Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for April, 2010

Archival Flap Musettes Now Available

April 27th, 2010

We are excited to announce that a new round of Archival Flap Musettes and Archival Totes are now available. We also have Archival Plain Musettes in stock.

Flap musette in 10 oz. navy waxed cotton canvas

Flap musette in 22 oz. ranger tan waxed twill

Flap musette in 10 oz. olive waxed cotton canvas

To make a purchase, please send an email to to confirm availability of style and color.

The Flap Musette is $110 + 12.50 for shipping within the US.

For international shipping charges, please inquire at

While our musettes are designed for cycling and everyday use, we were pleased that Apartment Therapy Unplggd endorsed our bags for ipad portage.

And in case you missed our production tour of T & J sewing, here are a few more shots of the flap musettes being sewn by owner Terry Shuck.

Individually numbered tabs (hand stamped by Tom)

Binding side seams


Attaching web strap

Our sewing savant

In lieu of cardboard boxes (custom transport duffles by T & J)

Archival Housekeeping

April 27th, 2010
Man hoovering

Add housekeeping to the list of archival chores I’d rather perform in the past. Not only do the tasks look simpler (limited activity, fixed locations), they seem to require a heightened, more thoughtful level of dress and grooming. Of course, I’d advocate for an individualized chore uniform. Aprons or multi-pocketed work jackets add a traditional, protective layer. But I’d extend my outfit to include sturdy lace-up shoes, a nice wool waistcoat and a more archival (washable, reusable) version of the 19th century printers’ oversleeve in cotton poplin.

Sew your own oversleeves

For a practical manual on housekeeping in the past and present, see: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Housekeeping by Cheryl Mendelson.

Trouser press

Shaking out the rugs

Dusting the television with a feather brush

A footballer preparing a meal

Wringer and centrifuge

A pile of washing-up

A brush salesman and his bicycle

Photographs from the Nationaal Archief flickr photo set: Huishouden/Housekeeping.

Archival Cadets Revisited

April 22nd, 2010

Military service runs in my family. My father was a colonel in the Army and my sister attended the Air Force Academy. I toyed with the idea of attending a service academy but doubted my ability to survive past the day they outfit you with your uniform. I might have reconsidered military school if I could have enrolled in the Life Photo Archive version of Sandhurst military academy. I love the bookish style and striped blazers of the Sandhurst cadets. And who wouldn’t want to spend their school days playing chess, pedaling bicycles in formation or jumping motorcycles by horseback?

Archival Poster Announcement

April 20th, 2010

by Lynn McInnes

Here’s a preview of our Archival Resolutions poster designed by friends at Ruszel Design Company in Denver and manufactured by Estey Printing Company here in Boulder, Colorado.

Tim Ruszel and I went behind the scenes at Estey to watch the press run for our posters. We met the skilled craftswomen and men who run the presses and got a friendly tour of the manufacturing facilities. Estey supports everything from full color digital printing and foil embossing to binding and specialized die cuts. The best part of the tour was seeing how Estey combines the efficiency of modern digital printing techniques with traditional Heidelberg letterpress machines for more tactile and archival effects.

AC posters ready for trimming

As part of our efforts to support US manufacturers , we will continue, whenever possible, to make all of our products locally or regionally. We enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with practitioners of traditional trades.

Many thanks to Commerce With a Conscience who first recommended that we put our Archival Clothing Resolutions into a purchasable, poster-sized format. CWAC, please enjoy a free poster on us.

Posters are now available to order ($10 includes shipping to most US-locations).

Archival Resolutions Revisited

April 20th, 2010

by Lynn McInnes

For our readers, here’s a preview of our Archival Resolutions posters coming off the printers today. Designed by our friends at Ruszel Design Company in Denver, Colorado, and manufactured right here by Estey Printing Company of Boulder, CO.

Tim Ruszel and I got a behind the scenes look at the press run and met the skilled craftswomen and men that run the presses. We also got a friendly tour of their manufacturing facilities where they support everything from full color digital printing, foil embossing, binding and specialized die cuts. The best part of the tour was seeing how print manufacturing combines the efficiency of modern digital printing techniques with traditional Heidelberg letterpress machines for more tactile and luxurious effects.

As part of continuing efforts to support us-manufacturers, we will continue wherever possible to make all of our products regionally–in Colorado and Oregon. We really enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with the skilled craftsmen and women that we meet along the way.

Many thanks to Commerce With a Conscience who recommended that we put our Archival Clothing Resolutions into a purchasable, poster-sized format. C WAC please enjoy a free poster on us

Posters available now for order ($10 includes shipping to most US-locations).

Archival Tennis

April 16th, 2010

Once Spring randonneuring season is over I’ll be switching over to tennis as my preferred archival sport. Tennis is great because it only requires two to play and even if you have no formal training there’s a good chance you’ll get the ball over the net (who cares about line calls). Fortunately for me, most of my friends have at least rudimentary, P.E. class level ability (although one is a transfer student from the more hoi toi toi sport of squash). We chatter and bat the ball back and forth in the outdoors.

It’s easy to shop from the past for tennis equipment and apparel. I have a robust, thrift store collection of wooden rackets including favorite signature models by Chris Evert and Jack Kramer. My own embarrassing racket of choice during my teen tennis “career” was an over sized Prince woodie.

Mandatory equipment

The best part of tennis is the footwear. There are many vintage styles still in production including tennis white models by Jack Purcell, Tretorn and PF Flyers. My own preference is for these classic “elastique” tennis flats and lace ups from Bensimon. Since I’m not seriously running after balls, I’m fine wearing slip-ons on the court.

Bensimon Elastique Tennis Flats

Friend Lynn is on the hunt for more modern, functional tennis apparel. She found this company, DTL fitness, selling high performance, US made tennis clothing for women.

Tennis playing gents need only model their spring wardrobes after McLoughlin and Rice.

Archival Production Report

April 11th, 2010
Terry w/flap musette fabrics

Terry Shuck of T & J Custom Sewing in Springfield, Oregon, makes all of our Archival Clothing baggage. Terry started out in shoe repair and later worked as a fabric cutter, machine technician and backup soft goods design assistant for Burley Design Cooperative in Eugene, Oregon. We had heard it was difficult to find a quality sewing contractor, so it was our luck that Terry was the first listing in the local yellow pages, and he’s just ten miles down the road. From our first meeting, we have been impressed with Terry’s remarkable knowledge of his craft. When we started out we had nothing more than rough home sewn prototypes and hopeful drawings. Terry was able to take our ideas and transform them into a finished product. We really appreciate Terry’s ability to work with our original designs and robust materials (heavy duty waxed twill and mil spec cotton webbing from the UK). It was through Terry that we found several subcontractors and material suppliers, and he’s been patient and helpful as we learn the ins and outs of managing a production schedule. Here are a few images from a recent visit, in which Terry – who sews all of our bags himself – constructs our Totes and Flap Musettes.

Operating fabric saw

Adding leather washers and brass snaps to flap musettes

Basting AC tag

Joining panels

Bias tape delivery

Swapping tape folder for walking foot

Winn Perry x Columbiaknit

April 8th, 2010
Columbiaknit t-shirts on display

After nearly a year of work, our friend Jordan of Portland’s Winn Perry has released a collaboration with Columbiaknit. The Portland company has been making sturdy cotton garments since 1921 (including knit sweaters for LL Bean). I’m usually not one to get excited about a T-shirt, since I’m on a budget and would rather direct my funds towards a sweater or a pair of chinos. But as soon as I picked up Jordan’s pocket tee, I was hooked. It’s a terrifically stout cotton jersey, with chain-stitched neck tape, cover-stitched collar seam, double needle sewn hem, a lovely rounded pocket, and a perfect fit – slim, not tight. If you’re at all curious about a tee that isn’t gauzy-light or quick to stretch out, please contact Jordan and order one of these wonderful shirts. Made in Portland, limited edition, and only $38. I know, it’s a bit steep for a tee, but you will not regret it. For all holidays, please send a size Medium to me c/o Archival Clothing World Headquarters, Eugene, Oregon.

If, like me, you can’t afford to outfit yourself with a stack of Jordan’s tees, consider saving by shopping from the past and ordering a few Oneida tees with NO SAG NECK from Swimsuit Department.

Archival custom order: Filson dog collar

April 5th, 2010
Chaz in his Filson collar (on shore of McKenzie River)

In my post on the Filson custom order program, I forgot to mention the collar I purchased for my dog, Chaz. Filson offers their vegetable tanned, bridle leather collars in 14, 19, 21 and 23 inch lengths. Unfortunately, this size range really only covers skinny spaniels or thick necked Labrador retrievers. Filson needs a mid-sized collar in the 16-17″ range which would work for field dogs like Weimaraners and German Shorthaired Pointers (breeds frequently featured in Filson catalog copy).

A Filson staffer once told me about a collar he had made for his bird dog from a Filson bridle leather belt blank (before Filson made dog collars). Inspired, I phoned Filson to see if I could customize a collar for Chaz. For the standard upcharge of 35% above retail, Filson agreed to make the collar (confirming that they had recently customized a 17″ collar for another customer).

Here are some use notes and photographs of the custom Filson collar:

New Filson collar (L), aged Leerburg flat collar (R)

Welded brass hardware

Made in Seattle

Double riveting

While I love how the Filson collar looks, I’d like to see Filson make a few upgrades to the design. For one, the collar comes with a welded rather than cast brass “O” ring. For a company that prides itself on making products from the “best” materials, I’m surprised by their selection of lower grade hardware for the optical center of the collar. I’m constantly rotating the weld so that it doesn’t show.

Also, after a wet winter’s exposure to rain, the leather is beginning to wrinkle and warp a little. While I regularly treat the leather with Pecard dressing, I’m concerned about how the collar is going to look after a few years.

If I were updating the collar, I’d swap out the brass ring, upgrade the leather and reinforce the pop rivets with double-stitching for extra durability (see the Leerburg collar as an example). While I’m critical of these details (I expect the best from Filson), I’d still recommend it for anyone looking for a quality collar. (Note that for swimming, I’d switch over to something a little more non-archival and water repellent.)

For reference, here are a few additional sources for archival quality leather pet leashes and collars.

Ray Allen


Frances Kelley Bridles