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3-piece navy DB with swappable buttons


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#1 hymo

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 10:47 PM

An envelope arrived from Howard of British Fabrics. In it, a very lightweight "270g/meter" 40% kid mohair 60% wool (no super number) in what appears to me to be (dark) navy. I had imagined navy to be lighter; this is quite inky blue. It is supposed to have a '"REVERSE TWIST" CREASE RESISTANT WEAVE'.

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It is a frighteningly open weave, not much better than bandage gauze.

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I am about to purchase 7 large buttons and 12 small buttons to go with them from buttonsandtrim.

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Since the jacket will have swappable buttons, I just got myself some original vintage Reichsmarine buttons to frighten people off.

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The sleeves will have neutral vintage French gilded buttons.

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I'm thinking of lining this with haboutai silk in a dark colour, which is a thin sheer fabric.

Any comments are welcome!

Edited by hymo, 17 January 2010 - 10:51 PM.


#2 Sator

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 11:30 PM

I think the cloth is very nice. Summer mohair wool blends are meant to be open to keep you cool.

Sleeve buttons should match, otherwise it just looks like you either lost them or never had matching buttons in the first place. Also, may I say that it is considered somewhat questionable taste to wear military items that you are not officially entitled to - doubly so when this is from the period of the Third Empire, even if it is nowhere near as bad as wearing SS items. In fact, I believe the latter are illegal in Germany, although I am unsure about the legal status of Kriegsmarine insignia.

Haboutai is a very fragile silk and you are at risk of having it wear out prematurely.

#3 hymo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 12:09 AM

I think I will need to get some Reichsmarine buttons meant for shoulder plackets. They are smaller. Now that you mentioned it, it does have negative connotations, but not one most people will notice where I live. It will be my little joke. You are right, I did not see any SS buttons on the German eBay. These buttons go for almost nothing, probably because people do not want to be seen with them.

Do you happen to know of another lining as breathable as haboutai but more durable? I considered ermazine, but it's not locally available and probably expensive.

#4 Svenn

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 05:37 AM

Why are you insistent on getting Reichsmarine buttons? If you're in Malaysia then yes, no one is likely to notice, but I would be careful if you go to an Allied power country (or Axis for that matter), there are still a lot of WW2 veterans around that might be offended. Then again no one seems to mind driving around "volkswagons," so who knows.

I'm still looking around for a inexpensive fabric for a suit I'd like to get made up in HK, was this British Fabrics place you mentioned pricey? I hear a lot of talk about Zegna, Scabal fabrics, but I don't want anything name-brand; just a heavy, low thread count wool.

#5 Sator

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 06:42 AM

I suggest getting your tailor to source ermazine for you from Lear Browne and Dunsford. The Richard James Weldon lining book may have it as a well, but I am not sure on that one.

#6 Sator

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 06:46 AM

Why are you insistent on getting Reichsmarine buttons?


I agree. What's wrong with Holland & Sherry blazer buttons? They have them on sale at HST.

I'm still looking around for a inexpensive fabric for a suit I'd like to get made up in HK, was this British Fabrics place you mentioned pricey?


It's basically an eBay seller of mill seconds, and end of mill runs. I don't recommend them except in extremely select situations. You don't know what the cloth will really look like. You don't know where they come from. The wool-mohairs from there are nowhere near as good as the ones from the Dugdale book. So why buy a second of questionable quality you don't even know you're going to like when you can choose a top rate first that you are from Dugdale for only a tiny bit more?

#7 I.Brackley

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 08:37 AM

Now these are Reichsmarine buttons and not Kreigsmarine, correct?
If the former then they would be from the Weimar Republican era and only incidentally continued in use for the first two years of the National Socialst regeime before being reformed into the wartime navy in 1935.
As the Weimar republic is remembered as being as a victim of Nazism and in the popular imagination is often invoked as a tragic, lost era of political moderation and decadent social excess I think the use of Weimar naval paraphenalia is more cheeky than tasteless, probably on par with using salvaged Hapsburg Empire baubles, far removed enough in time to be curios long since drained of political resonance.
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#8 Sator

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 04:57 PM

There is perhaps that Romanticised masculine deference to soldiers who served their country in the past, and a sense that unless one truly has earned the right to wear the military emblem one should stay well clear.

#9 hymo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 09:56 PM

I did some research, and they are from the period of the Deutsches Reich (1871 till 1918).

I find these antique pieces more interesting that contemporary buttons. There is so much more history and culture behind them than a modern replica from H&S. Also, these buttons in particular are by far more characterful than H&S's selection, and far cheaper (less than 5 Euros for all six). I also imagine them to be more quaintly made (they have words like "extra fein" and "feuervergoldet" stamped behind) I think there is no harm in giving these historied pieces a new active life. They would give my navy blazer congruousness to its category of garment.

#10 hymo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:07 PM

It's basically an eBay seller of mill seconds, and end of mill runs. I don't recommend them except in extremely select situations. You don't know what the cloth will really look like. You don't know where they come from. The wool-mohairs from there are nowhere near as good as the ones from the Dugdale book. So why buy a second of questionable quality you don't even know you're going to like when you can choose a top rate first that you are from Dugdale for only a tiny bit more?

Occasionally something great gets listed by Howard. I've been eyeing one for the longest time, but it's a pinstripe, and I still cannot get past my misgiving for pinstripes. The cloth though ought to be unparalleled in its category.

The navy mohair above costs all of 40 pounds for nearly 4 meters of it. I bought it because of its "reverse twist" property, something I do not see in other options. Essentially, it's a mohair fresco. If you've spent any time in Malaysia, you'll know why that would be attractive.

Edited by hymo, 18 January 2010 - 10:54 PM.


#11 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:43 PM

If I spent any time in Malaysia I'd be running around in a loincloth. :frantics:
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#12 hymo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:53 PM

Only if you want to stand out as a tourist!

#13 Sator

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 10:55 PM

The navy mohair above costs all of 40 pounds for nearly 4 meters of it. I bought it because of its "high twist" property, something I do not see in other options.


"High twist" tends to get used a lot as a marketing thing. I still find the feel of his mohairs to be rather coarse and unsatisfactory compared to the Dugdale ones. There is a reason it is cheap. You find that only one in four designs turns out to be what you expect. However, because it isn't that bad you tend to keep it for a rainy day - that never comes. So the real price turns out to be £60/m plus shipping. It's only now that I realise I would have been better buying Dugdale stuff all along. I have a lot of Howard's stuff that is going to be used as "muslin" for target practice.

#14 hymo

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 11:36 PM

I did a google search for a Reichsmarine uniform, and here are pictures I found of a current ebay listing. It's interesting to see that the cloth is navy in colour, and that it's a DB. Hmm, no ticket pocket.

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No fancy lining

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Edited by hymo, 18 January 2010 - 11:39 PM.


#15 jukes

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 12:56 AM

I agree. What's wrong with Holland & Sherry blazer buttons? They have them on sale at HST.



It's basically an eBay seller of mill seconds, and end of mill runs. I don't recommend them except in extremely select situations. You don't know what the cloth will really look like. You don't know where they come from. The wool-mohairs from there are nowhere near as good as the ones from the Dugdale book. So why buy a second of questionable quality you don't even know you're going to like when you can choose a top rate first that you are from Dugdale for only a tiny bit more?


If you look at the jacket thread on the apprentice forum,look at the jacket that i am making, you will see that the cloth which is very similar to what Hymo has bought is falling apart as the jacket is being made. I got this cloth from the above mentioned e bay seller. Your tailor will either refuse to make it (if he has any sense) or charge quite a bit extra for something that will not last five minutes. In my opinion Hymo, put it down to experience and get rid of it. As soon as i am done with that jacket it will go straight in the dustbin.
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#16 Sator

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 01:00 AM

the cloth which is very similar to what Hymo has bought is falling apart as the jacket is being made.


I've had this experience with cloth from this source too. As you are cutting it, it turns back into fleece. This means that some of these cloths are even unsuitable for target practice, or cheap "muslin" for test garments.

Too often you get what you pay for.

In my opinion Hymo, put it down to experience and get rid of it.


Yes, cut your losses now while you still can. You didn't pay much for it so it isn't much of a loss.

#17 hymo

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 01:14 AM

It's that bad?

I think Howard has a no-questions-asked return policy. Maybe I'll drop by my tailor this weekend and ask his opinion about the cloth.

#18 Sator

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 01:20 AM

You have to pay the cost of shipping both ways however. Shipping costs are not refunded. This often virtually makes it not worth doing.

Your tailor's opinion from looking and handling the cloth are of far less importance than the experience of cutting and working up the cloth. Are you going to let your tailor cut, sew and work the cloth with an iron before you return it?




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