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Good buys on a B3?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Blackjack, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. With the cold weather trying to eek it's way into town I've been thinking about buying a B3 bomber jacket, but I don't really have the 5 to 7 bucks handy to get a really good one. Anyone have any luck with finding one thats a little easier on the wallet but still a pretty decent coat ?
  2. MikeyB17

    MikeyB17 One of the Regulars

    You could try What Price Glory http://whatpriceglory.com
    They do a B-3 which is a bit more accurate than your average 'mall jacket' but doesn't cost the Earth.It isn't quite up to the top-end repros, but it doesn't look too bad-not seen one in the flesh mind you. Also keep an eye on Aero's sale page-they sometimes get in a batch of cheap sheepskin which they make a run of lower-priced jackets from. Or there's US Authentic, but I can't comment on their stuff as I have no experience with them. Or, of course, there's E-Bay. Good Luck!
  3. SpykiE

    SpykiE New in Town

    Hello, just wanted to start by saying hello to all, I am new to the forum but can already see that there are some very nice people here! Anyways, onto the topic, I recently (about 2 weeks ago) purchased and received a B3 Jacket from Flightjacket.com (US Authentic) and let me just say this....The jacket is amazing. The quality and attention to detail is amazing, not to mention the customer service that comes along with ordering from US Authentic. They also guarantee their jackets forever, any repairs or anything needed to be done to the jacket, they will do it, no questions asked.

    Now, I have never seen in person another B3 before, so I can't say whether or not one is better than the other; many manufacturers made those jackets throughout the war and they all did it their own ways, so in the same sentence I CAN say that that is what makes them such amazing jackets. It's their uniqueness and differences.

    I paid about almost $700 for the B3 from them, (i had it custom fitted and made), but I would say it was worth every penny. I've scoured the internet in search of this jacket (to find the best looking one for the money), I originally wanted to buy the B3, but then upon seeing the price tag that came along with most of the jackets, I immediately turned my head. I did exactly what you did Blackjack, however, after searching and searching and just finding nothing but stripped down commerciallized versions of the B3 and Irvin jackets all over the web, I was kind of taken aback. I realized that there are no substitutes, if you are going to buy a B3 or Irvin, you buy an authentic one...no exceptions, and you will be so thrilled when you do. Trust me, this is coming from a guy who was in your same exact shoes. After seeing so many of the dumbed-down versions, it just made me want that authentic one all that much more. I know you were saying you don't have that amount of money to spend on it, however, like MikeyB17 was saying...if you look, I know Aero Leather has their used section and sometimes have the B3 on there, it's just an amount of luck I guess. But do yourself the favor, and don't settle for anything less, scrounge if you have to, and you will be extremely happy that you did in the end. I can certainly vouch for that! ;)


    PS I'll post pics of the jacket if anyone is curious as to how it looks, just ask!
  4. shamus

    shamus Suspended


    tell me about your b-3. Did you dye the shearling yourself? Is that horsehide? What about the back? Did you go early or late? What is the lenght the shearling too on the main body and sleeves?

    I've been thinking about doing just what you did. What machine did you use? What did you use as a template?

    Looks fantastic! Excellect work esp. since it's your first one? Do you sew leather before?
  5. bfrench

    bfrench Familiar Face

    Please do

    Bill French
  6. Brad Post'm.

    Heres a shot of my Real McCoys B-3. Its a Roughwear repro in duo tone with a 3 panel back.

    Triple stamped art deco Talon

    Great job Alan!!!!

    I had one of Willis & Giegers M-444s (mid 1990) that was actually made by US Authentic. I sold it last year and really regret it. If the sheepskin on your B-3 is half as nice as the stuff that was on my 444 its good stuff.
  7. MudInYerEye

    MudInYerEye Practically Family

    Good show, Alan! Wow!
  8. Working with sheepskin


    I admire your wish to make your own jacket and I would encourage you to do so. There is something very satisfying in making one yoursel that (IMHO) exceeds the pleasure of buying one. Go for it!

    First, let me say that it's not easy to make any jacket from scratch, but a B-3 is probably one of the easiest. Only a D-1 (particularly the version without pockets) would be easier, but I would avoid the 1937 version with the pieced sleeves. I should also point out that although I used to work in the clothing industry and have made my own clothing for some thirty years, this is the first time I have have worked in sheepskin on this scale (although I have made numerous repairs to sheepskin jackets). If you have no such experience, I would start by making a tee shirt, then a shirt, then a casual jacket. Even a basic home sewing machine can produce good results with care. You also need to practice making patterns from original garments.

    Now, to answer your questions. I bought the sheepskin on the roll from a market stall in Glastonbury (home of English sheepskin). It was brown on the hide side, so I dyed it black with shoe dye. The joining strips, sleeve facings and pocket are offcuts from the trimming shop of a very prestigious car maker near where I live. They are in cowhide. The straps were cut and punched for me in unsplit hide by the guy who makes harnesses for my bull terriers. He got the ends wrong, but I don't sweat the small things like that and could easily square them myself. If I were doing it again, I would go for tan straps like a Roughwear, rather than matching russet, but you always find things you would have done differently.

    My prototype is of a wartime jacket with the low back seam and straight side panels. The earlier pattern would have been more interesting (and rarer) but I copied what I had. The only part where a machine was used was the zip. All the rest was sewn by hand with two needles (one from each side) like glovers do. Ken Calder of Aero Leathers showed me how to do this.

    The hardest part is perforating the strips and facings. The machine would do this as it sewed, but if you are doing it by hand (!) you have to make the holes first. The correct way to do this would be to use a rowel or pouncing wheel, but, as you seem to have guessed, I made a template. I decided how many stitches per inch I wanted (8 to 10 was normal for B-3s) and dug an old metal ruler out of my tool box. I used the markings on the edge of the ruler to drill a row of 1/16" holes with a drill press the required distance from the edge of the ruler. Then, I clamped the ruler over the leather (edge to edge) and pressed a thumbtack (one of those with a plastic knob) through the holes. With patience, you have a part ready for hand sewing.

    Oh, and I made the patterns from tissue paper by placing the jacket on an ironing board so that the parts I was copying were flat (just like ironing, really) and sticking the pattern paper down with masking tape until I was happy with it. Then I drew the shape in pencil and cut around the outline. You have to 'imagine' the internal seams, but a B-3 has only four of these anyway. Really, it's best of you can take the original apart to make the pattern, but some people don't like this... I have an amusing tale (for another time) about how a buddy and I once made a copy of a Levi's jacket in leather by completely taking apart a friend's newish trucker jacket and using it as a pattern. He was not amused! Mmm. I still have the jacket we made somewhere....

    Finally, in my first post I neglected to give credit to those 'in the business' who offered me advice, encouragement and/or materials. Thanks (in no particular order) to Aero, ELC and Sefton. I promise not to put you all out of business by flooding the market with replicas.
  9. alfyman

    alfyman One of the Regulars

    Hello, I like authentic, but this time I had to step out of the zone and purchase a B3 from cirrus.uk
  10. AngryNJ

    AngryNJ Familiar Face

    Sheesh. This thread was like 5 years old... Ignore my PM blackjack. I expect you found a B3 in the past 6 years. lol!

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