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New Custom Monarch 'Drifter' (size 44) from Dave Sheeley

Dr H

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Somerset, UK
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** Autocorrect has defaulted to Shelley, but apologies to Dave Sheeley**

I’ve just received this custom order from Dave Sheeley (Mavrickson on FL) following a very enjoyable discussion stretching over a few months to develop the pattern. I’m delighted with the result and the fit.

Last year, I was looking for a two/three-seasons ‘20s/’30s styled jacket for work wear and so the Freewheelers Dust Bowl seemed a good bet. I was delighted to find one on the Japanese auction market, but as the pattern runs a size smaller I had to sell it on to another FL member, as it was just too small (a very trim size 42). I like the styling of the Dust Bowl, but I considered that the likelihood of finding another used example in a larger size was unlikely. I approached Dave to ask whether he’d be willing to copy a Dust Bowl, having seen images on FL of an excellent replica of a FW Switchyard coat that he’d produced. Dave was very enthusiastic to take it on and we looked the pattern in more depth and discussed the detailing (5-button fastening, French seams, half gusseted sleeve, multi panel back, simple front panels, no chest pocket). Dave noted that the Dust Bowl is based on a Monarch design, and Dave’s familiarity with the designs of this manufacturer is unrivalled, so we ran through his collection of vintage Monarchs to find the best match.

At the time of the order I had a horsehide FW Journeyman and I wanted a lighter hide, so opted for French goatskin (it’s particularly well grained and soft so it’s comfortable to wear, while being hardwearing). Some years ago, I had a Gordon & Ferguson M-422A in a warm, mid-brown goatskin and so I asked Dave to dye the skins to match (Dave had a G&F M-422A for reference so the match was spot on). As we discussed the pattern, I realized that the knitted collar with leather tab was perhaps a little casual for daily use and so perhaps a modified Dust Bowl might be more suitable. I’m particular partial to the Perry Sportswear A-2 collar with the rounded collar tips (Dave also had a Perry A-2 in his collection) so I specified this, but without the collar stand to improve the comfort. The other major change is to the back, which is now a two-panel design (without the top yoke) with a slight taper and flare to the skirt. The silhouette on the new pattern is also not as exaggerated as the Dust Bowl, which was quite hour-glass shaped. The further that we went into the project, the more apparent it was that the pattern was beginning to resemble a Canuck, with some key differences. This suited me, as I had considered one in the past, but couldn’t justify the cost. However, it crept up on me somewhat, which was sort of convergent evolution, as I hadn’t set out to pattern one.

Dave carries out his work on a range of original period sewing machines (5 were used on this project) and a Reece button holer so the French seams, which would have been really challenging, were possible throughout the jacket including the sleeves. It was a real luxury to be able to specify everything, from the colour of the hide, lining, thread, button hole thread, and pocket/sleeve lining, to the details (position of the Monarch label, location of an internal watch/ticket pocket, which is absent on the Dust Bowl).

Needless to say, this sort of project involves a lot of input from the craftsman, and Dave is extremely patient and highly skilled as I went back and forth over details (during the design phase I’d routinely receive at least half a dozen e-mails in rapid succession to nail down details and frequent photographic updates to show progress during the build as key stages were reached: dyeing, sleeve manufacture, lining, etc.). Dave constructed a prototype out of calico to check everything fitted together and I’m a huge fan of this sort of attention to detail. The aim was to build a jacket that Monarch might have produced between the wars and so the selection of houndstooth lining, sleeve and pocket lining were all based on period Monarch options. Similarly, the selection of thread for the shell and the buttonholes was colour matched with the goatskin. Finally, buttons are period Colt examples, which I particularly like as they’re easy to fasten and have a strong Art Deco look.

We spent a lot of time nailing the fit, frequent discussions to look at well fitting sports jackets and using the dimensions of the FW leather jackets. The end result is that my usual bugbears (sleeves that are often too long, or torso that is too tight and short) were entirely avoided and the jacket fits well right out of the box.

Dimensions (notionally a 44)
Shoulders 19 ¼”
Chest 23 ¾”
Sleeves 24 ½” (along the outer edge)
Rear length 28”
Front length 26 ½”

I now have two work jackets that I’ll alternate (black deerskin Journeyman by Freewheelers, and now this brown goatskin Monarch ‘Drifter’). I don’t anticipate buying another jacket, but if I were to do so then I’d go back to Dave without hesitation. The quality of materials used, Dave’s seam work, and detailing is top class. Above all, Dave’s encyclopaedic knowledge of these jackets meant that I picked up a lot of knowledge along the way too. If you want a extremely well crafted, very reasonably priced, custom jacket, built using period techniques then I can wholeheartedly recommend Dave Sheeley.

More images to follow later.
 

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Messages
11,021
Location
SoCal
Beautiful jacket!
Dave is killin' it!!!!
Does the little "football" mean that the shoulders dont have that wierd lift when you raise your arms?
 

Robbie79

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,141
Congrats. This one is really really nice! How does the quality compare to your FW Journeyman (stitching, lining, leather)? At least from the photos it seems to be equal quality.
 

jonesy86

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,610
Location
Kauai
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** Autocorrect has defaulted to Shelley, but apologies to Dave Sheeley**

I’ve just received this custom order from Dave Sheeley (Mavrickson on FL) following a very enjoyable discussion stretching over a few months to develop the pattern. I’m delighted with the result and the fit.

Last year, I was looking for a two/three-seasons ‘20s/’30s styled jacket for work wear and so the Freewheelers Dust Bowl seemed a good bet. I was delighted to find one on the Japanese auction market, but as the pattern runs a size smaller I had to sell it on to another FL member, as it was just too small (a very trim size 42). I like the styling of the Dust Bowl, but I considered that the likelihood of finding another used example in a larger size was unlikely. I approached Dave to ask whether he’d be willing to copy a Dust Bowl, having seen images on FL of an excellent replica of a FW Switchyard coat that he’d produced. Dave was very enthusiastic to take it on and we looked the pattern in more depth and discussed the detailing (5-button fastening, French seams, half gusseted sleeve, multi panel back, simple front panels, no chest pocket). Dave noted that the Dust Bowl is based on a Monarch design, and Dave’s familiarity with the designs of this manufacturer is unrivalled, so we ran through his collection of vintage Monarchs to find the best match.

At the time of the order I had a horsehide FW Journeyman and I wanted a lighter hide, so opted for French goatskin (it’s particularly well grained and soft so it’s comfortable to wear, while being hardwearing). Some years ago, I had a Gordon & Ferguson M-422A in a warm, mid-brown goatskin and so I asked Dave to dye the skins to match (Dave had a G&F M-422A for reference so the match was spot on). As we discussed the pattern, I realized that the knitted collar with leather tab was perhaps a little casual for daily use and so perhaps a modified Dust Bowl might be more suitable. I’m particular partial to the Perry Sportswear A-2 collar with the rounded collar tips (Dave also had a Perry A-2 in his collection) so I specified this, but without the collar stand to improve the comfort. The other major change is to the back, which is now a two-panel design (without the top yoke) with a slight taper and flare to the skirt. The silhouette on the new pattern is also not as exaggerated as the Dust Bowl, which was quite hour-glass shaped. The further that we went into the project, the more apparent it was that the pattern was beginning to resemble a Canuck, with some key differences. This suited me, as I had considered one in the past, but couldn’t justify the cost. However, it crept up on me somewhat, which was sort of convergent evolution, as I hadn’t set out to pattern one.

Dave carries out his work on a range of original period sewing machines (5 were used on this project) and a Reece button holer so the French seams, which would have been really challenging, were possible throughout the jacket including the sleeves. It was a real luxury to be able to specify everything, from the colour of the hide, lining, thread, button hole thread, and pocket/sleeve lining, to the details (position of the Monarch label, location of an internal watch/ticket pocket, which is absent on the Dust Bowl).

Needless to say, this sort of project involves a lot of input from the craftsman, and Dave is extremely patient and highly skilled as I went back and forth over details (during the design phase I’d routinely receive at least half a dozen e-mails in rapid succession to nail down details and frequent photographic updates to show progress during the build as key stages were reached: dyeing, sleeve manufacture, lining, etc.). Dave constructed a prototype out of calico to check everything fitted together and I’m a huge fan of this sort of attention to detail. The aim was to build a jacket that Monarch might have produced between the wars and so the selection of houndstooth lining, sleeve and pocket lining were all based on period Monarch options. Similarly, the selection of thread for the shell and the buttonholes was colour matched with the goatskin. Finally, buttons are period Colt examples, which I particularly like as they’re easy to fasten and have a strong Art Deco look.

We spent a lot of time nailing the fit, frequent discussions to look at well fitting sports jackets and using the dimensions of the FW leather jackets. The end result is that my usual bugbears (sleeves that are often too long, or torso that is too tight and short) were entirely avoided and the jacket fits well right out of the box.

Dimensions (notionally a 44)
Shoulders 19 ¼”
Chest 23 ¾”
Sleeves 24 ½” (along the outer edge)
Rear length 28”
Front length 26 ½”

I now have two work jackets that I’ll alternate (black deerskin Journeyman by Freewheelers, and now this brown goatskin Monarch ‘Drifter’). I don’t anticipate buying another jacket, but if I were to do so then I’d go back to Dave without hesitation. The quality of materials used, Dave’s seam work, and detailing is top class. Above all, Dave’s encyclopaedic knowledge of these jackets meant that I picked up a lot of knowledge along the way too. If you want a extremely well crafted, very reasonably priced, custom jacket, built using period techniques then I can wholeheartedly recommend Dave Sheeley.

More images to follow later.
That is just superb, DS is really making some great jackets! Love the review.
 

lina

One Too Many
Messages
1,000
Location
Washington DC
Very nice! I think it was probably my jacket you saw here that led you to Dave, and if so I am glad. This reminds me that I need to post updated pics of mine. For now I'll just second everything you say about working with Dave. For anyone who has a design in mind that they can't quite find elsewhere, he will work it out with you in great detail. And he is definitely the King of Monarchs...
 

Dr H

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Somerset, UK
Beautiful jacket!
Dave is killin' it!!!!
Does the little "football" mean that the shoulders dont have that wierd lift when you raise your arms?

The little ‘rugby ball’ half gusset does improve the forward movement a lot and there’s no lift when arms are raised. The full gusset that you see on USN jackets gives practically full range of motion, but this wasn’t the style that I had in mind. Freewheelers uses this device a lot (both my Journeyman and Brakeman have it) and Dave found a vintage Monarch with the same pattern.
 

Dr H

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Somerset, UK
Congrats. This one is really really nice! How does the quality compare to your FW Journeyman (stitching, lining, leather)? At least from the photos it seems to be equal quality.

I’d say that there is little to split them. Dave’s seams are very neat indeed, this lining is comparable with FW jackets that I own, the Colt buttons are greatly superior to the stock casein buttons on my Journeyman and Brakeman, and still a little better than the buttons on my original Dust Bowl.
The key differentiators are cost and custom fit. With FW, I had to buy a 44 at a price premium and shorten the sleeves; Dave’s jacket fits 100% right out of the box.
I haven’t seen FW goatskin, but this French goat is very fine (I had a Good Wear Doniger jacket a while ago in it) and as comfortable as my Journeyman in deerskin.
 

Dr H

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Somerset, UK
Very nice! I think it was probably my jacket you saw here that led you to Dave, and if so I am glad. This reminds me that I need to post updated pics of mine. For now I'll just second everything you say about working with Dave. For anyone who has a design in mind that they can't quite find elsewhere, he will work it out with you in great detail. And he is definitely the King of Monarchs...

I believe that it was: dark russet horsehide Switchyard replica. It convinced me that Dave had both the ability to do the project, but also the feel for that pattern that was going be necessary to work it up from scratch.
 

Dr H

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Somerset, UK
A few more detail shots and several so-so fit pics. Just returned from an evening walk around Bristol and the jacket is already breaking in well.
I have always preferred goatskin to practically every other hide as it’s so light and flexible.
I shall be wearing this to work this week.

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CBI

One Too Many
Messages
1,419
Location
USA
Ian -you are THE PICKIEST jacket guy I know!!!!! The stellar review by YOU of Dave's work means Dave must be doing super work! Tongue-in-cheek of course but kinda true! Glad you love it and it does look great. Congrats on the collaboration!!!!!
 

Dr H

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,006
Location
Somerset, UK
No disagreements at this end John! As you know, I’m happy to sell jackets on quickly if they don’t fit the bill, but this one is a keeper.
Dave’s work is right up there with the very best posted on these fora, he is an artist.
 

Lebowski

This guy has numerous complaints from sellers.
Messages
1,137
Ian, could you tell please - how Freewheelers' deerskin feels in comparison with their Shinki HH in a matter of comfort, handling, the whole feeling of the leather etc.? Which hide do you like most: Shinki HH or deerskin (or goatskin from Dave)?
P.S. All your jackets look absolutely fantastic!
 

lina

One Too Many
Messages
1,000
Location
Washington DC
I believe that it was: dark russet horsehide Switchyard replica. It convinced me that Dave had both the ability to do the project, but also the feel for that pattern that was going be necessary to work it up from scratch.

Mine was not quite a Switchyard replica, though it drew on that jacket for some inspiration for sure. But equally influential was an old 1940s Sears Topline. And then several details we worked out on our own. I'll post some updated pics soon. In any case, yours looks great!
 

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