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Author Topic: Opinions on jacket modification?  (Read 1288 times)
josecou
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« on: May 17, 2017, 04:45:46 am »

Hello all! I've recently been getting back into steampunk, and there's a local convention coming up that I would love to put together a costume for. I was wondering if I could get opinions on something. I'd like to put together a steampunk Safari costume, but I don't really have a proper jacket for it. I'm​ going to be on the lookout for one, but I was considering making a modification to a jacket I own. Here's a quick test picture:

I'd like to get people's opinions on how this will end up looking. Does it look too​ much like a modern jacket? I may add some belt loops and a leather belt, as well as a few straps and accessories.

EDIT: apparently The forum doesn't like imgur, so just go to this link: https://imgur.com/gallery/vVHZI
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 05:02:16 am by josecou » Logged
annevpreussen
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Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2017, 05:06:21 am »

I think it's a nice choice for a base jacket, since it goes well with your hat and conveys "safari" very nicely. My favorite thing about this jacket is probably the collar; it seems like you tucked it in to make it look almost like a mandarin collar! It looks very nice, and I'd consider making it permanent (safety pins are your friend if sewing isn't). My least favorite thing is the buttons. They look like cheap modern plastic, but they'd be easy to change out with buttons that carry more of a steampunk vibe. You could even use buttons to tell or add to a story; some buttons I found at a garage sale have an eagle insignia on them, which just happens to be the figurehead on my character's ship!

I think it's a good idea to add other things to this, like straps and other accessories. Someone once called steampunk style "maximist" and I think that's a very fitting description! Grin

Edit: thanks for an easier-to-find link! You need to use the direct link from Imgur on these types of forums Wink


« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 05:11:53 am by annevpreussen » Logged

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Hez
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2017, 05:53:16 am »

I agree, it is a great start.  Definitely needs more: belt, pockets, visible buttons, doohickeys to hang thingummies from, whatsits to strap on gadgets...
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josecou
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United States United States



« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2017, 05:45:55 pm »

@annevpreussen, thanks for fixing the picture! I was unsure of where to find the direct link, but I'll try to get it next time.

The collar was actually just a fortunate coincidence. I thought it might look a little better if I unfolded it all the way, and that's just how it happened to land.

I'll definitely look at changing the buttons. I'm not a big fan of the current ones myself.

@Hez, definitely. It's pretty bland right now. Will definitely need to add some fun stuff to spice it up.
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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2017, 06:54:51 pm »





Good evening Mr Bond, I've been expecting you...  Wink

But seriously it doesn't quite say safari to me immediately, but it so easily could with a few thingies and whatsits, say a bandolier and other hinting implementso.
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josecou
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****
United States United States



« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2017, 07:09:13 pm »

@Madasasteamfish, I didn't think I was evoking a bond villain, but I'll go with it!   Cheesy

I think I might try putting together a rifle and maybe, as you suggested, a bandolier. I definitely need some hunting stuff to help tie the costume together.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 05:16:37 am »

I think that it's already looking very close to Indian War Era, M1899 US Army Fatigue Blouse, especially with the Mandarin collar, or the M1884 Fatigue Blouse if you use a coloured collar and transverse shoulder boards (which BTW are still worn to date in US Army officer uniforms - we even went from brown back to navy blue recently). If you add a single breast row of brass buttons (eagle buttons are ideal, as that was the correct decoration), shoulder boards (coloured to match the type of branch service see the USHist website for correct service/rank insignia), and 2 to 4 pockets, it will look very close to the genuine article.

M1899 US Army Fatigue Blouse

M1884 Fatigue Blouse

http://www.ushist.com/indian-wars_uniforms_us_iw.shtml

For insignia and branch colours:
http://www.ushist.com/american_civil_war/union_us_military/uniforms/insignia_officer_cw-us.shtml

~ ~ ~

You see, after the Civil War. the US Army started efforts to modernise the uniform, replacing the "Shell Jacket" with the "Wool Service Blouse."

Junior Officer's (single breasted) Civil War Era (1861-65) Shell Jacket

Sometimes resulting in odd and hated designs like the M1872 Pleated Service Blouse, which was a design recommended by medical doctors to facilitate mobility and allow cooling for the body (this design was so hated it almost got immediately rejected and lasted for a very small amount of time in service Errata: it did last as much as 5 years until supplies were exhausted and actually saw extensive action during the Indian Wars. Historians say at least one of Gen. George Custer's men was wearing one at "Custer's Last Stand").

M1872 Pleated Wool " Enlisted Men's Service Blouse"

By the period 1880-90, the US Army started a very slow "phase out" of Navy Blue colour in favour of Khaki coloured coats for combat in "canvas duck" cotton fabric. Along the process the service uniform started looking very modern by the last decade of the century.

M1884 Fatigue Blouse

M1898 Officer's Wool Service Blouse

The Khaki colour lasted through WWII...and until 1954

M1899 US Army Fatigue Blouse

In 1954, the uniform's coat was changed to green, to differentiate it from civilian service workers and be different from the blue used in other military services like the Navy and Air Force. The green uniform was no longer issued by 2010, and between 2010 and the present it reverted back to a blue uniform

US Army green service uniform for officers, as worn by former Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker (2004).

General Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the United States Army wears the new blue uniform (2015).
NOTICE THE SHOULDER BOARDS  Cheesy


The history is not all inclusive  Grin (sorry I tend to go overboard - I'd better stop now)  Grin

~ ~ ~

JW
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 07:21:11 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

josecou
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States



« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2017, 06:41:52 am »

J. Wilhelm, that's some interesting history. Thanks for sharing! I believe I actually have some brass eagle buttons laying around somewhere. I'll have to try and find them.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2017, 07:07:06 am »

J. Wilhelm, that's some interesting history. Thanks for sharing! I believe I actually have some brass eagle buttons laying around somewhere. I'll have to try and find them.


The eagle brass buttons are rather easy to find. Manufacturers in china often copy the American Eagle or make variations on the theme. You can find eagle buttons from Chinese websites like AliExpress. I don't know if even Walmart might carry some eagle themed buttons
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 08:08:59 am »

I'm thinking that if you don't want to cut holes for buttons and have to sew the edges of the cuts, then an easy way out is to sew on snap buttons from behind and sew the brass buttons from the front. you really need that jacket buttoned so it look good without wrinkling near the collar.

The jacket is also a bit tight on the shoulders. The shoulders lack "strength," so the jacket really needs those shoulder boards (not epaulettes), either the ones that go along the shoulder (WWI/WWII style) or the Civil-War/Present Day (wow!) "transverse" style.

You can get the Civil War transverse type from US Hist with the correct insignia, but lacking the funds and not wanting to wait for weeks for a couple meant for my Luftshiffengel outfit , I made "mini shoulder boards" from embroidered motorcycle military jacket name tags. Usually they'll read "Sergeant," "Captain, " etc. I found ones which read "Chief," as in "Chief of Staff."

My insignia on the shoulders are removable. They are attached by way if two sets of snap buttons, so I can wash the blouse.

Right click to zoom
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 08:18:52 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
josecou
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United States United States



« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 10:09:12 am »

This is all very helpful information! Thank you! I'll see if I can get my hands on some of the shoulder boards or something of the like. I live in a military town, and surplus stores aren't hard to find around here. I'll check one out soon. Thanks again!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 09:22:46 pm »

This is all very helpful information! Thank you! I'll see if I can get my hands on some of the shoulder boards or something of the like. I live in a military town, and surplus stores aren't hard to find around here. I'll check one out soon. Thanks again!

I just realized that you'd probably get more traffic to this thread if instead of the Tactile section it was in Anatomical. That's where all things apparel tend to go
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 09:24:28 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
josecou
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2017, 11:21:36 pm »

That makes sense. If you'd like to transfer it over, feel free!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 07:10:36 am »

That makes sense. If you'd like to transfer it over, feel free!

I imagine that is a cotton sport coat, right? I got a hold of a old  Ralph Lauren khaki coloured cotton sport coat at a Goodwill store which I intended to modify, to a type of cropped/quasi-Bolero jacket to be worn over the blouse/Lederhosen harness above. Cotton "duck" cloth is period correct for US Army in the 1890s. But the thought of doing all that sewing put me off. I have been searching the net all over instead to see if I get something like I want.

Since I have no sewing skills the cost of having someone do the alteration convinced me no to do it. I ended up getting rid of the coat, but in you case your changes seem easier because it's yours the lapel that you have to trim...
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josecou
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2017, 09:22:51 pm »

I found my eagle buttons, and I also found some buttons that I don't recognize. I thought maybe they could be identified here. My grandmother said she bought them at a garage sale a while back. They're labeled Firmin London on the back. I looked up the motto on there, and it said it was for the Rothschild family.

 I also found this nice little propeller pin that I may pin somewhere on my person.

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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2017, 02:33:09 am »

I found my eagle buttons, and I also found some buttons that I don't recognize. I thought maybe they could be identified here. My grandmother said she bought them at a garage sale a while back. They're labeled Firmin London on the back. I looked up the motto on there, and it said it was for the Rothschild family.

 I also found this nice little propeller pin that I may pin somewhere on my person.




That's some find! Are the buttons military issue? They look legit to me. How many do you have?

The winged propeller is brilliant. Can't get more Steampunk than that... Grin
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josecou
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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2017, 04:22:37 am »

I'm not sure if the buttons are military issue. They're labeled Waterbury Button Co. Conn. on the back. There's 9 of them.
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josecou
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2017, 04:27:43 am »

I've just looked up the button company, and they're apparently the people that make all the buttons for the military! I suppose they are military issue. My grandmother has just had these things sitting around, and I've just now bothered to look at them more closely. Pretty cool!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2017, 04:49:46 am »

I've just looked up the button company, and they're apparently the people that make all the buttons for the military! I suppose they are military issue. My grandmother has just had these things sitting around, and I've just now bothered to look at them more closely. Pretty cool!

I'm not sure if the buttons are military issue. They're labeled Waterbury Button Co. Conn. on the back. There's 9 of them.

That's a great score. You get original items to go with the costume. Now to get the shoulder boards.

Obviously the Eagle motif is the same as the Obverse Side of the Great Seal of the United States. A central shield with the spread bald eagle, holding an olive branch and thirteen arrows, with a central escutcheon (another shield) with the field of blue and 13 bars, with the crest being a field of 13 stars, and the motto "E Pluribus Unum." Which we know very well.


The coat of arms in the second set of buttons: probably a bad copy of the Rothschild coat of arms made for commercial purposes. If you zoom in the picture and compare to this:


You can recognize all of the charges on the shield: a central red shield (Rothschild), a quartered coat of arms with two arms holding arrows in quadrants 2 and 4, German eagle on the first, and red lion rampant on the third, as well as the supporters (lion and unicorn), and the crest (three helmets). Plus the motto ("Concordia Integritas Industria").

Don't go researching the Rothschild family on the internet unless you want to reads tons of conspiracy articles, discussions on world domination and new world order and the Illuminati, plus one or two signs of the beast linked to Biblical prophecy thrown in for good measure, and naturally links to every extremist neo nazi, ultra-far right and tin-foil hat club ever known to man.  Tongue

« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 05:35:40 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
annevpreussen
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Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2017, 06:10:14 pm »

That pin and those buttons are lovely! I especially like all of the detail in them. And thanks for the interesting history, Admiral Wilhelm!
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2017, 05:44:06 am »

I'm now looking at perhaps making a similar modification myself. Similar to your coat, I'm looking at getting something off-the rack or second hand that requires minimal modification.  

Specifically, I need a cropped coat - somewhat bigger than a Bolero and perhaps slightly bigger than a Zouave jacket, for use with my uniform. The jacket is meant to go over a harness/corset, and thus it is short at the waist, for the same reason that the jackets in the Animé "Attack on Titan" are short (this idea has been brewing up for a while before long before I even knew of Attack on Titan).


The style of the cropped coat is supposed to have Bavarian/Trachten/Lederhosen ethnic influence, as this is a concession by the US Army to former Austrian prisoners of war and the trick is to make the coat believable as US Army issue. That is not easy, but becomes possible under the context of the Khaki Fatigue Blouses we have discussed above. The trend and cutting edge material of the time was cotton twill or canvas duck, to replace lightweight woollen coats for desert and hot environments.

Since this is a US Army based colour (given that there was no Air Force at the time) I either copy the Army colours or make a scheme of my own. I though about suede, wool, even velvet, but either the coats are way too exotic (meaning hard to find at reasonable prices), too warm, odd, or just don't have the cropped profile I'm looking for.

I've given myself three options: Black, Brown and Navy proper. All three colours will work, because the light coat will go underneath this "kick-posterior" sleeveless cape coat which I bought and meant as a formal overcoat in colder environments:


*In the voice of Gollum* "My precious" hanging outside of my closet door:

The coat above is a heavy wool coat and doubles as "overcoat" and formal "frock coat" in the context of Post Civil War Era uniforms. It is significantly more modern and says "1890s" a lot louder than "1860s."

Some of the most interesting coats I found were Chinese imitations of Paris fashion in the 1990s which emulated 18th. and 19th. C military shell jackets... i.e.: Hussar jackets - typically under the title "vintage rock jacket," "band jacket" or the like - probably spurred by the Neo-Victorian fashions of Prada/ McQueen, etc., and pop bands like "My Chemical Romance."

Some of the original Paris fashion jackets run in the $250 - $1000 territory (!).

Givenchy cropped jacket a bargain at $2094  Shocked - marked down from $3490 + free shipping  Roll Eyes
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Cheap Chinese copies at AliExpress, will run you about $30-$40, but I thought that they were very nice, but too busy for a US uniform. They'd fit Prussian crew well, but outside of a few Union and Confederate  Zouave units, the style is overdone for American military fashion:


The Attack on Titan novelty jacket can be found in Leather for $150 or cotton for much much less, in the $30-$50 territory:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

But I just found a cheap alternative ($17) which is sold at discount stores in the United States, and is a very simple twill cotton cropped jacket which comes in larger sizes (as this is a women's jacket), and it comes in white or navy. Presumably I could use the navy or even dye the white one in Khaki:




I'm not crazy about the silver snap buttons, but I figure they'd could be changed with minimal effort.  The collar could be left like that, or turned into a Mandarin collar, eother by me or an alterations business, which could be the best to match the fatigue blouses above.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 10:21:57 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2017, 10:12:41 am »

The last Hussar jacket is available from AliExpress, and it'd be always very tempting, but it runs at $64 USD  Roll Eyes I must reign in my wallet. If you notice the Chinese have been very diligent at applying the technology of embroidery brocade.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2016-New-Brand-Jacket-Women-Palace-Style-Double-Breasted-Kimono-Jacket-Coat-Women-Clothing-Outerwear-Chaquetas/32758633811.html



The embroidery is in fact computer controlled brocade like in the making of patches  (embroidery=by hand the thread goes in different directions / brocade= done with a machine all the thread goes in a single direction - there is real embroidery available in silk from China, but then you start paying very non-Chinese prices  Tongue )

Now, through the magic of photoshop we combine the black Hussar jacket's Mandarin collar with the Navy Twill jacket, adding the insignia from a Civil War Era uniform... and finally the buttons with the Great Seal of the US, shown by Mr. Josecou, and we get:

Right-click to zoom

I still think the Hussar jacket is nicer, but the cropped jacket meets the specs. It's cropped, it is more or less consistent with the Spartan Civil War style, the "state of the art" twill material, and military decoration used in the period. The colour coded collar is in keeping with US Army code (Red = Artillery, for example), and in fact the colour of the shoulder boards needs to match. To be correct, my collar and shoulder insignia would have to be black, not red because as a senior officer I am "Staff" which always is black. So the picture above is in error. the shoulder boards should be red. But it's an illustration.

Perhaps make the Mandarin collar in velvet and add these pins ($0.74 USD + shipping from China)

« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 05:57:11 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
josecou
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« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2017, 09:10:29 pm »

J. Wilhelm, that looks like a good project to take up! Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish mine before the convention, but I'll definitely be working on it sometime this summer.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2017, 11:47:44 am »

J. Wilhelm, that looks like a good project to take up! Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish mine before the convention, but I'll definitely be working on it sometime this summer.

I know. My uniform concept first started in 2013-14, missed the 2015 Halloween and barely made it to the 2016 Halloween. Sometimes it takes a long time for something relatively simple. But it's good exercise to be creative. The end result is better than I'd you just "spend your way through." Requires more creativity and leads to more imaginative solutions.

~ ~ ~

« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 01:16:03 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2017, 01:12:43 am »

I think my jacket needs more buttons. I also found out that for period officers' uniforms the cuffs and the collar should be made in velvet and match (enlisted men did not have a mandarin collar but a regular turn-down collar). The cuffs should be functional and have three buttons. In this case the commercial jacket has a functional cuff with one button. If I understand correctly, the number of buttons also was related to the rank... although the rule tended to change from one period to another.


This looks a bit better, I think (right click to zoom)


Compare to this shell jacket:

« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 06:42:50 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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