lee jeans longjohnVintage Lee 101Z Jeans From Late 1940’s

This pair of vintage Lee jeans is from the late 1940’s, early 1950’s. I purchased this jeans a few months ago. The jeans belonged to an American who passed away and lived in Wisconsin, USA. When he died his friend was cleaning his barn and find a pile with Lee jeans. It seems that he kept all his old pairs, which were all Lee jeans. The pile of jeans reflected the denim history of the man. You saw the waistsizes were going up as the man became older, so his waist grow over time. This particular pair was the oldest in the pile. The man was a true Lee fan. Or it can also be that it was the only brand available in his area.

True American Blue Jeans

This pair is a true American vintage jeans. It has a beautiful natural worn blue fading. These kind of jeans are collectors items and hard to find nowadays. Especially Lee jeans with the center waistband labels, like this one.

The jeans shows characteristic features as Union Made red/gold/black label, Lee top Riders button and Gripper zipper at the closure, flat Lee rivets, twisted legs, inside single selvedge, X-reinforcement at the backpockets and an original leather twitch label. It’s made of left hand fabric which became extremely soft over time. The jeans is now part of my private denim collection.

Details Of The Jeans

lee 101z longjohn

lee 101z longjohn

lee 101z longjohn

lee 101z longjohn

The Union Made red/gold/black center waistband label.

lee 101z longjohn

Top Lee Riders button.

lee 101z longjohn

Gripper zipper (without the puller). Lee Jeans made the world’s first zip fly jeans in 1926.

lee 101z longjohn

Coin (or watch) pocket.

lee 101z longjohn

Flat Lee rivets.

lee 101z longjohn

The stitches on the closure shows that the jeans has a zipper instead of buttons.

lee 101z longjohn

Vintage natural worn look. Note the twisted legs. You can also see that the jeans were too long, as you see marks on the jeans that they were worn with turn-ups.

lee 101z longjohn

Twisted leg. As the jeans is made of left hand fabric the legs twist to the left. If the jeans was made of right hand fabric, they would twist to the right. You see this at vintage Levi’s jeans.

lee 101z longjohn

Three different colours of thread are coming together.

lee 101z longjohn

Selvedge on the insde of the jeans. It’s a half selvedge, also known as single selvedge. The hem is chain stitched.

lee 101z longjohn

Backside of the jeans. Note that the pockets are more positioned to the sides on the jeans. They did this because these jeans were made for cowboys, and while sitting on their horse it was more comfortable when the pockets were placed like this. It made it also more easier to grab something out of your pockets while riding your horse.

lee 101z longjohn

Yellow stitches are coming together.

lee 101z longjohn

Nice blue natural fadings on the back of the jeans.

lee 101z longjohn

In 1944 Lee Jeans introduced the Lazy S back pocket stitching. The stitches on both pockets resemble the shape of the famous long horns. The early versions of the backpocket stitching are all different and shows the operator skills behind each sewing machine.

If you look closely you can see that the wearer storaged his wallet inside the right backpocket.

lee 101z longjohn

The left backpocket. Long horn stitch has a different shape than the right one.

lee 101z longjohn

After intense wear the stitching on the backpocket will fade away.

lee 101z longjohn

The backpockets are reinforced with X-stitches. They used these stitches so it could’t scratch the leather saddles from the cowboys.

lee 101z longjohn

Error in the fabric. Nowadays jeans with this kind of errors are sold as seconds, or not leaving the factory. In my opinion these kind of errors are making the jeans more special. It also shows that the fabric was woven on an authentic shuttle loom which gave irregularities. That’s the beauty of vintage jeans.

lee 101z longjohn

The leather twitch patch is still on the jeans. The twitch label symbolize a steer’s twitch, as it was directly hot pressed on the hide. The label on the backpocket shows only Lee. During the 1960’s they added the R, Registration, and during the 1970’s they also added the MR for Mark Registration.

www.leejeans.com

Read also the article about an original vintage Lee Cowboys jeans from the 1940’s here.

Written by Wouter
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine I'm working as a freelance marketing specialist for brands and retail. Specialized in denim.