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Care of WWII tunic


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I have a WWII era M1943(?) tunic. It is in relatively good condition. The sleeves are wrinkled from shipping, etc. Is it safe to iron it? Also for dust problems do I just vacuum it?

:beer: Doc

Edited by Riley1965
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I would say NO, do not iron it. You may get an unpleasantly permanent flattened "shiny" look.

I have had VERY unpleasant results from "professional" dry cleaners over the years. They may be terrific on your weddings and funerals suit, but do NOT have expertise with antique uniforms-- nor any concern/care for such odd fabrics and the attached (at least until THEY get their paws on :angry: ) insignia etc.

So I would never recommend going to the "pros" either.

For dust and surface grunge, I use the sticky tape rollers used for de-linting clothing.

For wrinkles-- hang it up someplace out of sun, damp, heat, and cold. It won't produce instant or fantastic results... but you won't end up with something ruined, either.

So... where are the scans, eh? :catjava:

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Ah, a gimnastyorka not a Kitel! The severe wound stripe appears to be too long and thin-- can you measure it?

[attachmentid=47615]

What's on the backs of all the buttons? WW2 period ones would be hollow, 2 piece, with gilt steel tops (a magnet will decide that) and on the black painted reverses... nothing. Later ones will bear minimal maker codes and a two digit year date.

For a SMOCK like this, you might get decent results with some gentle pressing by weight. (First remove the shoulder straps and Orders, of course! :rolleyes: ) If you've got a spare bed, maybe placing it under the mattress for a while would work. I thought you had a TUNIC, which complicates things with padding and lining.

The "cactus green" was used from 1943 to 1969, so I always check the backs of the buttons for an accurate date.

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Rick,

The buttons are WW2 period ones hollow, 2 piece, with gilt steel tops and on the black painted reverses... nothing. As for the wound stripe it is too long. Another forum member confirmed that. What length should it be? It was added at purchase.

Best,

Doc

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Regulations of 14 July 1942 say 43 mm wide and 5-6mm high.

I can't tell from your scan, but it looks like one of the 3-D German soutache-style ones (as in the photo closeup I posted) with cord sewn onto a backing rather than the type woven in one piece flat with the backing, so I wonder if it was done in the field as a "close enough for gubamint work" item.

We had a whole thread about these in the back pages... endless variety.

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I've had a couple thousand uniforms over the past 20 years, so here's my opinion... :cool:

You CAN take it to the cleaners. IF the cleaners are competent and know what they're doing. Since this is as thin of material as it is, I would probably tend to stay away from doing that, depending on the level of dirt on it. Vaccuuming works wonders, as does a common lint roller. You can clean surface spots with a damp cloth and bit of woolite.

As far as ironing, my favorite way is with an upright steamer. They are not too expensive, so they are a decent investment. Otherwise, what works well is a standard iron and a damp cloth. Cover the area to be ironed with the damp cloth, and then use the steam made from the dampness of the cloth meeting the heat of the iron to press out any wrinkles. This is also a good way to get rid of the "surface" dirt that collects around button holes and in folds, particularly with the older (Russian Civil War) uniforms that I normally deal with. For ironing the arms and collar, roll up a towel and use that instead of the ironing board to back the material so you don't end up with creases from ironing.

Some folks claim that putting the uniform in the bathroom while taking a hot shower will get all the wrinkles out. From my experience, unless your shower lasts no less than around 2 hours, you're pretty much wasting your time with that method. :cheeky:

Hope that helps.

Dave

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Dave,

Thank You for the information!! I just want to be a proper guardian of the items in my collection.

:beer: Doc

I've had a couple thousand uniforms over the past 20 years, so here's my opinion... :cool:

You CAN take it to the cleaners. IF the cleaners are competent and know what they're doing. Since this is as thin of material as it is, I would probably tend to stay away from doing that, depending on the level of dirt on it. Vaccuuming works wonders, as does a common lint roller. You can clean surface spots with a damp cloth and bit of woolite.

As far as ironing, my favorite way is with an upright steamer. They are not too expensive, so they are a decent investment. Otherwise, what works well is a standard iron and a damp cloth. Cover the area to be ironed with the damp cloth, and then use the steam made from the dampness of the cloth meeting the heat of the iron to press out any wrinkles. This is also a good way to get rid of the "surface" dirt that collects around button holes and in folds, particularly with the older (Russian Civil War) uniforms that I normally deal with. For ironing the arms and collar, roll up a towel and use that instead of the ironing board to back the material so you don't end up with creases from ironing.

Some folks claim that putting the uniform in the bathroom while taking a hot shower will get all the wrinkles out. From my experience, unless your shower lasts no less than around 2 hours, you're pretty much wasting your time with that method. :cheeky:

Hope that helps.

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

That do-it-yourself-at-home-drycleaning kit called "dryel" works nicely too, just use common sense when deciding how aggressive to go. Obviously, not reccomended for visor caps and the like.

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  • 6 months later...

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