Helen Bond Carruthers (1894-1970) was a maker of high quality decorated cashmere sweaters. According to family history, the sweater business most likely was born after Carruthers bought a warehouse full of old shawls, and the sweaters were conceived as a way to use them. At first, Ms. Carruthers decorated the sweaters herself, using purchased sweaters and carefully cut-out pieces of embroidery from the shawls. The success of her venture led her to hire more employees, but the business remained located in Carruthers’s large home.
Eventually Carruthers turned over the making of the sweaters to her employees, but she remained as the creative force behind the designs. She also designed dresses for family members, which were made up for them in her home workshop.
The decorated cashmere sweaters from Helen Bond Carruthers are among the most highly sought after cashmere collectibles. Most are highly decorated with embroidery, applique, and beads, and often the entire sweater is covered with decoration. The decorations were taken from old textiles, such as embroidered Chinese shawls and Belgian laces, and were then appliqued to the sweaters. She was active in the 1950s and through the 1960s in Versailles, Kentucky. Look for a large label sewn onto the inside waistband.
Thanks to Marge at Borntoolatevintage and to Carruthers’s niece, Jenifer Klier, for supplying information for this entry.
See also: Cashmere Sweaters
Written by: Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com