Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for March, 2010

Archival English Cookery

March 31st, 2010

Those of us who cook at Archival Clothing love the classic Time Life series of world cookeries. I’ve cooked out of “The Cooking of Japan” for some time, and am hoping to soon start work on “Terrines, Pates and Galantines.” But I was recently sidelined by “The Cooking of the British Isles,” although I’m less interested in the food than in the context shots. American hunting clothing is wonderful, but there’s still a place for a bespoke tweed shooting suit.

If any butchers read this, please consider reviving the stripey apron:

Archival Custom Order: CC Filson

March 29th, 2010

Most folks don’t know that Filson offers a custom order service. If you like a specific Filson garment, you can request a customized version in a different fabric w/limited pocketing or pattern edits. In effect, you can create your own one-off, “Filson x you” collaboration (although the customer care page warns that they cannot create entirely new patterns). In addition to current styles, Filson can also make many discontinued garments. For gents, I’d recommend ordering the classic cruiser jacket in original whipcord fabric (forestry cloth not available). Wait time is about 2 months and surcharge can be up to 50% of the original retail price.

From the Filson site, here is the inventory of possible changes.

  • Extra long and short sizes (many coats and jackets)
  • Larger and smaller sizes (most garments)
  • Longer legs (pants, bibs and chaps)
  • Longer rise (all pants, bibs and shorts)
  • One arm or leg longer
  • All belts longer or shorter
  • Substitute snaps instead of buttons or vice versa (many coat and vests)
  • Left hand shooting patch (hunting garments)
  • Different colors and weights of wool (coats and pants)
  • Many Tin Cloth and Shelter Cloth garments are available in either fabric in Dry or Oil Finish
  • Shorter handles on all luggage styles with handles. Different strap lengths too.
  • Footwear in additional widths, larger and smaller sizes
  • We can produce many discontinued Filson garments

Here are two custom orders I’ve placed in the last two years.

Filson Creek jacket for women (from tin cloth to cover cloth)

Filson women’s Creek jacket in 6 oz Cover Cloth

The Creek jacket is my all-time favorite jacket for women by Filson. The fit is perfect and I love the jacket’s simple, uncomplicated design (unlined, snap front, band collar w/ moleskin trimmed collar, placket and pockets). I wanted a flyweight waxed cotton version for use as a cycling jacket in early Fall/late Spring. For the custom order, I swapped out the heavier dry finish cloth duck for waxed 6 oz cover cloth. I was strongly advised not to use the cover cloth since it is typically used for lined jackets and can be vulnerable to tearing. I also asked Filson to remove the stitching from upper left pencil pocket (a change that was originally rejected). I’ve been wearing the jacket for six months and have had no problems with the cover cloth fabric. I’d love to see Filson offer this style jacket in more of their stock fabrics (wool, waxed tin cloth, etc).

Filson Mackinaw wool vest (from 26 to 21 oz wool)

Filson women’s wool vest in 21 oz. wool

This is my most recent customization. I’ve always been a fan of the grey diagonal fabric used by Filson for their cape coat (a garment they should really offer in a future line for women). I thought the fabric would make for an amazing vest. Again, I wear my Filson clothing indoors and for cycling so I tend to like a slightly lighter weight fabric. The new 21 oz wool vest is already a daily driver.

Here is an example of the limits of the custom order program.

Shelter cloth jacket (from waxed cotton to wool whipcord)

Wool whipcord work jacket

Several years ago, I ordered this men’s shelter cloth jacket in gray wool whipcord (my favorite Filson fabric). I requested that the reinforcing arm patches be sewn in contrasting green whipcord (a customization that is no longer available). The jacket turned out well. But since it was a gent’s cut, and since Filson would not adjust the original sizing of a garment, it never fit well and I re-released to ebay last Fall.

Archival Field Trip: PDX March 2010

March 24th, 2010

Quick trip up to Portland to meet Patrick Long (Chester Wallace) and check in with our friend Jordan over at Winn Perry. We’ve been admiring Patrick’s bags from afar and wanted to share information on supply sources and manufacturing processes. Patrick toured us around his Hawthorne area studio where we works on both Chester Wallace products and original freelance illustrations. Patrick was a total delight. We’d ask him a question and then, before he could respond, we’d get distracted by something in his studio (a sample book or a photo). We’re hoping he’ll visit us in Eugene so we can finish our conversations. A favorite moment was when Patrick showed us a Chester Wallace bag prototype he had sewn 20 years ago. I love seeing historical evidence of dedication to a single design, concept or project.

Afterwards, Patrick directed us to a top notch taco cart on SE Division. In the middle of our meal, he reappeared by bike bearing two macaroon cookies he had baked that morning.

Additional visual notes from our visit to Winn Perry and the not-to-be-missed Clogmaster.

Chester Wallace studio

Archival Gamekeepers

March 22nd, 2010

This Vivienne Westwood Paris Match photo has been in my collection of print ad ephemera for many years. I love Westwood’s refab Rules of the Game look. My main edit would be to substitute her waxed Barbour Tarras game bag for something sturdier and more stylish (see insert below).

Christine in Rules of the Game (Renoir 1939)

Here are a few historical gamekeepers who might have inspired Westwood’s ensemble.

Found Gamekeeper

Schumacher in Rules of the Game (Renoir 1939)

Dressing from the present:

Tweed Inverness Cape (ventile lined)

Haggarts tweed plus twos

A better game bag (Brady Sandringham)

Archival Lament: Cooperstown Ball Cap Co.

March 18th, 2010

Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. print catalog covers (1994, 1999)

Sometimes I get so fixated on the past that I forget to mail order from the present. A quick web check on one of my favorite contemporary brands, Cooperstown Ball Cap Co., produced this depressing news:

Regrettably, after twenty-three years of making fine historic replica ball caps, Cooperstown Ball Cap Company has discontinued operations. Commercial, financial and legal difficulties; and the complexity of sewing one-of-a-kind caps in the U.S, make this decision inevitable. We thank all our customers for whom, over the years, we have been pleased to make a true vintage ball cap.

For reference, Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. manufactured custom caps for historical teams and individuals. One could order a cap in any historical style or in any combination of styles, logos or colors. The illustrated Cooperstown catalogs featured examples of nearly every known historical baseball team including company teams, military teams and even a hat from the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Mentally Insane. All caps were handmade from 13 oz. athletic flannel, horsehide leather bands and highest grade peak stiffeners. Whenever possible, caps were sewn on original machines in Cooperstown, NY.

Historical styles that influenced the modern baseball cap

For reference, I’m reprinting a few pages from two of my 1990s era catalogs. At some point, the company moved to an online ordering format. But I always loved the colorful illustrations, hand scripted captions, arcane keycode system and personal notations of these early catalogs.

Until the 1940s, caps lacked stiffening crowns. Most of the cap styles in the Cooperstown catalog were designed to be worn close to the head (a look I prefer to the current trend towards fully stiffened, high crown caps).
Choose your Brooklyn style cap: standard, pinstripe, peak band, cap band, 3 color braid or soutache?

Small sampling of minor league caps
Shopping from A League of Their Own
Each year, Cooperstown reissued newly discovered styles from lesser known or non-professional teams. These were special edition options from 1994.


A few special edition and “fictional” team caps including one for the New York Knights


International models (I always wanted a Yomoyuri Giants cap)
Regretting that I never mailed out my order for one of the cricket caps (see 1999 cover)


New discoveries for 1999
Caps could be ordered in any combination of colors or historical styles
Custom sizing options (I always requested a shallow crown w/a short cut)
Fine print

Branch Rickey, St. Louis AL [1913]

Archival Mountaineers

March 16th, 2010

This spring mountaineering season: Pull on your knickers, grab your rucksack, lace up your tallest boots, help your pals with their bowlines-on-a-bight, and head for the hills. Here in Oregon, I’ll limit archivally-equipped outings to big, basic mountains – South Sister would be ideal, but the bold could go for Three-Fingered Jack, named after an infamously disfigured 19th century bandit. Archival Clothing is not responsible for the failure of wooden ice axes or hempen ropes.

Archival Update: Musettes Available

March 9th, 2010

Field Tan

Along with our new totes, our musettes are now in stock. To purchase a musette or tote, send an email to to confirm availability of style and color.

For the musette, please specify color (Field Tan, Navy, or Yellow), and strap length (41 or 45 inches). There is limited availability of plain musettes with a 45 inch strap. Musettes are $50 plus $7.50 for shipping within the US.

If you’re in the area, drop by Clever Cycles in Portland, Oregon, to see our musettes.

For international shipping charges, please inquire at

We should have another round of flap musettes and rucksacks available in the next month.

Also, please check out our guest post on Commerce with a Conscience.

Archival Tote Update

March 9th, 2010

The Archival Clothing Tote is made with the same quality and attention to detail as all of our bags. Made from 10 ounce waxed cotton canvas or 22 ounce waxed twill, the bag is designed to be water-resistant and ready for a long life of service. Two-inch military-grade cotton webbing handles distribute the load on your shoulders and are bar-tacked for maximum strength. Three inside pockets store personal items such as keys, phones, notebooks and pens—keeping them easily accessible and separate from the interior contents. A double-layer reinforced bottom ensures a long life and even wear.

Tote dimensions are 14” x 14” x 5” perfect for your every day toting needs.

To purchase the Archival Tote send an email to to confirm availability of style and color.

For the Archival Tote, please specify color: Ranger Tan (22 oz waxed twill) or Navy (10 oz waxed cotton canvas). The Tote is $90 plus $12.50 for shipping within the US. For international shipping charges, please inquire at

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting an announcement regarding our plain musettes which are now back in stock and updates on our next round of flap musettes and rucksacks. Future bag orders will be processed through our web shop (in the works!).

Guest Baggage: Millican (UK)

March 6th, 2010

Millican Dalton (“Professor of Adventure”)

Field testing a Millican rucksack

Archival blueprints

In this guest entry, Jorrit Jorritsma, co-founder of UK outdoor bag company Home of Millican, writes about the challenges of launching a new line of bags. Like Archival Clothing, Millican’s bags are based on historical examples and proven utility designs made with weatherproofed organic cotton canvas, brushed cotton linings and vegetable tanned leathers. In an earlier email to me, Jorrit described his bags as “made to last…ensuring that they’ll become classics of the future.” –LL

A Sustainable Adventure by Jorrit Jorritsma.

As a big fan of this website, I’m fascinated by the subject of vintage travel bags and classic designs. With my wife, Nicky, I’m lucky enough to be running my own company of sustainable travel & outdoor bags from our base in the Lake District, Great Britain.


A simple answer to this question would be with passion and a lot of attention to detail. However, the reality is of course a little more complex! My love affair with vintage travel bags began when I discovered Maritime Museums in my late teens. I got lost in the romance behind the leather cases and wooden chests of a bygone era. They represented far-away places and people, undiscovered trading routes and, above all, adventure. And to me, they still do… Three years ago, I was immersed in comfortable corporate life, working in the fashion trade and traveling between offices in London, New York and Hong Kong. Then I decided to give it all up. After a year of family focus, learning new skills and traveling Great Britain in a camper van, Nicky and I started our own company, Millican.

The idea was simple – combine my passion for vintage travel bags, the outdoor and all things functional with our joint passion for a more sustainable life. Together we would create a modern brand of bags reflecting timeless values. Designing our products, we began by taking lessons from classic bags of the past. Our thinking was such bags were based on proven utility shapes and materials which still appealed to our tastes. So why fix something if it ain’t broke? Main requirement was to figure out how we could combine classic designs with modern technology to drive product sustainability. We could let the bags’ timeless styling take care of itself.

Archival inspiration: Dalton Millican


So what were our key challenges in this process? Well, I’m not a designer though, like many a keen customer, I know when I like what I see. Drawing inspiration from vintage material, we worked with a skilled bag designer to create blueprints. After that, the list goes something like this: Source materials – prizing function and quality first, then finding sustainable alternatives. A one-liner here, but in reality taking us nearly 5 months. Find manufacturing partners – especially ones prepared to work with us on a small scale, with new materials, a tight eye on costs, and a strongly ethical focus. Working to deadlines – we had a maximum of twelve months to bring our first collection to market, having booked a handful of country fairs and horse trial events at which to sell. Making commitments – placing our first orders without having received any market feedback. One of the scarier moments! Practicing patience – knowing that we wouldn’t get everything 100% right first time round …


Wash bag

Cooler Bag


For anyone looking to follow in our footsteps, we’d also advise on the importance of attention to detail. Critical. We went through nine rounds of sampling before we were confident of our products. We got our materials and designs independently tested. And we got our products past our most critical supporters, our friends in the Lakes. How’s that? You might say. If they’re your friends, how can you vouch for their independent objectivity? Based in England’s Adventure Capital, Keswick, our friends are surrounded by dozens of retail outlets marketing technical outdoor gear. So they’re well versed in what’s on the market, as well as what any lover of the great outdoors requires in this kind of landscape.


It was also critical to us to make production choices with people and planet in mind. Wherever we can, we have made more sustainable choices, using organic and recycled materials. In some cases, we regrettably found that current sustainable alternatives were too expensive or not of the right quality yet. However, we developed relationships with these suppliers and will continue to watch the development of these alternatives until they are right for us. We’ve met some amazing people along the way, from afar afield as the Far East and as local as down the road from us in the Lakes. They’re people who believe in the same values as we do.

When we were looking for a bag maker, we found our partner Henry. Henry’s dad originally started their business in Hong Kong. Today, they remain a small family business, now located in mainland China. We love the family element and Henry’s passion for food, tea and quality of life. We like the fact that he farms and feeds his team and other workers from surrounding factories with high-quality vegetables. Our relationship with him isn’t just based on commerce.

Having said that, it’s sometimes hard to retain perspective. We are only talking about bags, after all. Which is why we check in with our friends on a regular basis. With their Cumbrian humour, they tend to keep us firmly grounded.


So where have we got to in the genesis of our business? Well, we were in development for twelve months. Then we went to market last summer. We’re now in our fifth month of selling. Customer feedback so far has been fantastic. At this summer’s country events, customers scribbled responses and product ideas in small notebooks on our stand. The result is that we now have fifteen new product ideas ready to develop next.

It’s quite a thought that one day, a future website might carry details of our vintage designs, citing them like Lesli does in this Archival Clothing website.

In the meantime, we’re just keeping our noses to the grindstone. There’s a long way to go and doubtless many mountains to climb. But we’re loving the adventure.

Adventure is where it started all those years ago and why I left corporate life to start again. Today, we’re following the wise words of a Dutch uncle of mine – “The first forty years are about quantity, the second forty are all about quality”.

We’ll keep you posted on how the adventure continues. And you’re more than welcome to join us in The Cave, our blog detailed below.

Jorrit Jorritsma,

Co-Founder, Millican