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New Good Wear Leather A-1 (size 46) - early 1920s pattern

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Dr H, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    Here is my latest jacket (a capeskin A-1 by Good Wear Leather).

    John Chapman bounced over some images of a recent A-1 test jacket that he had produced and, despite the figuring of the recent capeskin, I was really won over by the detailing.

    There are several generic A-1 patterns that tend to come up in the period photos (not as well documented as later WW2 jackets), but the ones that have consistently appealed to me are the early 1920s versions with buttons to the lower waistband and pockets sitting more closely to the central line.

    Although it's not always that clear from the period photos, the collar knit is less fussy with a single button fastening as you see here, rather than the more common two buttons. The knits are tailored from the more golden coloured wool and complement the hide/pattern well in my view.

    The sleeves have the triple stitched, raw edged seams that John habitually uses.


    For comparison, check out the images of the more conventional, production version (http://www.goodwearleather.com/pages/gwtypea1_images1.html).

    It's a very comfortable jacket in use and the grain is already beginning to become less pronounced with wear.
  2. Fanch

    Fanch I'll Lock Up

    Fantastic looking jacket. Don't see how the fit could possibly be improved.
  3. Ishmael

    Ishmael Practically Family

    That's perfect.
  4. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    Thanks Fanch - that's John in the images so the fit of the test jacket is 100%.
    For me it's 95% (I need to have the sleeves tailored slightly to fit my shorter arms), but otherwise it fits equally well.
    This is the fourth GW A-1 jacket that I've owned (along with three ELC A-1s) and, although the hide is not quite as good as the earlier domestic cape from 2008, the pattern has constantly improved and this is the truest to period images.
    For me, the cape that ELC uses is superior, but their pattern is just a little more bland. Not poor (I'm on the lookout for another ELC now as a project), but just lacking a little individuality.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  5. Cooperson

    Cooperson One Too Many

    Yes, it fits Mr Chapman very well :) Very nice A-1 by the way, love the grain on it!
  6. Todd V

    Todd V Familiar Face

    Yes! Very nice jacket. If I ever got another the A-1 might be it. So, these are worn with the collar down, not up?
  7. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    Yes, typically down with a couple of buttons undone, although the knit it is thick enough to sit upright and can be fastened in cold/wet weather. The collar knit was originally designed to be a snug fit in a draughty open cockpit, but on the ground was worn with uniform/shirt/tie.
  8. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

    A beautiful jacket :D
  9. Joel Shapiro

    Joel Shapiro One Too Many

    I like the pattern better than the leather. Having handled this leather, I can tell you it's very thin, almost sheer and stretches too easily for my taste. I wonder what other leather would be good for this jacket? Goatskin? Horsehide? Because the pattern is stunning and unique.
  10. 767fo

    767fo One of the Regulars

    The jacket is superb!!!
  11. For my taste, the fit is too long on the model above, with the waistband on the hips rather than the waist. I assume one can specify the length of the jacket?

    I prefer the fit on this guy

    rather than this guy

    But that's just personal taste. Lovely jacket and beautiful leather!

    Yep, that's the problem with lambskin, and the reason so many British leather jackets of the era are toast.
  12. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    The cape is the one aspect of the jacket that I'd change Joel (in an ideal world) as I was also very skeptical when I handled the samples.

    It's better when made up and lined and doesn't feel frail, but is inferior to the thicker 2008/2009 cape that John used, although thicker than the Italian cape that he tried.

    It's just a little thinner than the ELC cape, but this pattern in the ELC cape/Himel sheepskin would be my ideal.

    Personally, I wouldn't go for horsehide (unless it was much thinner than the norm), but goatskin would work.
  13. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    Yes, Baron, John's jackets are usually tailored to your dimensions/taste (mine is a test jacket), but I'm a little longer in the torso/short in the leg so the pattern sits a little higher on me.
  14. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    There's a telling passage in Gary Eastman's new book on the A-2, in which he shows original source material detailing the shortcomings of capeskin and putting the case for more robust materials (initially horsehide, then latterly goatskin and steerhide) to be used in the construction of the A-2. During the A-1 procurement process, only limited replacement knits were ordered as the authorities felt that the A-1 wouldn't have the working life to justify a greater outlay; reasoning that the jacket wouldn't really outlast the knits.

    On the other hand, outside of the open cockpit, cape is a great hide for summer use (or layered under a heavy coat in winter as a jerkin)
  15. majormajor

    majormajor One Too Many

    One of the things I love about "the correct A1" is that it simply doesn't exist.

    There are as many differences as there are similarities in these two jackets.

    Collars are completely different shapes. One button waistband versus two. And quite differently contructed and positioned pockets.

    The top one also looks to be made of much stiffer hide than the lower one.

    I think Gary Eastman's next book needs to be just A1s!!:D;)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  16. Plumbline

    Plumbline One Too Many

    very cool jacket .... I loved Johns prototype A1 in capeskin ..... I think the fit is ideal, a jacket which fits the waist is a bit impractical without the high waist trousers of yesteryear.

    Got to agree there is NO ONE A1 ... like there is no ONE A2 .. each to his own and the major's looks mighty fine :)
  17. I always thought that the type A-1 leather jacket being labeled "summer issue", was just that. What I notice when
    I view vintage photos of pilots wearing them & also watching the film "Only Angels Have Wings"('39)…it appears
    that most of the A-1 jackets have a soft texture , not rugged at all , but more like a sweater style. And this is the
    thing for me that I would like to have. I already own the rugged horse hide ,steer or goat in the A-2s…
    The A-1 cape may have it's shortcomings…but it sure looks nice , the way the originals were made. 2¢ ;)
  18. Fanch

    Fanch I'll Lock Up

    To me the body length is perfect. The sleeves could be slightly longer on the model (JC) and still work. So, maybe your fit is 99% which is good enough. BTW I have heard great things about John Chapman And find it somewhat ironic that I am buying from the UK and you, from where I live. :usa2:
  19. thor

    thor One Too Many

    High waist pants + 5% body fat + snug fitting waist length jacket = the "ideal" quintessential leather-jacketed aviator look. :D
  20. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

    I have several pairs of the high waist period trousers and the jacket - going to have to come back to you on the 5%?body fat... :-(

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