It’s a Pendleton party! Come Join us this Friday, 9/6/19!

Seven Decades

Fall 2019 marks seven decades of style from Pendleton. And we are having a party!

The event details are here: Seven Decades of Style party

You can also register at Eventbrite: Pendleton party, Seven Decades of Style

08_2019_PAW_70th_Anniversary_V3.inddWe can’t wait to share the archive inspirations for this year – vintage clothes are encouraged, so put on your ’49er, bring a friend and have a blast.

 

See you there!

Pendleton Blanket Coats – From the Archives

70 Years of Style

We’re looking forward to celebrating 70 Years of Style next week – a party that honors our womenswear line, providing classic American style to women for seven decades! We’ll be celebrating at the Pendleton store Portland, Oregon, on Friday, 9/6/19, with a party. And you’re invited. We’re breaking out some beautiful clothes from the Pendleton archives for the event, along with bites and sips, music, giveaways, prizes and more. Vintage clothes (especially Pendleton) are encouraged and will be rewarded!

The event details are here: Seven Decades of Style party

The Heritage Coat

Here’s one of the most exciting items in the line for Fall 2019 – the coat on the right.

two women wearing Pendleton blanket coats - to left, actress Anita Page, to right, brunette model wearing hat, jeans, Pendleton blanket coat

Yes, that’s right. The coat on the right is a modern revival of one of our most iconic pieces; the Harding blanket coat. Before there was an official women’s sportswear line, Pendleton produced coats sewn from wool fabric in several lengths and styles to meet the needs of snowshoers, skiiers, tobogganers, and movie stars like Anita Page, photographed in a similar coat in the 1930s.

Actress Anita Page in a Pendleton blanket coat circa 1920s

The photo is black and white, but it’s safe to say that this coat was sewn in the familiar Harding pattern coloration.

The Pendleton Archives

Our archives hold several blanket coats in the Harding pattern on our racks of vintage Pendleton garments, carefully cataloged and hung under white sheets to protect them from dust. Visitors wear white gloves when they handle these treasures, to protect fragile garments from the oils we all have on our hands.

The coat at the front of this “go-back” rack (waiting to be checked back in) is very similar to the coat worn by Anita Page. It’s a well-worn example, with mismatched buttons.archive-coat

Here’s another beautiful Harding pattern coat we call “the airplane coat.” 

The Pendleton "airplane" coat, a blanket coat in the Harding pattern in the Pendleton archives.

This label gave it its name–see the airplane in the lower left of the label?

This car coat was sewn for passengers to wear in open cockpit airplanes. This is also a Harding pattern. The strap-and-button details are charming.

Here’s the rack where both of these coats live in the archives. The “out” cards mark  the spots where other garments have been taken to our design area.

A group of vintage Pendleton blanket coats hanging together in the Pendleton archives. Yellow and pink pieces of paper calle d"out cards" are interspersed, showing where garments have been checked out of the archives for design inspiration.

See You At The Party!

We can’t wait to see what the designers come up with next–and we can’t wait to see you at the party! Come help us celebrate.

Reproduction of a postcard sent to invite people to the 70 Years of Style Celebration at Portland, Park Avenue West, on Firday, Spetember 6, 2019. Includes photos of Anita page in a Pendleton coat from the 1920s, and a modern shot of a model wearing the Heritage Coat from the 2019 Fall Pendleton line.

70 Years of Pendleton Womenswear – WOVEN magazine

cover of Pendleton magazine with actress Anita page in a Pendleton blanket coat circa 1930

We are celebrating seven decades of Pendleton Womenswear with a spectacular issue of WOVEN. Follow along the timeline of style and history, from from poodle skirts to power suits. You’ll love this look back at the styles, ads, and happenings of the day from 1949 through 2019. You’ll also get a sneak peak at the special collection for this fall, with garments drawn from our archives, like this coat on the back cover.

woman wearing hat and wool blanket coat by Pendleton

Read it online here: WOVEN – 70 years of Women’s Fashion

 

Graduation time!

A young Native American woman in a maroon graduation robe and gown stands by a podium draped with a Pendleton Water blanket.

To all the graduates, congratulations.

It’s a time to proudly honor your accomplishments, hard work, and success.

Dreams

© Kym Erickson

Published: September 21, 2018

You’re the driver of your destiny,
Passenger of none,
In control and looking forward
Of things that must be done.

You’re the captain of your ship,
Destination unknown,
Plans to help you get there
And freedom to bring you home.

You’re the pilot of your airplane;
Fly as high as you can.
Life is what you make it,
So follow your plan.

Hopes and dreams not yet reached,
Motivation on display.
A journey full of ups and downs,
Experience gained each day.

Direction is always forward;
Backwards remains the same.
Discover your authentic self,
And have a willingness to change.

Enhance each quality given.
Develop talents you were blessed.
Transform your heart into one of gold,
And believe in more than yourself.

Mistakes are made; we move on.
We get back on our feet.
I’m here to support you always
Should you ever need me.

For every start there is a finish.
For every beginning there is an end.
Hold onto your accomplishments,
And even tighter to your friends.

More By Kym Erickson

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/dreams-12

 

Draped in their Pendleton blankets, a class of graduating Native American students face the camera and the future.

We sincerely thank you for making us part of your traditions. It is an honor. 

Best regards, 

Pendleton Woolen Mills

photos courtesy: Indian Country Today, ASU news, Student Door, Kelsey Leonard, University of Colorado at Boulder, Glenn Asakawa, Pinterest,  Colorado State University Native American Cultural Center, 

A proud group of Native American scholars are photographed in their Pendleton blankets.

Before they were the Beach Boys, they were the Pendletones. This shirt is why.

CIRCA 1963: Photo of Beach Boys Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Pendletones

In the early 1960s, a group called The Pendletones adopted their name in honor of the surf uniform of the day: Pendleton shirts worn over tee shirts with khakis. The original lineup included brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine.

The Pendletones soon changed their name to the Beach Boys (learn more about them here: (the Beach Boys) Even though only one member of the group had ever been on a surfboard, they sang about the California surfing scene; waves, sunshine, cars and girls. This might have been simple subject matter, but layered instrumentation and soaring harmonies made these songs anything but simple. Under the unique artistic leadership of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys defined surf music. And though their name changed, their uniform didn’t. The band wore this blue and charcoal plaid shirt on the covers of 45s and LPs throughout the early 1960s.

Album covers by the Beach boys, for Surfin' Safari and Surfer Gilr. The Boys are wearing Pendleton Board Shirts.

Surf History

The Beach Boys’ Pendleton shirts were part an existing trend. When surfing came to California in the late 1950s, surfers devised performance wear: swim trunks and plaid Pendleton shirts over a layer of Vaseline. Surfers wore the same shirts over light pants on the shore, and a fashion trend was born.

The Majorettes

This look hit the radio airwaves courtesy of the Majorettes, whose song, “White Levis” became a number one hit in 1963. As the lyrics said, “My boyfriend’s always wearin’ white Levi’s…and his tennis shoes and his surfin’ hat and a big plaid Pendleton shirt.”

Record and cover for the 45 single of "White Levis" by the Majorettes. The cover shows a drawing of a young man wearing white Levi's and a plaid Pendleton shirt.

That’s a Pendleton shirt  cover of that 45, even though they named the song after the pants. You can give it a listen here, and don’t be surprised if you start singing along.  But let’s get back to the shirt made so popular by the Beach Boys.

An Icon Returns

In 2002, Pendleton celebrated eight decades of Pendleton shirts by bringing back iconic shirts from each decade. To celebrate the 1960s, we brought back the Board Shirt in the same plaid seen on all those record covers. We call it the Original Surf Plaid.

The shirt has stayed in the line ever since.

A young man stands next to an orange surfboard in front of a shingled wall. He is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in the Original Surf Plaid made famous by The Beach Boys.

Photo Joel Bear

We’ve used it in caps, hats, bags and jackets. It’s still made in the original 100% virgin Umatilla wool as it was back then.

A man kneels in his driveway in front of a motorcycle, with is arm around a white fluffy dog. he is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in Original Surf Plaid.

Photo Cassy Berry

There’s some discussion now and then in Pendleton’s Menswear division about which is our most enduring men’s item of all time. Some say it’s the Topster, the shirt jacket that defined collegiate wear in the 1950s and 60s. Some say it’s the Original Westerley cardigan worn by the Dude in “The Big Lebowski.”

Musician Ben Jaffe leans against a cedarwood wall. He is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in Original Surf Plaid.

Photo Ben Jaffe, styling Suzanne Santo

Others claim the honor for the Board Shirt. We’ll let you decide.

A young man leans against a rusted orange camper. he is wearing a Pendleton Board Shirt in Original Surf Plaid.

Photo Travis Hallmark

No matter where you are, or what’s the weather, this piece of the sunny California surf scene will take you to the waves.

A woman and a man wear Pendleton Board Shirts in Original Surf Plaid.

Answering Questions about Pendleton

The original (and current) Pendleton WOolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon.

Claims and Questions

Thanks to our friends who have brought some claims circulating on social media to our attention. We owe an enormous debt of respect and gratitude to the Native Americans and First Nations people who choose our blankets, and care deeply about this relationship. We understand that it’s important to speak the truth.

Our Mills

Pendleton’s mills are our pride and joy, and both are well over a century old. Keeping them updated is a priority and a challenge, but we think it’s worth it to keep weaving in the USA. Our mills are subject to inspections, and when problems are identified, we take immediate action to resolve them. We have earned third-party certification for sustainability (read more here), and our management is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.

Political Donations

We respect the right of current and former employees to make political donations to candidates they personally support. These donations are not endorsements by Pendleton.

Pattern Origins

Pendleton supports the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We make our blankets for Native Americans, but we don’t claim our products are made by them. Our company’s history is always part of our marketing and sales materials, and is available on our website.

Pendleton blanket patterns are developed by in-house designers. Some are based on historic designs created to serve the Native American market. Blanket stories, told on hangtags and on the website, credit the inspirations and traditions behind the patterns. We also commission Native American artists to create designs, and adapt existing artwork (usually paintings) into blankets. These artists are always compensated and credited by name for their work. You can learn more here: Native artists.

Pendleton is proud to support organizations that serve Native Americans, veterans and America’s National Parks. Our relationship with The American Indian College Fund spans more than twenty years, and our endowment to the College Fund provides scholarships for Native American students. Pendleton also makes annual donations to NARA (Native American Rehabilitation Center) to support outreach and health care for Native American women.

In 1909, Pendleton was one of many mills producing wool blankets for Native Americans. Now, over a hundred years later, we are the only mill still weaving wool blankets for Native Americans here in the USA. Native Americans were our first, and are still our most valued customers. Thanks to everyone who has written in support of our shared history and friendship.

We hope we have answered your questions, but if you have more concerns, please write to us at PendletonWM@penmills.com and we will respond. We are listening.

Pendleton logo label that shows a drawing of a bald eagle, and the words: "Pendleton since 1863 Highest Quality Made in the USA." This blanket is sewn onto all Pendleton's traditional wool blankets, which are still 00% made in the USA.

Greg Hatten guest post – Buell Blankets and the St. Joseph Museum

A guest post!

Today’s post is from our friend Greg Hatten, of WoodenBoat adventure fame. Greg has always been interested in our Buell blankets (all retired, but one is still available), which were part of our Mill Tribute Series. Greg decided to find out some information on the original Buell blankets at the source; his hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Enjoy this visit, and if you’re interested in our Mill Tribute series blankets, links to our previous posts are below.

Buell-2-table

Buell Blankets Headed West

St. Joseph, Missouri is my hometown. It’s a dreamy little river town that started out as a trading post on the banks of the Missouri and quickly became a launching pad for pioneers headed west to Oregon and California in the mid 1800’s. Some historians estimate that 250,000 settlers made the trek by wagon and on foot between 1850 and 1900. Most of those trips started in St. Joseph or Independence – where final provisions for the 5 month journey were acquired before embarking on the grand westward adventure that started by crossing the Midwestern prairie. Many were leaving for the rest of their lives.

Provisions and Provender

Wool blankets were on the provisions list of every trip – for sleeping and trading with Native Americans along the way. In St. Joseph, the Buell Woolen Mill was the primary source for blankets headed west. Known for quality over quantity, the blankets were strikingly colorful and many designs were based on patterns used by different Native tribes in paintings and beadwork out west. They were prized by the pioneers and Native Americans alike.

Buell-2-slide

As stated in the 1910 Buell Catalog:

Missouri ranks up with the first in the production of good staple wools, and the surrounding states produce a quality almost equal. We buy the choicest lots, have first pick, and train our buyers to get the best… We obtain the best dyes possible that we may produce the required fastness of color, and many beautiful shades and combinations which have made Buell…Blankets the handsomest, most desirable line in the world.

A Visit to the Buell Museum

As I packed for my most recent trip west to run Wild and Scenic Rivers in a wooden boat, a friend of mine asked if I had seen the small collection of Buell blankets at the St. Joseph museum.  I hadn’t – so I made a call to Sara Wilson, Director of the Museum, who is as enthusiastic about blankets as I am about wooden boats and canvas and wool camping.

The next day I visited Sara and watched as she put on cotton gloves, opened a box, carefully lifted out two colorful Buell blankets from the early 1900’s and spread them on the wooden table. Her reverence for these artifacts was touching as she pointed out the tri-colors , the double weave, and the attention to detail that made these blankets so special. I immediately enlisted in her small band of “blanket historians” trying to preserve, protect, and expand the Buell collection in St. Joseph.

Buell-1-table

Setting Out Again

Back home on Lovers Lane, I readied my wooden boat and packed my Land Cruiser for the trip to Idaho across the plains of Nebraska. Among other things, my provisions list included wool blankets from Pendleton Woolen Mills. For my river adventure on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in the Frank Church Wilderness, I chose two blankets to take – a utilitarian camp blanket in slate gray and a colorful Chief Joseph blanket for more dramatic photos of canvas and wool sleeping beside the “River of No Return.”

Greg_hatten_packed_rig

Pendleton Blankets

My friends at Pendleton have always spoken of the Buell blankets with the utmost admiration. Pendleton’s  wool blankets have been a part of every adventure I’ve undertaken in the past 15 years. It was pretty amazing to learn about this little thread of blanket history running through the backyard of my home town as I prepared for the first in a series of adventures featuring wood boats and wool blankets on Wild and Scenic Rivers.

 

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If you have a Buell Blanket, images of a Buell Blanket, or a personal story about Buell Blankets, please contact my friend and blanket enthusiast, Sara Wilson, Director of the St. Joseph Museum. You can email her at  sara@stjosephmuseum.org

Thanks, Greg! We hope some beautiful Buells make their way to the museum. And for those of you who would like to read more about the Pendleton series that pays tribute to these blankets, here are the links:

Mill Tribute Series: Buell

Mill Tribute Series: Capp

Mill Tribute Series: Oregon City

Mill Tribute Series: Racine

Pendleton Heritage Umatilla Wool — VIDEO with Cameron Krebs

Two men (Cameron Krebs and his father) stand in a flock of sheep. The younger man is holding his toddler-aged daughter in his arms.

Wool is What We Do

We are Pendleton Woolen Mills, and wool is what we do. Just watch and listen to Cameron Krebs, a wool grower from Umatilla County, talking about his family’s generations as wool providers to Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Properties of Wool

So here are some amazing wool facts for you, courtesy of us, from our trusty “Wool, A Natural” booklet, a little classroom staple for many years now.

Wool is a Miracle Fiber that Stands the Test of Time

Wool is a natural fiber, growing from the follicles of sheep. In a time of sustainability and environmental consciousness, this renewable resource remains longer-lasting and better looking than anything man-made. Even though advanced processing methods have made wool more versatile and easy care, man has not improved the miracle fiber itself. 

Wool is Naturally Resilient and Wrinkle Resistant

This is due to the ability of the fiber to spring back into shape after bending, creasing, or compression. Resilience gives wool its ability to hold a shape, resist wrinkles and withstand wear. This makes wool great for travel. It resists tearing because it’s flexible. Wool can bend back on itself 20,000 times without breaking (cotton only 3200 times before breaking/silk 1800 times/rayon only 75 times). Wool can be stretched or twisted and its cells return to their original position.

Wool is Naturally Comfortable

Wool fibers cannot be packed down. They spring back to shape keeping their open, porous nature. Wool provides the most warmth with the least weight. The air that is trapped inside (about 80% of wool fabric volume) makes wool an excellent insulator to keep the body at its normal temperature year round: warm in winter and cool in summer. Wool is the original outdoor “performance” fiber. 

Wool is Naturally Water and Stain Repellent

Wool repels light water, like a rain shower, because of the membrane on the outer scales. In very wet conditions, wool absorbs up to 30% of its own weight without feeling damp. And because of insulation ability, wool “breathes,” allowing the body’s natural moisture to pass through. The hairy surface of wool and its freedom from static make it the easiest of all fabrics to keep clean or to clean after soiling. 

Wool Maintains its Luster and Resists Fading

Wool has a permanent natural luster it never loses even after years of hard wear. It absorbs dyes until it is completely saturated so colors stay brilliant in spite of sunshine, perspiration and impurities in the atmosphere. No other fiber can be spun or woven into such a variety of weights, textures, finishes and colors. 

Wool is Naturally Flame Retardant

Unless it is in direct contact with flame, wool will extinguish itself. The denser the weave and the greater the fabric weight, the less likely it is even to char because of its smaller oxygen content. Fire departments and insurance companies recommend the use of wool blankets, rugs or coats to put out flames.

We will be bringing you more fun facts about wool this month, because January is an excellent month for keeping warm. And thanks to the Krebs family for their participation in this video!

Cameron Krebs, a Pendleton wool grower, holds his duahgter in his arms and stands with his mother and father, looking at a flock of sheep grazing in a cottonwood grove.

 

90 years of Shirtmaking: the Taxonomy of Pendleton Shirts

Nine Decades!

We’re celebrating nine decades! yes, that’s right. We have been making men’s wool shirts for ninety years. The Pendleton shirt story starts in 1924, when the Bishop family decided to enlarge their business from trade and bed blankets into men’s apparel.

To quote http://www.pendleton-usa.com:

In 1924, a man could have a wool shirt in any color he wanted – as long as it was grey. Wool shirts were utilitarian items; warm, durable, an excellent first line in the defense against the elements. They were uniformly drab. Of course, all that was about to change.

At Pendleton Woolen Mills, Clarence Morton Bishop envisioned a different kind of fabric for a man’s wool shirt. Pendleton’s sophisticated weaving capabilities were producing vibrant trade blankets. Why not bring that same weaving and color know-how to flannel shirting?

He wrote to his father, Charles Pleasant Bishop, “I believe we should add such goods as shirts and hosiery.” C.P. Bishop agreed, replying “I am more and more impressed with the opportunity we have here in Oregon.” While his son investigated production options, C.P. Bishop did the early marketing work. He wrote to his son that “I am impressing it on the minds of my employees and patrons…that we are putting a new fabric on the market, something better than other mills can or will make.”

After much weaving experimentation and hard work, Pendleton’s innovative Umatilla shirting fabric rolled off the loom. The rich colors in Pendleton’s woolen plaid shirts were completely new to the market in 1924. The positive response was immediate. It has also been enduring.

The Poster

Ninety years! To celebrate, we’ve released a poster that elaborates on the design features of our most enduring models.  Click for a larger view, though the best view is in person at one of our many retailers.

A Pendleton poster with drawings of the eight shirt styles for Fall, including the trail, fireside, lodge, board, canyon, Sir Pendleton, guide and gambler Pendleton shirts.

Decade Shirts

Fall 2014 brings our Decade shirts, each made a style and fabric that represents a decade of Pendleton shirtmaking. We will be taking a closer look at those in the next few weeks. But for now, it’s kind of awesome to sit back and consider how many Pendleton wool shirts we’ve put on the backs of men over the last ninety years. Thank you for your loyalty, and here’s to the next decade!