Pat Baldwin for Hadley Cashmere

I’ve told the story many times about how I got started buying vintage clothing because my supply of new cashmere ran dry.  By that I mean the Hadley factory in Asheville closed in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and with it, the nirvana known as the Hadley factory outlet store.  But every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case, I’ve got to admit that this big change in shopping habits put me onto a path which I’m still traveling.

Not surprisingly, I find a lot of vintage Hadley, mostly of the mid 1970s variety.  It is soft and plush, but the lines are straight and the colors are usually of the camel family. Still, it is remarkable cashmere of the type that today is found only at a very high price.

For years I’ve wanted a Pat Baldwin designed cashmere sweater.  I can tell you very little about Baldwin, except that she had a private label that was based in Cleveland, and she designed decorated sweaters for both Hadley and Dalton, two of the best cashmere producers in the US in the 1950s and 60s.    Her designs usually involved cut velvet, often in the shape of animals, and little covered buttons.

My sweater is a bit different from the usual whimsical Baldwin fare, but I love it just the same.  I tried to photograph the tiny stitching of the velvet applique, but was not very successful in showing off the skill of the stitcher.  And what is really remarkable is that the stitches cannot even be detected on the interior of the sweater even though they are done in a contrasting color thread!

Now, all I can do is hope that someone who knows about Pat Baldwin will kindly post here and enlighten us all!


Filed under Shopping, Vintage Clothing

14 responses to “Pat Baldwin for Hadley Cashmere

  1. Great! A new thing for me to be on the lookout for. You lived near a Hadley factory store? oh you lucky, lucky gal.


  2. Oh my goodness! That sweater is too cute!


  3. Rich

    The factory was actually in Weaverville. The son went to school with me and his dad would send cases of sweaters to the fraternity house every now and then for all to pick from. He was obviously a great guy. My dad used to run fine department stores in many states and always carried Hadley and Dalton. My mom left me a few, which I have passed on to our daughter, but now, like you, I prowl the internet and buy whatever looks in good shape that is not outrageously priced (for me, anyhow), although you are correct. Only places like Johnstons of Elgin make good stuff any more. Cucinelli and Piana are quite good if you have the thousands for the items, but that is above my pay grade. I have managed to amass well over 100 sweaters as well as skirts and loose-fitting casual pants that my daughter wears when she is at college. I buy the various mens and ladies makers…Hadley and Dalton high are among the list. I have a lot of vintage Ballantyne, before they were bought out, and that was also a very high quality product back then. Cox Moore and Pringle (vintage) were second tier, but there are still some out there that are nice if you can find them. Today it is all about quantity and they mix the good fabric with lots of garbage. The weaving is loose and thin–sometimes on purpose like with Piana, but many times it is just cheap. Full-fashioned (raglan) sleeves are pretty much a thing of the past since set-in sleeves are cheaper and faster to make by our friends in Cambodia and Thailand and Viet Nam who work for pennies a day. These days I look for only made in Scotland or Italy and try to only buy vintage. Ralph Lauren and his old employer, Brooks Brothers, sometimes have a few nice pieces, but you have to be very selective. Wilkes-Bashford in CA sometimes has nice stuff in a given season, but of course the prices are very high. I still try to stick to well-cared-for vintage items at a fair price. All this is for my daughter and her eventual family since there will certainly be fewer and fewer quality items made over time, and with proper care, these items will last forever. I would guess my dad knew of Pat Baldwin, but sadly he passed away years ago. Best of luck on your searches!


  4. edgertor

    did pat baldwin always put a little heart made of pearls stitched onto the sleeve?


  5. Pingback: Pat Baldwin, Sweater Entrepreneur | The Vintage Traveler

  6. I have a Hadley Cashmere Black Sweater with Cream colored removable Mink collar, rhinestone buttons and a beautiful Rhinestone decorative closure snap at the bottom. The lining is a white satin like fabric covered in black lace The tag says hadley Cashmere, 100% pure, and WPL 10373. I’m wondering what the numbers mean. It’s a small.


  7. Don Yelton

    will try to get my wife to post as her Mother was an assistant to the designers at Hadley Corporation and went to NY often. My wife also worked in the outlet store in the summers before I got her to marry me. I worked at the local grocery store, Stoney Knob. Those were the great days when quality mattered.


  8. cynthia caputo

    My mother was the office manager for The Cashmere Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio. She was sent to Asheville in the 1950’s sometime to open the factory/store. I’m visiting Asheville right now and would love to know more about the company. She quit her job in 1957 because I was born.


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