Levi’s vintage 501 1947 – how to buy a pair and personalize it.


Those of you who know me,  understand my love affair with DENIM!  I have dozens of pairs and often seek special jeans to add to my collection.  My most recent add was a pair of rigid / selvedge five-pocket 501 1947 blues, considered by many to be the definitive five-pocket 501®.   These 1947 blues are made of red selvedge from the legendary Cone Denim® in North Carolina and feature concealed rivets, twin-needle arcuate and a single-stitched E red tab. These jeans are “shrink to fit”.   If you plan on washing yours, be aware that the waist will shrink 2″ (approx. one size) and 3″ in the length.  These jeans are made in the US of A!

I purchased my pair of 1947 501’s from the Union Square Levi’s store in SF … size 32 waist and length 36.  I planned on shrinking mine to fit my 30 inch waist.  Their tailor shop at Levi’s cut 3 inches of the hem chain stitched it so that the hem when shrunk would fit perfectly.  What is chain stitching you ask?  The biggest advantage of a chain stitched hem is the manner in which the fades occur along the hem line.  A chain stitch creates an alternate pull in both direction causes a pronounced roping effect to appear around the hem as it begins to fade. (particularly when the jeans began as raw, unsanforized denim and have been subject to a soak/shrink session.)

I began my shrink process as recommended on the tag attached to my jeans.  Here’s what it says … “Put on your jeans and climb into a bath full of warm water for at least 10 mins.  Drain the water away, squat down and squeeze the water out of the fabric.  Stand up and – if – possible let them dry natrually while still wearing them.  The jeans will mould to your body and retain your form for optimum fit …”

So that’s what I did and voila … the process works like a charm.  They shrunk just right and fit me like a glove!

Jeans getting a soak in warm water

After 20 minutes or so … the shrinkage sets in

The Levi’s flagship store in San Francisco

Levi’s rock!

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