Frostline Kits

Does anyone remember Frostline Kits from the 1970’s and 1980’s? That was a company selling kits with fabric, 100% goose down filling, and accessories for sewing outdoor clothing and equipment, including down vests and jackets, backpacks and tents.

Frostline Kits was started in 1966 in Colorado by a former employee of Gerry Mountaineering. At the time it was a cost effective alternative to paying high prices for good quality gear. In the late 1970’s they had 18 retail stores in addition to mail order. The company was bought by Gillette in 1978, but downsized and changed ownership several times after that before disappearing by 2010.

I made four Frostline Kit vests when I was in high school and college. I customized one for me, and one for my sister, by adding some cotton fabric on the yoke. Those two vests turned up 40 years later and were claimed by my niece and daughter.

My daughter and my niece modeling Frostline Kit vests I made

The kits came with a professional looking label. At the time I also had a roll of fabric tape labels with my (maiden) name printed on it. There is still some of that personalized fabric tape left.

Close up of the professional label that came with the kit, and a printed label with my maiden name

More recently my green vest was found crammed in a box with some of my daughters things, so now it is wrinkly and smells musty.

Modeling the vest I sewed for myself

My niece posted a photo this winter while wearing the red vest originally sewed for her mother.

Following is a photo of the vest I made for my dad, which is still hanging in the front hall closet at their house (not wrinkly or musty).

Vest I made for my dad

I found an advertisement online from 1978 with a photo of the same style of down vest as the green one above. The model in the photo is looking rugged and about to chop some wood in his vest.

An advertisement from 1978

The pattern pieces in the kit were already cut out, and every notion needed to complete the project was included. I remember the little plastic tubes of down filling. You had to be careful when opening them to avoid an explosion of down flying all over the room.

Image from Pinterest showing part of the contents of a Frostline Kit

I sewed a vest for a friend while at college. Yes, I brought my sewing machine with me 1300 miles to college. I was probably the only person on campus with a sewing machine in my dorm room. I never enjoyed the “mixers” that were the dorm parties of that time and place. After a drunk townie asked me something about “Minneanapolis” (notice the extra syllable), I never went to another one. I found other ways to spend my time, including making things!

That reminds me of the Sociology class I took at college where the professor babbled on randomly for the entire class period. The lectures were interesting but there was no outline or train of thought. I found it impossible to take notes, and it was not necessary as the entire grade for the class was based on a project. So instead I sat in the back row and knit a sweater while listening to the lecture. I still have that sweater, which was the result of a visit to The Yarn Shop in Glen Arbor, MI. The proprietor, my mom’s cousin Mary Turak, was always successful in inspiring me and sending me on my way with a new project. If you have not read my post about The Yarn Shop, you can check it out at the following link.

There are many completed products made from Frostline Kits for sale on ETSY and Ebay, as well as a few original kits waiting to be sewn into a finished product. I am very tempted to buy a kit.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

5 thoughts on “Frostline Kits

  1. Oh Meg! I just can’t express how much I enjoy your YARNS!!! They are just delightful!! Thank you, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Meg, my sister and I were just talking about my dad making these vests. I did not know all the detail so really appreciate your story today. Not sure if you remember Tracy wearing a green one….I know I can find a few pictures with it on her. What a wonderful memory of Edina Blvd. Thanks for bringing back that one once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is really interesting that your dad sewing some Frostline Kit vests. If you can find any photos, I would love to see them. Wayne’s brother-in-law said he sewing at least one too.


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