEST” chin-strap railroad jacket, aka chore coat or engineer jacket. The McKarsten features front panels with rounded bottom, cut longer than the split-back panel, and four patch pockets.

Vintage inspiration of the SS2019 Mister Freedom® McKarsten jacket.

This hybrid garment mixes utilitarian early workwear and old-fashion uniform tailoring. The removable “ring” buttons (or shank buttons) are characteristic of 1920’s-30’s uniforms, but also denim railroad jacket styles, much sought-after by vintage hunters today.

We had our version of these shank buttons custom-manufactured by our friends at Sugar Cane Co, using an obsolete pattern registered in 1913, featuring an octogonal-shaped back and a brass shell cap with original MF® branding. Removable buttons, often found on wool military tunics and work uniforms, were un-clipped and detached when the garment required cleaning. For military inspection, the metal buttons could be polished separately.
Besides the complicated construction of the garment button placket itself (look behind that attractive curved single stitch line around the collar, on the button eyelet hole side), the requirement of an eyelet-stitch machine for the manufacturer, buttons or rings would at times get lost. This fastening system proved quite impractical over time and was mostly abandoned by the 1950’s. Shank “ring” buttons are today a telltale of a desirable piece of costume history for the vintage clothing aficionado.

For the DIY-inclined, one can be creative, play around with colors and spray-paint our MF® brass buttons. Soaking them overnight in vinegar might hasten aging, but, with a bit of patience and wear, the brass buttons will naturally acquire an attractive patina overtime.

Examples of DIY spray-painted original Mister Freedom® “ring” buttons for the McKarsten jacket ©2019

The stand-collar or “cadet collar” pattern allows buttoning the McKarsten all the way up, for the “James Bond villain” meets Jawaharlal Nehru look. For a more relaxed demeanor, the collar can be folded into traditional coat lapels, with a high-button front jacket look.

We are realizing the McKARSTEN in two distinctive fabrics. One is a 10 Oz. HBT indigo denim. This fabric is what happens if you mill traditional indigo-dyed warp yarns and natural color weft yarns, into a woven herringbone twill pattern.
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, selvedge. 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. The fabric drape and dry hand is typical of high-content linen métis.

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

FABRIC:
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.)

SPECS:
* An original MF® pattern inspired by vintage early denim work chore coats (aka engineer jackets), early work uniform cotton jackets, and Old World tailoring.
* Stand-collar (“cadet collar”) type, foldable into traditional coat lapels, for a high-button jacket look.
* Removable “ring” (shank) buttons, secured by a metal ring through an eyelet.
* Original MF®-branded brass buttons, 1920’s style.
* Concealed indigo poplin facing for patch pockets, and for button eyelets panel placket.
* Four front patch pockets, featuring a traditional railroad jacket “pocket watch” compartment and pen slot combo.
* Uniform-style form-fitting rear panel pattern.
* Early tailoring style off-set shoulder yoke.
* Contrast stitching for the HBT denim option, tonal stitching for the indigo métis.
* Original mfsc SURPLUS woven label.
* Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
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. The subtle variation of shrinkage between body fabric/indigo poplin facing/cotton thread will result in puckering and roping, slightly altering the fit and drape.

The indigo métis version appears to be cut more generously than the HBT denim option, due to the lighter-weight fabric and totally different drape. Additionally, the métis loosely-woven fabric tends to naturally stretch back after the initial shrinkage.

I personally opted for a Size 38 in the HBT denim version, my usual size in mfsc jackets. The fit is quite comfortable, giving room for further potential shrinkage, when the garment will have to be fully laundered, and to minimal layering.
I went for a Size 36 in the indigo métis, as the 38 felt too roomy for my preference, especially after the mechanical stretch following a bit of wear. The arm opening of the 36 is snug but not uncomfortable when worn with a light shirt underneath.
When considering the length of the McKarsten, please note that the front panels are cut longer than the back panel, a characteristic of this early workwear jacket pattern. 

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.

McKarsten HBT Denim

McKarsten Indigo Metis

CARE:
We recommend removing the front brass buttons before cleaning (not the tack buttons of the sleeves!), to avoid potential snagging. When needed, machine wash the MF® McKARSTEN on DELICATE, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Hang dry.
Wash separately to avoid color transfer to light-color garments. Turn the McKARSTEN jacket inside-out to avoid potential marbling of the indigo fabric.
Full wash cycle and heat dryer are not recommended and could damage the garment.

Sizes:
Small (36)
Medium (38)
Large (40)
X-Large (42)
XX-Large (44)

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®
©2019