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DIY: Making a Battle Jacket

A guide offering information on how to make a battle jacket/vest as well as a brief overview of the culture associated with punk and metal.

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What Is a Battle Jacket/Vest?

The origins of the modern day battle jacket can be traced to the 1960's and the biker culture of the time which was then adopted by the punk and metal communities due to crossovers in membership between these groups. Battle jackets are also referred to as battle vests, kutte, kutten, cut, cut-off, patch vest or similar terms. Kutte is derived from the German word kutte which means a type of religious habit, the Latin word cotta which refers to a tunic, and the proto-German word kuttô which means a cowl or coat. These jackets are primarily made of either denim or leather and typically have the sleeves cut off, although this is not always the case, and adored with hand-sewn patches (typically of bands), safety pins, pins, buttons, spikes, studs, chains, and other items.

What Is Heavy Metal?

Heavy metal, or metal, evolved from rock music of the 1960s that began overseas in the United Kingdom before moving to America soon after. Metal draws it's roots from blues rock as well as psychedelic music that was popular at the time but with a new sound due to technical advancements that lead to better distortion control and allowed for heavier sounds. As stated in Little Book of Knowledge: Heavy Metal by Jacques De Pierpont and Herve Bourhis, "The term 'hard rock' appeared in Great Britain in 1968. It would prevail in Europe till the late 80's, whereas the expression 'heavy metal' took hold in the USA. In the beginning, Heavy Metal referred more to sensations than a specific musical style."


What is Punk?

Punk rock sprang out of the garage rock movement of the 1960's and continued to evolve in the 1970's and represented a stark departure from the excess and grandiose nature of many rock acts of the 70's. Although there were growing punk scenes in both the US and the UK through the early 70's, later in the decade it became a full fledged cultural phenomenon that was championed by disenfranchised youth that adopted new forms of fashion and anti-authoritarian ideologies. Punk music is typically short fast-passed songs with political and anti-establishment themes and feature hard-edged singing styles and striped down instrumentals.