Instructions for making a US Navy frock

This item is also called a Jumper and Over Shirt.  It is in fact a shirt, so it will be very familiar.  There were many variations of the frock.  Photos show us that collar lengths varied as did cut.  The easiest pattern to use is the “Home Spun Patterns” “Federal Issue Shirt”.  Many “Poo Poo” this pattern as un authentic.  That may well be for the Army issue shirt it is supposed to be, but it is great for a Naval frock base.

The frock was to fit blousey so as to not restrict movement.  So cut it a bit longer.  Same with the sleeves, a bit longer is good.  Fabrics should be a light weight woolen flannel, as this is a shirt.

There are only three modifications needed to make a frock.  Enlarge the collar to make it Finished at 8-10 inches.

Cut the neck slit to 5-6 inches.  You can simply roll the raw edges of the neck slit to the out side and stitch down, which was done, or you can cut a piece of the same fabric as the shirt and make a neck facing. Something along the line of 4 inches wide and 6 inches long.  Stitch this facing to the front of the shirt, right sides together, 1/4 inch on either side of where you are going to cut the slit.  Once you have this stitched, cut the neck slit, press the seams and turn the facing to the inside.  Stitch down along the edge.  If your fabric frays you may want to turn under the raw edge before stitching down.

Enlarge the cuffs to a finished measurement of 3 inches.  Each cuff used two buttons.

Many navy frocks have a seam around the chest and back.  This seam is not present on all period frocks, but most.  This was due to fabric being woven in 28 inch widths.  There fore, the frock was made of four sections, front and back shoulder and front and back body.  Sailors did what they could to cut out as much sewing as they could.  If they could cut the shoulder on the fold, they did.  If they could cut the entire frock body out of one piece of fabric, they did.  If they could use the selvage edge of the fabric for the hem, they did.  If you want a seam around your frock, fell free to do your lay out to get one.  If you choose not to, your frock will not be incorrect.

Again, seams were felled, hem vents were patched and tacked.  Most have a pair of small eyelets in the vent patches on either side.  These holes were to lace small pieces of line through to tie the garment to the clothes line on laundry day.  If you want to add these, mores the better.

Navy frocks did not come with breast pockets.  However, almost all have them added “After Market”.  Photos show mostly slit pockets on the left.  However, photos also show, slit pockets on both sides, slit pockets with button through closure, Slit pockets with flaps, button or non button.  Patch pockets with the same variety of closer or none at all.