Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Pendleton 49er revisited

A few years ago I wrote about the Pendleton 49er jacket, and this is an update. People are always surprised at the variety of the plaids used for the jackets made by Pendleton, and the similar jackets by other makers. I get plenty of requests for specific favorite plaids, but almost every one I find is different from every other one I've found.

I have two 49er-style (not Pendleton label) jackets for sale right now, along with a 1955 McCall’s pattern, so you can sew your own! {click on images to view}

Here’s an update of the 2008 post I wrote about this iconic jacket, with additional photos, representing more 49er and 49er-style jackets I've found since. 

The last word in plaid: Pendleton 49er jackets

Recently I took stock of the vintage plaids I’ve come across for a photo set on Flickr, and realized that many of them were fine woolens from Pendleton.

I live so very near the home of Pendleton (Portland) that I am determined to have a field trip to check out Pendleton history first hand.

For now, here’s a parade of Pendleton 49er jackets, the great sporty basic that Pendleton started making in 1949...the company's very first article of clothing for women. It has been made ever since, with some variations.

The classic has flanged shoulders, a back yoke with gathers falling from the sides, roomy patch pockets with the plaid cut on the bias, big dark shell buttons, and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. They are almost always plaid or tartan. A woman recently wrote me to say that her mother had sewn pockets in Pendleton 49ers until 1957. She was surprised to see a vintage jacket in purple and lime green plaid, asked her mother if that could possibly have been an original 49er color scheme, and her mother said yes! The variety was wonderful.

Pendleton still makes the jacket, now quite faithful to the original model. Here’s the Fall 2012 jacket:

Other companies made very similar jackets (I’ve seen Western Star, Spokane’s The Crescent department store, Penneys, White Stag, Game & Lake Original, “The Prospector” by Algene and the “Frisco Jac” by Minnesota Woolen Co. labels).

Jody of the Couture Allure Vintage Fashion blog posted a 1955 ad for the 49er and coordinating pieces at

and it really was a revelation to me that the jacket is shown belted in the ad. I love a belt with this jacket!

Here is an assortment of Pendleton 49ers (and some 49er-style jackets by other makers) I've sold in the past.


Terry Matuszyk said...

gosh, I love these jackets!!! And I see mine!

osovictoria said...

Iloveseeing these jackets in a collection. I never knew they were called 49'ers. Thanks

Shannon said...

Lovely photos. Would you recommend dry cleaning 49ers or hand washing with a wool wash?

denisebrain said...

Hi Shannon, I would dry clean the jackets. I haven't tried washing one I must admit, but I generally shy away from washing woven wool.

Anonymous said...

Love these 49er Jackets and would love to make one, but where can one find a pattern? McCalls should re-release this pattern again.

Lennea said...

Fabulous photos! I have a sizeable collection of 49'ers vintage and recent, plus a couple Western Star knockoffs from the 60's. I also refurbish shabby ones that I come across and gift them.