"Army Wives" Combat Uniform
Added Oct 1, 2010
by Debbie Davis
I turned my husband’s Army Combat Uniform (ACU) into a great jacket and shorts set for myself!
After removing a dozen excess pockets and velcro, the jacket was cropped and fitted to provide shape. The sleeves were removed and refashioned with a puff at the shoulders. An ivory silk charmeuse was used to line the button placket and collar and for piping accents along the back vents (which were closed to maintain the trim fit), front pockets, and button placket. A utility zipper was replaced with antique brass and ivory buttons and matching smaller buttons were used to close the cuffs. The jacket’s original hem and sleeves were just a flat hem but cuffs were added to define them.
The shorts were made from the uniform’s high-waisted pants by making a new waistband and placing it to make a low-rise waist. The back of the waistband is angled inwards to prevent baggyness in the back. The ivory silk from the jacket was used for side stripes for accent.
My Rowenta “Effective” iron was essential to this project! The silk charmeuse was very difficult to work with and required frequent steaming to eliminate wrinkles that it seemed to get just by sitting around. The iron pressed folds into the silk to help hold it in place for sewing. The side stripes on the shorts were done with no help besides the iron to keep them straight and in place. I made my life easier by using the iron to attach lightweight interfacing to the silk and glue some details such as the placket lining to the jacket before sewing. The iron was essential to making the waistbands and cuffs as well as they were made by ironing down the raw edges to form an even 2" strip. Then the strips were placed raw sides together and sewed together. The iron provided straight even strips.