Tag Archives: Pendleton

1930s Pendleton Toboggan Coat

To a historical clothing collector, one of the most exciting things that can happen is to find  one of the treasures in one’s collection in a vintage photograph.  I was happy to get this photo from reader Edgertor in my inbox last week.  The photo is of her grandmother, and was taken sometime in the early 1930s.  The coat looks to be a Pendleton toboggan coat, which was made by Pendleton in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

I’m lucky enough to have this model in red in my collection.   The Costume Institute at the Met has a black one, and the Pendleton archives also has tan and khaki versions.  All four are made from a textile called the  Glacier Park stripe.  The toboggan coat was also made in a pattern called Harding.  I’ve never seen an example except for photos from the Pendleton archive.

Unfortunately, it appears that the coat has not survived. The coat’s owner was a dairy farmer in Connecticut, and she died only a few years after this photo was taken.  The farm’s barn is still there, and maybe buried under a pile of hay, the coat might someday be found.  That’s my wish, at least.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Photographs

49er Look-Alike

Yesterday I wrote about how easy it is to confuse a Key West Hand Print with that of Lilly Pulitzer.  Considering that the two were designed and made by the same team, that is understandable.  But there are other times when one item might be mistakenly taken to be something else.  In many cases it is a matter of copying.

In 1949 Pendleton introduced what had to be one of their most popular designs ever – the 49er.  It was the beginning of their women’s line, and as you might know, it is still being made today.  During the 1950s, the years when the jacket was so popular, there were a lot of other makers who cashed in on the design.  Several years ago I posted about one I found that had originally been sold at Sears.

I found the blue and grey example this week at my not so secret shopping place.  My first thought was that I’d discovered a Pendleton 49er among the Old Navy and Forever 21 trash littering the bins.  But an examination proved that this was another wannabe.

There was no label, but I did see traces where one had been sewn into the neck seam.  That was not good, because Pendleton sewed theirs onto the back yoke.

Here is the label from a vintage Pendleton 49er, that was a gift from Mod Betty several years ago.  A zigzag stitch was used to attach the label on the yoke.

The buttons on this jacket are a plastic that are meant to look like shell or mother-of-pearl.  An authentic vintage 49er has grey mother-of-pearl buttons.

Probably the most obvious difference is the way the pockets were cut.  On a 49er the bias cut pockets are mirror images of one another.  On this jacket they are cut on the bias, but no attempt was made to match them.

Note the beautifully matched pockets on my 49er.  Also note how the horizontal lines of the plaid match across the sleeves and the body of the jacket.

Interestingly, the plaids match up quite well on one sleeve…

but note how far off they are on the other side.  On the other hand, the two sides of the collar are quite well matched.

My fake does have the same type of pleat to the shoulders, and the sleeve cuffs are constructed in the same manner.  The wool is nice; not as nice as Pendleton, but it is passable.

I did buy this jacket anyway.  I like the colors, and it will be a good layering piece for the rest of the winter.  But darn it, I sure wish it had been a Pendleton.





Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Vintage Clothing

Ad Campaign – Pendleton Triplet, 1951

pick a Pendleton triplet

it’s a coat * it’s a robe * it’s a dress

triple triumph to wear free-flowing or belted…your dream duster with 3 lives, done in superlative Pendleton virgin woolens…so richly, softly warm, yet light as a breath.  Tailored with decisive flair, from bold shoulders to skirt sweep, in gorgeous tartans, little checks, nailheads or solid tones…all in the country’s happiest colors.

Okay, I’m sold.  It sure looks like a perfect travel garment.

One question.  What is nailhead?


Filed under Advertisements

Pendleton Double Faced Wool Coat, Circa 1975

I know I write an awful lot about Pendleton, but it really is such a favorite of mine.  Last week in a last minute trip to the Goodwill Clearance Center, I happened on the coat pictured above.  I knew immediately it was a good one and my first thought was Bonnie Cashin.  But something about the way the leather was sewn just did not look like her work.  I began to look for clues.

Because the coat is reversible, at first glance there was no label.  But with any two sided garment, always look in the pockets.  Often the label will be placed there.  And there it was!

Not only was the coat reversible, the wool was double faced.  What that means is that it is actually one fabric that is two fabrics somehow joined together, so that one side is solid grey and the reverse is a grey and white plaid.  It is top-notch quality fabric, and I’m not even sure if Pendleton still makes it.

I’ve tried to photograph how the two sides are joined, but I’m afraid this will take a bit of imagination for you to picture it.  I’ve pulled a section of the two fabrics apart, and if you look very closely you can see how the two are joined by the solid grey yarns.

As is often the case with vintage wools, there was a series of unfortunate holes near the hem.  Because they were contained in that area, I took a chance.  The problem with moth holes is that sometimes it takes a cleaning before the full extent of the damage is revealed.  I strongly suggest that you have any wool garment (except sweaters, which can be hand washed)  cleaned before you get your heart set on wearing it.  In my case, there was no extra damage, but I knew the coat was unwearable as is.

If you are a regular reader of the Vintage Traveler, you know that I am not a big fan of altering and “up-cycling.”  However, when it comes to a mass produced, damaged item, I have no problem working toward making it wearable.

In this case, though, it was not a simple matter of just cutting off the damage and hemming the coat due to the leather binding.  I had to cut off the damaged bottom, remove the leather binding and then hand stitch it to form the new bottom edge.  You cannot machine stitch leather that already has old stitching holes, as it would weaken the leather and actually cut through it.  So I hand stitched it, working my needle through the old holes.

The end result is a knee length coat that is just the right weight for my climate.  I can see myself wearing this 20 years down the road, and if I can keep the moths away, it will out live me.  This is the kind of quality fabric and garment that typified  the American sportswear industry.

All the edges are either French seams or are bound in leather.

On a similar note, I was tickled pink to discover this week that Pendleton Threads, the Pendleton Mills blog actually has The Vintage Traveler in their blog role.  So if anyone from Pendleton is reading, thanks!


Filed under Proper Clothing, Sewing, Shopping, Vintage Clothing

A Good One from the Pendleton Archives

I posted this photo of this jacket last year after I discovered its twin resides in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Now it appears that Pendleton probably has one as well, and they have reproduced it for the up-coming fall and winter season.

They have only posted the one photo, but with the exception of an additional line of stitching on either side of the front opening and the type of buttons, it looks to be pretty much the same.  I am quite impressed that the stripe  is actually matched better on the new one.  Note the top of the sleeve.

According to the sales page, this is their “famous Glacier Park stripe,” and the coat is pictured in the 1930 catalog.  I’m not crazy about the neutral colors, but maybe they will offer it in red as time goes on.  And now I’ll have to spend time looking through the Pendleton site, looking for more faithful reproductions.

photo copyright Pendleton Woolen Mills


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Made in the USA, Shopping

Fixing a Hole

After showing photos of dozens of shoes I do not wear, I thought I’d better hurry up and post about a piece of vintage clothing that I do wear.  Most of the vintage in my closet is outerwear.   I have so many coats and jackets you’d think I lived at the North Pole.  The truth is that I love and wear them all, but the last thing I thought I needed was another coat.  But them I spotted this plaid  Pendleton at the local Goodwill.  I tried it on.  It fit.

The nice thing about outerwear is that the fit is forgiving.  You usually don’t have to worry about your waist size and precise measurements.  A coat is meant to be worn over stuff, and so if it is in your general size range, it will usually work.  Maybe that is why I have so many vintage coats!

After getting over the greatness of the plaid, I couldn’t help but notice all the nice little details – the way the collar can be worn open or tight against the neck, the adjustible sleeve bands, the wonderfulness of the shoulder seam with its little pleat in the back.

But then there was the bad news.  If you look at a lot of vintage wool, you will already have guessed that there were several small moth holes.  But I didn’t let that keep me from my purchase, because I know a little about reweaving.

Reweaving is exactly what the word implies.  You take some of the yarn from the wool garment, and carefully work it over and under the hole.  The bulkier the yarn, the easier it is to fix a hole.  Solid colors are easier than plaids, and plain tweeds are the easiest of all.  It is possible to reweave a fine wool, but that is a job for experts.  I know my limitations, and this Pendleton wool was just bulky enough for me to be able to accomplish the job.

This hole is relatively easy to reweave, as it is mainly in the blue area.  Because of that, I treated it as I would a solid color.  First, I went under the lining to see if there was enough yarn in the seam allowances.  There was, so I pulled off a strand of blue. ( If the seam allowance doesn’t have the yarn you need, you can pull it from the inside of a pocket, or even the hem.  I took some red yarn from a pocket, and you cannot even tell where I pulled the yarn out.)

You have to have a needle with a large eye, or one of those trick ones that has a slit where you pull the yarn down through the eye.  Honestly, threading the needle is often the hardest part!   Then, carefully work the needle under a strand of the weave that leads to the hole.  Attach the yarn on both sides of the hole, just by working your yarn into the fabric.  Depending on the size of the hole, you may need to go back across a couple of times.  Then do the same in the perpendicular direction, but this time, weave over and under the yarn you have just attached.

Basically, you are putting in a little woven spot to replace what the moth ate!

And here is the final product.  It isn’t perfect, but it looks a whole lot better than a hole.

If you want to try this, I suggest you practice  it on a very bulky tweed.  Note that it does not work on sweaters and knits – only on woven fabrics.  And if you need a visual on how this is accomplished, check out this video by a professional reweaver.


Filed under Sewing

Pendleton and Outlet Shopping

Last week I posted my Pendleton Outlet coupon, and I was not disappointed with the results.

First, a word about outlet shopping.  For the most part, today’s outlets are a far cry from the original outlet concept.  It used to be that many factories ran a store at the factory where they sold things that were not quite perfect (seconds), returns from retail stores, and things they over-produced (over-runs).  If there was left over fabric from a collection, that might also be sold at the outlet.  These stores were an adventure in shopping.  You had to look at a lot of crud to find the jewels, but there were always jewels to be found.

The outlets of today are usually clustered in centers, and are for many people a shopping destination.  The stores have brand names, but the merchandise is often produced for the outlet, and while cheaper than regular retail stores, may also suffer in quality (remember the Brooks Brothers  faux leather key ring I posted about).

The Pendleton Outlet, is a real, old school factory outlet, though the one in my area is far from the factory in Portland.  I love being able to go through the racks of made in the USA samples, looking for that perfect item.  And occasionally, they even have a few “seconds” that did not pass quality control.

My new shawl, pictured at the top, was a seconds find.  It is from Pendleton’s pricey Portland Collection, which started all the cultural appropriation controversy last fall.  The flaws were minuscule, and so was the price tag.  At the risk of sounding like an old lady, I’ve recently discovered shawls, and love the coziness of wrapping up in one while watching a movie or a bit of TV.  Here’s a photo of  it in a Swedish magazine, found on the Pendleton Portland Collection blog.

But as much as I love my local Pendleton Outlet, what I’d really like to do is visit the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Portland.  Every Friday the staff puts out stuff that is delivered straight from the factory, including fabrics and yarn.  They even have classes to help people with crafting projects. I want some of you Oregonians to post and tell me how wonderful that place is.

But back to my outlet experience…  As I was checking out, I noticed a stack of posters featuring Pendleton blanket designs from 2010.  I asked the price, and was delighted when the sales person gave one of them to me.  It’s a great addition to my files, don’t you know.

I was especially glad to see the image of the Cherokee Basket blanket design.  Since I live in Cherokee territory (or very close to it) I’m quite familiar with these baskets, and have a few my mother bought for me years ago.  I think the blanket design is an excellent representation of  Cherokee basket weaving.



Filed under Shopping