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!