Sheeley Built USN Jacket

Discussion in 'Reproduction manufacturers' started by Maverickson, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Maverickson

    Maverickson Active Member

    Messages:
    334
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Hi All,

    I thought some of you might like to see an example of my latest work. In this case a size 40 USN Monarch AN-J-3A from their mid War 20570 contract. This particular contract, other than the pre War M-422, is probably the only true War era contract where those issued this model jacket might have directly participated in the War effort. Thus making it all the more interesting.

    Truly a favorite of jacket maker of mine & after 10 long years of collecting I have accumulated War era USN Monarch originals ranging from size 36 through 46. So there is very little guess work for me to figure out the sizing and it's idiosyncrasies for this particular model jacket.

    Any and all true Large size USN War era Monarch jackets are beyond rare. In fact, I've only come across two Large size AN-J-3A model jackets and I own them both. Prior to finding those two I was of the opinion that only size 40 and smaller were in fact made for any and all of their USN Mil-Spec contracts.

    Those large size jackets were taken down to their individual pieces, patterned and complete restored. They are seen here,


    In the case of this latest build, the size 40 AN-J-3A Monarch jacket I used to pattern this latest build came from an IDed individual by the name of John Z. Colt. I've done quite a bit of research on the original owner and have spoken at great length with both Colt's son and the son of one of the air crew. In doing so acquired the complete run down on the original owner's War record.

    This pattern jacket that once belonged to a John Z. Colt https://obittree.com/obituary/us/ne...ach---tuyn-funeral-home-inc/john-colt/566120/ in short was a USN aviator that participated in The Battle Of Okinawa. Colt flew off of the USS Langley (CVL-27) while flying the TBM Avenger with VT-23. It would be my best guess that Colt wore his AN-J-3A Monarch for at least half of his 18 strikes against Okinawa and it's surrounding Islands. Most interesting, during the battle, Colt and his crew crash landed twice aboard the Langley. Also did a forced landing at what is now Kadena AF base while the air strip was still contested. But there is so much more information to come.

    Ultimately, the original size 40 Monarch AN-J-3A jacket will be going back to Colt's son. As once I began corresponding with John Colt Jr., he had a change of heart. He has now decided he wants to repurchase the jacket. But not before having me do a complete restoration on that jacket and currently an on going project. Something for a future thread once Colt's jacket's restoration is complete. At that time & besides the restoration, that future thread will include copies of both flight logs and excerpts from a 170 page personal diary with information that will put you there. Also related associated items and original pix from the Battle Of Okinawa.

    Through me, Colt's jacket has spawned a new generation of size 40 model 20570 Monarch AN-J-3A reproduction jackets. That reproduction can be seen below.


    Please note that in the above image that the jacket has a closed zipper. However, to cut down on hide abrasion at the zipper's connection points and leather extension seam I made allowances. Exactly how I set up my my own. If not originally done that way like seen here http://www.vintageleatherjackets.org/media/caglecos-leather-zip-extension.359/ I correct those originals with what I refer to as having crowded zips http://www.vintageleatherjackets.org/media/sheeley-cagleco-zip-track-jpg.360/










    Like many of the original War era USN Monarch's I have either handled or own, this reproduction jacket of mine seen above was done using vegetable tanned goat hide with a russet colored base. To achieve the seal brown I applied a brown pigment which will ultimately wear and give way to reveal the russet base.

    Done utilizing all Monarch colored matching 100% cotton thread and comparable stitch counts as seen used originally for this model USN jackets. The hardware includes correct original blackened brass M-43 Talon. Dull purple knits, a high end thick rayon sourced out of the UK. Included are three labels I had custom made like originally used for the 20570 contract.

    This 20570 contract is a hybrid of the just earlier M-422 model jacket. With idiosyncrasy only found with this particular contract. Much less boxy, with relatively narrow sleeve ends than the earlier model. Still originally done the old way using cotton thread. Overall, a much more modern twist than the M-422. Form fitting but still not quite the the modern G-1. In my opinion I believe that this Monarch contract is arguably the best looking USN model WW-2 jacket made and one of the reasons I decided to duplicate it.

    First & foremost, I take a lot of pride in the fact that I am one of the few makers that utilizes a Keyhole Buttonhole machine (and spent many a weary hour learning to understand exactly how to keep it running correctly) like used back in the day to recreate the correct pockets and throat latches on these jackets. Likewise, I'm also set up for button up jackets complete. Not withstanding, on any given jacket build I can bring to bare as many as five different machines to create a build. Two of which were specifically used by Monarch to build their jackets originally. So I am well equipped for both new builds and restorations.

    I've spent untold time and effort with these vintage jackets, especially those jackets orginally built by Monarch MFG. & pay much attention to detail to bring forth a first rate quality product.

    Please feel free go through my album Maverickson's Jackets to see some additional images of this same reproduced AN-J-3A jacket. If you have any questions please ask. After all vintage jackets are my favorite subject!


    Cheers, Dave
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    D97x7, Thomas Koehle, Geeboo and 9 others like this.
  2. nkang

    nkang Active Member

    Messages:
    153
    Thanks a lot for sharing this detailed post with great photos of these beautiful jackets, Dave! Such dedication, attention to detail, and craftsmanship!

    Have always been a fan and still hope to work with you on a nice Monarch sometime in the near future :) I think it's amazing that we have jacket artists like you and Steve S. working on USN repro jackets!
     
    Maverickson likes this.
  3. Dr H

    Dr H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,555
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Looking forward to receiving one of Dave’s jackets in the future. I can wholeheartedly endorse his attention to detail and customer service.
     
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  4. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Fantastic work Dave! A great story as well about Mr. Colt. I am glad the family will get the jacket.
     
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  5. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,336
    attention to detail is an under statement, if ever there was. outstanding!
     
    Maverickson likes this.
  6. dmar836

    dmar836 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Awesome! Can't wait to see the natural wear through to the russet!
    Dave
     
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  7. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,160
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    Dave, outstanding work as always not to mention your attention to detail in the history, sourcing of materials, and creation of a work of art. A tribute to one of the outstanding clothing manufactures of that time.

    Certainly looking forward to mine in the not to distant future
     
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  8. Brent

    Brent Active Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Olathe, KS
    The talented people on this forum never cease to amaze me. To say beautiful jacket would be an understatement. Oh, love the zipper detail, done right.

    Regards,
     
    Maverickson likes this.
  9. Brettafett

    Brettafett Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    359
    Location:
    LONDON
    Very, very nice. May have to try of of these in the near future! Top class...
     
    Maverickson likes this.
  10. Grant

    Grant Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,182
    Really beautiful work Dave! How difficult was it to master the button hole machine?
    Looking forward to learning more about John Z. Colt.
     
  11. Maverickson

    Maverickson Active Member

    Messages:
    334
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Hi All,

    The original pattern jacket for this size 40 AN-J-3A Monarch build is currently under reconstruction. That same original Monarch flight jacket is seen directly below.



    When initially sourced I had no idea of the history behind it. But as it turned out this particular jacket that belonged to John Z. Colt has a rich history that I have only just begun to unfold.

    Prior to completing the Colt's Monarch restoration I thought it appropriate to share some of that history with the members. Below is a picture of Colt with his VT-23 squadron mates (seen front row third in from the left ). Taken while aboard the USS Langley (CVL-27) off of Okinawa. Note the air wing's (two squadrons) score board.


    What I've found that is most interesting about the Battle of Okinawa is that unlike what went on during the majority of the Pacific War Theater, the air war over Okinawa was fought during the late Winter and early Spring. Furthermore & since Okinawa is fairly high up in the latitudes it was cool enough to warrant wearing heavier flight gear. All much unlike the major battles fought early on in the war. That difference being USN aviators wore their leather flight jackets at Okinawa. There will be more to come with regards to these facts.

    Immediately below is the documented results of one of the two John Z. Colt's crash landings aboard the USS Langley. In this case, the air craft came in damaged. Immediately upon landing the A/C bounced to the one side of the deck and rolled off on to the cat walk. Eventually cartwheeling and stopping before completely exiting the ship. Luckily, Colt's Avenger A/C became wedged between an antenna & a gun mount. Held fast by the barrels from the twin 40mm gun mount which had pieced the fuselage of the Avenger. No one was seriously injured. As explained by Colt in a letter I have with regards to the accident, while hanging upside down while still strapped into his seat he was passed a rope" ONCE RELEASED I DID A TARZAN SWING INTO THE HANGER DECK". That same accident is seen below.


    Again, once restored and prior to me reuniting this same combat worn Monarch jacket back to the son I will be doing a full detailed history on this particular jacket.


    Cheers, Dave
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018 at 4:45 AM
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  12. nkang

    nkang Active Member

    Messages:
    153
    That is a really interesting piece of story! It's very rare and precious that people like you are sharing pictures of these authentic jackets and also the unknown stories behind. I think this is the type of post that I am most eager for on VLJF :)

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Dave!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018 at 5:05 PM
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  13. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,539
    Dave
    In that photo of the plane, if you look closely I think you can actually see what looks to be the rope he was talking about leading to the cockpit of the aircraft.
     
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