ALL ORIGINAL Irvin RAF type Jackets - Loving that Wolf in sheeps' clothing!

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by PADDY, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. Taikonaut

    Taikonaut New in Town

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    Who is the lady? I might hire her for a photoshoot :)
    I'm after a WW2 Irvin 36"-40" chest in good condition. Willing to do a trade, I have an original WW2 A2 Dubow it is superb condition I think it is worth more than an Irvin.
     
  2. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    The lady is Steven's girl friend. BTW what size is your Dubow?
     
  3. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    Hi Steven,
    Welcom to the forum.
    I too cannot understand the dead end Eastman have reversed into, it's all so wrong but the solutions to make a very good jacket are so simple for them if they want to. Change the sheepskin, [the current ones are truly dreadful] have decent repro zips, and finally make some copies of known manufacturers such as Airchute and Wareings.
    I have the absolute dogs bo***cks on it's way and will post some pics soon.
    Am I correct in that some jackets were only wired to the extent that they had snaps to secure wired gloves ?
     
  4. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    John, I agree with you 100% about the rapid decline in ELC RAF jackets.The fleeces are just dreadful. 99% of the wired Irvins I have seen had the metal spurs to attach the gloves. The wiring harness on the jacket heated the gloves and connected to the wired trousers in order to heat the boots. Sometimes you see wired jackets with the harness stripped out leaving just the spurs.
     
  5. Taikonaut

    Taikonaut New in Town

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    Dubow has a size 38 tag but it is bigger and generous fit and longer torso more like a modern 38. My size is modern 36 and this is too big, bought it a few years ago, doesnt fit and put it away.
     
  6. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    It would be too small for me as I'm after a size 44.
     
  7. Taikonaut

    Taikonaut New in Town

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    I might put it on ebay, any idea what the price is for a Dubow in good condition?
     
  8. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Returning to John's point about repro Irvins, I think there are differences in the way fleeces are processed these days compared with the war. They are dry cleaned which takes many of the natural oils out of the fleece. I'm not sure precisely how the chrome tanning process worked in the war, but dry cleaning was not used. Surely if a tannery in the UK could treat the fleece in a way which did not use modern chemicals the fininshed product would be much closer to wartime sheepskin. There is one tannery in the UK which uses only organic tanning methods and perhaps the fleece are closer to wartime produced fleece. Here's the link.

    http://www.organicsheepskins.com/www.organicsheepskins.coms/info.php?p=2
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
  9. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    Andrew,
    Fenland have an organic system developed solely for The Few.
     
  10. Dr H

    Dr H One Too Many

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    I'm sorry...there was a jacket?!
     
  11. Andyboy

    Andyboy New in Town

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    I´ve started with the restoration of my early Irvin jacket. I did some restitching on the collar and the jacket has been given some pecards antique leather dressing so that the leather is in good condition again. Does anyone know what to use to clean the collar fleece? The inside fleece is in good condition so far but the fleece on the collar looks a little dirty. What do you use to clean it? It would be great to get a little advise as I´m not sure what to do..
     
    alfyman likes this.
  12. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Lightly wet the sheepskin. Using a cloth or small brush apply a solution of washing powder mixed in warm water. The dirt will come off and then use clean water to remove the washing solution. This method has worked wonders on dirty collars, cuffs and hems on Irvins. BTW. DO NOT WASH THE IRVIN IN A WASHING MACHINE AS YOU ARE LIKELY TO WEAKEN THE SHEEPSKIN.
     
    alfyman likes this.
  13. Andyboy

    Andyboy New in Town

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    Thank you very much Andrew!
     
  14. fenaxton44

    fenaxton44 New in Town

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    Hi all, how close is the ELC Devon Irvin to the original Devon Irvin it is copying? I.e. the wool and skin etc.
    Thanks Dave
     
  15. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    Mine was closer to a mangy Labrador !!
    Beautifully made though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  16. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I have owned handled hundreds of Irvins and have never seen an original with exactly the same fleece as the ELC Deven fleece jacket. I used to own one but quickly sold it on. The colour is wrong and the texture is too coarse compared with shaggy fleece originals. The skin side is better and does have character. The original contractors used skins from many difference breeds of sheep and today it is quite difficult to be sure which jackets were made from devon fleece as opposed to the many other breeds.
     
  17. Steven C P

    Steven C P New in Town

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    Yes there is a jacket known as "the Few" it is sold in Japan by a McCoys spin off company. I doubt very much whether it is organically produced by Fenland as they are chrome tanning specialists and it is advertised as Veg/Chrome tanned. For the uninitiated, there is nothing remotely organic about the chemicals used in chrome tanning!

    I think it costs about £1700. I have only seen pictures but the exterior finish is incorrect, the label not anything like an original, the zips totally wrong, the fleece inaccurate (as all replicas seem to be) and the pattern looks at best questionable.
    I guess that at the moment the only way to go is with a well preserved original. I am fed up with inaccurate replicas !

    http://www.thefewmfg.com/details.cgi?no=SP10-014&name=THE_FEW_FLIGHT_JACKET_2010_11<br>SHEEP
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  18. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    The Few jacket is just dreadful:- thin, shiny sheepskin, which looks like plastic, a strange leather label sewn near the hem and a zip which looks nothing like a Dot or Lightning. And people pay £1700 for this rubbish! What sad times we live in.
     
  19. John Lever

    John Lever One Too Many

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    Agree about the leather, zips and pattern. But I have been told personally by the owner of Fenland that they do have a veg. tanning plant solely for use by The Few and Real McCoys.
     
  20. Steven C P

    Steven C P New in Town

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    As I said John, the jacket is actually advertised as Veg/Chrome tanned (whatever that means) and therefore this is not an organic process, neither is it vegetable tanning.
    Chris Tinnion told me that they only do chrome tanning and having looked at the plant 3 weeks ago that would appear to be correct. Since I required veg tanned fleece for boot linings I feel sure he would have mentioned this before I took my order elsewhere !

    We can agree to differ in a gentlemanly way though !!!

    I think personally that the tanning process, the end result being indistinguishable, is the least of the worries that replica manufacturers should concern themselves with. Why can't they do the simple things correctly? Fleece selection, pattern, fittings, zips, label, shear thickness etc. I had an Early Eastman for about 15 years and it was a lovely jacket until Eastmans replaced the cuffs and waistband for me with "matching" fleece, totally ruined and sold off on Ebay.
    Even though it was supple and the nearest I have come to an original it was still obviously a replica from 10 yards away! I also owned a BoB model to which I had fitted original zips at manufacture but even that just didn't come near to any original I have owned or handled. Like Andrew I have had many over the years and there is something almost undefinable about them that sets them apart from todays fuzzy felt replicas. Until someone nails it I will just have to wear originals and worry about it ripping or coming apart at the seams or degrading and wrecking my investment, oh for a perfect replica that I could enjoy battering and treating as the garment was designed and is suited for !!
    PS WHY are the Few using horsehide ? I know ELC do it too. I guess in the 1930's there were lots of horses in Britain that were slaughtered for belts, collar facings and seam tapes for Irvins !! ?? Just plain wrong and pandering to a market that thinks horse is superior (which in many ways it is) irrespective of what is accurate. They could use Kangaroo, marvellous wear and abrasion resistance after all !

    Steve.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

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