A message from a reader looking for the vintage Sears Golden Comfort Sanforknit Undershirts:
Are there any “sanforknit” supima cotton undershirts out there these days like the Sears Golden Comfort [see pg. 8] brand of yesterday?
I absolutely loved them. And now I can’t get anything like them : (– Brian
Coincidentally, I received a similar email from another reader around the same time:
My father-in-law absolutely loves these undershirts and would really like to have some newer ones. I believe he was getting them from Sears but I am not confident as he is in his 80’s and I am not sure he was the one making the purchases.
It has been several years since I tried to look and I managed to trip across your website this time. I have tried to do some research on older Sears undershirts but my searches just don’t get me viable results.
The label (very generic looking) does not indicate the fabric blend but it does say “Made in U.S.A.” but there does not appear to be any kind of “brand” markings.
The fabric has a very slight silky feel and a good amount of stretch but it is not sheer. I made several attempts to find a matching fabric without much success.
I own a shirt that is 90% nylon and 10% lycra that is close in feel but far to “slippery” and to smooth. The 50 cotton / 50 polyester are not stretchy or smooth enough. I am positive it is not 100% cotton or 100% polyester.– Wendy
What is Sanforknit?
It’s not clear to me if Sanforizing is a process that is still currently in use, but for sure we know there are companies that are offering pre-shrunk undershirts.
In checking with some of my resources, I’ve come to learn that there are a few ways that companies pre-shrink their fabric:
- After knitting, the fabric is put through a compressing process
- Rolls of fabric are sent to a special laundering facility that fully washes and dries the fabric, leaving pre-shrunk fabric in rolls
- Fabric from the rolls are cut into large sections and sent to a laundering facility, then sent back to a facility where end garments are cut
- Garments are fully constructed, then sent to a laundering facility where they laundered prior to being finished and packaged
There may be other ways, but those are what my fabric contacts have told me.
Are Brian and Wendy Talking about the Same Undershirt?
After a bit more research, it appears that the undershirts Wendy was in search of were made of a specially knit S & Z twist polyester, but the undershirts Brian referred to were made from Supima cotton.
That said, it’s possible that the Sears Golden Comfort Sanforknit undershirts (Brian, 1974-vintage) were from the same generation as the one Wendy was looking for her father-in-law.
Are There Comparable Undershirts Currently Available?
To be really honest here, I haven’t been able to recommend any alternative undershirts. Primarily this is because I never got a chance to try either undershirt before.
While there are plenty of pre-shrunk, Supima, and Polyester undershirts out there, there’s really no easy way for me to tell if there is a suitable alternative.
Did You Ever Wear Either Undershirt? Know of Any Alternatives?
So, I’ll put it out to the community here. If you’re familiar with either one of these undershirts and have found a comparable product recently, please tell us about it in the comments below.
Sears Golden Comfort Sanforknit Undershirt Photos
Here are some Sears Golden Comfort Sanforknit Undershirt photos sent to me by Linda.