Last Call For American Stretch

It didn’t work out. Last year, I told you how the nice people at Dearborn Denim managed to preserve their arrangement with Denim North America. Today, I got an email telling me that “DNA” had cancelled the arrangement. Dearborn has seven rolls of the fabric left; when they are sold, they will be purchasing from Cone Mills. You know, that Cone Mills. The ones who got moved to Mexico by their private-equity strip-and-sale.

If you want to try Dearborn before it’s too late, click here. You get ten bucks off, and I get ten bucks’ worth of credit towards my next Dearborn purchase. What’s next for the company? According to the email I received, they are going to work on creating their own denim in Chicago, “but it is at least a four year process.” Let’s hope they make it.

The last remaining denim mill in the United States is Mount Vernon Mills, which supplies LC King — but LC King pants are very traditional, stiff-then-shrink affairs. The Dearborn Stretch Denim was a different animal, very compatible with a bike-to-work or physical-labor lifestyle. I’ll miss it.

21 Replies to “Last Call For American Stretch”

  1. Gene

    Thanks for the heads up Jack. Bought a pair last month and wasn’t very excited about how stretchy and light weight they are but damn are they comfortable. Grabbed a pair with your code before they’re gone.

  2. dejal

    I never understood how people can buy clothes via mail order.
    I know you can send the stuff back.

    I do know I can try on a pair of pants from 2 different brands with theoretically the same waist and in seam and swear they are off by inches from each other.

    I’ve also had that happen with the same brand but different styles.

    • safe as milk

      agreed but once you know the size you can order replacements via the internet. that’s why i only buy levi 501s. i managed, thanks to jack, to get one pair on made in america levis before they stopped selling them. they are far better than the standard ones i usually order. they remind me of how good 501s used to be when i started wearing them 40 years ago. it will be a sad day when they wear out.

    • Don Curton


      I have to wear FRC’s to work (flame resistant clothing – nomex). I recently spent over an hour trying multiple different styles of Wrangler FRC blue jeans. I tried everything from a 34 to a 38 waist (I wear a 36 waist normally) and the difference was staggering. Half the 36″ jeans were too big, the other half too small. In one style, the 36 was way way too big and the 34 was too small. Unbelievable. Now that I found one pair that will fit, I guess I can try to mail order the same exact style and size, but at this point I don’t really care.

      How hard is it to make a 36 waist actually fit a 36″ waist?

      • rambo furum

        “I always wore 501 Levi’s. They used to make them in San Francisco. Every size was the same size, which sounds obvious, but you would be surprised—and then, I don’t know, at some point during globalization they started making them in Mexico, and like every other thing they branched out to places you’d never heard of. So now every single size of Levi’s is a different size. They cost less, too, which doesn’t make any sense. I wish that real estate were cheaper and clothes were more expensive.” — Fran Leibowitz, 2015

    • Shawn

      Just follow their sizing charts, and take some measurements. Companies are usually pretty good, about letting you know the type of fit as well.

      I’ve had no issues ordering clothing online, or motorcycle gear.

  3. Eric Daume

    I just got two pairs of these for Christmas after seeing Jack write about them. The stretchy blue denim is comfortable, but feels kind of odd if you’re expecting denim. It’s quite elastic feeling. But I really like the khaki, they’re 98% cottom, 2% spandex or lycra or something. A little rugged, a little comfy, a nice combo. I’m wearing them now. I may have to order another pair.

    I did have to size the waist up. I’m a loose fitting 32″ waist in all my other pants, but I had to get a 33″ to fit with Dearborn.

    • E. Bryant

      What is your actual waist size? Mine measures out to 36″, but a pair of Levis 541 in a 32″ waist sit just a bit loose.

      • Eric Daume

        I just measured myself at 33″, so I guess I have grown a size since high school. Credit to Dearborn, then, for sizing accurately.

  4. John

    As a retired small retailer, I too do my best to support small business. Sadly, while I liked the jeans and have moved them to the front of my rotation, hardly wearing any others in the closet. I am disappointed by the indifferent and apathetic customer service. The marketing and customer contact is spot on, with a warm feel and suggests careing approach to biz. The reality, for me at least was much less than that; not sure if any more of Dearborn’s product will hang in my closet. I wasn’t looking for replacements or free stufff, just an acknowledgement regarding a zipper issue that might be production related. I know its tough out there, but you have to reward the vendors who do there best to make you happy.

  5. DR Smith

    Actually, jack, it is the last call for America period. The Polar Vortex was the latest to call attention to our shortcomings as a country. Here in Michigan, GM, Ford, and FCA all suspended operations at their plants in SE Michigan due to the danger of power and gas outages. We already live in a 2nd world country, where like in India some of the big cities have rolling brown outs due to insufficient power supplies.

    It really is a joke how far the US has fallen. Props for this company trying to make a go of it, but when your own local, state and federal governments fight you all the way and do little to actual foster business or even the everyday well being of people, we are not far as some people like to think we are from being like Venezuela…..

    • jc

      I am still unable to understand the motivation behind those who want to eliminate wealth-producing activities from the USA. But you can hear it everywhere: “Oh, tariffs hurt [insert segment of people who actually support tariffs despite the short term pain they suffer, but whose comments to that effect are censored out]; oh, those jobs weren’t lost to overseas, they were lost to automation [never mind that the overseas factories are highly non-automated]; oh, you don’t need to manufacture anymore anyway, that’s the old economy [yeah, how long is it going to work to have 1% of the population as stock arbitrageurs and high end computer programmers, 10% of the population working at Wal-Mart selling the unemployed 89% of the population cheap consumer crap made overseas?]” and so on.

      It’s like they have a death wish for their own nation.

  6. RJ


    Totally off topic here in the denim section, but last year I bought a new mountain bike frame to replace my aging (2015) Intense Tracer (one of Steber’s last aluminum efforts from Temecula before they joined the Disney lemmings and shuffled over the cliff to carbon fiber Taiwan) from a company out of Denver called Guerrilla Gravity. I was taking a chance but it was made in America, and the paucity of reviews that existed were all pretty solid, so I commissioned a Shred Dogg (I know, but it goes with their music theme for naming) in a custom powder coat, specified every single part (King, Thomson, Industry 9, and a Colorado-made MRP Ribbon fork to keep it as USA as possible), and, when it arrived a few weeks later, I was totally impressed–the usual MTB litany of glorious welds (yep, stack of nickels, if not dimes), great paint, top-shelf components, etc., and the whole thing came in under about $6K, so, while not truly affordable, as a boutique bike in the day of $11K S works rides, I felt pretty good about it, and I’m supporting America.

    Fast forward to about a week ago–I’m on their emailing list now–when I receive the usual hyperbolic email about the HUGE updates (FUCKING AMAZING–no, not that bad, just couldn’t resist after your most recent post) for 2019, and I sat on the tarmac at DFW and skimmed over it. My heart sank–it seemed that yet another manufacturer that had crowed so loudly about their commitment to American manufacture had gone carbon, and thus overseas. I read a little more. My depression lifted. Succinctly, GG is now producing their bikes, in America, of American sourced carbon fiber This is, according to their website, new technology, etc., but it came to me that, with very few exceptions (none at all in cycling that I am aware of) this is one of the few manufacturers to commit to making anything with CF in the US (even the wheels for the GT350R are Australian, if I’m not mistaken). Archery has hung in there a little, although few companies are making bows or arrows in the US of US sourced carbon still (Gold Tip fled the building a few years ago, leaving only Victory and Beman for arrows that I’m aware of).

    So, one for the made in America files.

    Also, Bill’s Khakis are nice and they have sales that are pretty reasonable for basic decent sportswear made in USA.

    Further updates as events warrant….

  7. RJ

    Well, I can’t speak for the new carbon stuff, but I’m very pleased with the aluminum Shred Dogg I have–very comparable to my Intense (which up until now was the best ride I’ve had since I started on a steel Jamis in 1987), lively with a good trail feel, and the suspension is just right, with a very broad range of tunable features. Much better than my brief foray into carbon with an Evil, which was just sort of vague and dead. I hope they hang in there and maybe plow the way for some of the big guys to bring carbon back to the US.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Now that I’m in Michigan with access to ski lift trails I’m starting to seriously think about this.

  8. Eric L.

    I’ve been trying to replace my beloved Levi 505 stretches for a few months now. All the pairs I’ve bought have had terrible fit and finish problems, so they were promptly returned. The one pair I found that was correctly stitched has had a lot of cost-cutting measures taken to it, compared to the pairs I have from ~10 years ago.

    I ended up buying a pair from Dearborn with your code. Tailored-fit stretch denim, medium wash. It took almost a month to make it to me(!) and I was nervous about how clingy they are. After wearing them all day, they turned out to be surprisingly livable. The pockets aren’t as roomy as my go-to Levi 505 stretch denim–the Dearborn strains to hold my glorious Blackberry KeyOne–but I got loads of compliments.

    You wrote in your original post that their sizing was only slightly vain. Lemme tell you, it’s quite shocking going from a 32″ waist in most pants to this 32! They fit, but they’re much more… flattering than any of my other jeans. A 32″ in Gap necessitates a belt. 32″ in the Levis are fine, low on my hips. 32″ in this is certainly true-to-size!

    Thanks for calling attention to them. I’m ordering another two pairs right now, aw yeah.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.