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Workwear

This early work jacket is made of extremely rugged and heavy deep blue wool fabric. Rough as guts, this stuff.The small lapels are both finishe with a buttonhole. I’ve seen this type of jacket marketed as being workwear for the Railways, often featuring British rail buttons. This one, however, has the kind of standard buttons you’d find on a cheap suit of the day. The remains of the paper label are very much of the size and type you’d find on pretty much all British workwear back in the day …

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I finished this jacket a while ago, and now the weather’s getting a bit warmer, it’s seeing more wear. It’s made of awesome vintage mid-weight check wool, with vintage British military buttons and modern buckles. The jacket is waist length, and features waist adjustor buckles and buckles at the arm ends for tightening when necessary. The chin strap is functional. The rear features a scalloped yoke and central box pleat for ease of movement when stretching/working. Entirely hand made. This was my first attempt at making this type of pocket and while not a complete disaster, they are a bit dodgy.

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A deadstock British khaki twill boiler suit, probably from the 40s or 50s. Maybe earlier, maybe later. Classic military style ring-backed resin buttons, and standard military style fly buttons. A very strange internal rear cinch belt with “British Make” prong buckle. It was made by Practical Uniforms of London SW12 … Fantastic! Far too big for me, sadly. The Wabash Stripe pocketbags are a nice touch, IMO, along with the fancy decorative stitching at the pocket openings.

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This jacket is awesome. Cut just like a motorcycle jacket of the era (I have a leather one almost identical), but made of a wonderful bold red and black box check tweed fabric and padded flannel liner, this is a great jacket for fall and spring. A bit Elmer Fudd, but not overly so. Probably from the early 1950s, going by the zipper.

Very often with vintage clothing, you have to make compromises based on what’s available. I’ve become more and more sick and tired of finding work jackets with close, but not quite perfect (subjective, obviously), features. So, I decided to make one. This is first off the Kurtz production line, so the top stitching is a bit wonky and variable. Let’s just imagine I based it on the production line and quality control standards of a WWII era factory. 😉 What I really like about vintage workwear is the attention to style that went into it. The fancy backs and pleats, the functional large patch pockets, and cuff detailing are all inspired by original pieces. A far cry from the modern shapeless polyester sacks that pass for workwear.

I bought a huge amount of heavy khaki drill cotton fabric to make my original creations, in preparation and practice for when I begin to work with more interesting or rare materials. Not that the correct colour and weight of cotton drill was easy to come by, but that’s a different story. The liner is cut from a remnant piece heavy wool I found in the bargain bin at MacCulloch and Wallis (just £2!), and the arms are lined in standard striped polished cotton arm lining material, again a feature commonly seen on (particularly French) vintage workwear jackets. The zipper is a late 1930s Talon, and the cinch buckles are of similar vintage.

This wonderful piece of workwear by the iconic R.M. Williams (Longhorn Brand) probably dates to the 1930s or 1940s. (If some R.M. Williams enthusiasts can give me accurate dating info, I’d be glad to hear it.)

It’s made of blue suede leather, with white leather piping to the outer seams, pockets and buttonholes. The buttons are leather “football” style. It’s lined in lovely heavy rugged brown woolen material. A real piece of work, from the days when workwear was made functional, but with style and appearance always in mind – unlike the shapeless sacks and poor quality materials of much of the workwear on offer today …

A really nice piece of British workwear from the 1920s-50s … hard to date these exactly. I bought 2 of these deadstock waistcoats a few years ago. They were made by Milns, Cartwright and Reynolds, Ltd. EMCIAR Brand. MCR were Livery Tailors in London, according to mid-1940s editions of The London Gazette. Surprisingly for workwear, these are exceptionally well made, without any of the sloppy tailoring you so often find.

The front of the waistcoat is made of very heavy brown corduroy and it closes with 6 buttons of standard workwear brown plastic type. There are 3 large, flapped pockets to the front. The lining is made of linen, and is stamped City of Westminster, so presumably these were for Westminster Council employees. The back and arms are made of heavy twill cotton – almost a moleskin finish but not quite. I haven’t come across many better examples of these.

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