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B-3 Leather Bomber Jacket Alterations

Some surprises revealed inside this WW II era B-3 bomber jacket while altering it for our famous military museum client.



Before and After: A size 48 B-3 bomber jacket shortened 4 inches.

A beautiful jacket in outstanding condition. I altered its length for a military museum client on the east coast.   The Heddels company provides a nice historical overview of jacket types created during WWII and other campaigns. Check it out. Good summary of various jacket designs and adaptations for particular uses.


General Patton in his B3 bomber jacket. Pic from the Heddels site.
And check out General Patton here in his B-3 bomber jacket! Pic from the Heddels site.
Before alterations: Our client taped the back, indicating the position where he wanted the horizontal top-stitched trim pieces to be moved. B-3 bomber jacket in really amazing condition. It’s rare to find vintage pieces this nice. A pleasure and an honor to work with such a cool piece of history. 

All the lower pieces needed to be removed, then carefully repositioned about 4″ higher and restitched through their existing holes. I ordered some specialty thread from Germany and waited about five weeks before it arrived to do all the new top-stitching.
The factory that originally made this bomber jacket ran 3/16″ green cotton cord under every top-stitched trim piece! Its color made me scratch my head a little- pretty interesting. Functionally, the cord fills in the ‘ditch’ created where separate pieces of sheepskin have been sewn together.
Map pocket on the lower front left also had to be removed, then repositioned 4″ higher and reattached.
A 1″ x 2″ leather tab is top-stitched for reinforcement at the base of each side of the zipper, next to its pull and stop. These tabs had to come off and also be repositioned and restitched 4″ higher.
The horizontal leather trim pieces now are repositioned and stitched directly under the tape line. The jacket’s almost ready for me to turn its lower edge up to top-stitch.
Vintage separating zipper in great shape. No rust or broken teeth. The whole zipper had to be removed and repositioned. I shortened it from the top, actually cutting it after removing several teeth. then prying off its top brass stops, then re-crimping those into their new positions. Some dicey surgery. I searched high and low for suitable, shorter replacement zippers, but alas. There were none I could buy anywhere online or in person. Superb that this original zipper was in such great shape!
Lower front left looks naked without its map pocket, now removed.

B3 bomber jacket before and after its alterations- shortened about 4" total.
B-3 bomber jacket before and after its alterations- shortened about 4″ total.


Meanwhile… over at the American Rust Company in Salt Lake City, another B-3 was there, longing to go home with a loving new owner! If that’s you and you’d like me to give it some love, I’d be thrilled to work on another of these jackets. I still have the matching specialty thread plus the industrial machines to sew it. This jacket below needs some good leather reconditioner, some stitched repairs plus a new zipper. Rust never sleeps!


Here’s another jacket I spotted around the same time- at the American Rust Company in Salt Lake City. It’s small- about a size 38.
Tattered map pocket needing some TLC and restitching. I reached inside and found a pack of vintage filterless cigarettes!

The American Rust Company features in-store items every day on their media sites! They accept credit card call in, PayPal and Venmo as well. They even do shipping and curbside pickup! Give them a call at (801) 671-3882.


Spendy spendy- but eager to go home with a loving collector! Let me know if you wind up as its proud owner and I’ll give it the repair and restoration attention it deserves:)


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