|Close-up of the pocket
For the last several weeks, I had been obsessing over a new pair of jeans I spotted. The jean in question was the new Tellason (@Tellason) in 14.75-ounce sanforized denim. I had never tried on a pair, but when I was at the Woodlands (@WoodlandsNW), I saw the rich blue color in this denim, I had a feeling that I’d be back.
After wearing a 17-ounce pair of unsanforized (shrink-to-fit) Japanese selvage jeans, it was a big change to move to these relatively lighter-weight jeans. The denim comes from Cone Mill’s White Oak facility in Greensboro, N.C., and is different from anything I’ve seen Tellason use before. Weighing in at just under 15 ounces, this denim is substantial without being overpowering.
The biggest difference to me was that this denim felt significantly softer than what I have become accustomed to. I wanted to know why, so I asked the fine people at Tellason; they told me that they prefer to work with lower-starch, raw denim as a matter of personal preference. I have to say that it’s nice wearing a low-starch denim because it breathes better and doesn’t leave the backs of my legs feeling like a wolf got a hold of me.
|The selvage I.D. and chainsitch
For anyone out there afraid that the lack of starch means there won’t be honeycombs, I can tell you that your fears are probably misguided. I’ve been wearing these things for about a week, and already, I have some pretty significant creasing happening across the lap and behind the knees. i’d be willing to speculate that these jeans will get some nice, high-contrast fades due to the initial depth of color that they have before wearing.
I also expect to see some good vertical falling on these jeans. When looking at the thighs, the moderate variation of yarn-thickness in both the warp and weft will likely result in great character as these age. I also particularly like the classic appeal of the red-line selvage I.D., as seen to the right.
There are a couple details that I particularly like in Tellason’s construction. First, they use a two-color double-locking chainstitch in their hem. From the inside of the hem, the stitch is blue, and from the outside, the stitch is orange. When cuffing the jean, the blue chainstitch is understated, but when leaving it uncuffed, the appearance is completely traditional. Also, Tellason half-lines the back pockets and uses a substantial white twill fabric for its pocket bags.
Unlike many jeanmakers, Tellason doesn’t use hidden rivets to reinforce the back pockets, opting for bartacking the pockets instead. The hidden rivet was introduced by Levi’s in 1937, replacing the previously exposed rivets that had been found on earlier models of the 501. Because hidden rivets have a tendency to break through the fabric, Levi’s switched to using dark-colored bartacking (a heavy stitch across the top corners of the back pockets) in the 1960s.
Lastly, I can’t get away with mentioning the custom leather patch on these jeans. Tanner Goods (@TannerGoods) did a beautiful job creating the patch on the back of the jean. If prior experience with Tanner’s belts and leather accessories has taught me anything, I can assume that this patch will also age quite nicely.
The tag is left unstitched around the sides, allowing the wearer to put the belt under the patch instead of over it. I remember having jeans like this as a kid, but there seemed to be a period where this was impossible to find. I’m glad to see Tellason and the Woodlands working together to bring this feature back on my limited-edition pair. It’s a detail that you can decide to use or ignore, but at least it’s a choice; I personally like it.
The buying decision:
The only part that was hard in the decision was that I have a trip planned for San Francisco with my wife at the end of the year, and I had previously been thinking of getting a new pair at Self Edge (@selfedge). Knowing that there are only so many hours in a day to break in a new pair, I couldn’t justify buying two pair, so I had to decide what to do.
That said, I eventually decided that I should at least try on the Tellasons before heading to San Francisco, so I went back to the Woodlands and tried on two of their three fits. The John Graham Mellor is a straight-cut with a narrower leg, and the Ankara is a wider-leg cut. Both cuts are mid-rise and seem vintage-inspired, though slightly updated. I settled on the Ankara because I have narrower-leg options in my wardrobe already, including the Strike Golds that I in a previous blog entry.
I’m really glad I went with these jeans because they are simple, classic, and well-constructed. I’m looking forward to seeing how they break in.
Additional photos, including initial fit: Tellason Ankara, Limited Edition