Tag Archives: cashmere

Ballantyne Cashmere for 1965 at N. Peal

N. Peal was established in 1936 by Nat Peal, and was located at the prestigious address of the Burlington Arcade in London. It sold cashmere and other wool sweaters, all made in the UK. Today, N. Peal is still in business, having been bought and somewhat rebranded in 2010. A quick look on the net shows that the sweaters under the N. Peal name are sold in the N.Peal stores, but also on discount sites like Outnet. They also appear to be made in China.

At one time the name Ballantyne guaranteed a high-quality cashmere product. The factory that made Ballantyne sweaters closed in 2013, but you can still buy Ballantyne products – made in China, of course.  But in the 1960s cashmere sweaters were a true luxury, and Ballantyne was one of the best. Combine that quality with the design skills of Bonnie Cashin, and you have a collaboration made in cashmere heaven.


Click to enlarge

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the orange, or zinnia, version of this Bonnie Cashin for sale at some time in the past.

This sweater is so typical of the way Cashin mixed colors. I love that rounded collar.

A seller on etsy actually has this sweater and skirt set in two different colors. Note the pin in the neck opening. One of the sets that is for sale still has the pin and the original tags.

The skirt was a special design by Cashin which ensured a better fit. t was available in all the colors of the various sweaters.

Not all the items in my little catalog were designed by Cashin. Sweaters like the one above were probably available for several years both before and after 1965, being such a classic design.

By 1965, the collarless Chanel jacket had been made and sold by Mademoiselle for over ten years. If a brand labeled a jacket as “Chanel style” women who followed fashion knew exactly what was meant. Chanel herself found such references to be flattering.

Today though, Chanel, Inc. takes a hard line against any other company (and that includes re-sellers on eBay) using the Chanel name to sell a non-Chanel product.

This open letter to would-be abusers of the Chanel name was first published in 2009 in fashion magazines. This is an attempt to keep control of the Chanel name. They don’t want “Chanel” to become an adjective. The Fashion Law explains it well. 

It’s a bit like trying to close the barn door after the horse is already out, seeing as how “Chanel” has been used in a descriptive manner since at least 1965, and I suspect, even earlier. But those Chanel lawyers are, as they say, serious. I’ve known eBay auctions for “Chanel-like” suits to simply disappear.


Filed under Collecting, Designers, Proper Clothing

Project: Cashmere Hoodie with Patches

I haven’t showed off a project recently, partly because I have been working on this one for almost two months.  Yes, I am slow.

All the materials came from my local Goodwill bins – cashmere hoodie, embroidery thread, background fabric, and even the embroidery hoop.  Everything except the needle.  The hoodie was missing the label, but there is no doubt that it is cashmere, and good quality at that.  So, why was it in the bins?  There were four holes.

Holes in cashmere don’t bother me, especially if it is a product this hefty.  Repairing it is quite easy, and I’ve repaired enough cashmere to be able to do a neat and almost undetectable mend.  That is what I’d planned, but the holes were pretty large, so I started thinking about alternatives.

I came up with embroidered patches, and because I was anxious about recent world events, I pictured a scream.  Actually, I pictured The Scream, by Edvard Munch.  I can tell you that embroidering this detail from the work was therapeutic.

I began by finding details of four paintings that I love.  I had the great product above, which is a fabric with a paper backing to run through a printer.  I isolated the sections I wanted to embroider and printed them onto the fabric.

I used a combination of wool thread and cotton embroidery floss, depending on the type of texture I wanted.  I pretty much stuck to a plain straight stitch throughout.  Sometimes I mixed two different color strands on the needle.

Van Gogh’s Wheatfields with Crows

Monet’s Water Lilies

And this one is a bit harder to recognize because I pulled the detail from the background.  Any art lovers want to attempt a guess?

My poor camera just does not capture the richness of the color and texture of this sweater.  It’s soft and warm and reminds me of beautiful things.

Over the past few years I’ve really cut retail shopping, and this year I hope to buy nothing new to wear.  I have so much fabric, and the Goodwill is such a great source of raw material, that I’m hoping I can make anything I need to fill in gaps in my wardrobe.

Every week it seems there is another article warning of the unsustainability of the shopping habits of people in developed countries.  Besides the human cost, the clothing and textiles industries are two of the most polluting on earth.  I think is is time (past it actually) that we all reevaluate the way we shop for clothing and other textile products.  When it gets to the point that people  don’t have access to clean water because of the dyes and other pollutants used in the manufacturing process, it’s time to take action.

Stepping off the soapbox now…


Filed under Sewing, Viewpoint

Irene Brown Cashmere Sweater for Golfer


I’ve been on a lucky streak online recently, as far as finding great stuff for my collection.  Above you can see my new favorite, bought off eBay from seller lindys4sale.  It is cashmere, and is decorated with velveteen appliques, accents with beads, embroidery, and the occasional bit of leather.

Irene Brown of Detroit is a new name to me, and an internet search showed up only a few references, all in Michigan newspapers dating from 1962 to 1968.  I found two other examples that had been sold online, both of which used applique to decorate the sweater.

One thing I can tell you about Irene Brown is that the sweater that bears her name shows top notch workmanship.  Each little piece was cut from velveteen or leather, and then was expertly appliqued to the sweater.  The letters shown above are about an inch and an eighth, are beautifully finished and then embroidered on one side to mimic a shadow.  The number on the flag and the dimples on the ball are made with beading.

Even the sides of the sweater and the sleeve cuffs are decorated.  The two other examples I found of Brown’s work also had gathered cuffs like this one.  Perhaps it was a trademark of her designs.

The back of the sweater has one big applique of a golf bag and clubs.  All the design on the bag was made through embroidery.

The interior is not lined, so you can get a good look at the handwork.  I would have expected a sweater of this quality to be lined, but I can find no traces of old lining threads, and the other examples I found do not seem to be lined either.

One thing I really love about vintage golf prints and such is that the 19th hole is almost always referenced.  That little cocktail is enough to entice me onto the golf course.  You’ll find me in the club house.



Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing, Sportswear, Summer Sports

Ad Campaign – Dalton Cashmere, 1956

The Dalton Twins Dash from Desk to Date.

Wendy is Dalton’s captivating sweater of 100% pure imported cashmere… color matched with its own slim svelte skirt of Stroock’s pure cashmere or cashmere blends.

Dalton was founded in 1949 by Arthur Dery and Maurice Saltzman (who was also the owner of Bobbie Brooks), and was  headquartered in Cleveland and  Willoughby, Ohio.  Dalton was best known for their cashmere sweaters, but they also made woolen skirts that were dyed to match the sweaters.  I found the reference to Stroock interesting, as that company’s label is usually found in cashmere and fine wool coats.  For much of the twentieth century Sylvan Stroock’s company was the leading US maker of luxury wools.

And when was the last time you saw the words “captivating” or “svelte” in an advertisement?


Filed under Advertisements

Misleading Labels – Mainbocher

Under certain circumstances, my reporting that I’d found a sweater with a Mainbocher label would be a cause for celebrating.  Main Rousseau Bocher was an American who stayed in Paris after WWI, changed his name to Mainbocher, and opened a couture house.  When WWII broke out he returned to the US and continued making clothes, including wonderfully decorated cashmere evening twin sets.

This sweater is not by THE Mainbocher, of course.  A quick search on the US Trademark site showed that this sweater is a product of Stein Mart, a “luxury discounter.”  They have had the Mainbocher name registered since 2005.

I’m not sure how this works, how a company can just take the name of a dead designer and slap it on random clothing.  I do understand revivals, where the label makes an attempt to channel the aesthetic of the designer into the new line (as in the Anne Fogarty revival) or Charles James, where the company actually has an agreement with his children.

I’m sure this happens all the time.  Feel free to share any misleading labels you’ve seen.  I know that about twenty years ago someone registered Claire McCardell’s name, but her family got that enterprise stopped through legal channels.  I noticed that her name has recently been registered as a trademark yet again.

I actually bought this sweater, because despite it being made in China, it is a nice, well-made garment.  It’s the type of thing I wear on a daily basis in colder months.  Somehow cashmere is just a bit more luxurious than sweatshirts.  I probably paid a dollar for it at the Goodwill outlet.

Nice full fashion knitting.  Most cheap sweaters are cut out from cashmere knit and then sewn.  In fully fashioned sweaters the pieces are knit to fit without cutting.

Not bad for a department store cashmere, but not quite couture!


Filed under Curiosities, Designers

Cashmere + Harris Tweed

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not always a fan of “re-purposing.”  I’ve seen too many projects gone wrong, and too many nice vintage pieces ruined to wholeheartedly embrace the movement.  Of course, there was a time, back in the 1970s, when I did my own share of damage to the vintage supply, so I try not to judge too harshly.

Still, I do encourage all re-crafters to take care to know what their materials are, and if they are better left alone.  Even a damaged dress from a very important designer may have historic value.

But I’m always on the lookout for great textiles in garments that are in unwearable condition.  For the project above I took a nice but stained and unlabeled cashmere sweater, and a gent’s Harris Tweed jacket that was holey and cheaply made and combined them for a pullover with a tweed front.

Back in October I saw such a sweater/tweed combination at J.  Crew.   I loved the idea, but hated the not very cozy wool, and the made in China tag.  But I kept thinking about it, and decided to just make my own, only that mine would be cashmere and Harris Tweed.

I had the sweater already.  It was one I’d bought just to layer for cold day walks because of some dark marks on the front.  But it was a very high quality cashmere, super soft and no pilling.  The style was, frankly, boring.

But it had all the hallmarks of a high quality product, including full fashioned (knit to fit instead of cut) sleeves.  There was no label in the sweater, but I’m just betting it came from Scotland.

I went in search of a tweed, and was happy to find a 1960s jacket.  Besides the Harris Tweed label, there was a Penney’s label.  A look at the interior construction shows how corners were cut to save money, but it is interesting that Penney’s was using such a high quality textile.

The jacket was so damaged with holes that I had to piece three sections to make the front of my new garment.  The texture and the plaid make the seams hard to see.

The only change I made to the sweater was to make vents at the sides through the bottom band.  I secured the edges with a blanket stitch.

I carefully centered the tweed on the front of the sweater.  I then began the process of attaching the two pieces to one another.  I used a backstitch, which due to the texture of the tweed cannot be seen on the front.

I made the pockets by facing a slit with a piece of silk.  I then turned it to the inside and secured it.

To finish, I continued attaching the tweed to the cashmere using back stitches along the edges.  I’ve really quite pleased with how it turned out, and it is getting a lot of wear.

My little brother liked it so much that he just had to give it a squeeze!

Looks like someone needs to clean their mirror!




Filed under Sewing

Ad Campaign – Dalton Cashmere, 1955


the slim and sinuous sweater

that takes a fresh look at Spring!

Gracefully styled of pure

and precious 100% imported cashmere.

Since yesterday’s post was about Hadley Cashmere, I thought today I’d talk a bit about the other great American cashmere company, Dalton.  Dalton was founded in 1949 by Arthur Dery and Maurice Saltzman (who was also the owner of Bobbie Brooks), and was  headquartered in Cleveland and  Willoughby, Ohio.  Dalton was best known for their cashmere sweaters, but they also made woolen skirts that were dyed to match the sweaters.

It is fairly common to find vintage Dalton sweaters that are two-tone;  usually the sweater is a beautiful color with white or contrasting trim.  They also made intarsia designs, often in three colors.  Scalloped edges and appliques  were also Dalton details.  And look at the illustration to see how extra ribbing and buttons were added as design elements.

Like Hadley, Dalton produced a high quality product.   At their best, the cashmere produced by these two companies rivaled that produced in Scotland.  It’s interesting that the ad specified “imported cashmere” because all cashmere fibers had to be imported from Asia.


Filed under Advertisements