Frequently Asked Questions
-What is the shipping cost on item X?
Unless it is fabric or sewing notions, the price of shipping is already included in the posted price. Garments, kits, canteens, housewives, suspenders, etc. already have the price of shipping calculated into them. The same goes for any sales tax.
-What is the price of shipping on X amount of yards of fabric?
Shipping costs are calculated by cutting, then weighing the fabric. This is why we only accept credit cards for fabric purchases. We do not charge anything extra for "handling" or anything of the sort (we run a mail order business, so there is no reason why we should charge you extra to mail the items to you.) The shipping cost will go entirely to the USPS, we don't make any extra money from shipping fabric. That is why it is better to make larger fabric orders when possible, you will ultimately pay less by the yard for the lower shipping cost.
-How do I place an order?
There are ordering instructions at the bottom of our website with phone number, hours of operation, and all the other required information.
-I called and no one answered. Should I hang up and call back?
Please don't. Leave us a voicemail and we'll call you back. One guy handles all the phone calls, emails, shipping, and a large portion of the production. He does occasionally need to eat or is otherwise indisposed. If you do not leave a voicemail you will not be called back.
-I've never sewn anything before, will your kits teach me to sew?
No. Our kits are intended to break down the construction of a particular item to its most basic form, and supply you will all the necessary materials to make the item. They cannot teach you how to sew. For that, there are a number of books and online guides that will teach you basic hand stitches. Practice on some cheap scrap cloth before you start stitching the expensive material used in our kits.
-What sizes do you need to make a sack coat or Richmond Depot jacket?
If a garment was an issue item, generally we just need your chest size. That said, if you're a big or tall guy we may want your waist measurement, sleeve length, etc. How do you know if you're big or tall? Proportionate sizing for the time was that a man's waist size should be 4" smaller than his chest. If yours is bigger (like mine) let us know. If you're taller than 5' 11", let us know. If your inseam is longer than 32", let us know. It's much easier to make something right the first time. Ultimately, you are responsible for providing us with accurate sizes.
-What sizes do you need to make a CS frock coat?
1. Chest (taken under the arms, fully expanded)
2. Waist (at the navel, and a little loose, since I don't add any extra)
3. Sleeve length (from the tip of the shoulder)
4. Length from back of neck to back of knee
5. Full back length of coat (I usually make them 4" shorter than the knee, but can vary if desired)
6. Length of back (from back of neck to waistline)
7. Neck (at the base)
-Are you going to offer US Frocks?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: US frocks are the most difficult to make common garment worn during the war (meaning an item that was issued to most, if not all federal troops.) Only the highest skilled craftspeople made frocks during the war. The level of skill required today to make a frock coat would cost around $25/hour, and a contract frock takes at least 20 hours to produce. That is $500 in labor. Add to that material costs (around $125) and we are talking about a $625.00 frock coat. No one is willing to pay that. When you ask me to make one for less, you are saying to me in a roundabout fashion that my time and my skills are worth less than they are, and that I should earn less for my time (bearing in mind that I'm already giving 30% of my labor cost to the IRS.) So no, there are no plans to ever offer US frocks as part of our product line.
-How about US frock kits, or SA infantry jacket kits?
The amount of questions and trouble customers have concerning kits goes up exponentially with the difficulty of the kit. Furthermore, the number of people that think garment assembly is simple and easy causes innumerable problems when someone gets in over their head. Anyone can sew, but only after a lot of training and practice. In the course of a normal week I turn several people down who think that they can order our most difficult kit and put it together having not assembled so much as a poke sack. As such, I am very gun shy of adding even more difficult items to our repertoire. I enjoy developing and offering kits, but some items are better left to more experienced tailors, and since I have little to no way of regulating who buys what, I just don't want to be on the hook for dozens of people who shouldn't have bothered.
-Can you get me fabric X?
Probably not. We are not in control of what fabrics we have come in. Most of the wool stocks our weavers are working from are older or second hand, so it is impossible to know what we will have a month or a year from now. Developing new fabrics (or any yard goods) from the yarn up is never profitable, and it is simply not worth the time and money to try to bring new fabrics to the market.
-How do I get you to make me a custom item?
Catch me on a good day, be a customer in good standing with orders going back at least two years, and try to fit it into the context of an existing item we already make. (For example, if you want an unlined private purchase blouse, ask about getting a contract blouse with a lengthened body, extra buttons, etc. Don't just say you want an exact copy of Captain X's blouse...I'm not going to drive to the other side of the country to study a sack coat just so I can make one for you unless you want to pay my hourly wage and travel expenses.)
-Can I get a frock or pair of trousers out of the material pictured on your website?
Usually not. All of our CS fabrics are made from finite supplies. Many of the items were made years ago from cloth woven from yarn made by companies that no longer exist, and sometimes the companies that did the weaving no longer exist. I can usually find you something close, but unless it's pictured on our CS fabric page, we don't have it.
That said, we had custom fabric made for our Columbus Depot and four button jackets. This fabric is always available (until we run out). No, those fabrics are not available for other garments or by the yard. And no, we will not make you a four button jacket or Columbus Depot jacket from other materials, either.
-Will you be attending event X/Will you come to my event?
In the last several years we have stopped selling at events. Simply put it is usually all we can do to keep up with our phone orders, and finding the time to attend events (let alone produce stock to actually sell at them) has become nearly impossible. There are simply not enough hours in the day to manufacture the goods, answer the phone, ship everything, handle all the logistics of our raw materials, and take four days off every month or two to sell at events. Added to that the ever-increasing cost of transportation and the ever-diminishing numbers of people in our community that attend events ready to make a purchase and the potential rewards for such an endeavor become close to nothing.
-Can I come by your shop?
We do not operate a retail location of any kind, but we do now have a workshop. If you want to visit it you can, but be aware it is not a wonderland of Civil War-related items, just an old run-down factory. As such, you'll need to call ahead of time and make an appointment (we're not always here.)
-*Telephone rings* "Is this Dan?/Can I speak to Dan?"
Dan Wambaugh is the one who always answers the telephone. So even if we greet you with a "W, W, & Company" you are talking with Dan, who answers the emails, maintains the website, etc, etc. Poor Dan is chained to the phone in finitum and has answered it for the past ten years and will answer it for decades to come. So it isn't necessary to ask for him.
A few more words about calling us:
-We are generally available nine hours a day six days a week, but it is one person answering all calls and emails so you may not always reach us. But rest assured it won't be long before you hear back.
-Have your sizes ready before you call to place an order. If you're not sure what sizes you need, shoot us an email first.
-Friendly chats are always welcome, but be aware that Dan is not one of those talented people who can do two things at once, so he cannot focus on your questions and work at the same time. So every minute you spend on the phone with him is time where he is not sewing or getting orders out. Some questions (not all) are better left to the pards in your group or to an internet forum.
-It is extremely helpful to us if you let us know your name first. Even if you've ordered hundreds of dollars worth of goods with us in the recent past beginning your call with a "How ya doin?" will leave poor Dan puzzled. A quick "Hi! This is X" will put us all on the same footing. After all, you already know who you're talking to! (see above)