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Jacket Fading / Aging / Customization & Artwork

Leviathan

Member
Hi everyone

I was thinking about customizing one of my USN Deck Jackets for some time now. While I am quite sure on how the final result should look like, I am yet undecided on what would be the best way to achieve that. So here's what I am aiming for:

Artwork / Paint
Ship's name gets stenciled on the back. I have a stencil machine at hand but not yet decided on the ship's name, but will do some more research. Letter height will be around 3/4" / 1.9cm. I will have it stenciled before the washing starts. For the paint I am not sure, but was thinking about acrylic paint. Does anyone know what was used for stenciling back then?

Patch
I also want to add a patch on the front, once I have decided on the name and I will go for a embroidered one, guess the leather version were mainly used on flight jackets. Does anyone know where to get customized / embroidered patches?

Aging & Fading
I like the worn out, washed out and faded look from the old deck jackets. The stuff you usually find on instagram or other vintage military dealers. I want to achieve this look by washing the jacket multiple times in the washmashine (low heat, 30° max) and afterwards treat it with multiple baths in salt water. I will then leave the jacket laid flat & dry in the sun, while adding salty water to different areas to achieve these salty crust lines.

Protection
To not risk the hardware (hooks / zippers) I will use adhesive tape or something similar to protect them while washing.

So any feedback / comments are highly appreciated I am especially interested in "proven" aging techniques and hints on the color.

Thanks
 

Thomas Koehle

Well-Known Member
As for marking jackets on a ship and especially in wartime I think the guys on board took whatever paint material they could get hands on ...

So far I tried acrylic paint as well as special textile-paint from a hobby-shop

Both worked pretty fine - after applying I let the paint dry and later do some ironing. The acrylic paint fades much quicker ...

If you do the stencilling before the first wash the fibers of the fabric still are covered with kinda “impregnating” and the paint material will not bond as effective with the fabric as after a first wash

So i’d give her a first “round” through the washer before doing any painting.

If you use that special textile material you might follow the advice of Ties and apply the stencils in several layers means from going from a first light layer to 2 or 3 more until you finally get the “richness” of the writing on your jacket.

As for getting any desired stage of aging I usually take the garment to be aged on and consider where would be the most wear happen during normal use on a ships deck. Then I take sanding paper 120 grit and slightly sand those areas. For example beside the zipper, elbows and cuffs. Go compare with your most loved denim jacket and you will understand.

I will try to find some pics of some jackets I did ...
 

Leviathan

Member
Thanks for the hints - will definitely wash first. For the paint I will do some more research, your quote "whatever they could get their hands on" sounds interesting (and logical), so let's see what I can dig out. I was thinking about using sandpaper too, but am not sure if that wouldn't be too much, since I don't want the jacket to fall apart too soon:) And yes: Pictures are always highly appreciated.
 

unclegrumpy

Well-Known Member
Back in the day, they used oil based paints in the colors they had...most typically black, but sometimes white for stenciling. There were very few patches used on these jackets in WW II...almost none. You see more used in the Korean War era...mostly subs and destroyers...but it was not until the late 1950's t0 early 1960's that patches became more common place, but I would still say a relatively small percentage of jackets had them.
 

Thomas Koehle

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the hints - will definitely wash first. For the paint I will do some more research, your quote "whatever they could get their hands on" sounds interesting (and logical), so let's see what I can dig out. I was thinking about using sandpaper too, but am not sure if that wouldn't be too much, since I don't want the jacket to fall apart too soon:) And yes: Pictures are always highly appreciated.
off course that sandpaper technique should be used to a certain extend only - it is not to sand holes into the fabric but to high-light the "higher spots" of eg wrinkles aso
 

Leviathan

Member
Somehow the "as authentic as possible" virus has caught me:-/ So here's an update on the "what ever color they could get hands on" topic. I started googling and someone took the effort to post an extensive article on WW2 ship camouflage and their paints (Wiki-Link). Obviously the paint used changed from "linseed-oil based" to "synthetic alkyd resin base". Will do more research on that, but the colorchart on the wiki is already pretty impressive and useful.

So now that I am already kneedeep in that topic: Does anyone know WHO was responsible for stenciling / marking on board of a ship? I somehow recall that was the quartermaster? Is that right? That might help me for my research.

I already found some older uniform regulations stating that name stencils had to be 3/4" in height, so at least that matches and they used BLACK on white uniforms and WHITE on blue uniforms.

@unclegrumpy Thanks for the hint with the patches. I spent half the weekend looking for inspiration and saw many many deckjackets, no patches seen.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
not to contradict thom, but i would suggest an even finer sand paper, like a 220 grit. reason being is that the 120 will cause the cloth fibers to "fuzz". also, you have more control with the finer grit.
 

Thomas Koehle

Well-Known Member
As far as my information is deck jackets have originally not issued to individuals but to vessels

The job to distribute the garment within ships must have been the job of the quartermasters

I saw garment for example which was marked with “Turret ...” and a number - means the jacket should have stayed in the area where it was needed and used by several persons on the different shifts

So my “guesstimating” is that jackets marked with a individuals names have been stencilled by personal which was able to “organise” a jacket just for themselves????

Just for a side-info: I own a pair “new old stock” usn cold weather bibs in dark blue on which the USN markings are done in silver but not in white - also I own a couple of foul-weather caps with the same silver stencils
 

Thomas Koehle

Well-Known Member
not to contradict thom, but i would suggest an even finer sand paper, like a 220 grit. reason being is that the 120 will cause the cloth fibers to "fuzz". also, you have more control with the finer grit.
Perfectly fine - I rechecked and yep I usually also use paper which is finer than 120
 

shedonwanna

Active Member
Mr clean magic eraser is a very useful product for preparing surfaces for paint or removing paint from surfaces. You could actually use the stencil and just lightly remove some "sheen" from the areas you want to stencil paint. I've also found it useful for lifting and shifting watercolor. Fun product to experiment with.
 

Leviathan

Member
@Silver Surfer : Thank you for the "us 220grit" -> I will wait until the washing is done and if it comes out the way I hope it. If at all (not sure yet) I would just use it very cautiously.

@Thomas Koehle : Very interesting the marking with "TURRET xxx" and also the point these jackets were issued to Vessels, rather than individuals. I will do more research on this, let's see what I can come up with. If I recall it right, I have mostly seen stenciled deck jackets with names and sometimes numbers on it, but might as well be wrong.

@ shedonwanna : Thanks for the hint!

For those interested: Here's a good scan of the "US Navy Uniform Regulations" issued in 1941. Unless other scans that I have seen this one contains actually all the pictures: https://media.defense.gov/2018/May/31/2001925044/-1/-1/0/1941-USN-UNIFORMREGS.PDF
 
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