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Improving your M43 Cap...
By Jonathan Bocek

During a past event, I was able to give some suggestions to a friend on how he could improve his M43 Feldmutze at minimal cost.  After realizing this wasn't the first time I offered such suggestions, I decided to go ahead an put up an article on the subject.  The following is geared toward the average 'living historian" & should not be viewed as a definitive study on M43 caps.  Maybe such an article will eventually be in the works.  As you will hopefully see from the information below, there is a lot of room for variation when it comes to personalizing your M43 cap.

The Insignia:
This is the main aspect of the cap that is usually in need of attention.  It is also the easiest way to improve the appearance of the cap.  First thing you will want to assess the current insignia on your cap (if one is present).  Current reproduction caps usually come one of three ways: 1) with correct Bevo style insignia, 2) incorrect embroidered insignia, or 3) without insignia.

Above is an example of a common repro embroidered insignia.  Note how the eagle differs from the original shown in illus. E.  Also, the originals are embroidered on a thin cotton backing with bound edges unlike the current reproductions.  If you have one like the above, it is recommended that you replace it with one of the following: an original Bevo style (illus. A, B, C, D), original embroidered (illus. E), or a quality reproduction Bevo style insignia which is patterned off one of the originals shown (illus. A, B, C, D).

The insignia was usually attached during cap assembly when the cap was laid flat on the sewing table.  They then sewed the back seam and assembled the cap. So the stitching around the insignia did not come through the lining.  Of course, unless your experienced with sewing, this option of attachment maybe too difficult to attempt.  One can hand sew the the insignia to the cap if done very carefully.  Examples of this do exist amongst originals.

Now for the variations on attaching the insignia.  If you get the insignia shown in illus. A & B, then you have two choices.  The first, you can trim around the main part of the insignia and fold (tuck under) the edges, then sew it to the cap (see illus. A).  Option two is folding (tuck) the insignia so as to resemble the cap trapezoid shown in illus. B.  

Illustrations C & D are simple cap trapezoids.  One will need to trim the edges to allow them to be tucked under.  Do not cut right to the main part of the insignia.  You can see this in the pictures below.

Now if you want to get crazy, you can either sew the top on the inside fold, and pull the patch over and sew the sides down (see illus. C)  Note how on this example,  the top stitching is not visible.  Insignia "E" has embroidered edges and just needs to be stitched on the cap.


The Bill:
The next step in de-farbing a m43 cap.  This section will be short and sweet.  Take the cap and work the bill with your hands.  Your trying to get the well worn look out of a bill that looks new.  You can even roll the bill up from the end toward the cap & back out.  Be creative but careful. You can even try dampening it with water & then do the wear process above.  The objective is to have the look of a well used cap, even if yours is new.

Some original caps have a crease right down the middle of the bill (folding it in half).  This happened from storage in the pocket, bread bag, or tucked behind the belt (see picture at right).

The Pinch:
Photographs show that is was a popular practice with many to pinch the top of the cap.  To do this and have it last, wet the top of the cap.  Pinch just above the front top seam with your thumb & finger on each side of of the insignia. Continue to occasionally do this until the cap dries.  Usually it will hold its shape, but you may need to do this more than once.

The Dirt:
Lastly, get your cap dirty.  By wearing pomade in your hair, the lining will naturally gain the period worn look.  Do not be afraid to get mud and grease on the outside of the cap.  Remember, having some sort of deformity is always a good thing.  One does not need a perfectly shaped cap.



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