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Subject: "Titanic's Lifejackets..." Previous topic | Next topic
MatuatayMon Aug-08-05 06:23 PM
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#8558, "Titanic's Lifejackets..."


  

          

Hello all.

How do I recreate a lifejacket? What materials do I need and measurements? I believe they used cork for the inside didn't they? I'm unsure as to the fabric used.

I just think it'd be pretty neat to have a Titanic Lifejacket in my collection that I don't have to go out and spend $2,000 on because it's a movie prop.

Have any of you ever done this?

  

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Replies to this topic
RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Dan Cherry (SETUP_GUEST_LABEL), Aug 08th 2005, #1
RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Matuatay, Aug 08th 2005, #2
      RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Matuatay, Aug 08th 2005, #3
           RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Dan Cherry (SETUP_GUEST_LABEL), Aug 09th 2005, #4
           RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Art Braunschweiger, Aug 09th 2005, #5
                RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Dan Cherry (SETUP_GUEST_LABEL), Aug 09th 2005, #6
                     RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Matuatay, Aug 09th 2005, #7
                          RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Matuatay, Aug 10th 2005, #8
                               RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Matuatay, Aug 13th 2005, #9
                                    RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Bruce, Aug 14th 2005, #10
                                         RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Marcel Johnpulle, Sep 28th 2013, #11
                                              RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., mauretania1906, Sep 28th 2013, #12
                                              RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., William W. Young, Oct 01st 2013, #13
                                                   RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., mauretania1906, Oct 01st 2013, #14
                                              RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., mauretania1906, Oct 18th 2013, #17
                                              RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., horepro1, Apr 01st 2017, #20
           RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., horepro1, Mar 29th 2017, #19
RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., itz3r1k, Oct 18th 2013, #15
RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., Scott Andrews, Oct 18th 2013, #16
RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..., itz3r1k, Oct 20th 2013, #18

Dan Cherry (SETUP_GUEST_LABEL)Mon Aug-08-05 09:27 PM

  
#8560, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

The precise measurements and specifications are floating around out there on the internet - it's been a while since I came across it - the one thing that I was amazed at was how small the lifejackets were. I dummied up one here a short while ago and was a little suprised as to how small the lifebelts were. In comparison, it's comparable to an adult small or a child's large ski jacket of today.

My notes have the lifebelts at 23 inches from top of shoulder to the bottom (or 46 inches if the jacket was laid flat and open, a foot across, and 2 1/2 inches thick.

Cameron's Titanic lifejackets were visually well-done, but IMO A Night To Remember's recreations were more spot-on (the ones used for deck scenes - not the pillowy ones made for the stunt jumpers)

  

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MatuatayMon Aug-08-05 09:58 PM
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#8561, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

Thank you Dan! That information is definately a start! I did a Google search tonight for Titanic's life jackets/life belts and it didn't turn up much of anything. I'm more relying on people like you, who keep notes on this kind of stuff to help me through. I just thought about this idea tonight when I was looking at a life jacket for $2,000 or so on ebay. Why not just make one? Doesn't look hard at all. Just getting the specifications down is the toughie. Well, and I've never done needle work before, and this will definately require some of that. Hmm, this is going to be a challenge.

And YES Dan, I have to agree 100% with you on ANTR's life jackets. They are far more like what I've seen in the photographs of survivors arriving in New York. Cameron's weren't thick enough in the corking. Where would I have to go to find corking in squares like that? Do hobby places sell cork in "bulk" like that?

Thank you for those measurements though. That's a big help and a big question out of the way already! Now all I need to find out is the fabric used and the measurements of the cork squares. I think I'm going to have fun with this little project. Might grey a few hairs, but it'll be fun.

Thanks again Dan! Would you please let me know if you find anything else? I wonder if and when I get this finished, if RMSTMRA will let me post pics of it here somewhere.

Matt.

  

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MatuatayMon Aug-08-05 10:28 PM
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#8562, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

Well I just read one site that said that the lifejackets were made of canvas, historically.

Then another site said that Cameron used "Cotton Canvas" to make them. Are these the same thing? Cotton canvas, and just plain canvas? I'm not sure that I think so, but as I said earlier this is my first time EVER to mess with any kind of fabric other than mending a hole in my jeans or something. I never could even do that right! Please forgive my ignorance on this everybody. When I do this, I just want it to be historically correct.

Now all I need is the measurements of the cork used in each "square". I don't know how to refer to those. I'm sure the cork squares weren't cut as this as they are wide. That have been way too bulky. I'm not great at measurements either, but they would look to be something like 6x3 maybe? Probably smaller. It's really hard to tell with the very few photographs available.

  

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Dan Cherry (SETUP_GUEST_LABEL)Tue Aug-09-05 05:06 AM

  
#8564, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 3


          

I don't know if they were canvas or cotton canvas, specifically. As for the squares, the large ones were 5 1/2 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches tall, and the small blocks were 5 1/2 inches wide by 3 3/4 inches tall, roughly. While ANTR's jackets were more visuall accurate, Cameron had the "block split" correct. In pictures of Titanic's lifebelts, each whole block appeared to have a groove in it or perhaps even 2 blocks in each pocket. I would imagine this was to give the lifebelt a little more flexibility.

I didn't make mine out of cork and canvas - more for visualization purposes and curiosity, I just used foam blocks and sheet. I don't even know where one could get cork block.

  

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Art BraunschweigerTue Aug-09-05 05:36 AM
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#8565, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

While I don't know anything about Titanic's lifejackets, if the source you read was correct as to the material being "canvas", then "canvas cotton duck" would probably fit the bill perfectly. If you've ever seen Carhartt work clothing (the tan/brown jackets, pants and overalls that are a favorite of utility workers and outside contractors in the US in colder months), that's the same material. It also happens to be the same material that's used for painting ("canvas".) Here's a picture that shows the appearance of the weave up close (click on the photo captioned "unprimed"):

http://www.dickblick.com/zz073/09/

Here's one source I found for this material. My thought is that you'd want a lighter weight (7 oz), bleached:

http://www.dharmatrading.com/fabric/cotton/canvas_duck.html


Have fun!

Art Braunschweiger
TRMA Trustee

  

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Dan Cherry (SETUP_GUEST_LABEL)Tue Aug-09-05 11:03 AM

  
#8569, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 5


          

If it were ME making a Titanic replicated lifebelt, I'd go for the bleached canvas. I noticed years ago when watching the TV offering "SOS Titanic" (1979, David Janssen, Susan St. James) that those lifejackets were slightly off white, and turned almost brown when wet.

  

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MatuatayTue Aug-09-05 04:38 PM
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#8583, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

Wow the further and further I go along, the more I realize how inexperienced I am. That makes it more intriguing to me. I'm definately going with what you guys say would look best as far as the type of canvas. I didn't even know there were all those different weights, kinds, etc of canvas out there. This is confusing! lol. I really like the unprimed from that first link that Art was so kind as to provide. Thanks! I always thought the jackets looked "whiter" than that, but now that I look at it, that looks like a far better choice. I wonder how big a piece of canvas I will need. The life jacket measured 46" fully open and stretched out, then I have to make allowances for the space that will be taken up by the foam/cork blocks as they protrude out about, what would you guys say, an inch on both sides? Figuring out the "thickness" of the blocks is rather difficult with the limited pictures available. Shadows in the photos make it hard to get scale too. I believe I read somewhere though that the blocks were about 2.5 inches thick. That just seems too thick though.

Dan, you said that you have made one of your own? Let's see it! Can you post a picture of it? I like how you used bedsheet and foam. A lot more simple than what I'm trying to do. The only reason I want the canvas and cork is so that I can have it as historically accurate as possible, right down to weight and feel. I'd love to see yours though if you get a chance! About what size did you cut the "neckline" and shoulder straps? Oh, here's another question. What were the straps on the lifejacket made of? Canvas or another material? They look like a different material in the photos, but those can be most deceiving.

Thank you again Art and Dan and please don't hesitate to add more information if you happen to run across it or think of it! You guys are being of great help to me and it is most appreciated.

Matt.

  

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MatuatayWed Aug-10-05 06:08 PM
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#8602, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

I also agree that the jackets used in S.O.S. Titanic were indeed way too dark-colored. They looked great, they just needed to be a bit lighter color.

  

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MatuataySat Aug-13-05 08:38 PM
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#8712, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

Dan or Art,

Do either of you have any idea as to the sewing method used?

I'm having problems with the pre-cork measurements also, as I believe I explained above.

I just don't want this thread to get lost under tons of old threads, for I'm hoping that either you two guys or someone else can help me out with this. My heart's really in this and trying to get this as historically accurate as possible. I went and purchased my canvas today and thread. I've found a site for the cork that I will need, I just have to put the order in.

Dan I'd still very much like to see your lifejacket that you made if you ever get a chance to post a pic of it. Anyone else who can help will be most appreciated! Thanks guys, and thanks for your patience during my nagging for info.

Matt.

  

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BruceSun Aug-14-05 01:35 PM
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#8716, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 9


          

Apparentley there is some extensive facts on the jackets on this link.

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5919/98305.html?1123600529
Bruce
TRMA Trustee


"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by"

  

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Marcel JohnpulleSat Sep-28-13 08:21 AM
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#49589, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 10
Sat Sep-28-13 08:23 AMby Marcel Johnpulle

  

          

Does anyone know the length of the ropes for tying the lifejacket on? Also, I'm assuming they tied from back to front?

Also, what were the thicknesses of the cork blocks?

Regards,

Marcel Johnpulle
(formally "wolfgangelessar")

"Till the spinner of the years said Now!
And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres"--The Convergences of the Twain

  

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mauretania1906Sat Sep-28-13 02:06 PM
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#49590, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 11
Sat Sep-28-13 02:06 PMby mauretania1906

  

          

Hi,

I used cotton duck for painting for years before I started using linen. I think 7oz much too light - I would guess "sailcloth" at 16oz (possibly 12oz) would be ideal. The other important thing is to make sure the cotton is woven with the same number of yarns for warp and weft (both directions). I'd suggest simple "cloth" (one yarn to one yarn each way) - no twill as this sometimes comes in lower weights (7oz, 10oz, 12oz, etc...). I would seek unbleached which has a natural color. New York Central Art Supply in NYC might have this online. Also Peal Paint in NYC. Most places will have a sample swatch booklet for free or a a small fee.

Best wishes,
Eric

  

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William W. YoungTue Oct-01-13 01:21 PM
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#49608, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 12


          

Just a thought , If you do not intend on getting the piece wet or any one using it to save a life and it will be just a prop. You might consider to save money using another material inside rather than cork wich is not cheap especially in larger blocks. Again just a thought.
Sincerely , Bill Young

William W. Young

  

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mauretania1906Tue Oct-01-13 03:45 PM
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#49611, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

Hello again,

BTW, "canvas" is just a term for any "simple cloth" of heavy weight. A simple cloth is a fabric woven with one to one yarns of the same type (wet or dry spun etc.) for warp and weft. Not not a weave such as diagonal twill, which would obviously have uneven responses to temperature and humidity, despite its popularity in the 19th century. Going backwards in time "canvas" would be made of cotton, linen and hemp before that. Most all famous images on cloth are painted on hemp, not linen or cotton. Anyone suggest getting dimensions from the Kamuda's jacket?

Best wishes,
Eric

  

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mauretania1906Fri Oct-18-13 01:04 PM
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#49700, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 11


  

          

>Does anyone know the length of the ropes for tying the
>lifejacket on? Also, I'm assuming they tied from back to
>front?
>
>Also, what were the thicknesses of the cork blocks?


Hello,

the length of the ties was given as 31 inches - follow the link to ET given above - post number 5 below:

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/forums/individual-features/17407-life-jacketsdesign-dimensions-etc.html

Alan Clarke of the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador gave several dimensions in his post there, including the tie lengths you asked about, taken from the McCrady jacket.

Best wishes,
Eric

  

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horepro1Sat Apr-01-17 12:53 PM
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#54866, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 11


          

4 ropes were used and are 31 inches long and about 1 inch wide

  

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horepro1Wed Mar-29-17 04:09 PM
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#54846, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 3
Wed Mar-29-17 04:13 PMby horepro1

          

The cork blocks are 3.75"x5.5" and the 2 longer ones on the bottom are 7.5"x5.5". Just make sure that you buy a bit more canvas than 12x46 because the blocks of cork will protrude the fabric by about 2-3" or so.

  

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itz3r1kFri Oct-18-13 12:35 AM
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#49697, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I will be going to the titanic museum in Branson this weekend, I'll get some measurements from the two lifebelts they have, and if not I have a friend that works there and she said she could get me the measurements.

Thank you,
Erik W. Creekmore

  

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Scott AndrewsFri Oct-18-13 08:55 AM
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#49698, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

That would seem to be your best bet!

Regards,
Scott Andrews
TRMA Trustee

  

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itz3r1kSun Oct-20-13 06:39 PM
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#49708, "RE: Titanic's Lifejackets..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Ok,
I went to the muesuem over the weekend and looked at Mrs. Astor's lifebelt. they have two in there collection and both are of linen with 2 1/2" thick cork blocks, the strap over the shoulders is about 3" wide and 10-12" long, they are machine sewn with 1/2" seams and the stiching 1/4" from the edge. (standard size foot on machine closest to fabric.)the sizes for the cork blocks are the same as posted before, the cork is handstitched in with 16/2 linen thread using a whip stitch with 5 stitches to an inch, the thread is two strand and in natural color. the straps are of 1/2" wide cotton herringbone tape and i would guestimate at about 40" long or so, it was hard to tell as they are tied. and the neck on it looked about like this. if you would like me to write up sewing ionstructions for you i would be more then happy to, contact me at itz3r1k@yahoo.com,
i hope this helps you


Thank you,
Erik W. Creekmore

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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