National Guard practice maneuvers, February 1915. I’m loving the emphasis on silly hats and outdoor cookery – as well as occasional firearms practice. From the Library of Congress’ superb photostream.
Our friends Kalen and Astrid from Upstate have hand-dyed a very limited run of long sleeve tees for us! Using meticulous accordion folds, lots of twine, and scrunching, the two use a colorfast indigo-hued dye, so like all of our shirts, you can wash and dry them normally.
“Based in Brooklyn, Kalen and Astrid make garments utilizing their own take on shibori and dip dyeing. Shibori is a Japanese tradition of dyeing cloth using several different methods of binding, folding, or compressing the fabric. Small changes in the combinations of binding and dyeing create an endless array of patterns and textures.”
Made with our Archival long sleeve tees (made in Portland, OR). Hand-dyed in Brooklyn, NY. Each piece is absolutely unique. Extremely limited quantities. Get yours here!
It may be the first day of Spring but I’m in no mood to wear warm weather clothing. Wet, chilly conditions in Eugene have driven me back to my mid-winter wardrobe of anoraks and heavy woolens. I’m going to shop from the State Library of New South Wales Australian Antarctic Territory collection for additional sledging and expedition gear to get me through the month of June.
Images courtesy the State Library of New South Wales Australian Antartic Territory collection.
Crescent Down Works is one of those amazing northwest companies that is better known in Japan than in the US. Crescent was founded in 1974 as a custom down vest company in Seattle, WA. The company’s founder, Anne Michelson, got her start at Eddie Bauer another exemplary regional manufacturer. Crescent produces a tightly edited collection of down vests, jackets, parks, sweaters and children’s clothing. I’m hugely fond of this down shirt. You can buy directly from Crescent or wishfully shop from Japanese web shops like Warehouse.
Andrea Cesari of Unsung Sewing Patterns guest posts on her most recent find: men’s and women’s anoraks and ski pants patterns from France.
Collecting vintage home sewing patterns that are designed primarily for function rather than fashion takes me down some interesting paths. In twelve years of collecting I’ve managed to acquire what may be the oldest surviving pattern for men’s work wear; ladies’ “sack” aprons across several decades; men’s outing shirts with button-on sleeves from the 1910s and ‘20s, 1920s gymnasium suits, WWII era women’s utility clothing designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and just recently, 1950’s French ski wear.
Late in 2011 a large lot of French home sewing patterns started showing up on eBay. The patterns, which dated from the late 1930s through the early 1960s, were mostly for women’s clothing with typically soigne French styling. But tucked in amongst the listings for blouses and skirts and car coats were two patterns for men’s and women’s ski wear. Sans doubt, these needed a home in my collection!
Outerwear patterns represent a very small portion of the pattern companies’ catalogs and of that tiny sliver, patterns for clothes for winter sports are even less common – usually patterns for skating outfits for girls and women and snow suits for children.
The patterns for these men’s and women’s anoraks and ski pants are quite unusual. The patterns are undated, but the illustration style points to the 1950’s, and at a guess, I’d say the first half of the decade. The first winter Olympics after the war was held in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1948, and Frenchman Henri Oreiller took home gold and bronze medals in alpine skiing.
A combination of a recovering post-war economy and national pride in their French Olympian may have led to increased interest in skiing and inspired the designers at Patron Modelè to produce these designs in the early 1950s.
Because no separate instruction sheets were provided for these patterns, careful examination of the limited instructions on the envelope is required in order to understand the construction. Let’s look at the ladies COSTUME SPORT first.
The full-cut pull-over anorak features an attached, gathered hood (capuchin fronce,) drawn in with an elastic around the face. The anorak is gathered in at the waist (taille fronces) with a drawstring. This nipping in of the waist assures that anorak won’t interfere with arm movement. Two small pockets with flaps (poche et rabat) are applied at the bottom the plastron front opening.
The pleated-waist trousers are cut full through hips and thighs for good mobility and are pegged at the ankles with a series of darts in both the front and back before being sewn onto narrow bands. Good-sized pockets in the trousers provide a place to stash mittens.
Both garments would probably have been made from woolen materials, although if I had the money, I’d be very tempted to make the anorak out of heavy, matte finish silk twill.
The gentleman’s style is very similar. The anorak includes design features you’d find in any good men’s jacket pattern, including two-piece sleeves and a vented back. A center front zip (fermeture) opening as well as zipped chest pockets are appropriate for sportswear, along with good-sized patch pockets at the lower edge. The sleeves are gathered into wrist bands.
Again, the waist of the anorak is drawn in with an elastic (possibly one of the most wonderfully unpronounceable french words ever: caoutchouc.) The removable hood buttons to the anorak.
The fly-fronted trousers are pegged by means of darts (pinces) both front and back. Darts at the front waist remove some of the fullness from the seat and there are good-sized pockets. I had originally thought that the crotch was gusseted for reinforcement but on closer examination of the layout, it appears that the trousers are cut so full through the hips that they wouldn’t lay out on the fabric and had to be pieced.
The instructions and illustrations on the envelopes provide a remarkable amount of information, but success in making up these patterns would depend on a pretty high degree of skill. Most seams would need to be hand-basted before machining, and the seams would then need to be clean finished for both durability and comfort.
Both patterns are unprinted and do not appear to have been used, although the envelopes had been unsealed.
— Andrea Cesari,
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at www.unsungsewingpatterns.net
We are now releasing our popular Archival Duffel in high energy carmine red. The Archival Duffel is constructed from the highest quality materials: sturdy #8 cotton duck (18 oz), Horween leather, YKK zippers, and thread are of US origin. Webbing and most of our solid brass hardware is sourced from the UK. Edges are bound in waxed cotton tape and all stress points are bar-tacked or riveted. Meets TSA carry-on limits.
Living in Oregon, I forget about direct sunlight. I spent a long weekend in LA to escape the gloom and visit an old chum. Our plan was to see Bernadette Peters in concert and spend the rest of our time revisiting vintage television shows (I prefer my sun through a curtain). While my friend worked on Friday, I toured brick and mortar stores in the area (documentary evidence below). Since so many stores do not permit photography, I cannot show you the amazing champagne glass shoe display at Maison Martin Margiela or my celebrity sighting at Mister Freedom.