I wanted to share my experience with Spare jeans, a Montreal MTM jeans/jackets, family-owned, operation. I had the pleasure to meet with Prospero Rey, his wife and his kid. I'm in the process of having a jean made, so expect some updates to this post.
First let's get the price out of the way: 200CAD + taxes for a custom pair of jeans. Very reasonable for what you get IMO.
He only uses Japanese denim, from Kaihara, Kuroki and Nihon menpu.
He only has a few rolls available but can order about anything from those mills, as long as he feels he can use the whole fabric roll for other customers (so probably not ultra-heavyweight, ultra-neppy or very special denim). He can only order 59 yards roll and doesn't want to waste anything.
He doesn't seem like a fabric nut and has a very small selection in the shop, which seems fair considering the size of the operation. On the other end, he seems extremely detail-oriented on the making itself.
He uses old sewing machines, a Mitsubishi for the chain stitches (he is looking at getting a Union Special).
Talking with him was a pleasure, and I thought I'd give him a try and report back. I'm passionate about clothing, and wear a mix of sartorially inspired outfits, but also like to venture into workwear from time to time. I'm already familiar with high-end Japanese denim (either because I could see them first hand or try them on, or knowledge gathered from the internet) and own a few quality jeans (a Momotaro, a Blackhorselane, a couple of nudies).
My idea was a pair of jeans inspired by vintage levis (1947). I'm not a repro fanatic, even though I like vintage-inspired clothing, so I didn't want a perfect repro (although I'm sure you could have one made if that's your thing).
I went with a fairly high rise, straight leg fit, using a Kaihara 14.5oz denim. I chose no pattern on the pockets, copper rivets (hidden on the back pockets), button fly, striped cotton half pocket lining in the back pockets, classic white Japanese organic cotton pocket bags at the front and classic gold stitching.
Nothing fancy, something simple and easy to wear. He showed me some pairs he made with flat felling instead of lock stitching along the inside leg seam. Everything was very clean and well made. He also showed me some denim jackets and cinch back jeans with external suspender buttons.
It started with trying on a pair of try on pants. He didn't have any 30 sizes left so you will see me wearing a 31 on the pictures, hence the not so perfect fit. It was already quite good though and we only had to make minor adjustments to the fit. I, unfortunately, didn't take enough pictures of what he can do on the sample jeans he showed me. Some stuff is pretty funky but those are customer's demands.
I hope this will catch your interest and will update with more pics from the making (he will send me a video) and from the finished product.
Thanks for reading!