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How to: Economy 5-button sweater project


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I had some very good luck this weekend with this and wanted to share my process.

We've all see GI's show up to events wearing the brown wool BDU 5 buttons sweaters...same cut as WWII, but with some differences (color, buttons). Before I go any further I would like to say for the record a friend has mint sweater dated 1944 that is BROWN...had he not shown me the tag, I would have never believed it myself. However, since 90%+ of the 5 buttons in WWII were a shade of OD green, this is a process that costs $10 and about 2 hours of time to covert a 1990's brown BDU sweater to a OD green WWII style sweater.

 

1. Remove all buttons and modern tags from the sweater and buy a bottle of LIQUID Rit Fabric Dye, color APPLE GREEN. This a common color stocked by hobby lobby, etc. Yes, the green is too light alone, but remember you are over-dying brown to get to OD.

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2. Get a 3 gallon mop bucket from the dollar store, etc. Fill the bucket 3/4 of the way full with scalding hot tap water. You'll want to take this out on the lawn or into the shop before you add dye. You don't want to risk spilling 3 gallons of dye in the house.

 

3. After experimenting with how much dye to use (the bottle says 1/2 bottle for 3 gallons)......I ended up using the whole d*** bottle.

Using the whole bottle got the results I was looking for. I put in the sweater and mixed with a clean paint stir for 30-40 minutes.

 

4. Take the sweater outside and rinse it with 5-6 buckets of cold water until the rinse water is clear and hang it to dry. I would not wash the sweater other than by hand by itself for the first few times after dying it.

 

5. Buttons: for WWII buttons I used the 24-Line M43 field uniform buttons from At the Front under the "hardware" section. They're .99 cents each, and yes you need five. They are roughly the same diameter as the BDU buttons you removed.

 

The result: The sweater is a medium OD green.

 

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Afghanistan Vet OEF 10-11 - Engineer Corps US Army.

Getting a medal means two things:

1. Someone saw you do it.

2. You didn't tick off the approval chain.
Seeking 984th Engineer Co (Land Clearance), 36th Engineer Regt/Bde, and Sanitary Corps items from all eras.

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Well done! Did it shrink at all during the dying process?

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Nope, didn't appear to shrink, thats why the air-drying is important. The dye actually softened the roughness of the wool alot.

Afghanistan Vet OEF 10-11 - Engineer Corps US Army.

Getting a medal means two things:

1. Someone saw you do it.

2. You didn't tick off the approval chain.
Seeking 984th Engineer Co (Land Clearance), 36th Engineer Regt/Bde, and Sanitary Corps items from all eras.

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

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I don't know if it is just my computer screen or what but it still just looks the same chocolate brown to me. Could you maybe take a few more pics in different lighting? The sidewalk looks a little pink so maybe the colors are a bit off... This is a real neat idea that I have been kicking around myself except I was thinking of bleaching the sweater out a little with some hydrogen peroxide mixed with water first. Your way would be much easier.

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Same sweater, indoors. Army blanket in the corner and brown bdu shirt issued to me about 10 years ago for color comparison.

 

DSCN2572_zps40ea037b.jpg

Afghanistan Vet OEF 10-11 - Engineer Corps US Army.

Getting a medal means two things:

1. Someone saw you do it.

2. You didn't tick off the approval chain.
Seeking 984th Engineer Co (Land Clearance), 36th Engineer Regt/Bde, and Sanitary Corps items from all eras.

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

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Have meant to try this since Baron3-6 first posted. Finally got to work on it last week, followed Baron's instructions exactly other than I added a cup of white vinegar per the bottle instructions. Whole process worked perfectly, thanks Baron! Also stretched the sweater out as it dried. Per the above post the process seems to fluff up or bulk up the wool somewhat. Shade of olive turns out darker than my original example but certainly looks more authentic/acceptable than the brown. My original sweater has the "cat's eye" style buttons so I used some of this type which I found in a charity shop, slightly larger than original but similar size to ones removed and better suited the button hole size without any change.

Took some before and after photos but don't seem to be able to post any more?

Once again thanks Baron!

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Have meant to try this since Baron3-6 first posted. Finally got to work on it last week, followed Baron's instructions exactly other than I added a cup of white vinegar per the bottle instructions. Whole process worked perfectly, thanks Baron! Also stretched the sweater out as it dried. Per the above post the process seems to fluff up or bulk up the wool somewhat. Shade of olive turns out darker than my original example but certainly looks more authentic/acceptable than the brown. My original sweater has the "cat's eye" style buttons so I used some of this type which I found in a charity shop, slightly larger than original but similar size to ones removed and better suited the button hole size without any change.

Took some before and after photos but don't seem to be able to post any more?

Once again thanks Baron!

 

You're welcome, glad to hear it worked again for someone else!!

Afghanistan Vet OEF 10-11 - Engineer Corps US Army.

Getting a medal means two things:

1. Someone saw you do it.

2. You didn't tick off the approval chain.
Seeking 984th Engineer Co (Land Clearance), 36th Engineer Regt/Bde, and Sanitary Corps items from all eras.

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

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