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Posts Tagged ‘guest baggage’

Guest Post: DIY Vintage French Skiwear

March 14th, 2012

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.

Henri Oreiller of France winning the downhill ski race in the 1948 Winter Olympics, St. Moritz, Switzerland.

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

Guest Post: Archival Field Bag Review

February 2nd, 2012

Thanks to longtime friend and photographer Rick G. for this review. Rick has an early Field Bag that, we wager, has seen some of the hardest use of any Archival baggage!

As the waterfowl season draws to a close here in Washington State, I thought I would submit a review of the Archival Clothing Field Bag. I have been using this bag all season as a catchall blind bag/jump shooting bag.
It has been a great hunting companion–thorn proof, waterproof, roomy, and quiet. It has seen 28 days in the field this year, and has seen its fair share of accidental dunkings, mud, a whole lot of rain, and more mud. I am pleased to say that the contents of my bag have stayed uniformly dry and clean. An added bonus, the brass ring on the side is a perfect place to clip a game strap.
I initially thought that this bag would be an urban laptop and sketchbook hauler (since it does serve that purpose well), but I soon pressed it into service as a working field bag. It nicely holds all of the necessities for a day afield: a box or two of shot shells, binoculars, extra layers, water bottle, etc…
Recently, an unfortunate, hip high, encounter with a drainage ditch left my bag and I covered with unspeakably smelly mud. After letting it dry out, a stiff brushing and another rainstorm was all it needed to get it cleaned up and looking good.
Can’t ask much more than that.

Typical contents
Detail View

Archival Footwear – Sidi Touring Shoes

January 31st, 2012

AC friend and Rivendell General Manager, John Bennett, sent me photos of his unworn Sidi touring shoes. Unlike modern “carbon” models w/velcro strap adjustments, John’s Sidis come with an old fashioned lacing system and walkable soles. Though these Sidis come from the past, several of my randonneuring friends wore them during this year’s edition of Paris-Brest-Paris. I think they’re stunning enough to wear with cords knickers and a wool pullover to work.

Guest Report: Vintage Filson Cruiser Jacket

November 18th, 2011
From the archives: Filson Forestry Cloth Cruiser
Filson fabric options in 1914

Mid century price hike

The modern Filson Mac

Editor’s note: A month ago, Chris Adamiak, Damn-Yak Dry Goods proprietor, emailed me about a vintage Filson cruiser he spotted on Etsy. He asked for my help in identifying the fabric which is lighter weight than the 24 oz. melton wool used for current model Filson cruisers. I forwarded along some Filson catalog scans speculating that the fabric in question was a discontinued worsted wool serge. Chris purchased the Cruiser and, at my request, wrote up a review for Archival.

The Filson Cruiser in question

In Canada, Filson doesn’t have the availability as it does in the States. The distributors are few and far, and when we order online we face massive shipping, duty, and custom fees (due to the weight of Filson’s heavy fabric). It makes me so upset reading tales in forums of people finding Tin Cloth Cruisers in Thrift stores for $5. Finding Filson anything, in any store here is a miracle and being 6’5″ makes the search even harder for vintage items.

I have spent countless hours scouring Etsy, Ebay, and many other vintage clothing shops online for decently priced Filson that I can actually wear. Two weeks ago I stumbled upon this late 50’s to mid 60’s green wool cruiser for $50. The measurements seem to match my Pointer brand chore coat I wear daily. So without hesitation I scooped it up. After my purchase I contacted Lesli, in regard to its fabric, because in the picture on the listing it seemed very light. With a quick reply she sent me a link to a old catalog page (see below) suggesting that it might be worsted serge. However, on that same catalog picture there is no mention of a green worsted serge, only grey, brown, or beige. Then I saw the display tag from AC’s Flickr page for a early forestry cloth cruiser. It states that forestry cloth is a green Worsted serge. This made me even more excited. Could it be a rarer piece in my size?

Last week the Etsy Cruiser arrived and taking it out of the package, I was amazed at how “new” it was. It looked like it was only worn maybe one season. I was also surprised at the weight of the jacket. It was not light and flimsy but quite heavy and tough. The tight, diagonal wool twill does not stretch, and has no problem blocking all the light when held up to a bulb. The fit is true Filson. I wear a 44 suit and this is bang on. Although looking at the label there is no size tag, so I cannot be sure of its exact size. The green color is still very pure, with only tiny specks of fading. Also this past week here in Toronto it has been about 9*C (48*F) in the morning and I was surprised at how warm this cruiser is. Along with being very warm , the cruiser still provides plenty of movement and doesn’t catch and stay up on my back when reaching above my head. I have never worn a Filson Mackinaw, but I have heard that they are quite heavy and extremely warm. I have a early Woolrich Buffalo plaid mackinaw and you can forget being indoors for any length of time with a coat like that on! That’s where the Cruiser coat fits in perfectly. The fabric is thin enough to move from outdoors to indoors, tough enough to trek through thickets and brush, tight enough to ward off light showers and snow, and roomy enough for layering options underneath.

I am not exactly sure if it the jacket is made in forestry cloth or whipcord, as I have never held or seen either up close. But what I do know is that this cruiser is not a standard issue item. Why Filson eliminated this fabric as a standard cruiser option baffles me — they still make shirts out of serge and pants out of whipcord. From what I have been told, they will still make whipcord cruisers in their custom shop for a greater price. Its a great seasonal transition coat, from Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. This coat will definitely be a new daily driver for me from city to forest. And as much as I really like this coat, the search for these kind of pieces never ever really ends!

Evidence of worsted serge in the 1980s/90s

Archival Production Report: Flap Wallet

September 5th, 2011

Editor’s Note: Nicholas Hollows, of Hollows Leather, is the craftsman behind our new Archival Flap Wallet. We asked him to document his production process in words and photographs. Here’s what he had to say:

The Archival Flap Wallets are truly handmade pieces. The leather is cut by hand, shaped by hand, punched and stitched by hand. The hardware is set with a hammer, and the edges are hand-burnished with beeswax. The Chromexcel leather from Horween is incredibly supple and lends the final product a satisfying, book-like quality that feels great to hold. I’m proud of this work, and happy to share it.

Guest Review: Chimala Chambray Shirt

August 4th, 2011

by Tiffany Thornton

I’ve been brand-stalking Chimala for a while now (via Lark: Chimala was started in 2006 by a Japanese designer, and is named for an imaginary mountain in the Himalayas… The brand concept is new vintage casual with a touch of “good old days” feeling. The design inspirations and sources are mostly from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s daily wear. The universal design often seen in military work wear is given a modern twist.)

Slightly contrasting chest pockets

After mulling it over for some time (Chimala is very expensive; about $400 CD for a shirt gave me about a year’s worth of pause) I decided to pick up a Chimala chambray work shirt from Lark. I pestered the kind folks at Lark for about a day and a half on sizing (I am small of frame, but have broad shoulders), and then made my purchase and hoped for the best. Despite being slightly uncomfortable with dropping that much on a single shirt, I have not regretted the purchase one bit.

Yellow stitched pencil slot

The chambray work shirt I picked up recently is apparently produced each season with different details each time. The details that sold me on this Spring ’11 version were: the slightly contrasting chest pocket, the contrast blue button, and the yellow stitched “pencil slot” on the pocket. The material is a pale blue chambray that is light, but not flimsy, and thus far seems to breathe well. Perfect for wearing to work in the Spring and Fall. The color is versatile, and could go with just about anything; I prefer to pair it with some brown corduroy trousers for the time being. It is also something of a relief to me that the Chimala medium size fits about perfectly: most button downs always seem to fit awkwardly on me because short torso + broad shoulders = unaccounted for by most clothing manufacturers.

Each season the Chimala shirt is made with new distressing and detailing

In general, I’m very pleased with this shirt: it is well crafted, attractive, comfortable and versatile. The major downside is the prohibitively high cost, but if it’s an issue that can be rectified, I certainly would recommend checking out Chimala if you’re in the market for something new.

Shopping from the present: Arrow Moccasins

June 1st, 2011

Editor’s note: While Tom prefers open toe footwear for summer, I typically opt for loafers or lace up moccasins. New to my line up is a pair of shoes made exclusively for the Tannery by the Arrow Moccasin Company. Unlike most premium Mocs, the Arrows are sized to fit men and women. I purchased a pair from Jason last month as part of my Archival Moccasin review project.

I asked Jason McKenzie, friend and The Tannery proprietor, to write up a report on his Arrow Moc collaboration.

Arrow Moccasins for The Tannery

I chose Arrow because they are the most locally sourced shoe we have (a tad closer than Alden), and we are a store predicated on footwear (not my space, but the business as a whole, was footwear only for 30 years). I think it is very important to represent local industry, and The Tannery is the de facto, “big show.” (We are the footwear news independent retailer of the year this year.)
The leather is Swiss hide, tanned in England. Nobody uses such thick, supple leather. Nobody. When you hold these next to Quoddy’s, Yuketens, etc, you will see that for yourself. It makes for a tough break-in period (as you are now finding out), but it also makes for incredible longevity.

I don’t have a name for the new mocs (which is odd, because I always name my projects- I was writing major). I like Peanut Butter Cups- that was actually the name assigned by one of my coworkers. Paul Oulette, who is Arrow Moccasin, doesn’t like to put crepe on his shoes, but our customer is more urban, and I felt strongly that the leather bottoms were less palatable for our clientele- at least to start.

Another reason I chose Arrow, besides their close proximity, is…how to put this delicately? Well, it is an established operation. They are not a new “blog brand.” They have been at it for 50 years. Paul is the second generation of maker. Before you gasp, let me explain: I believe strongly that AC is the premier new heritage brand. The market is being flooded with these at-home projects, and none of them hold a candle to your quality. I could give you a laundry list, but you can figure out who I mean. This consideration is especially applicable to two things: backpacks, and leather goods. You should see how many sub-par products and brands have come at me. I am in this position because I can separate the wheat from the chaff.

I chose the model based on the look alone. And I was torn between this and the canoe moc. The Two Eye Tie most closely resembles the classic New England boat shoe, infused with a Native American aesthetic. I will probably mess with the Canoe Moc next time ’round.
The scrap is from Oi Polloi’s custom dyed run of Arrows. In keeping with the spirit of repurposing (you may remember my first project was that Bailey Works bag made from old tents), I thought it was cool to use big boys’ detritus to make something that ended up more unique. One man’s trash…

Gary Drinkwater- who is a local haberdasher (the first Engineered Garments account outside of Nepenthes, by the way) wants me to try Walter Dyer’s Mocs, but those are less known, and only come in leather soles. They also don’t have as many styles available.
It’s funny, we sell those heinous vibram five fingers, and I try daily to convince folks that the Arrows are actually better at helping improve posture and gait than the monkey shoes, and will last at least ten times longer. There is no insole, no midsole, no shank, and that is a strange concept for a lot of people to grasp, but once they do, a lot of folks prefer it.

LL’s Arrow Mocs on test on the synthetic rocks at REI

Shopping from the Present: Duchess Clothier

February 18th, 2011

Editor’s note: Duchess Clothier, located next to Winn Perry in Portland, Oregon, offers custom and ready to wear clothing. In addition to stock patterns, Duchess can produce custom garments based on vintage patterns or photographs, using fabrics sourced by the customer. While I continue to contemplate the perfect Duchess project, AC friend Tiffany Thorton moved forward with an order for a pair of trousers inspired by a Sears catalog circa 1933. She documented the custom ordering process for Archival.

by Tiffany Thorton

Ready to wear jackets at Duchess


Jacket sample in the shop

A good pair of trousers is hard to find. Elusive fits, unsatisfactory materials and disappointing color selections have frustrated my search for a decent pair of trousers for a long time. Over the past few years, I’ve expended an embarrassing amount of time and energy looking for The Appropriate Trousers. I really wanted something of quality material and construction; trousers that would be comfortable, durable, and dignified. I nearly resigned myself to existing without these dreamt of trousers, until I spotted an Archival Clothing blog post referencing Duchess Clothier.

Original inspiration

I have long admired the cut of certain species of wide-legged men’s trousers from the 1930’s and 1940’s, and I spotted a couple of examples of such things on Duchess’ website. I was very attracted to the idea of having custom made garments that referenced these past styles, especially from a local establishment. I contacted Duchess and asked, a little sheepishly, if they could make trousers for women. Before long, I was headed to Portland, with a photocopied trouser reference from a reprinted 1930’s Sears catalog.


On the day of my appointment, I was greeted by Seyta Selter, one of Duchess’ friendly and knowledgeable founders. Seyta asked if I would like a reproduction of those specific trousers, and seemed as excited by the prospect as I was. We looked through the sample books, focusing on heavy weight wools, and I selected a dark brown herringbone fabric and an anthracite grey flannel (the anthracite flannel later turned out to be unavailable). We discussed fit as I was being measured, and talked about details like wide waist band that could handle a fairly large belt, a zip fly with three functional buttons on the waist band, and cuffs. I had never felt so supported in my sartorial preferences before.

Finished trousers.

Wide waist band with double loops (belt shown for scale)

Wide cuffs

I was really pleased with the first pair of trousers I got, and decided to commission more. I love the fit and form of these trousers. They are my favorite among the garments I have owned. They seem durable and sturdy, and I’m not worried that they’ll incur a lot of wear or weather damage. Wool is known for doing pretty well in most weather conditions, and Duchess has a large sample of wool fabric to select from. However, I wanted to try an experiment. I wanted to see if the trouser pattern that Duchess had constructed for me could be applied to a super heavy weight wool fabric that could be worn in truly awful winter weather conditions.

Heavy melton wool for winter weight trousers

After conducting some research, I decided that 100% wool melton fabric would be an interesting choice. I had a conversation with Ariel, another of the Duchess ladies, about bringing fabric for them to use, and she advised me on the amount of fabric it would take to construct a pair of trousers using my pattern. The next task was to find some. In the interest of supporting local industry, I felt that Pendleton would be a good source to tap for the melton wool fabric. It took a couple of e-mail inquiries to get a phone number for fabric sales, and when I finally made the call, I was pleasantly surprised to be told that the black melton wool I was interested in was on sale, and yes, they could ship it to Eugene. In July, I brought the wool fabric to Seyta, and we finalized a few details. It felt a little strange to be carrying around a bolt of heavy black wool in the summer heat, but any mild public humiliation is worth it; I can’t wait to put these trousers to the test.

Crucial care and feeding instructions

Field Test: Archival Clothing Flap Musette

July 27th, 2010

by Chris Kostman

Tea everywhere, including from a “boat-in” tea shop along Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir

Test-riding a cycle rickshaw in New Delhi, India

Chris Kostman, ultra-endurance cyclist and AdventureCORPS founder, is a self described musette fan. Kostman has been a hero of mine since 1993 when I read his article Mountain Bikes: Who Needs Them? in an issue of Bicycle Guide magazine.

Kostman in 1993 (“any bike, anywhere”)

Several months ago, Kostman wrote me suggesting that Archival Clothing offer one of our musettes in a size that would accommodate a 14″ mac laptop. He uses simple cotton Kucharik musettes to carry his laptop and sundry items. Although I couldn’t provide Chris with an Archival musette that met his size specifications, I persuaded him to purchase one of our waxed cotton flap musettes for his trip to India and Kashmir.

After returning home, Chris published the following field test report on his blog,

I’m an absolute bag nut and very picky when it comes to the bags I purchase and utilize – for any purpose. For 95% of my bag needs, I rely on the built-to-last, American-made offerings from Red Oxx in Billings, MT. I literally have ten or more of them in use on a regular basis. When I head off on a roadtrip, or to produce an event, it’s a veritable rolling Red Oxx commercial! There’s more on my Red Oxx bags here on the Community Page on the AdventureCORPS site.

A recent two-week trip through India and Kashmir was “bagged” perfectly with three bags from Red Oxx: the Air Boss to hold all my clothes in a space-efficient, and wrinkle-free, manner; the Mini-Ruck as my airplane carry-on with camera gear, gifts, reading material, food, and more; and a Safari Beanos 5.5 as the “bottomless pit” duffle to hold sleeping bags, ground pads, hydration packs for hiking, extra shoes, and other bulky items not needed on a daily basis by our group of three.

I knew all my real packing, hauling, and storage needs would be handled well by my trip of Red Oxx bags, but I also wanted something something small and inconspicuous as my daily-use bag, especially for my large-size digital camera with extra lens, my Moleskine notebook, and the misc. items I’d want to carry every day such as hand sanitizer, energy bars, business cards, and a bottle of water.

Hopefully all of you know that musette bags began their legendary history in the military, then became de rigeur food-and-drink-hand-off bags in the professional cycling world.

I have used an ultra simple cotton musette by Kucharik for over a decade as a protective sleeve for my Mac laptops. When running to the PO, bank, tea shop, and the like I use the same Kucharik musette to carry small items. When I expect to have to carry a bunch of items on my bike – such as when stopping at my mailbox at the end of a long ride – I will carry the folded up musette in my jersey pocket to put to good use when needed. That particular musette has seen a zillion miles and a quadrillion uses, so I knew something along those lines, except more sturdily made and without any logos, would be perfect for my India and Kashmir trip.

Kostman’s well worn Kucharik musette

Enter the recently released musette bag from Archival Clothing, a blog business I’ve been following lately. I ordered one just before winging it to a time zone exactly 12.5 hours later than my own. What a wise purchase that proved to be!

I used the Archival Clothing musette bag every day, taking it everywhere I went. It served many duties, including camera bag, shopping bag, and mainly just keeping everything I needed on a daily basis in a handy, low-key, easy-to-use design. The bag slowly changed color over time, taking on a more rugged, and lived-in patina. I don’t plan to clean it any time soon; it keeps getting better looking. No doubt it will last forever, too.

In a few of shots below, you can see everything which I stuffed in it one day during the only “shopping spree” of the trip. That was in Dharamsala (more specifically, MacLeod Ganj), home of the Dalai Lama and many Tibetan refugees. The latter have some neat things for sale, and my two travel friends kept handing me stuff to carry in my musette, as it operated like a black hole into which we dropped everything. To sum up, this is one fantastic bag and I’ll never travel without it. (I’ll put it to good use on my bicycle in the near future, no doubt, and will post a follow-up report about that application as well.)

Kostman along the Lidder River in Pahalgam, Kashmir

You, too, can be blessed by, and photographed with, a spiritual guru for just a buck!

The Archival Clothing Musette Bag holds an awful lot of gear, and shopping finds, when necessary! Everything pictured was comfortably in the bag.

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