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Questions About the United States Navy Peacoat

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
Does anyone know any details about the USN transition away from the kersey-wool pea coat?

I recently saw a pea coat out in public. There was a man inside it so I questioned him:

-He said it was his father's from USN service in the early 1980s.
-He opened the coat and said there was no quilted lining.
-It looked to me like it had no quilted lining and had only something like a half-length lining of that thin kind of sheet to slip easily.
-It looked black to me (in indoor lighting).
-I did not get any information on the type of wool or weight of wool.

Can anyone explain this combination?

Let me know if I should have posted in a different thread.

Thank you.

PS: I am patiently looking for a good deal on a vintage kersey-wool pea coat, not necessarily USN, the COAT's outside pit-to-pit chest measurement of about 44-46" pending further research about fit, in case anyone is looking to lighten their collection.
 

Peacoat

*
Bartender
Messages
6,375
Location
South of Nashville
I didn't say the post 1979 coats had a quilted lining. I said they had an insulated lining. This is between the outer shell and the inner lining. It can be felt but not seen.

The Navy and Sterlingwear both say the post 1979 coats are dark blue. They aren't; they are black. with a Melton shell.

So, the post 1979 peacoat you saw in the wild had a black Melton shell with an insulated liner to give it warmth. The Kersey coats didn't need this additional liner. They were plenty warm without.

Good catch.
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
I didn't say the post 1979 coats had a quilted lining. I said they had an insulated lining. This is between the outer shell and the inner lining. It can be felt but not seen.

The Navy and Sterlingwear both say the post 1979 coats are dark blue. They aren't; they are black. with a Melton shell.

So, the post 1979 peacoat you saw in the wild had a black Melton shell with an insulated liner to give it warmth. The Kersey coats didn't need this additional liner. They were plenty warm without.

Good catch.
OK, I keep running into partial or misleading descriptions, such as which named details do or don't match the military specificition.

Sterlingwear = "fleece"
Rothco = "Quilted"
Lands' End (not pea coats) = "Quilted Fleece"
Cockpit USA = No mention of any insulated lining; melton not kersey wool; seems to show a full-length slip lining


Is there a good photograph or cross-section diagram of the post-1979 USN mil-spec layered construction?

Thank you.
 

Peacoat

*
Bartender
Messages
6,375
Location
South of Nashville
"OK, I keep running into partial or misleading descriptions, such as which named details do or don't match the military specificition."

Yes, you have identified the problem. These are all civilian copies of the peacoat; they aren't peacoats. The closest is the Sterlingwear as that company had the Navy contract for years. But the pictured coat isn't a peacoat, it is just another civilian copy.

Disregard all you read about these coats as they aren't the real deal.

I don't have a cross section of the coat, but it is straight forward: outer shell, insulated liner, and then next to the body is the inside lining.
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
What USN peacoat sizes were made at various times, including any "longs"?

How many inches more than the person's chest size were in the USN peacoat's cut at various times? Someone mentioned that they became less form-fitting but I am looking for hard numbers, such as in TM 10-265 (uploaded PDF available at the link below).

Thank you.

 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
Can anyone make sense of these Navy-contract sizes?

My understanding is that someone with a 42in chest should order a size 42.

I saw a peacoat's 44S label with the S measurements reported as:

23in chest
32in length
19in shoulders
25in sleeve

That does not seem short but it does seem small-shouldered for such a thick coat.

Does the 42 have 18in shoulders?

I expect a thin-shirt size 42 to have have something like 20in shoulders.

I would have expected a thick coat like a peacoat to have a size 42 with something more like 21in shoulders, or more.

Thank you.
 
Last edited:

Peacoat

*
Bartender
Messages
6,375
Location
South of Nashville
Can anyone make sense of these Navy-contract sizes?

My understanding is that someone with a 42in chest should order a size 42.

I saw a jacket's 44S label with the S measurements reported as:

23in chest
32in length
19in shoulders
25in sleeve

That does not seem short but it does seem small-shouldered for such a thick coat.

Does the 42 have 18in shoulders?

I expect a thin-shirt size 42 to have have something like 20in shoulders.

I would have expected a thick coat like a peacoat to have a size 42 with something more like 21in shoulders, or more.

Thank you.
I measured two of my size 42 peacoats. They both have 20" shoulders.

In the Guides section, I have written an article on how to get a good fit in the US Navy peacoat. Link is below.

https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/how-to-get-the-proper-size-in-a-us-navy-pea-coat.110255/
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
I measured two of my size 42 peacoats. They both have 20" shoulders.

In the Guides section, I have written an article on how to get a good fit in the US Navy peacoat. Link is below.

https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/how-to-get-the-proper-size-in-a-us-navy-pea-coat.110255/

Thank you very much. I've previously read your useful posts, but not memorized them.

My best guess so far is that this coat would be a nearly best match for me, from a lounge member, but I don't know whether it's still available:


You and he both have claimed to be at or near size 42. He wrote that he could wear a sweater easily under the 44 but switched to a 42. You wrote that you could wear a sweater under a 42 but a 40 would be a trimmer fit.

My purpose is for a tall, lean, athletic size-42 person, in the coldest part of winter, buttoned, over a heavy shirt and heavy sweater, while retaining easy arm movement.

I would prefer what is supposedly the best kersey from circa 1950, but I am more likely to find the right size from circa 1970. I know that longs were made but it is difficult enough to find sizes over 40 so I expect to settle on a regular.
 
Last edited:

Peacoat

*
Bartender
Messages
6,375
Location
South of Nashville
Let's go back to the basics.

First of all sizes ( 42, 40, etc. ) are only used for coats.

Secondly, chest measurements ( 38", 40", etc. ) are only used for our chest measurements .

We never mix and match the two.

To find the correct way to measure the chest, and to measure the p2p, see one of my Guides.

If one has a measured chest size of 42" then a size 42 peacoat will fit with enough room to layer a sweater underneath.

The individual with a measured chest size of 42" will have a more closely fitted peacoat in a size 40 peacoat. There won't be enough room to layer a sweater.

So, using this formula, and I think it holds true in all of the sizes, there is no reason to be concerned about how many inches are available inside the peacoat to accommodate a specified chest size. Just use the formula.

As always, if there are any questions, just ask.

As to the quality of the Kersey, earlier years vs. later years, don't worry about it. They are mostly indistinguishable.
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
For the kersey peacoats, differentiated by year or label-type or other feature:
1. What are the correct buttons?
2. What is the correct button thread?
3. What is the correct button-sewing pattern?

Thank you.
 
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VansonRider

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
The buttons are the black plastic fouled anchor, but there are also pewter buttons from the 80s and brass buttons for officers.

The thread is just black nylon coat thread. If you want to get fancy use a smaller button as a “backing button” to prevent the thread from pulling through the coat. I do it when I replace buttons, as a precaution. They really really are heavy duty.

I don’t have my coats in front of me, but the buttons have channels for the thread. I think it’s an H pattern not a + pattern, but I’m happy to double check and report back.

Oh! Another thing about buttons is the lowest button goes into the pocket. The “As Issued” from the Navy seems to sew them right through the pocket to the interior but I prefer to see them from the inside of the pocket so I’m not losing any volume.
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
The buttons are the black plastic fouled anchor, but there are also pewter buttons from the 80s and brass buttons for officers.

The thread is just black nylon coat thread. If you want to get fancy use a smaller button as a “backing button” to prevent the thread from pulling through the coat. I do it when I replace buttons, as a precaution. They really really are heavy duty.

I don’t have my coats in front of me, but the buttons have channels for the thread. I think it’s an H pattern not a + pattern, but I’m happy to double check and report back.

Oh! Another thing about buttons is the lowest button goes into the pocket. The “As Issued” from the Navy seems to sew them right through the pocket to the interior but I prefer to see them from the inside of the pocket so I’m not losing any volume.
Thank you very much for those details so far.

However, I thought WWII was cotton thread.

At the moment, I am interested in the 1940s and 1950s buttons, so the pewter buttons can wait until another day.
 

spoonbelly1950

Familiar Face
Messages
72
Thank you very much for those details so far.

However, I thought WWII was cotton thread.

At the moment, I am interested in the 1940s and 1950s buttons, so the pewter buttons can wait until another day.
I remember a few years ago we went through Button Sewing 101. I just looked at a few of my coats both WWII and post war. The anchor buttons are not positioned in any repetitive consistent order. They vary with the top of the anchor facing approx. 60 degrees and being rotated to approx. 270 degrees. Other coats can be more uniform. The same with the sewing pattern. Some are " Z " shaped, some are square shaped. If I need to sew a button over the top of a pocket I will always sew inside the pocket. I can't stand when a pocket is sewed into and is partially closed.
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
I remember a few years ago we went through Button Sewing 101. I just looked at a few of my coats both WWII and post war. The anchor buttons are not positioned in any repetitive consistent order. They vary with the top of the anchor facing approx. 60 degrees and being rotated to approx. 270 degrees. Other coats can be more uniform. The same with the sewing pattern. Some are " Z " shaped, some are square shaped. If I need to sew a button over the top of a pocket I will always sew inside the pocket. I can't stand when a pocket is sewed into and is partially closed.
Thank you very much for the observations on the rotated anchors and variations in sewing patterns.
 

vintagewool

Familiar Face
Messages
84
To stay focused: The question is not what someone should do now. The question is what the Navy did then.
Start in 1940.
What was the button and what year did the Navy stop using it on new coats?
What was the thread and what year did the Navy stop using it on new coats?
What was the sewing pattern and what year did the Navy stop using it on new coats?

For those without the institutional knowledge but with an actual coat from 1948 or 1953 or so forth, the anecdotal data from your own coat would help, especially because "Black Swan" examples sometimes rewrite history.

Thank you.
 

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