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Author Topic: Opinions on jacket modification?  (Read 1293 times)
Synistor 303
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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2017, 01:20:37 am »

I would concur that the extra buttons do give the jacket a little more presence without being crazy. Looking really good!
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2017, 03:14:26 am »

Thank you!  Grin Well that's all I can do at the moment. I'm getting pretty good at Photoshop.

The jacket is quite affordable at $17 USD from Steinmart online. It's very spartan, but so are the military fatigue blouses that followed after the US Civil War. The colour is just right, so I would not have to dye the coat.

I made a mistake in my post above. The Steinmart jacket does not have snap buttons. It's like a denim jacket. The jacket is akin to a Levi's Jean jacket in build, just thinner and has cuffs with buttons, so easy enough to cover with velvet.

So these are plain silver Jean-style buttons what you see in the picture, in the previous page. Easy enough to find an replace, with brass Jean buttons, though I haven't seen eagle- themed Jean buttons. These are rivet buttons. Easy to remove (cut with pliers) and install (hammer and anvil), so it should be trivial. Cutting and sewing the collar, not so trivial, but much easier than making a jacket from scratch.  Also I could buy a second white jacket and dye it in Khaki, for those occasions when the landing party is in the Sonoran Desert... Roll Eyes

Proposed M1885 US Airship Command Officer's Fatigue Blouse
Shown in Red livery for Artillery personnel
Livery should be black for all senior officers in the US Airship Corps of Engineers,
Including Luftschiffenfel/Airship Angel staff

I would suggest that Mr. Josecou's jacket would have nearly the same, if not identical decoration (matching velvet collar and cuffs), with a colour for the service branch of his choosing (engineer corps, artillery, staff, etc.).

Actual US Army Officer's M1884 Fatigue Blouse
Shown in yellow livery for Cavalry personnel. In black livery it
could be the base for a US Corps of Engineers' land surveyor uniform

If I may humbly suggest a character role for Mr. Josecou's Steampunk Explorer, I am an engineer by education, and I can tell you a land surveying party, mapping the terrain would very much wear expedition attire and equipment, and would definitely be part of the US Army Corps of engineers.

A senior officer (all the way to General) of the US Army Corps of Engineers would be wearing this uniform with black collar and cuffs, and while the British style Pith Helmet was not worn, senior officers during the period had great latitude in adapting and changing their uniform to match desired tastes. An extreme example of this is Lieutenant Colonel/Brevet General George Armstrong Custer during the Indian Wars. He was very flamboyant and stood apart from all other generals of the period.

In fact, something very similar to the pith helmet was worn briefly by US forces, if I understand correctly; The "Pressed Fiber Helmet" was a much simpler version of the Pith Helmet, designed by Jesse Hawley in the early 1930s. The helmet was worn during WWII mostly by the US Marine Corps, but in smaller numbers by the US Army and Navy. Personnel at the United States Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar (San Diego, California) still wear the pressed fiber helmets during training.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_fiber_helmet

So I don't see why an Officer from the US Army Corps of Engineers could not adopt the Pith Helmet, perhaps while serving somewhere in Africa or the Middle East, as an influence from the British.

The colours of the collar/cuffs/insignia including officer's shoulder boards and sergeant chevrons, for example, are as follows:

US Army Insignia Colours:

Senior Officers and Staff, including US Corps of Engineers and Chaplains: Black
Artillery: Red
Cavalry: Dark yellow and Orange after mid 1880s
Infantry: Sky Blue and White after mid 1880s.

So the M 1884 fatigue blouse above is in Cavalry colours, and the "M1885" above is in Artillery colours.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 07:00:41 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2017, 09:07:50 am »

I have a Stein Mart fairly close to my house by mere chance (odd place of a mid-20th C. throwback shop that is - I only know of a few and it's fairly rare in the state where I live).

https://www.steinmart.com/product/cropped+button+front+jacket+58864364.do

I got to see the jacket in white. The cut and build is identical to a jean jacket, with a really short crop. I'd say it reaches as low as the natural waist, probably navel. I really like the white jacket, but it's priced at $35, which I don't want to spend now, so it'll have to be the online blue on sale for $17 (50%), which including shipping and a 20% online discount takes me to almost $20. Not bad, I say. I will trust the colour on the website to be true.

Close enough, I can afford the blue one. I like the white one so much I'd actually buy that one, and I've thought about creating an "excuse" for a white fatigue blouse, but I need to be careful with my money. This is a "short month" paycheck wise (Pay-cheque? No a British term?  Grin).

As far as what I saw in the store, it's absolutely snow white as in the picture, and the buttons are cylindrical chromed "pill" buttons at 17mm in diameter and maybe 3mm in thickness. The downside is that I will have to seek 17mm jean buttons online, as Walmart only carries tiny 15 mm jean buttons. So I may have to live with the chrome pill buttons for a while - unless I try to paint with clear yellow tint over the chrome (I'm not even sure that would work at all - they're mirror-finished).

The thickness of the cloth is thinner than a proper Denim jacket and thicker than poplin cotton. I'd say this is stretch cotton twill and the thickness is like that of a very heavy cotton shirt, akin to the outdoor/sportman's cotton shirts sold at Cabela's REI, LL Bean and the like.  This means however that the jacket is "floppy" reliant on the fitted seams to maintain shape, so I'd say that the cloth is very similar if not identical to classic "cotton duck" (canvas), which is exactly the right type of material used in late 1800s hot weather fatigue blouses (no longer jackets these were now basically thick shirts).

The collar will need to be cropped to form the Mandarin collar and it needs support as it is too floppy by itself. Army regulations of the period indicate the collar should be velvet, so the idea is to sew the velvet directly on top of the cotton twill. perhaps I need to sew a velvet "sheath" inside-out and then flip it right side up and sew on directly onto the trimmed cotton -   Roll Eyes SEWING TIPS MOST WELCOME

The exact same problem applies to the sleeves, sewing a velvet sheath or "sham" over the cotton, with the added complication one needs to take off the cuff buttons (same as described above) befor applying the canvas modification.

In the absence of proper buttons, I'd just try to re-install the chromed ones - and it may not even be possible to do that, so I may need to find a very quick source of jean rivet buttons - one that doesn't have me waiting for one month shipping from China.

So now I have to ask myself, I'm not re-creating a historical uniform, so some latitude is possible. I'm kind of limited to the Navy jacket due to price at the moment, but should I seek to do a white coat for an "Airship Corp of Engineers? Is that an idea? Perhaps too formal? Too informal... A colour better suited to medical personnel?  Roll Eyes

Natural colours: Navy and White

Right click to zoom



~~~

Colours Achievable Through Dyes: Khaki and Black


« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 11:06:36 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2017, 11:20:07 pm »

I'd tend more toward a dark color for waistcoats, jackets, greatcoats and watch coats, but to each his or her own. My tastes are based mainly on the 1830s-1840s Texian Navy model, a style belonging to a mileu that I'm somewhat obsessed with.
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« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2017, 12:58:12 am »

I'd tend more toward a dark color for waistcoats, jackets, greatcoats and watch coats, but to each his or her own. My tastes are based mainly on the 1830s-1840s Texian Navy model, a style belonging to a mileu that I'm somewhat obsessed with.

In practice, I only have two choices now: Navy and Black  Grin  I already ordered the Navy coloured one.

In the context of my story, the uniform is closer to the Indian War Period uniforms. The two choices back then were Blue and Brown. I assume the US Army would sponsor the United States Airship Command initially, and that was period when Civil War frock costs and shell jackets gave way to the much lighter "Fatigue Blouse" hence the canvas material.

The US Army was still using blue uniform during the Indian Wars, but they were experimenting with designs, materials, and phasing in brown uniforms. Probably - I'm guessing - based on extensive experience during the Mexican American War, and the Trans-Mississipi phase of the Civil War, namely, the fight for the territory of New Mexico and the "Traditional Arizona" region - including the skirmishes between 1861 and the fall of 1862.

I was reading about this yesterday:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

JW
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 02:26:29 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2017, 08:53:29 am »

I just wanted to share something I discovered yesterday. I'm strugglig getting the right kind of buttons for the "fatigue blouse" jacket.


I received this jacket a couple of weeks ago. There's nothing particularly wrong with the jacket above, and I was lucky enough in that the fit of the garment is perfect. The buttons are not chromed, but rather they are a "ho-hum" dull steel finish. Not ugly, but not particularly attractive either.

The buttons are 17 mm in diameter and are of the "swivel-rivet" type, that is similar to a jean waist button, but there is a washer-shank-ball joint that is in between the button proper an the rivet. So the rivet proper is loose with respect to the button proper, and allows the button to "swivel." This is the second time I see this type of rivet button (the first time was with the "Corseted Lederhosen Jean shorts"  that I got from China in May of 2016).


Not crazy about those "dangly" buttons but it occurs to me that the swivel nature of the buttons is to serve as a stress relief for the stretch cotton fabric, and I can see that if the rivet was perfectly rigid with respect to the clothing, then over time the clothing would be ripped from the moment force exerted by the rivet. Particularly if the fabric is thin and stretchy as opposed to heavy duty jeans.

I've thought about how to replace those buttons and I've considered keeping them and just glueing something on top. I've even though of painting them over...

~ ~ ~

Then again, I also found a novel way to make rivet buttons with furniture parts! There is this kind of threaded bolt/screw used commonly in cheap IKEA furniture, and tube-type shelving, especially used to join particle board type material, and it comes in wood and machine type threads, as well as in American and Metric thread types, but all 4 types have a flat hex nut socket. The cap on these screws is nearly 1.7 mm, an it really looks like a button. Best of all it tends to come in Bronze and Brass finishes. But you're going to say "why do I need a bolt?" Well, not the bolt, but the matching connecting cap nut is basically a threaded nut with the same type of flat head, used in those instances when the bolt must go through a wood panel and need a proper finish on the other side:

1/4 in.-20 TPI x 12 mm Antique Brass Type G Hex-Head Connecting Cap Nut (4-Piece) $4.86 at Home Depot
(Dimensions: 1.65 mm Dia. 1.50 cm total length, 1.2 cm shank length, 0.8cm shank diameter)


It just happens that this nut above is nearly identical in size to a 1.7mm jean rivet type button, except the shank is a bit longer at 1.2cm in length. I'd say a real jean button's shank is about 5 to 6 mm in length. The best part is the interior diameter (to fit a US standard 1/4 inch 20 threads-per-inch screw), will fit a 1/4 inch (short) length 3/16 inch aluminium rivet, whose head is nearly the same diameter as the shank of the nut. Basically if you couldn't get to a sewing supply shop, and you needed to replace your Jean's button you can take a trip to Home Depot for the same effect. All you need is the rivet wrench - which I assume all Steampunks know Grin It is a happy coincidence.


Now this is not the best way to make buttons. To be honest, it will be more expensive than the online-bought rivets, and on top of that, you'll probably have to cut the shank to a more reasonable length, say 5 mm, instead of nearly 1 cm in length. But the advatage is that you can create "ghost buttons". That is purely decorative buttons with a very short shank that actually don't button to anything...

Such as the ones you'd use on a jacket when you need to add more buttons, but don't want to go through the expense of creating and sewing button holes. Grin I haven't decided to use this method yet, but it present an interesting modification. The idea is to use "long shanked" buttons for on the inside flap of the garment, and place the "short shanked" button on the ouside flap in between button holes.

When the jacket is open, both sides of the jacket will show buttons to create a "double breasted" pattern, and although buttons will not match position left and right, it will look good on this type of cropped "bolero" style jacket. When the jacket is closed, you will see a single full row of buttons.

I guess you could create "ghost buttons" either by using online bought sewing supplies or furniture parts  Grin  (use small aluminium washers when you need to compensate for fabric thickness), but it's an interesting note.

~ ~ ~

So what else could I do? What jean-rivet buttons you will usually get from China will look like this:


or this


They don't really get any more interesting than this, unless you want a modern design that just doesn't fit the Steampunk aesthetic... And I have to wait for a full month to get my hands on one package from China - I'm not crazy about that.

In the real Army the 19th. C. saw a number of designs besides the Great Seal. In fact the bald eagle was not the only motif for brass buttons. Tha navey had a different symbol involving an eagle perched on an anchor, The army's Engineer Corps had an image of a castle, and other attachments, such as the US Army Transport had their own buttons, not to mention local state militia who'd have their own state heraldic designs. Look at all the button designs here:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/173001-us-military-uniform-buttons-interesting-facts/

Noting that fact, the other day I noticed something in my pocket:


Yes! It's the back of the current U.S. Penny since 2010  Grin The diameter of the penny is slightly bigger, though at 1.9 mm it's just 1 mm protruding all around over the head of the button. The reverse side features the a stylised version of the US coat of arms, with the motto introduced on the "chief" of the field

 Roll Eyes I was thinking... Could pennies be modified an glued to the rivet buttons? Or used as a mould for an appliqué of some sort to the buttons?  I can imagine a copper or a brass plated button reading the initials "USAC" for United States Airship Command  Grin Through the magic of photoshop we get:



Do you fair ladies and gallant gentlemen offer any further ideas?  Grin

I remain AYS

Adm. Wilhelm




Edited for typos
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 11:31:37 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Synistor 303
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« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2017, 05:32:26 am »

Personally I would paint them. To get a really good finish, use a bit of (Blu-tack) type stuff to hold each button and spray paint them with a gold (brass) paint. Rustoleum does a nice brass-looking gold. You should be able to get a perfect finish. Leave them to dry really, really well so they don't get scuffed or marked when you put them back on the jacket. 

Of course that only covers the existing buttons and you would have to come up with other buttons for the ghost buttons...

You could try the 'self covered' blanks for fabric covered buttons. They are fairly inexpensive, round, slightly domed and metal. You could then spray paint them brass instead of covering them with fabric. That way you would be able to make more than enough to replace the existing buttons and create exact copies for the ghost buttons without it costing the earth and not too much fiddly work. They also come in a few different sizes. (Just make sure the ones you choose fit through the existing buttonholes.)

If you could come up with something metallic and fancy that you could print onto a flexible material, you could do that and use it to cover the self cover buttons. to put fabric through your printer;

Carefully unwrap a ream of copy paper. The wrap has a slight plastic film on one side. (I forget which side, so you will have to experiment...) Iron the fabric onto the paper. It will stick and be rigid enough to run through a printer. Cut to size and run through the printer. Carefully peel the fabric off the paper.

Hope this is of some help.




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« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2017, 11:33:02 am »

Personally I would paint them. To get a really good finish, use a bit of (Blu-tack) type stuff to hold each button and spray paint them with a gold (brass) paint. Rustoleum does a nice brass-looking gold. You should be able to get a perfect finish. Leave them to dry really, really well so they don't get scuffed or marked when you put them back on the jacket.  

Of course that only covers the existing buttons and you would have to come up with other buttons for the ghost buttons...

You could try the 'self covered' blanks for fabric covered buttons. They are fairly inexpensive, round, slightly domed and metal. You could then spray paint them brass instead of covering them with fabric. That way you would be able to make more than enough to replace the existing buttons and create exact copies for the ghost buttons without it costing the earth and not too much fiddly work. They also come in a few different sizes. (Just make sure the ones you choose fit through the existing buttonholes.)

If you could come up with something metallic and fancy that you could print onto a flexible material, you could do that and use it to cover the self cover buttons. to put fabric through your printer;

Carefully unwrap a ream of copy paper. The wrap has a slight plastic film on one side. (I forget which side, so you will have to experiment...) Iron the fabric onto the paper. It will stick and be rigid enough to run through a printer. Cut to size and run through the printer. Carefully peel the fabric off the paper.

Hope this is of some help.


Thanks for the input!  Cheesy I have considered using paint as well. And as an option it's still on the table. But being a Steampunk you know I'm probably going to choose the most complicated, dangerous and highest risk to life and limb method Cheesy  Barring any small miracle, I will however glue something to the existing buttons, especially assuming I choose the "penny method." I have considered leaving the copper coloured penny as is, because it would save me a ton of work, especially if I were to brass plate the penny it'd take some nasty chemicals and the cost per button skyrockets.

In the last few hours I've been doing some experiments with pennies as  a trial of sorts. There are several advantages and several disadvantages. The American penny is made of copper plated zinc. There is a great disparity between the melting point of zinc and the melting point of copper. Namely zinc melts at a lower temperature and thus you have to be careful when applying heat to it. Usually it only takes a few seconds under the propane torch to melt the zinc inside the copper sheath, at which point the coin turns all wrinkly (see coin on the right in the 3rd and 4th images below) you can extract the molten zinc by shaking and breaking the copper "bag" - there's many tutorials online). The advantage of copper though is that it plates easily with brass copper or chrome or almost whatever you want. The other advantage of the penny is that if you apply the heat carefully without melting the zinc, the copper plating will stick very well to solder. Its ideal for soldering. No prepping necessary for a shiny penny.

So this is what I did.

1. I wanted to give some curvature to the penny, the same way that buttons are curved. To achieve that, I used a tiny wooden cabinet door knob made of something hard like poplar (as most lathed items are) and I sandwiched the penny between the knob and a 0.6 mm plank of soft wood like aspen (or pine ... which reminds me, the stoopid buggers at Lowe's have stopped selling aspen planks. Being as white and free from sap as you could ever be, that was the best material for my cases! Poplar is nice too but it's a tad more expensive and is a grayish wood). Anyhow, I used a small vice clamp to press the coin. The poplar knob is harder than the plank, so the coin digs into the soft wood adopting the curvature of the knob.

Curving a penny



2. I used the blowtorch as gingerly as possible (I tried the electric soldering iron and pencil gas soldering iron to no avail - not enough heat), and managed to solder a small loop of copper wire to the back of the curved penny. Its a really horrible job I did, but I had to work very quickly on account that the zinc could soften and melt instantly.

The curved penny showing the copper loop for the thread


The butcher-like soldering job I did on the back. I could only apply heat for a few seconds to prevent melting the zinc
Poor Abraham. He got an ugly thing stuck to his face  Grin


The final product compared to a ruined specimen


So I'm still pondering whether to do this method. The reason I like it, besides the iconography on the coin, is that I can make the "ghost buttons" as shown in the picture above. I can just epoxy the curved pennies to the steel buttons, and all I need is 5 penny "covers" for the real buttons up front, 4 penny "ghosts" with the copper loops and 4 penny covers for the buttons on the pockets and the cuffs. Only having to solder 3 more pennies, besides the one above, the method is dirt cheap and fast. It only cost me 13 cents  Grin

I might try to obtain a smaller more elegant loop, like jewellery findings instead of the copper wire I used for the shank of the button, but not having a car I'm having a whale of a time just getting to Hobby Lobby. Those buggers open at 8am, close at 8pm, and close all day Sunday (because the owners are deeply religious people). With a schedule like that I can never go the shop outside of Saturday evening. Their shop is made for people who don't work for a living, or stay at home as stereotypical 1950s' housewives....  Roll Eyes I guess I'm stuck with whatever I can find at Lowe's.  Undecided
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 11:42:21 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Synistor 303
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« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2017, 02:52:52 am »

Wow! Those penny buttons look better than my suggestions would have produced! I do like the application of heat and solder and generally making a unique button. I would have preferred more fire and melting though - something akin to a small blacksmith set-up on the dining room table with pictures of the glowing coals - but I guess using the door-knob and the clamp is OK...  Wink The price too is excellent.  Cheesy The copper should show up really well against the blue fabric if you left them copper coloured.

Not having a car to get to the Hobby Lobby is a pain, but at least you have shops like that up there... I have seen some great bits and pieces available in your hardware stores (pictures online). We have nothing like that down here. Bunnings is kind of sad compared to the size and range of products available to you.

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« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2017, 10:05:15 am »

Wow! Those penny buttons look better than my suggestions would have produced! I do like the application of heat and solder and generally making a unique button. I would have preferred more fire and melting though - something akin to a small blacksmith set-up on the dining room table with pictures of the glowing coals - but I guess using the door-knob and the clamp is OK...  Wink The price too is excellent.  Cheesy The copper should show up really well against the blue fabric if you left them copper coloured.

Not having a car to get to the Hobby Lobby is a pain, but at least you have shops like that up there... I have seen some great bits and pieces available in your hardware stores (pictures online). We have nothing like that down here. Bunnings is kind of sad compared to the size and range of products available to you.



No coals, no anvil. but I have a "mini hibachi," a cylindrical cast iron grill about 5 inches in diameter an 6 inches in height which is the coolest thing you've ever seen, and probably meant for a single serving of food with one large lump of coal  Grin That is what I use to solder all my pieces on. It handles large letter size copper sculptures with the blowtorch.

Anyhow I finished the a set of 14 buttons tonight in a couple of hours. 13 needed for the fatigue blouse, 9 of which are just domed pennies, and 4 of which are full buttons (the "ghost" buttons," and have the copper wire eyelet. Plus an extra sewing button, in case I lose one. All shown in the image below:

Thirteen buttons plus one extra. Right click to zoom in.
The 13 buttons represent the 13 British colonies which became the United States
That number arose by way of serendipity, I swear.  Roll Eyes  The 5 "ghost"/sew-in buttons look shinier,
because I polished them with car buffing compund to a mirror finish. I'll do the same with the others



This is the way the jacket/fatigue blouse will look as soon as I attach the buttons. They're just presented over the buttons right now, and the jacket needs a good pressing to get the wrinkles out. The jacket came in with a weird perfume/disinfectant smell that was umbearable to my nose. So I washed it at my house (it's cotton twill, so it's fine).

I'm too tired tonight as it's 3 AM, but this will be finalized in a couple of hours tomorrow, and then it's cracking my skull in search for a way to do the collar. If by some miracle I manage to finish the collar of the jacket this week, I might have the jacket for the 4th of July this next Tuesday.

Fatigue blouse with penny buttons
Right click to zoom


Alright, my eyes are getting droopy. I have to sign off for now...

I remain AYS
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2017, 08:39:16 pm »

I just realized I need 4 more full buttons.  Regulations state that the cuffs must me functional and have a row of 3 buttons per cuff. That means 2 ghost buttons per cuff. So the price tag increased by 4¢  Grin

Anyhow, it's now time to consider the collar. A bit of a challenge, because the collar provided us truly very "floppy." it almost has no structure to it. The collar is fairly open and to get the mandarin collar you will need to trim the lapels at the front.

Regulations state that the collar and cuffs must be trimmed in black velvet for General Officers. The color signifies the "branch of service" which is color coded per brach (black for general officers, red for artillery, yellow for cavalry, blue (later white) for infantry. So unlike the costumes in the movies, the uniforms of soldiers were a bit more colorful, and it wasn't just yellow trimming, which is what you normally see in Westerns.

General Staff (chaplains, financial officers, engineers, etc), including General Officers (Major General, Lt General, etc), wear black trimming always, sometimes in violation of regulations will wear gold piping and gold or black knot-braiding on the sleeves. For Staff less than highest ranking officers, say a Major or Captain, the color of the brach (red, blue, etc) will be used in shoulder board insignia, collars, cuffs and any trimming like ropes or piping). Basically the colour says you are serving in a specialized division and your authority is limited in that area.
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« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2017, 07:51:00 am »

Progress report:

This is what the jacket looks at the moment with all the buttons attached, in final configuration. Sadly the jacket is not without damage from the process. Invisible to the naked eye, but not the camera's flash, is a light spot on the flap of one of the pockets. This is where a bit of glue spilled and I had to clean it with paint thinner. I didn't see any of the blue dye come off in the rag (I checked), but apparently the colour did suffer a bit. It is almost impossible to see under normal lighting but not in the camera.

Don't know how to fix that, save use some very light wash of India ink, or rub some dry charcoal powder, to balance the colour a bit. Mind you this is a very dark blue, which almost looks black under most lighting conditions, and black in dim light - the camera with flash is very sensitive... I should also point out that the "satin" sheen effect you see in the camera is also not visible with the naked eye. This fabric is very interesting in that way. Seems to reflect light in a very particular way depending on the light source.

The fatigue blouse with buttons attached.
Open is double breasted, and closed is single breasted.
Right click to zoom

Still trying to figure out how to make my insignia. Short of crash-learning how to embroider (not impossible, seems easy enough), I'm trying to see if I can do it for less than $20. The irony is that since 2010 the US Army has brought back the Civil-War Era shoulder boards, so that modern versions of the same insignia exist today. The sad thing is that they're more expensive than reproductions. Actual present-day service insignia cost $60+ for generals' insignia with gold-bullion thread ($30+ if made with all yellow nylon). Reproduction Civil War Era insignia will cost $30 in gold bullion. The lowest price I ever got was at eBay for $21 and free shipping, for the pair below in gold bullion; they're a "surplus" high-quality reproduction item meant for a western movie set (and it's also the nicest one I have seen)



I'm wondering whether I could "cheat" by using black felt and yellow nylon rope, then try to embroider the stars....

~ ~ ~

In other news... I knew I had seen this jacket before  Cheesy


*snip*

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

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:


*snip*


Givenchy cropped jacket $3500


Russian Emperor Nicholas II, wearing a British Grenadier Guards' Frock Coat, during a celebration for Queen Victoria,
on the occasion of the achievement of the longest reign in British history, Balmoral, September 1896
(right-click to zoom in)


JW
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« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2017, 10:33:38 am »

More progress...

Today at Walmart, after looking for nylon rope, to see if I could make the shoulder boards, went to the hobby section to see if there was any golden coloured thread or "embroidery floss," and I did find it with many shades ranging from copper to bronze, but somewhat muted, and not really believable as metallic (more like shades of brown). And even though I found actual silver and gold coloured thread, it looked to me to be somewhat unworkable, as the metal foil is intertwined with the thread, making for the passage of thread difficult across fabric and the eye of the needle. The thought of spending hours embroidering gold-foiled thread wasn't so attractive to me.

Then it occurred to me to go to the housewares section and I found a pair of these Polyester "Tassel Tiebacks," basically a short rope loop with two tassels meant to tie curtains and drapes. The colour isn't quite gold. It's more like several shades of brown put together. Overall it looks like an "antique gold," but the sheen on the rope is so perfect, being made of several shades of thread, that at a distance it actually looks to be made of gold thread (give it to the manufactures to find an optical illusion by using reflective fibres and several shades of brown to accomplish that task). The cost of a set of two ropes was $4.44.


It occured to me that the price was sufficiently low, in the light of the fact that the golden thread was 3.50 and it would mean many hours of work. The curtain tie was already braided, and I thought, "this is going to look real good if I just glue the rope as is."

This type of rope is made with a double cotton twine/cord encircles with the very slippery metallic-coloured polyester fibres. Its very easy to frail and it will fall apart when you cut it. Burning the rope or cutting with a hot knife doesn't work because of the cotton twine. the correct solution is to use a couple of drops of glue to fix the plastic fibres and the cut across the glued fibres with a very sharp razor blade. That way when you cut the cord you get a solid sharp cut and the rope doesn't fall apart.


So when I got home I took a leftover sheet of black 2mm neoprene, and some leftover nylon strap material (about 2.5 cm wide cut to 8.8 cm lengths). I calculated that I could use the rope to wrap twice around a rectangle of this material to achieve the proper dimesions - about 1-3/4 inches by 2-1/2 inches since I'm not doing an exact replica. I used Krazy Glue and applied three long beads to the neoprene to fix the strap material and the used a continuos bead to fix the rope around the black rectangle.


The idea was to wrap the rope twice around the black strap, cut the rope using the Krazy Glue technique. If done right you'd have a rich wide frame around a black field whete the stars will be. The stars could be glued or embroidered later on. But today I wasn't worrying about that.


After everything is glued and the rope is trimmed, I cropped the neoprene using scissors. The shoulder boards will not be perfect rectangles, but I figure they don't have to be. The edge of the shoulder board is defined by the rope, not the neoprene, so as long as the rope is straight what shape the neoprene has is immaterial. Don't use a blade to cut the neoprene, because as I found out it's very easy to slice the rope, and it will fray and become undone very quickly. So after failing once, I had to make a third shoulder board, this time undercutting the neoprene with scissors, so no neoprene is visible - you should only see the rope edge.


I have bought white thread. I'm not crazy about it, but since I got an extra board to play with, I will try my hand at embroidering the general's stars.

Since I had leftover rope, I revisited the idea of adding a rope to the hat, in a similar way that US Cavalry hats have rope tied around it. Actually, to be precise, the colour of the rope in cavalry hats is yellow and not gold, and only Cavalry gets to wear it - not the generals or senior staff. Again, yellow is the service branch insignia colour - so it's just a stereotype from Western movies that all US Army hats, including generals all have a yellow rope tied around them.

In actuality US Army uniforms were more colourful, with Green, Blue, Orange and Yellow insignia being present among different branches, and the General Staff actually has no colour at all and wear only a black background on their insignia shoulder boards. So how could the highest ranking officers have no colour embellishments? The answer is that they did. Generals had a great latitude in their choice of uniforms, and they could adapt the uniform within certain bounds, like adding "knots" or special embroidery to the sleeves of a jacket. As a non-regulation embellishment, some generals could choose black or gold colour for coat trimming, embroidery or piping, and so this golden rope would be in keeping with a personal choice of an eccentric general, such as General Custer, who insisted on dressing like the Cavalry did.

It just happened I had enough rope left over to do this (sorry for the blurry picture) Grin


Cheers,

J. W.
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« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2017, 11:46:46 am »

So more progress... I had a bit of a trial and error situation with the embroidery of the stars on the insignia. It got quite hard for the moment due to my inexperience in embroidery...

Anyhow, I had decided to embroider the stars, and I just finished one of the shoulder boards. The process involved tracing the star pattern on to masking tape by placing the masking tape on the computer monitor, and carefully scaling the picture to match real dimensions  Grin


Once a "stencil" is made it is placed on the nylon strap and you embroider the stars directly. The methods used in the patches above do not work unless you are very experienced. The issue is aligning the thread to the outline of the star, so that the edges are sharp. Much easier said than done. Very easy to do when the needle comes from the top. But on the return stroke, passing the needle from the back invariably will give you a crooked edge.


To solve that problem, I switched to a "radial method" which came to my mind. The idea is to pass the thread from the top along the edge of the star, but on the return all thread must be passed through the centre of the star. Obviously every single thread can't pass through the centre, but you can more or less distribute the thread around the centre.


The result is a very 3-dimensional star, that is very raised, with somewhat wavy "rays" coming through the centre and making the star. The thread pattern is somewhat haphazard, but you can estimate where to pass the thread, to more or less keep the thickness of the star consistent. What is important is the accuracy in outlining the star with the needle. No one will ever confuse this embroidery for a machine made job. But I imagine this is good enough...

Right click to zoom



Tomorrow I shall finish the second patch *whew*  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2017, 12:46:00 pm »

2nd patch finished. Jeesus. It was nice and I like the results, I'm just not sure if I want to do this all over again. Specifically, the blank patches are extremely easy to make but the embroidered stars are an extremely lengthy process. I'm not sure I'd embark on making to many of these using hand embroidered stars. Perhaps if I find a suitable pre-embroidered star (they do exist in 7/8 inch I believe), and then just sew that on.


On the other hand the high-relief nature of the stars is an extremely nice touch. It looks so much better than a flat star.

~ ~ ~

I'm starting to think that the method above using the Nylon strap and the golden cord around, would come in handy when making that Mandarin collar.

That type of black fabric texture has precedent in the US Army: http://www.ushist.com/indian_wars/us_military/uniforms/q-9560_m1892-m1895_officers-undress-blouse.shtml

A collar detail of the model M1895 Undress Blouse worn by a Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry from New York in WWI.
It's hard to see but the trimming and collar are black (faded) and the blouse is a dark blue (blackened with time)
The collar is described as "1-1/4" black mohair collar braid"

The M1895 Undress Blouse / Tunic

While coloured piping/trimming was not regulation for General Staff, it certainly was a common choice among senior officers. The trim colour would be either black or gold. I think a black Mandarin collar in that fabric and the rope framing it would make a very nice collar. The collar could be made detachable like the insignia shoulder boards... The M1895 undress blouse had metal studs to hold a false collar (see photo above).


Collar visualization

JW
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« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2017, 08:49:36 pm »

It just ocurred to me how to proceed with the collar. The regulations for uniforms state that black felt must be used for the collar. However, given the nature of the fatigue blouse, felt is a very impractical material. Not only will it be an issue when washing the garment, but I'm looking at embellishing the collars as well.

The solution is to use sew-on Velcro ribbon. Velcro has one side which looks like felted wool, but is a synthetic fibre, well sewn in (as it needs to stand the rigour of attaching and detaching the opposing hook Velcro tape).  So why not take advantage of that and make a detachable collar like the patches I show above, but made with Velcro hook tape as a base, instead of the neoprene foam.

The patch would have the same construction with braided nylon strap and gold rope trimming as seen on the patches, but the underlying base is the Velcro "hook" tape. The idea is that both the collar and the patches would be installed with Velcro. Not very Victorian, but again, this is Steampunk, and not a historical recreation. Being hidden, who cares if it's Velcro?

Velcro is sold in 2-inch wide black tape, either 4 ft long or 16 ft long. I think it'll be about $9 for a 4 ft roll. That is more than enough for both collar and patches, And I still have enough polyester strap (*just barely*)  to make the collar. All that remains is to either cut and re-wew the existing collar, or have an alterations business (tailor/sutler) to the job of making the mandarin collar for me. I have no sewing machine, an though I'd love to embark in the exercise, I'd much rather have the  collar look professionally made. The idea is to ask the tailor to make the Mandarin collar with the Velco facing outside.

In the meantime I can concentrate on making the detachable collar on my own, by buying the $9 Velcro and the another set of $4 golden curtain rope... I should be able to make the detachable collar on my own. The Tailor needs to match the outline of the collar on the attached Velcro wool on the coat.

The method will afford me 4 different ways to wear the coat:

1. Without patches in "Civilian Mode." The jacket remains wearable for every day use, showing only a black "wool" collar and black patches on the shoulders

2. In "US Army Regulation" mode. The jacket has gold/black shoulder patch insignia and nothing on the collar except the black Velco wool in place of felt.

3. In "Eccentric Army General" mode. The jacket has both the gold rope / black "mohair" collar, and the gold/black shoulder patches

4. Instead of the gold rope collar, I can take advantage of the Velcro and come up with a myriad interchangeable patches, embellishments, etc. for the collar. The options are endless at this point, because anything that can have Velcro attached can me mounted on the collar.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 09:22:06 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2017, 02:59:08 am »

I am enjoying this thread (pardon the pun!)
The working through the problems as they arise is interesting!
Keep up the good work!
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« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2017, 07:22:55 am »

I am enjoying this thread (pardon the pun!)
The working through the problems as they arise is interesting!
Keep up the good work!

Thank you! I'm glad someone is pinned to the thread  Grin

~ ~ ~

I mis-wrote though. Regulations state that it's velvet, not felt that should go on the collar. My bad. Shocked It doesn't change anything though, because I still think I'd prefer a multifunctional collar, and velvet will only take pins, embroidery or patches as decoration, and I think I've had enough of embroidering. Those six little stars have convinced me I don't want to spend that much time making some small design by sticking thread on the jacket.  Tongue  The next step needs to be more practical, and it needs to be removable so the jacket can be thrown into the washing machine.

All my "costume" items need to serve a double function by being able to be worn as daily wear if need be.
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« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2017, 12:18:03 pm »

More updates:

I have tried my hand with 2-inch Velcro. The idea was to use the self stick tape to install the rope, using kife to trim the rope and cyanoacrylate to "seal the cut" so the rope will not fray.

There are a number of challenges to the Velcro.

To begin with, the rope will change shape from segment to segment, and while it may look perfectly straight from the front at a distance, when it comes to trimming the base (Velcro tape in this case), you will not get a perfect rectangle. Its more like an irregular oval. This means that the piece is more like a patch - it can't define the edges of an article of clothing, because it's not perfectly straight.

The other issue is that the sticky side of the Velcro is shiny in nature, there are tiny areas that are not covered in rope or the nylon strap material, so you may want to hide those parts that can't be trimmed off from photos, and more importantly prevent that shiny side from sticking to lint, dust, etc, which will cause major problems later on. I have not resolved that issue yet. One thought is to use black charcoal dust so that it may adhere to the raw Velcro adhesive and then just shake off the excess. A more practical alternative is to buy black felt and try to stick some black felt "lint" into those areas.


The third problem is that trimming is difficult with a knife when done from the sticky side. If you trim from the other side (hook side in this case), then it's much easier but you can't be sure that you are not cutting the rope (as I wrote the rope is never perfectly straight). So trimming the base of the patch is very tricky as the glue is very strong and your knife will start accumulating their trademarked adhesive - which is very difficult to clean off.


The fourth problem is that I'm not 100% sure about the mechanical strength and longevity of the adhered rope. While the Velcro adhesive is very strong, it's still just a soft rubber compound. There will be creep and other problems when exposed to heat - certainly out hot weather at near 40C could be an issue, and definitely this patch will never be able to be put into the washer or dryer at home.

So the net result of this experiment is basically a longer version of the same shoulder insignia patches I made before, but these are even more fragile that the shoulder insignia, in the sense that I did not use cyanoacrylate to fix the rope. You're probably wondering why there are two instead of a single collar. I did not have enough nylon strap for the while length of the collar, when you take into account the bulk of the collar and the neck opening of the jacket. I was short one inch. So I had to split the detachable collar in two parts.


I could try to sew the rope and nylon strap to the Velcro material, but the needle will suffer the same fate as the knife - it will accumulate glue and make the task very difficult. Using more cyanoacrylate to fix everything in place just doesn't work, because the rope darkens and loses it gold colour when it's saturated by the glue. So I use the glue very sparingly, in tiny spots where the glue MUST be located (to avoid frayed ends or fix the rope). In this case the Velcro adhesive is doing much of the same work that the cynoacrylate did in the shoulder patches. There is no room for more glue.

So these collar patches remain experimental. The good news is that they look good and are very cheap and easy to make, so when I need to replace them I can do so. I'm just uneasy about making "temporary" Halloween-quality" sartorial devices, when the rest of the uniform is so genuine. Yet that may be the ultimate advantage to Velcro: I don't need to keep anything I don't like. I can change it to something else.

It seems the plan to sew on Velcro wool to the collar is still a sound one, but its a totally different exercise, and I need to do a much better job. On the collar I can buy sew-on tape and it may not even be Vecro-brand tape, it could be some other type of felt material. OR can I bite the bullet, risk using the sticky back material, and try to sew it on the collar by using and disposing a large number of needles (they're going to get all gunky with Velcro adhesive).

The last issue is that the patches are fairly stiff already. They, in fact, force the collar open (see below), so a hook will be needed to completely close the Mandarin collar. Not a problem, that is easily obtainable, and that is in fact how the M1895 Undress Blouse above is made.


Decisions decisions. Risk management.

Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome  Undecided

Cheers,

JW
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« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2017, 10:46:42 pm »

The third problem is that trimming is difficult with a knife when done from the sticky side. If you trim from the other side (hook side in this case), then it's much easier but you can't be sure that you are not cutting the rope (as I wrote the rope is never perfectly straight). So trimming the base of the patch is very tricky as the glue is very strong and your knife will start accumulating their trademarked adhesive - which is very difficult to clean off.


Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome  Undecided

Cheers,

JW

Try one of the craft blades which you snap the end off when you need a fresh cutting surface; they are cheap and cheerful but quite good enough for this kind of work.
As far as the needles go, if you have a traditional pincushion filled with sawdust this will take the gunk off if you push the needle into it after you've done a few stitches (the idea originally was to help prevent/remove rust from steel needles) or alternatively have a small piece of sandpaper to rub the needle with every so often - even an emery board will do at a pinch.  The trick is to clean them before it gets too bad.
Hope this is some help.
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« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2017, 09:35:24 am »

The third problem is that trimming is difficult with a knife when done from the sticky side. If you trim from the other side (hook side in this case), then it's much easier but you can't be sure that you are not cutting the rope (as I wrote the rope is never perfectly straight). So trimming the base of the patch is very tricky as the glue is very strong and your knife will start accumulating their trademarked adhesive - which is very difficult to clean off.


Any recommendations or suggestions are welcome  Undecided

Cheers,

JW

Try one of the craft blades which you snap the end off when you need a fresh cutting surface; they are cheap and cheerful but quite good enough for this kind of work.
As far as the needles go, if you have a traditional pincushion filled with sawdust this will take the gunk off if you push the needle into it after you've done a few stitches (the idea originally was to help prevent/remove rust from steel needles) or alternatively have a small piece of sandpaper to rub the needle with every so often - even an emery board will do at a pinch.  The trick is to clean them before it gets too bad.
Hope this is some help.


Indeed. I used a box-cutter blade - the wide one which is also segmented like the smaller hobby knife to trim the Velcro.

I may try that pincushion or perhaps get some paint thinner solvent to clean the needle regularly.

It's probably going to sound like cheating and it still doesn't save me the effort of stitching, but I'm considering keeping the collar as is, and sewing the wool (loop) Velcro strip on the upper surface. Below I cut the Velcro exactly to the length of the collar and a width roughly equal to half the width of the collar.


The idea is to not trim the blue lapels at all to match a Mandarin collar height, but rather to fold the collar exactly in half along the neck (since it's so floppy, and relatively light), and use Velcro attached to the outer edge of the blue lapel to hold the false collar in place. The collar would have a hook at the front to close it (in this case I use just a temporary square of Velcro as a closure. At that point the collar would be very stiff.


Stiff enough that I'm having problems having split the collar in two parts. It tends to form a "v" in the back of the neck. I may consider buying more Nylon strap and using the other half of the Velcro I have to make a single length detachable Mandarin collar. That should create the circular neck line, and I can avoid major issues with the jacket.


This method has the advantage of turning the collar into a convertible collar, while keeping the collar almost intact. It can look like a turn down collar or a Manadarin collar, depending on the occasion. Period collars for US Army fatigues and even jackets could come in both Mandarin and turn down collars.

Having said that, I'm not too happy. I'd like for the Nylon strap and rope to be attached more strongly to the patch itself. And I'm not going to lie to you, the materials just "feel wrong." The collar is very stiff almost too stiff, and the Velcro hook side of the tape will chafe your neck.

At some point, the collar put enough tension on the collar button, that it just was pulled right out of the cloth (blame that on the thin stretchy fabric - rivet buttons are the WRONG choice for that type of flexible fabric). Frantically I used a sharp knife blade to re-insert the button and tuck the fabric back into the rivet washers, realizing that button will not last very long if left alone. I used a dab of cyanoacrylate to fix the fabric in place under the metal rivet and washer, being careful not to use too much else it will discolour the fabric.

It should stay put for a while, but if it falls off again, it'll force me to buy fabric buttons/patches, pull out all the rivet buttons in front and sew patches over each hole under each button - potentially having to make 5 more new copper coin buttons with copper loops so I can sew them on THE WAY IT"S SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Aaaargh! That's what I get for buying a discount item. But to be honest I could not find a more suitable jacket if I wanted to. The design is so perfect for my purpose in so many ways that it'd be impossible to get something that would look like this elsewhere. I'd hate to start from scratch - but either I "get it together" or the jacket will just not match the quality of the rest of the outfit.

*Sigh* But the detail of the rope on the coat gives you a fantastic effect. The high collar is beautiful and really took the jacket to a whole other level. The combination of black insignia with gold piping on the Navy blue is excellent. You can really see the black and the blue, even though the blue is so dark.

I really like how it looks, I just don't like how it's made.

After taking these photos I took the Velcro off from the collar. I can't let the sticky adhesive remain on the fabric for long because it will potentially ruin the fabric (leave residue that not even dry clean can take off) in the case I decide not to sew the Velcro on and do something else. That layer of glue was never meant to be used on fabric. I'd like to avoid that altogether if I can. And given the tremendous stiffness of the patch, it would behove me to find an alternative method of achieving the same look with different materials.  The rope is worth $4, it won't break the back to make a new collar if I buy more rope and nylon strap.

JW
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« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2017, 09:39:30 am »

Taking a break from my Fatigue Blouse project, I decided to re-purpose the collar pieces above. Since they're very stiff, I realized that they'd make excellent shoulder tabs (shoulder tab = the more modern version of the shoulder board running parallel to the collar bone).


In the US Army, shoulder tabs insignia did not exist prior to 1872, and instead full dress uniform required full epaulettes with fringes. But the first appearance of "shoulder tabs" came in the form of "Russian Knots" in 1872 for Junior Officers and after 1899 for senior officers..

Civil War Era Senior Officer's Frock Coat with Sash and Epaulettes

Russian Knot on Junior Officer's M1872 Frock Coat


The modern Shoulder Tab did not make its appearance until the M1889 regulations which saw action during the Spanish American War. The shoulder tab was a more practical item meant to be worn for service or field blouses, and had the distiction of being easily detachable by way of buttons, such that the insignia could be moved from one garment to another as needed.


~ ~ ~

So Taking some liberties and mixing and matching I came with two types of insignia. I took the two collar pieces, and trimmed them to the length of the shoulders on my cloak coat. This last weekend, at a local hobby shop, I found this set of die cast (tin) stars in different sizes and started playing with different arrangements. Typically a Lt. General's insignia would be three stars, nut the center star would be larger than the side stars. Luckily I could reproduce that with these stars.

The shoulder straps on my cloak coat have two large decorative buttons. I was forced to detach the shoulder straps at the button when I bought the coat, because my shoulders were a bit too broad and the shoulder straps acquired a strange shape when I wore the coat. I decided to leave the straps un-sewn thinking as I might late like to use that button in a functional way later on. I was already thinking of shoulder insignia last year. And so after cutting the Velcro strap and adding a piece of rope to close the cut, I then cut a slit through the "mohair weave and Velcro for the button to go through. I had to use more cyanoacrylate to prevent fraying, every time I cut the woven Nylon "mohair" strap:


I'm afraid I didn't take pictures every step of the way, but I can describe what I did as follows: I re-purposed the tassels that were attached to the rope. Using an ungodly amount of super glue and a pair of throwaway hair clips, I made two strips of fringes from the tassels. Basically it involved trimming and gluing a lot until your hands were covered in cyanoacrylate. And I even resorted to tricks like using bicarbonate (baking soda) and water ta catalyze the polymerization of super glue. Otherwise the tassels would simply become two very large brushes painting everything they touch with super glue  Roll Eyes It was messy and horrible, and there has to be a better way than that, but I managed to make two straight strips of golden fringes for the epaulettes.


Not clearly shown, is that the fringes are detachable because they are bundled together in a "cap" of Velcro wool. That is, the fringes are removable so as to take advantage of the Velcro underside of the shoulder tabs (remember the whole thing was made of a single wide Velcro strap?).  On top of the "mohair" Nylon woven strap, I glued three die-cast stars for each shoulder tab:

Right click to zoom


As you can see the button passed through the insignia and below the shoulder tab there is another set of insignia! The tab is entirely made of Velcro loop (plastic side), so you can attach anything you want to the underside  of the tab - including (but not limited to) Velcro loops that can tie around the wool coat's straps , and stiffening strips of Velcro to make the tab even more rigid. So putting on and taking off the tabs is very easy and doesn't harm the cloak coat at all.

Underneath the epaulettes/tabs, I decided that I could take three die cast stars and make pins out of them. Again, my apologies for the lack of photos, but what I did is buy brass thumb tacks, and flatten the top with a happer (you insert the thumb tack into the grain end of a wood plank and hammer the top to make it perfectly flat). Then you can glue (or solder) that thumbtack to the back of a die cast star. Again I resorted to my friend cyanoacrylate. The problem with the die cast stars is that they are made of tin, and thus very easy to melt...

The end result is a set of "subdued" (that is the military term) insignia, more suitable for field use. I use a pair of Velcro strips (the wool side, folded on to itself) to insert the nail end of the pin into it (otherwise when someone taps you in the shoulder you will feel a lot of pain  Cheesy) The Velcro is very good at preventing the pins from coming out. The pins will not hurt the wool felt coat.



~ ~ ~


And last but not least.... I still had a buch of smaller die cast stars of various sizes, and I decided to finish off the insignia in my Trachten hat. Again, I recycled scraps of the Nylon "mohair" strap I had cut off from the shoulder tabs/epaulettes:


The Velcro will not attach very well to the wool (very surprising actually), so the patch is sewn into the hat. So is that hat cord, because it just kept coming off  Grin

And with this, I leave you dear ladies and gentlemen, for I have to wake up early tomorrow for a phone interview  Grin

I remain AYS,

Adm. J. Wilhelm a/k/a Lt. Gen. J. Bahlmann
USAS Orca
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 10:01:26 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: August 06, 2017, 06:12:31 am »

UGH! Failed attempt to use Velcro as attachment for the shoulder boards on the Fatigue Blouse (shoulder boards = the Civil War style transverse short boards shown below, not the straight shoulder tabs shown in the post directly above).

The shoulder boards should curve like this, along the shoulder seam:

The same familiar problems that dogged me when making the collar. The patches become way too stiff when you add the two extra layers of Velcro (The Velcro wool attached to the cloth of the coat and the Velcro loop side attached to the shoulder board). Simply it becomes hard to curve and shape the shoulder board. The patch is too elevated from the surface of the cloth.

The sticky back leaves residue on the cloth, guaranteed to creep and run over time during washing, and the American Southwest heat. If I proceed with this Velcro on the fabric it will ruin the jacket, leaving me unable to wash it in water or dry cleaning solution. Sometimes Velcro is just not the right material. Do not use unless the surfaces to have Velcro are perfectly straight - or - you are using clothing grade Velcro, which instead of having a plastic loop/hook side, it has a woven base and has no sticky back. The clothing grade Velcro also comes in different widths but it still strikes me as a very inappropriate material as it adds a lot of thickness to the installation. The only place I could use it is on straight patches.

I think I will explore using snap fasteners instead. They will also damage the jacket in the sense that you are punching holes, but they are guaranteed to stay on forever and resist washing and heat. The alternative is extra large sew-on snaps. I just need them to be strong.

JW
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 06:15:58 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #48 on: August 08, 2017, 09:42:41 am »

More progress.... Sometimes complex problems have simple solutions.

Here's a solution that is not perfect and doesn't have me 100% convinced, but it's all I git at the moment.

At my local super, I found these "bar pins," a type of safety pin used to make novelty lapel buttons and the like

They're cool little devices which have a tiny swivel lock to prevent the pin form opening. It occurred to me I could use a pair of these for each shoulder board instead of buttons. Since I'm intending these shoulder boards to be somewhat temporary (eventually I'll buy the real US Army article in gold bullion), then I though this could be an interim solution. I does minimal damage to the jacket and can take them off any time I want:


You can see how crude and irregular the patches look from the back. This is due to the rope construction method - it's the outline of the rope as glued on the neoprene. I have glued two "bar pins" with epoxy instead of snap buttons or the like. The epoxy acts like "plastic rivets" on the bar pins.


One of the major problems with the boards is that if they're too stiff they won't bend properly to follow the contour of the shoulder. Instead they'll remain rigid like planks on your shoulders. You want them to look like the picture above: with a gentle curve following the shoulder seam of the coat.

One solution is to provide some rigidity to the board and force it to be curved somehow. This sounds much easier than it is. Without having any metal foil frame of sorts to give it shape, the curvature of the patch is very capricious (i.e. uneven), and it bends and creases at places depending on the embroidered stars, because the stars are effectively rigid compared to the neoprene and even the rope..

It occurred to me that I could stick a Velcro wool strip in the back to give the patch some thickness and rigidity, and then use a Velcro hook strip on each patch to create "tension" between the ends of the patch. That is, you can bend the patch in your hand to the shape you want, and then add a Velcro strip on top to fix the curvature of the patch...



The advantage of this method is that you can adjust the curvature at your leisure. It also solves the problem of having two "floating" shoulder boards, since the bar pins do have some height to them. Another consequence from the bar pins' "height", is that you need you need to match that separation from the shoulder at the centre of the patch, so the shoulder bards have the same curvature as the shoulder, and don't look like "planks" again.

It is understood that the silly Velcro sticky back glue will creep slowly with time, depending on temperature. I can't prevent that, but I can adjust the curvature of the patch periodically if there is that "adjustor" strip (see Velcro wool strip at centre of patch). That way, the patch is not just pulling the cloth by the pins, but rather it lays as gently as possible on the shoulder.  For storage you can remove the Velcro hook strips and lay the patches flat.

Eventually you can get the shoulder board to look like this:



The downside of the bar pin method is that you'll find yourself having to meticulously remove and adjust the pins, and also you'll likely readjust the Velcro strip in the back repeatedly to orient the and shape the patch on the shoulder seams - every time you wear the garment. Why every time? Because the shoulder boards are so rigid that when you hang the jacket the pins pull hard on the fabric of the shoulders. It's best to remove the shoulder bars before hanging the jacket in the closet.

Cheers,
JW  Grin
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 09:44:12 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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