Answer: No, sorry. Each of our kits is the product of hundreds of hours of R&D. Not just studying an original item, but sourcing the materials (and making sure we have a steady supply) as well as the time involved with writing up the instructions. There’s a lot of work that goes into our kits before we sell the first one, and putting in that work for a one-off custom item just isn’t feasible.
Answer: The shelter halves are sold by the half. You will not get a full tent. Individual soldiers were issued ONE shelter half each, then expected to partner up with a comrade to make a shelter tent. Each shelter half requires twenty-three hand sewn buttonholes as well as at least a half dozen hand sewn grommets (sometimes more), so there is a considerable amount of labor involved.
Answer: Measure your waist at your navel and subtract 4, that is your “size”. We’ve also added “actual inch” measurements to all of our trouser products. For example, for a 38 inch waist measurement you would select “Size 34 (38 inch actual)”
Answer: Orders for smaller items that are in stock generally ship within 1-2 weeks.
Orders for fabric generally ship in 1-2 weeks.
Orders for kits generally ship within 1-2 weeks.
Orders for garment blanks generally ship within 6-8 weeks.
Orders for US contract fatigue blouses generally ship within 6-8 weeks.
Orders for all other finished garments (including shelter halves) generally take 4-6 months.
NOTE: These are estimates, not guarantees. If you need something for a specific event (within a reasonable amount of time) call or email us and we can discuss it.
Answer: Since September of 2013 we have charged for shipping on all of our products. This is calculated in the shopping cart so you can see an estimated shipping cost with no commitment to make a purchase.
Answer: 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 prepare the items to mail them to you.) The shipping cost will go entirely to the USPS or UPS, 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.
Answer: Right here on our website is the best way. Just add an item to your cart and hit the “back” button to go to the next item. We don’t have a traditional shopping cart system like many websites where you see the little cart icon, and that’s on purpose. We wanted a more individualized website rather than a cookie cutter web store template. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not “us”.
Not comfortable with internet shopping? Our phone number is right there at the bottom of every page. You can still send us a check or money order, though you’ll still need to add the items you want to the shopping cart to calculate shipping (some people even fill out the check out page and print it out to send with their payment, which is super helpful!)
Answer: 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.
Answer: 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.
Answer: If a garment was an issue item, generally we just need your chest size.
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)
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.
Answer: 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.
Answer: 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.
Answer: Brian has handled all of our custom requests for the past few years. Click on the “custom garments” tab at the top and you can see some of the items he has made, and his email is available on that page. Just be aware that he does not take on all projects he is approached with (and sometimes he gets a dozen requests a week!) But if he’s interested he will be happy to chat with you.
Answer: 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.
Answer: 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.
Answer: 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 a workshop in downtown Charlotte, Michigan. As such, you’ll need to call ahead of time and make an appointment (we’re not always here.)
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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)