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Modded 1940s Lakeland Half Belt Leather Jacket to resemble rare Hercules

AMan

New in Town
Messages
41
Location
Chicago, IL
Hi everyone! I wanted to show off my other jacket mod that I've been working on. This one took me a huge amount of time. I've been working on it since January.

So I found this jacket at a vintage store. It was in bad shape with a lot of cracking. The talon zipper, which was broken, dated the jacket to the late 1940s. I bought it with the plan to restore it.

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I spent some time re-dyeing the jacket to hide the cracking. I found a repro Talon zipper on eBay and paid someone to replace it. I then reinforced the cracking with some Klucel G. Of course, I covered it in a ton of Pecard's Antique Leather dressing.

Then I found this image on these forums. Its from one of those japanese jacket books:
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Through more searching, I then found one other example of this model:
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I thought it was absolutely fantastic, so I decided to modify my Lakeland jacket.

The first step was to find a source for the wool panels. I settled on this vintage melton wool jacket from the 1960s.

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The tough part was cutting a straight line to remove the leather panels. That was a nerve wracking process. Here's the first panel done.

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The issue was the wool had too big of a nap to properly be glued using leather adhesive. So for the inside side and bottom what I did instead was to sew the panel using an awl and thread to the front leather edge, and then fold that leather edge underneath itself and glue it, thereby hiding and securing the stitches.

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Attaching the sleeves and shoulder parts of the panels was far more arduous. Because I needed access to both sides to use the awl, I needed a different method. Plus it was hard to cut the panels out, so the outside edge was uneven.

The only way to do it cleanly was to hand stitch with a needle and thread.

So the sewing required two steps. First, the wool was pulled up and sewn to the raw uneven leather edge with an overcast stitch. This hid the unevenness by making the wool flush with the leather edge. Second, about 1/4 of an inch on the leather side, along the old seam line, I sewed through the lining, the wool, and the leather using a back stitch to reinforce it.

The collar was done in much the same way. Here's a progress pic:

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Finally, I added a horsehide pull tab out of the leather from the panels, used the hot water treatment to remove some of the creasing, and covered it again in Pecard's. Final pics coming soon!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this!
 

AeroFan_07

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,701
Location
Iowa
Very creative and a neat project there overall! Nice to have the time to be able to do this kind of work, hope you get it all done soon.
 

Woodyear

Familiar Face
Messages
97
If we're being honest, that's a ruined jacket unfortunately. The areas you cut away appear to me to be the most beautiful parts. I understand that they have progressed slightly beyond patina and into the realm of actual damage, but as someone who has restored some very damaged leather items I can tell you that rotted leather, once reinforced would still look far better than a frankenjacket, which has now claimed the lives of two wonderful old pieces to create something which is less pleasing than either one taken on their own, even in damaged form.

Hope that doesn't offend you, I can see how much care and attention you put into this which is why I felt compelled to comment for the first time (long time lurker). God knows I've had my share of strike outs on jacket projects, in fact I just dyed a brown jacket to make it two tone today and I'm not yet sure how I feel about it. Anyway, wear it in good health, friend.
 

lina

Practically Family
Messages
840
Location
Washington DC
I still think it's cool, and not a frankenjacket to my mind because it's based on a real vintage pattern. I think it's nice to see something different and I love the idea of putting your own time and talent into producing it.
 

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