Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for June, 2010

Archival Baggage: Chester Wallace Tote

June 27th, 2010

Our Portland friend, Patrick Long, makes a terrific tote under the badge Chester Wallace . We ordered a few Chester Wallace bags for our web shop in my favorite summer nautical color combination: navy and yellow (for a knitwear example, see these SNS Herning sweaters for Comme des Garcons).

Chester Wallace tote available through Archival Clothing

A year ago, I saw my first Chester Wallace tote (in original canvas duck) at Canoe, a highly curated design shop selling items with a “lasting aesthetic”. Jordan Saylor also stocks Patrick’s bags at Winn Perry.

Grey waxed twill Chester Wallace totes at Winn Perry

Patrick came up with the design for his tote/carry-all over 20 years ago. He showed us an original sample during a Spring field trip to his studio.

Patrick w/his ur-tote

I love how the Chester Wallace tote becomes a template for experiments in color and fabric. Every time I see a new color variation or fabric test, I think: this the best one yet. For most of his stock bags, Patrick makes use of the same waxwear waxed cotton fabric Archival Clothing uses for our musettes, totes and rucksacks. However, Patrick is playing w/ textiles like Schoeller, Ventile and a stunning, heat sealable, polyurethane fabric used for emergency aircraft slides called Uretek.

Uretek fabric sample (for blimps and airships)

Denim experiment


The Chester Wallace tote comes with both nylon carry-handle and a detachable shoulder strap. Patrick has equipped the bag with a small external pocket and two internal pockets. All Chester Wallace totes have reinforced seams and come with a heavy duty reinforced nylon bottom–one of the bag’s principal visual signatures. The totes are sewn in Portland, Oregon.

Archival Clothing should have our Chester Wallace totes available for sale in our web shop by the end of the week.

Addendum: By day, Patrick works as an accomplished freelance illustrator. In an email, he mentioned that he was busy working on an animated fish for a cat food commercial. Here’s another example of his work — a holiday poster for the Oregon Lottery:

Evidence of a day job

Archival Field Trip: Centralia Knitting Mills

June 22nd, 2010


During the early days of Archival Clothing, I posted photos from my 2007 trip to Centralia Knitting Mills. I was in pursuit of the Skookum “award” sweater which I first saw in the Japanese web shop Explorer (a personal favorite).

Skookum Award sweater in multiweave (Japan)

Last week, Tom and I returned to Centralia to make plans for an Archival Knitwear project. We’re picking up where we left off last Spring when we first proposed to manufacturer an all wool, shawl collar sweater based on historical photographs and patterns. Our meeting was a total success and we’ll update you shortly on what we have in store. One interesting detail: nearly 50% of Centralia’s products are now made for Japanese retailers including Nepenthes, Engineered Garments and a fascinating entity known as Red Gingham.

Most of the knitting machines used by Centralia are nearly eighty years old. Working with Centralia gives Archival Clothing the rare opportunity to produce knitwear as it was made in the past. We plan to take this opportunity to release a number of garments which we could once only order from the pages of our beloved 1947 Montgomery Wards catalog.

Here are some updated photos of the knitting mills with annotations by Tom.

Centralia employee Tom (not the Archival Clothing staffer), mans the lone computer.

Third-generation knit producer.

Vortex of worsted wool.

Trim coming off of the knitting machine.
This employee was using a sixty year old button sewing machine. Ran like a top.


A device that Randy invented in his teens for stripping out selvage threads between knit segments.


Our kind of filing system.

Random weave example – one of our favorites.

Randy’s dad invented the random weave for a Halloween costume.
Swiss knit trim – extra stout and stretchy.

A candy-stripe knit originally done for WWM.

US map of Centralia stockists.

It’ll be close to this….

Archival field trip: Centralia knitting mills

June 22nd, 2010


During the early days of Archival Clothing, I posted photos from my 2007 trip to Centralia Knitting Mills. I was in pursuit of the Skookum “award” sweater which I first saw in the Japanese web shop Explorer (a favorite).

Skookum Award sweater for Explorer Import Shop (Japan)

Last week, Tom and I returned to Centralia to make plans for an Archival Knitwear project. We’re picking up where we left off last Spring when we first proposed to manufacturer an all wool, shawl collar sweater based on historical photographs and patterns. Our meeting was a total success and we’ll update you shortly on what we have planned. One interesting detail: nearly 50% of Centralia’s products are now made for Japanese retailers including Nepenthes, Engineered Garments and a fascinating fellow known as Red Gingham.

[Centralia makes use of equipment that is 50+ years old. Working with Centralia gives us a rare opportunity to produce new knitwear that comes out of the past. blah blah maybe have line about the fragility of operation… next generation? making visible to broader us market]

Here are some updated photos of the knitting mills w/annotations by Tom.


Archival Knickers

June 21st, 2010

Inspired by Mister Crew’s terrific post on knickers, we decided to dig through our closets and do a knicker round-up. I (Tom), due to my tender age, have only accumulated four pairs so far:

Ibex Schoeller knickers in black. Bought at the stunning Ibex Tent Sale. Wonderful for cycling. 75% nylon, 20% wool, 5% spandex. Prone to abrasion. Elasticized waist with five belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Roomy fit.

Woolrich classic knickers, in gray and navy blue. Thrifted. Great for cross-country skiing, climbing, and hiking. 85% wool, 15% nylon. Double seat and knees. Seven belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Slim fit.

Filson knickers in gray/green. Thrifted. Great for everything. 100% wool whipcord. Double seat and knees. Seven belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Medium fit – not too tight or too loose.

As a crusty elder, I (Lesli) have collected more pairs of knickers than I need or actually wear. Even when they don’t fit, I archive pairs for their garment tags, quality fabrics or unusual design features.


Alpendale Knickers. 100% corduroy. Made in West Yorkshire by an out-of-business country clothing manufacturer (the source of my favorite corduroy trousers). Wide, tunnel style belt loops, zip fly, two on seam side pockets and rear buttoning pocket. The ends of the legs have a buckle strap that works loose during wear. These are my favorite knickers. They pair well with high socks and clogs.


Hebden Cord climbing breeks. 100% cotton ventile. Made in England. No longer available. Purchased via ebay during the Hebden Cord closeout sale. Like all Hebden Cord breeks, they come with a double layer seat, button through rear pocket, velcro fastening map pocket and velcro fastening cuffs. I’d happily add map pockets to all my knickers, trousers and shorts.


Bicycle Fixation Knickers. 100% wool gabardine. Made in Los Angeles. My pair is from Richard Risemberg’s original production run from 2007. The gabardine wool and satin trim make these knickers perfect for dress/workplace wear.


Butex Knickers. 100% ribbed wool. These knickers belong to Sara, not me. She inherited them from her mother who purchased them for hiking in Switzerland in the early 1960s. From fabric to garment tag, these are a masterpiece of the genre.

I’d love to add a pair of Jitensha knickers to my collection. Other contemporary knicker brands worth browsing include Swrve, Hoggs of Fife or B. Spoke Tailor.

Archival Endorsement: Stand-Up Shorts

June 16th, 2010


I’ve been keen on Patagonia’s Stand-Up Shorts since I was 12, when I bought my first pair in Salt Lake City during a climbing trip. I still have that pair, much abused and much loved. God knows how a pair that I bought when I was 12 is now too big for me – some kind of waist shrink and a better sense of properly-fitting clothes, I guess.



It’s the giant rear pockets that make the short. Quite a few other companies copied the double-layer seat/giant pocket (Gramicci, Columbia, etc), but nobody pulled it off like Patagonia. Some earlier versions didn’t bring the pocket all the way into the waistband, giving kind of a lederhosen look:

I much prefer the current version, although I tend to rip the Velcro off and add buttons:


The Stand-Up shorts are still available for men. Women are, unfortunately, subject to the moodiness of Patagonia’s production schedule – it seems as though women have access to Stand-Up shorts every three or four years. I’m happy enough with the current offering, especially since they offer multiple inseam lengths (I’m fond of the 5″ inseam). But I’d really like to explore some archival versions of the short, when they used canvas that was so stiff that the shorts actually stood up by themselves, or when Patagonia sourced workman’s corduroy from the UK. For now, I’ll comfort myself with view-only Stand-Up shorts from Backpacker Magazine in 1981. Men’s were in 11oz canvas (they’re now in 8oz) :



Got to love those billowing 60/40 parkas, too. A gear guide from Texas Monthly in 1981 shows more women’s Stand Up shorts:


I’m also liking Kelty’s Trail Short, in a cotton/poly blend, also from 1981. You might try LL Bean’s recent take on the front-pocket cargo short.

Archival Bicycles: Brevet Bikes

June 10th, 2010
Chromed Canadian custom by rider/builder Nigel Press

On Friday, I head up to The Dalles, Oregon, to participate in the Oregon Randonneur’s Oregon Blue Mountains 1000k brevet. If all goes well, this will be my last brevet on The Pencil, my trusty Rivendell road bike. In September–or so–I’ll be taking delivery of a custom randonnee frame by Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles (details to follow).

Since I’m a slow randonneuse, I rarely spend time with other riders or their bikes (save for Pal Peg and her newly built Tony Pereira). I try to grab reference shots at the beginning of brevets or during rest controls. As I’ve already documented, I adore randonneuring bikes for their visual elegance, purpose built design, uber-durability and post-apocalyptic use value. I also love that a brevet bike is visually incomplete without a well made, canvas duck front handlebar bag.

Here are a few of my sample brevet bike snaps.

PBP Ancien, Duane Wright, and his vintage Peugeot

Beautiful custom bike by rider/builder Corey Thomspon
Steve Rex custom at start of SIR 4 Passes 600k

Steve Rex custom front rack

Peg’s Pereira (rare flat repair)

Tournesol after SIR Bremerton 400k

Jack’s vintage 650b Grand Jubile Motobecane

Amy P’s Rivendell Rambouillet (in ghoulish a.m. hotel light)

Tom’s custom Coho

Robin P’s Waterford custom (mark down for minimalist baggage)

Sara’s Velo-Orange Randonneuse (early Johnny Coast prototype)

Trusty Pencil on 3 Capes 300k

Archival’s Knickers

June 7th, 2010

Inspired by Mister Crew’s terrific post on knickers, we decided to dig through our closets and do a knicker round-up. I (Tom), due to my tender age, have only accumulated four pairs so far:


Ibex Schoeller knickers in black. Bought at the stunning Ibex Tent Sale. Wonderful for cycling. 75% nylon, 20% wool, 5% spandex. Prone to abrasion. Elasticized waist with five belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Roomy fit.

Woolrich classic knickers, in gray and navy blue. Thrifted. Great for cross-country skiing, climbing, and hiking. 85% wool, 15% nylon. Double seat and knees. Seven belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Slim fit.

Filson knickers in gray/green. Thrifted. Great for everything. 100% wool whipcord. Doubl seat and knees. Seven belt loops. Velcro cuff adjustment. Medium fit – not too tight or too loose.

Archival Housekeeping

June 7th, 2010


Archival Clothing’s bibles are many – the Arnys catalog, the old Hebden Cord catalogs, the Montgomery Ward catalogs from the 1940s. But for all matters domestic, Cheryl Mendelson’s Home Comforts comes, from us and others, Most Highly Recommended.


Mrs. Mendelson covers every imaginable topic of domestic interest. There is detailed advice for laundering anything, incredible glossaries of fabrics and flooring materials, instructions for folding for wrinkle-resistant storage, and 837 pages of so on.


For those of us who long for more quality time to nest, it’s really wonderful – I often sit and read it like a novel. If you’re at all interested in housekeeping, buy a copy now.


Please see our earlier post on recommended housekeeping garb.