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MR WASHY'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT : A REVAMPED CARHARTT COAT FROM US

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR WASHY!!!

We had been so busy stitching, stitching Mr Washy's birthday present that is. We wanted to get something special. It was a very difficult task because he is very picky. We reckon nothing is really going to impress. Well, we are very difficult to impress too, so we know. We know that we want to give him something he can use, non-ornamental, something with a touch of our personality in it. We literally took weeks, months thinking of what to get for him. (Read about Mr Washy's review of the Carhartt coat here)

We remember that Carhartt jacket we made him try on in Lucca, Italy. He looked pretty smart in it. He does not like the image associated with the brand, the skater style. But that is really besides the point, we think it has changed eversince Junya Watanabe revamped some Carhartt coats. He added elbow patched, new linings and other bits to make these coats look smart and stylish.

Seeing those revamped coats gave us the answer for Mr Washy's present. It would be a revamped coat. It took us a long time to find the coat to revamp. We didn't decide on Carhartt in the beginning. We only decided on it after reading more about the brand. 

WHY CARHARTT?
Wiki : Carhartt was originally founded to make work clothing for railroad workers. Their initial growth throughout the 1890s was focused on railroad workers' need for durable and long lasting work overalls. Over time, Carhartt clothing items evolved trademark features intended to further extend durability, including the use of heavy duty threads, reinforcing rivets at vital stress points, and a variety of durable, high technology materials resistant to flames, abrasion and water. Today Carhartt is found on construction sits, farms and ranches, amoing other job sites.

Carhartt is well known for its durability. For the fact that it is the choice clothing for many workers, it must very durable. We spent days reading about the brand and reading reviews. Yes, we went nuts. They are not just the workers' choice anymore, they are now made hipped by musicians and the yuppie-types. Though, we have to say that not everyone can carry a Carhartt and look smart beyond construction sites, farms and ranches.

Look at this one guy's Carhartt Story! This review if from Carhartt blog, by Richard Fargo who is a delivery driver.
"I deliver pizza, when the weather permits. I deliver on my mororcycle and was recently hit by an suv. I went over her rig and slid about 35 feet. At the emergency room I learned I had a crushed foot, perhaps ankle and minimal road rash. It wasn't my best work day! However, later at home recovering. I looked at my clothes the paramedics had to cut off of me earlier. My carhartt pants were ruined by the paramedics scissors, but, they protected me beautifully! Look at the damage to them , without the paramedics scissors, I would have worn them again! My Carhartt jacket took more damage from a normal fishing trip than it did during this accident. Even though I slid over 30 feet on the pavement, there were only scrape marks, and the neck area ripped slightly. I will continue to ride with it, well, when I can ride again. If you look closely at the picture of my pants you can even see the permanent emblem pressed into them from the pressure against my boots and the ground! ( that is the crushed foot side) WOW! Well I'll always wear my carhartts to protect me! Thanks for saving my skin!"

VINTAGE CARHARTT AND WHY?
Instead of a brand new Carhartt Chore coat, we bought a vintage one. OK, we are not sure how old it is, or if it is old enough to be called vintage. We have been reading about the drop of quality of Carhartt these days. Carhartt is no longer only made in USA. It is ironic considering it is a brand supported by American workers. And now that it isn't made in USA anymore, it is really denying the Americans of work, making workers' clothings that is. Although Carhartt claims that the quality is still the same and that the parts are all from USA, many Carhartt fanatics and workers do not think so. Many have noticed a clear difference in quality. Hence, many fans are now boycotting the brand. It just seems like Carhartt is losing focus of their main audience and motto. They are now making lower quality clothings due to the global economy and people who do not need durable clothings are buying them instead for the style.

We did manage to find a coat in good condition which was made before the turn of the century when Carhartt was still manufactured in USA by Union workers. The label says it. We will advise Mr Washy to not remove the label. It is a stamp of history.

THE REVAMP
We spent some time figuring out what to add to the coat before our vintage piece reached us. We painted some colors on the black coat we ordered. We planned to have a red trimmed collar, button holes, pockets, sleeves and perhaps leather elbow patches. We thought it looked pretty neat. We should it to some friends and we thought we would simplify the revamp project a little.



K didn't think Mr Washy would like the coat to be too red. She said many guys do not like red on their coats. Oh yes, that is true. We went a little too crazy with our plan and almost forget that we were revamping this coat for our conservative Mr Washy. We lost the red trims on the sleeves, and also the elbow patches. In the end we almost lost the trims on the pockets.



We spent a lot of time stitching the coat. It came with no flaws, don't get us wrong. But to make it more special, we wanted to add a touch of colour to it. We do not have our sewing machine with us, so it isn't the simplest of chores to stitch through this tough fabric which is supposed to withstand elements! 

Our fingers could not withstand the stitching. We even had to start stitching with rubber gloves because it was putting so much strains on our thumbs and indexes. Intricate embroidery stitches such as the stem stitch on a tough fabric such as this is just a bit of hell.

The corduroy collar needed some uplifting. It is vintage so the black corduroy has been washed and a little faded at the edges. Hence our plan for a red trimmed collar is perfect for it.

We are loving the red on the black.

This coat had some emblems stitched on it. We ordered 2 subdued Union Jack to cover the stitching.

Again, sewing patches onto such a thick fabric was not the easiest of jobs. Ouch!

OK, these little fingers need a long break from needles.

This is the end result. It is not too flashy was what we planned initially but it looks pretty neat and the most important of all, Mr Washy loves it.

THE REVIEWS OF CARHARTT
Here are some reviews that impressed us :

"I really like this coat. It's deceptively warm for one who always thought that you needed goosedown to feel warm in New England. It was a little stiff out of the bag but soon it felt pretty natural, in fact, for a chore coat, my only chore is stylin.."

"I finally "replaced" my Carhartt blanket lined chore coat after almost twenty years. The last one I bought for work was the 100th anniversary edition and it is still in great shape. There is nothing but praise for Caehartt products. Never a single problem with anything, period. A loyal customer for life."

"I was given my coat in 1989. Now that the coat is 19 going on 20 is it time to consider retiring it. This coat has travelled with me from Alaska to Utah to my current home in California. Where I grew up in Alaska, having a Carhartt is just a fact of life. It is the first coat that I pick up when I need one. The coat gets more comfortable the older it gets. It keeps you warm at -10F just as well as at +30F. It has held up really well under extreme use. I work with wildlife and have had animals try to bite and claw through it with no luck. I have worn it in sun, rain, wind and snow with no complaints. When you are going to work outside and need a jacket that can withstand abuse, there is no better coat. I wouldn't even be thinking about replacing it if it wasn't for the fact that after 19 years of hard use it is finally starting to wear out and fray. I am looking forward to spending 20 years with my next Carhartt Chore Coat."

"I've had this coat for literally three weeks and can tell you it's the best coat I've ever owned. I work in a grocery store with a -30F walk-in freezer. I've tried every coat and jacket I own to stay warm in this thing since I started. My leather jacket failed, fleece failed, even an "arctic" goose down jacket failed. Carhartt Chore Coat? I stayed in three times longer than ever before. Add on the snap-on arctic lined hood and you'll be able to weather ANYTHING.
I got turned on to this coat by a buddy that is in the Air National Guard in Clear, AK. He works security patrol, so his coat has to keep him warm. He told me that this was the best coat he's found; even better than his issued coat. For my money (and likely yours, as well) he was right."

The forecast calls for warmth and comfort in our duck chore coat with a blanket-lined body and quilted nylon-lined sleeves. Made of rugged 12-ounce, 100% cotton duck, it features a corduroy collar with under-collar snaps to accommodate an optional hood. There’s an inside pocket, two chest pockets and two large lower front pockets. Main seams are triple-stitched and riveted. And, a split-back with bi-swing design ensures ease of movement.

ON CARHARTT'S MADE IN USA UNION LABEL
This is from Carhartt's blog on their 'Made in USA Union Label'  :
To remain competitive in a global economy, Carhartt upholds a balanced approach to manufacturing by owning, operating and sourcing through facilities in the United States, Mexico and globally. Although our level of U.S. production is not as high as it once was, Carhartt still maintains sewing, distribution, cutting and administrative facilities in the United States. We stand behind the quality of our products and continue to manufacture garments that exceed industry standards for durability, comfort and quality of construction.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 by John:
Used to have a Detroit sandstone finish jacket that I wouldn't stop wearing even when the cuffs were all frayed out.. it was just getting broken in at that point. Someone else must have dug it as it was stolen; in a way can't blame them. It's been a few years, wanted the same style jacket so bought a new one... this one wasn't the same quality, I could tell from the moment I took it out of the box. Doesn't feel as heavy, zipper is flimsier, and the snaps aren't lined up right on the sleeves... then I looked at the tag... Mexico. Great. What gives, Carhartt? No more of my hard earned cash until you bring it home and up the quality. Leave this brand to the ignorant and uneducated. What's next, sales at Wally World?

Monday, January 11, 2010 by Bill Radley:
I run into many old-timers who have Carhartt coats manufactured before production went south of the border. The finish quality of the jackets and the weight of the materials is outstanding. The new coats are so-so. The members of our union have noticed Carhartt's backpedaling on supporting the working men and women of the United States. Everyone I talk to is taking their business elsewhere. It isn't right to support a company that doesn't support United States labor.

Sunday, May 23, 2010 by Dave Freeman:
I've been wearing R-28 bibs with the nail pouch attached for over 20 years. They were tough to find, but everwhere I went, people would say, "Wow, cool! where can I get those?" I even once sewed 2 pair together and won a halloween contest as a siamese twin. These styles were never pushed well and most retailers did not know about them when I ASKED. Today I find they are discontinued. How sad that you search to serve the people who want to look cool buy forget your base customers, the american working person. I'm all for profit margins. But what happened to doing something simply because it is the right thing to do and you customers like it? Now reading this last thread and looking at my latest blanket lined jacket and seeing indeed, it is not made in the USA anymore, well it saddens me. I see you take pains not to mention this wonderful new fact in your company bio. What would Mr. Carhart say? knowing his progeny is no longer living by the standards he set for both his clothes and treatment of american employees? Too sad to contemplate!

Monday, July 5, 2010 by Gail Jones:
I, like many of you, are very disappointed in the Carhartt quality. It's gone! My husband & I have worn Carhartt since Carhartt's existence. They use to never wear out. At the present we each own 12 pair of the denim bibs that are all to pieces. Almost every pair has lost all the top buttons on both sides, so they are virtually useless. I've been trying to find the tool used to put them back on. I can take a denim patch and patch the holes and re-attach the buttons if I could get them apart. Need the tool. If Carhartt is going to continue making "shotty" merchandise then they need to sell the tools needed to repair them. The other issue I'm having is with the clasps on the straps. They are useless after about 10 washes. Ours are breaking. WE wear them for normal farm wear and are not damaging them on equipment of anything like that. They are just "shotty" made in our opinion. Everyone keeps referring us to Key but we are die hard Carhartt lovers from Spring to Winter and own everything they make. But if this continues and we can't find and purchase a tool to make repairs then we have no choice but try another brand. We've even noticed the denim fabric seems to be thinner than it used to be. What's up with that? I'm getting tired of hearing "honey I can't wear any of my bibs b/c the buttons are gone or the clasps are broken. He has a couple of pair I've put back that he wears to the Co-op and other places for feed and supplies. That is ridiculous. Maybe it is b/c they are no longer made in the USA. I don't know but something definitely has happened to Carhartt as we know it!

2 comments:

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