Utility Jacket, Denim.
“Saigon Cowboy” mfsc Spring 2015
I must fully credit the US Army for the design on this number. The overall pattern of the MF® ‘Utility Jacket, Denim‘ is lifted from a first issue HBT M1941 utility jacket. In 1941, this olive drab HBT short work jacket had replaced the blue denim work uniform. It appears the R&D labs had picked up a bit of influence from civvy work clothes with this specific GI garment, very much resembling a pair of mechanic coveralls chopped in half.
We pretty much stuck to the original pattern, but what we didn’t lift is the awkward oversized original army fit. Some of you who have tried on vintage ones will relate. The HBT M1941 jacket was to be worn as an outer protective layer while on chore duty, rendering it about as flattering as a pair of coveralls. Unless you’re Veronica Lake.
Speaking of curves, some of my favorite features on this jacket are the attractive lapel line curve, and the armpit gusset construction. I don’t often take photo of my armpits, but next time I do, I’m wearing this jacket.
Veronica Lake in M1938 coveralls (1943)
There is a well-documented mention in the “United States Marine Corps. Uniforms, Insignia and Personal Items of World War II” book (ISBN:0-7643-2264-8) of a custom theater-made USMC jacket based on that M1941 pattern, cut from a recycled frogskin shelter half:
” …some enterprising Seabee might have set up shop and sold/traded such camo sets to anyone who so wanted one, that is, as long as materials lasted!“
Such historical anecdotes (or plausible story in this case) tend to spark all kinds of ideas when designing clothes, which beats staring at what the other guys are doing for “inspiration“.
Now the fabric… If the Army went from blue denim to OD HBT as the cloth of choice for their utilities sometime in the late 1930’s, we figured we’d go back to denim for our jacket. I always had a thing for the lightweight 2×1 denim of the 40’s-50’s US Army barrack bags. Who doesn’t like those old stenciled WW2 beat up ones. Some 10 years ago, I was lucky to come across a stack of about 80, gathering dust in an old military surplus storage, outside Paris, France. Talk about custom markings inspiration.
Through our Sugar Cane Co friends, we managed to have some selvedge denim woven to the specs of an original un-issued bag part of that loot that we had kept in the archives. The Japanese mills did a great job. Spot on NOS military denim color face and reverse, slight nep (woven ‘imperfections’ in the form of tiny whitish cotton balls), stiff, dry and crispy. Perfect for our lightweight jacket.
Vintage M1941and barrack bag inspiration
GI Mule Skinners (1944) Courtesy Sam Cox
US Army line-up (1943) (M1941 on right)
For the geographic requirement of our “Saigon Cowboy” collection, we took Mr. Glenn‘s Seabee bit from the Canal to the ‘Nam.
We had mentioned CISO declassified true story in a previous post, its logistics role in the Vietnam war and how custom gear was manufactured on Okinawa in the 1960’s to outfit US personnel en route to Vietnamese jungles or other across the fence places…
Our experimental camouflage Utility Trousers, the Evac Jak, and now the ‘Utility Jacket, Denim‘ are extrapolations of these pages of History, stretched out at will à la MF®. Nothing literal, just plausible fiction.
As a ‘work’ garment, our jacket looks quite subtle from the outside. We opted for black-painted ‘burst of Glory’ type metal buttons, black color cotton thread tonal stitching, and a skillfully orchestrated selvedge galore on the inside… That’s if you can take your eyes off the attractive armpits.
The “Utility Jacket, Denim” is (re)designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
10 Oz. indigo-dyed 2×1 denim, solid white ID selvedge. Milled in Japan.
* Revisited pattern of the US Army M1941 Utility jacket.
* Waist length.
* Side cinch straps, mil-specs metal sliders.
* Selvedge waistband, chest pocket fold and inner pocket.
* ‘Bat sleeve’ pattern with gusset for arm hole comfort.
* Expanding box pleat chest pockets.
* Inner chest pocket.
* ‘Burst of Glory’ type metal buttons, painted black.
* Adjustable cuffs.
* Chainstitch construction, black 100% cotton thread.
* mfsc ‘tailleur‘ woven label on the inside waistband.
* Made in Japan.
Our “Utility Jacket, Denim” comes raw/un-rinsed and will shrink to tagged size after a rinse/dry process.
We recommend an initial cold soak, spin dry and line dry.
I had to SIZE DOWN on this one, and opted for a SMALL, preferring the fit on me over a MEDIUM that looked too big.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements reflecting a 30mn cold soak, no agitation, light machine dry.
Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email email@example.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above, such as where does Sam Cox find all this stuff?
Thank you for your support 🙂