An icon of American fashion, the letterman jacket has always been a source of pride. Its deep-rooted history
traces back to the American collegiate teams, where the original sweater was given only to the best athletes as a token for their athleticism. So, when you get a letterman, it means you’re damn good!
But the letterman jacket is more than just a historic piece; it’s a stylish and versatile piece. Its ultra-comfortable design makes it a timeless and well-loved outfit. This wardrobe mainstay has been around for decades and its popularity doesn’t seem to wane a bit.
With its impressive fame, perhaps you’re wondering how long are these jackets made? How are they made?
How long are letterman jackets made?
Nowadays, letterman jackets are everywhere – from kids to college studs and even oldies wear them. They come in an array of modernized designs, styles, and colors. Every major fashion and athletic brand has a section dedicated to this type of jacket. Check out this collection of varsity jackets by Armania and Louis Vuitton – the top picks of fashion trendsetters.
Letterman jackets by VarsityBase are even customized to the client’s desire. You can design a unique varsity jacket with your letter, color combination, material, and cut.
But while letterman jackets now come in all shapes and styles, the process of making them is pretty much the same. The major difference lies in how the jackets are sewn, either manually or mass-produced. Obviously, mass-produced letterman jackets made by high-speed sewing machines are made much faster than those hand-sewn by artisan tailors.
The introduction of high-speed sewing machines has drastically changed the garment industry. With these machinery, assembling a garment into a jacket can only take minutes or hours. In contrast, hand-constructed clothes can take several days to complete. However, letterman jackets that are individually and carefully made are considered luxury items and are sought by many people.
How are letterman jackets made?
Here’s a quick peek at what happens before you get to see and wear a letterman jacket.
First off, a fashion designer creates a design that outlines the color combinations, garment material, sizing, and other details. This design is then given to the tailor or encoded into computerized machines.
For hand-sewn jackets, the measurements of the client are taken and a pattern is specially made from this mold. For machine-sewn jackets, sizing is set according to generic anthropometric tables. Then a pattern is created from which is used to make the garment is cut.
Letterman jackets can be made from different garments, such as wool, leather, and cotton. The materials are chosen depending on the designer’s recommendation. Other materials such as buttons, seam tape, thread, lining, zippers, and snaps are also gathered.
Layers of fabric are carefully laid flat onto the tables also called spreaders. A pattern is placed on top and pinned onto it. In some cases, the fabric is lined with a sheet of paper, and the pattern is traced using a tailor’s chalk. Using a cutting machine, the fabrics are cut following the pattern. This can either be guided manually or run automatically. Some manufacturers use computerized laser beam for a more precise and faster cutting.
Other parts of the letterman jacket, such as the lining material, letters, collar, and sleeves, are also cut in the same method.
Assembling the garments
Once all parts are cut, they are then assembled. The pieces of fabrics are loaded into a highly sophisticated production line that employs several automatic sewing machines. Each section stitches a certain part of the jacket and then it goes to the next section. For example, one part attaches the sleeves to the armholes, while another stitches the under seams. The letter is also stitched into the jacket.
From loading the fabrics to thread-setting to the sewing of buttons and zippers, a single jacket goes through a long production line until it’s completed. These machines are usually guided by operators to ensure that they work properly.
After all, parts are assembled, the jackets are inspected for loose parts. Excess threads and fabrics are removed. It will then go through a pressing process to set the seams, stabilize the garment, blend stitches into the fabric, and get the wrinkles out. This process incorporates heat application, ironing, and steaming. It gives the jacket its distinctive shape and a professional look.
The completed jackets are inspected individually making sure that there are no defects. Those with defects are sent back for repair or rework. The final products are then folded and sheathed in plastic bags and prepared for packing and shipping.
This is how your well-loved jacket is made before they get to retail stores. Although every jacket is quality assured, make sure it is well taken care of. With proper care, your letterman jacket can last for years.