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The Dude Cardigan Abides.

There are plenty of Right Then, Right Now garments in Pendleton’s history, but by far, our most famous sweater was immortalized in the cult classic, “The Big Lebowski.”

This Coen brothers film was released to low to middling success in 1998, but quietly grew into a cult favorite. No one can quite pinpoint why. Was it Donny’s clueless questions?  The dream sequence scored by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition? (click here to see a young Kenny Rogers perform the song on a giant psychadelic bed, click here for a nice homage version with movie stills) Was it Walter’s chin-strap beard? Or perhaps the German nihilists?

Well, it was all of these, but most of all, we think it was The Sweater.

Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes for this role, and though there were several sweaters hand-knitted as back-ups, he preferred wearing his original Pendleton. As the Dude, he staggers in and out of trouble, wearing alternately sweats, shorts, pajama pants, a bathrobe, t-shirts and…

…his sweater.

The original Pendleton cardigan debuted in 1974 as the Westerley.

We took inspiration from the beautiful hand-knitted Cowichan sweaters of the Pacific Northwest tribes, but ours were machine-knitted by Winona Knitting Mills of Minnesota. Here’s a little U.S.A. manufacturing history for you…Winona Mills was a two-facility company, owned by the Woodworth family. They were one of the very few knitters in the US who could do a 2gg knit. A 2gg knit is basically outerwear. You could wear it in a monsoon, and you’d stay warm and cozy.

The vintage Westerley is a 3gg knit, and it is WARM. We offered the Westerley in the western, outdoor and casual lines over the years. If your tag has a white background, it was part of the Western line. The blue labels are in the outdoor and casual lines. While down in the archives researching, I counted at least eight colorations, but that was just when I stopped counting. There are probably more.

The colors went all over the place, but the zip front, ring pull and shawl color stayed the same.

We have a few versions of this sweater in our archives, but when Kyle Anderson contacted us to see if we wanted his, we were delighted to accept it. Here it is, not quite mint but then again, neither is the Dude’s.

According to Kyle, the original owner, it was worn once. It’s in beautiful shape, it’s a great coloration, and best of all, it’s an XL so it will actually fit our modern size-large forms. Eventually, we hope this garment this will go on permanent display, but until then we’ve put this sweater to work in photo shoots and fashion shows beacuse  2011 marks the year we released a tribute version of the cardigan.

We don’t call it the Westerly anymore. We call it the Dude.  This is a heavyweight sweater, designed to keep you warm no matter where you’re doing your Achieving. It’s available at our stores and our website. We didn’t exactly replicate the original.  We wanted to preserve the value of the vintage sweaters that sell on eBay to Achievers everywhere.

The phenomenon that is “The Big Lebowski” continues. There are books devoted to the lore of Lebowski. All over the country, Lebowskifests draw crowds of Achievers, troupes of dancing bowling pins, and character look-alikes. You can buy stuffed animals, action figures and, of course, sweaters new or sweaters old.

The Dude abides. And so does his sweater.

59 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dude: This cardigan is righteous. I have been searching for something just like this and must have it. Colors, collar, zipper, weight – check, check, check, and check.

    September 30, 2011
  2. Yes Please! This is my favorite movie. It was forever stamped into my head at age 17 that there are movies that most people just “don’t get”, when my girlfriend at the time wanted to walk out of the film due to her boredom watching it. This movie is not boring and is smart…like Pendleton. Smart clothes for smart people that abide, indeed.

    October 1, 2011
  3. The Dude Abides! And so do Pendleton sweaters….

    October 2, 2011
  4. Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your web site accidentally, and I am stunned why this accident didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

    November 30, 2011
    • We just unveiled this blog, and it is still getting its feet under it. Thanks for stopping by. We will have a post this week you might enjoy involving the Dude cardigan.

      November 30, 2011
  5. condorito #

    Is the sweater no longer available? It doesn’t appear to be listed on your website at this point.

    December 29, 2011
    • It is sold out at the website. Please call 800.760.4844 (our Consumer Services line) for help locating one at a store, though we are getting very low and certain sizes are completely gone.

      December 30, 2011
  6. Michał #

    It’s sold out already? So, there will be second run of the original design, right?

    February 3, 2012
  7. Logan #

    is it still sold out? will there be more available?

    February 16, 2012
  8. Lindsey Woodworth #

    It’s Woodworth not Woodward, but thanks for the shout out.

    May 21, 2012
  9. Chris McKeon #

    Will the sweater be making a comeback for the fall of 2012. Unfortunately this is the first I’m hearing of it and missed out. Would love to own one. Thanks Chris

    August 27, 2012
  10. Jeff #

    Is it true, the sweater is coming back in 2013? Same color and design, just like the Dudes? I was joyed when I found out the Dudes sweater was Pendleton. My family has been wearing Pendleton wool since the 70′s here in Portland Or. We love the stuff, having one of these sweaters will make me so happy! I just wish we could pre-order now. Thanks for bringing it back.

    September 26, 2012
  11. is there any way I can pre-order? I’ve been looking for this forever … any advice is greatly appreciated!

    November 10, 2012
    • This was last fall, so sorry.

      November 12, 2012
      • penny #

        NOOOOOOOO! any chance you could possibly run them again? Or am I outta luck? :’(

        November 12, 2012
      • Keep your eyes and ears peeled. :)

        November 13, 2012
  12. kristen luongo #

    any chance for christmas 2012?

    November 23, 2012
  13. Michael #

    Is there a way to get notified if it comes up again or to get on a waiting list?

    January 15, 2013
  14. Gianfranco #

    so it IS being re-released this year in the fall?

    January 16, 2013
  15. Catie #

    Ah I’m so excited for a re-release! This is my boyfriend’s FAVORITE FAVORITE movie. I will have to keep an eye open for a pre-order date so I can snag one up for birthday or Christmas or something.

    January 29, 2013
  16. Katy #

    Have the same problem , my husband will turn 40 this year and we’ve set out to get a real Dudde for e real dude…. Help need one delivered to the Netherlands…

    February 22, 2013
  17. Hi all. We have re-released the Westerley this Fall, and will have a contest so you can win one soon; you will be able to enter on this blog.

    August 14, 2013
    • penny #

      Thank you!!!! :)

      August 14, 2013
    • Jj #

      Any idea how long this will stay stay up for sale? I’d like to know if I need to buy it now or if I can wait a little bit closer to Christmas.

      August 22, 2013
      • It just went up, so I think you are safe to wait a short amount of time. But this sweater will go quickly. If it sells out, don’t hesitate to call our consumer services at 800.760.4844 for help.

        August 23, 2013
  18. Tara #

    What kitting technique was used to create the color transitions & patterns in The Dude’s sweater? The patterns and comments I’ve found online all say fair isle was used, but based on looking at actual Pendleton sweaters I don’t believe it for a second. Any advice for a knitter?

    August 24, 2013
  19. g #

    Is it going to be available in any color other than vintage cream?

    August 26, 2013
    • There is a brown and navy as well.

      August 27, 2013
      • The dude #

        is brown and navy yet to come out? or have i missed it, dude?

        September 6, 2013
      • Lars #

        Is there some way to select the Dude’s colors online? The website is only letting me select Vintage Cream.

        September 10, 2013
      • Lars, we made that version this year, but have plans to other versions down the line.

        September 13, 2013
  20. Tara #

    As a followup to my question, I made an Imgur post! Just thought I’d share. http://imgur.com/gallery/J8nMD

    September 1, 2013
    • Hi Tara,

      As far as a hand-knit version, we can’t help you with those specs. The original sweater has a very heavy ribbed knit, and it is machine made. Wold a closeup of the ribbing be helpful to you?

      September 3, 2013
  21. Bart #

    Good day to you,

    Would it be possible to ship overseas for a large order?

    Also, will the cardigan be available in navy again any time soon?

    I hope your day is treating you well!

    September 22, 2013
    • Bart, the best way to ship overseas is to contact our home store at 503.535.5444, 10 AM – 5:30 PM Pacific USA time. They also may have the brown/navy in stock there.

      September 23, 2013
  22. The Dude #

    Well, I dig your style too, man. Got the whole cowboy thing goin’. But when are you going to replicate the Dude’s sweater, man. Like in the original Dude colors? With the original design pattern? That’s what the people and the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers want, man. Also, my rug was stolen.

    October 16, 2013
  23. Mike #

    I just bought an original – exactly the same as the one shown above donated by Kyle – from an american vintage clothing store in Bristol, UK. They were selling it for £35 and clearly had no idea what they had on their hands!! He’s my favourite movie character of all time and I can t believe I just stumbled across it!!

    December 5, 2013
  24. I’m so glad I found your blog. And, I am so excited because as a clothing designer working with old wool sweaters and “upcycling” them, I often stop in Thrift Stores to poke around and see what I can find. Well, on Monday, I was driving in the middle of nowhere, Utah and stopped at their local Thrift Store. I happened to this this vintage men’s cardigan on a rack, and though it wasn’t what I was looking for for my project, I luckily went back and picked it up. There was just something about it, (and it was a Pendleton) and looked so vintage that I new I needed to buy it.
    So, I spent a (I hope you are sitting down) a whopping $8.00 for it and brought it home. After researching online today, I realized what a score I have on my hands. It is in perfect condition and looks like it has never been worn. The only thing it is missing is the ring zipper pull……do you know if I could purchase just the zipper pull from Pendleton? Otherwise it is in mint condition. Score!

    December 19, 2013
    • We don’t have the ring zipper pulls anymore! But what a great find. If you want to share it, send us a photo and we will definitely post it. You scored!

      December 19, 2013
  25. We host a yearly Big Lebowski Bash at Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge in Portland, OR and would love to talk about involving Pendleton. Is there someone I can contact?

    Here are some photos from last year’s event: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151029082516571.413095.95501931570&type=3

    January 7, 2014
  26. Have made a bid for one of these(white label) on E bay, will know by tomorrow, if I got it. Wish me luck;))

    February 8, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Filmgarb.com | The Dude's Cardigan
  2. The Westerley is back, Dude. | Pendleton Woolen Mills
  3. The Dude Resides: The 11 Most Lebowski-Friendly Cities | Estately Blog
  4. Portland: A Lebowski-friendly city | KOIN.com
  5. The Big Lebowski Costume Thread - Page 13

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