It should be no surprise to learn I'm a big science fiction fan. Throughout my 30+ year involvement within the Melbourne sci-fi fan community, I ended up collecting a number of embroided cloth patches relating to my favourite sci-fi shows and movies - mostly Batman, Star Wars and Star Trek.
But back in the early 1990s I became frustrated owning all these patches but with no way to display them, so something had to be done. After scouring numerous clothing outlets, I finally came across a black NATO jacket for sale in an army disposal store which was perfect for what I needed.
So with a plain jacket in hand, and armed with a sewing needle and a number of thread spools, the next phase of the operation was to commence sewing these patches on one by one ... and that's where it all started.
Today, the Jacket is my pride and joy as it's adorned with all sorts of patches and badges which is a reflection of who I am, along with the interests I either have now or had once before. Funnily enough the Jacket has even spawned some imitations, with fellow fans now starting jackets of their own - and at least in one case intentionally copying my Jacket's sleeves.
|Nothing ever stays the same and neither
does The Dag Jacket. Most of the patches in the pictures
have been replaced at least once, while some have been
changed up to three times.
A LOT of consideration is given to the replacement of old patches with new ones. As I like to point out... "Updating a patch isn't like swapping a Post-It note, you have to be REALLY committed to the change and be certain you want to do it."
All of the patches have been personally hand sewn on by myself with no assistance from anyone. With regards to the layout of the patches, I've focused a lot of attention in trying to create a balance between one side of the Jacket and the other, as well as the back. Crooked patches are not tolerated, which isn't helped by the fact the Jacket - as a piece of clothing - isn't straight to begin with. For this reason a few patches have been sewn on only to be removed and sewn on again (and in some cases again!).
The Dag Jacket is an ever evolving piece of work, but as the years/decades pass I have to acknowledge that sewing on patches is much harder than it used to be. The issue is my ageing eyesight makes it harder to focus on tiny objects such as the needle and thread - also having black cotton on a black background doesn't help matters either.
Consequently the last major update occurred in June 2015 when I undertook a huge number of patch changes in one go, especially to the back. After experiencing a lot of difficulty getting these patches sewn on due to the issues mentioned above, I now have to concede that future patch updates are likely to be few and far between.
Though having said that, as of December 2015 I just bought a new Star Wars patch so let's see if that goes onto the Jacket.
|The Dag Jacket Today (2015):|
|A Closer Look: The Left Side|
|The top of the sleeve originally had
plain, boring 'white text on black background' Star
Wars and The Empire Strikes Back patches,
so I replaced them with these more colourful versions in
June 2015. The Empire patch in particular was a
very special addition as it features the proper movie
logo design which I have only ever seen once, so I was
rapt to include this. Unfortunately due to the smaller
size of these two new patches, the spacing between them
is larger than would normally be the case - and yes I did
consider moving the red Revenge of the Jedi upwards
to compensate, but decided it was too much hard work.
I was good friends with a large Australian Star Wars collector who decided to sell his collection in 2000. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I bought most of his patches and sewed all of them onto the Jacket in a single night (finishing at 5am). The patches from that collection are the Empire and Jedi ones on the lower sleeve, the Star Wars Norwegian Unit double patch and the Star Wars patch on the upper pocket. In fact the Norwegian Unit patch came from the personal collection of Gary Kurtz, Producer of both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back which is a bit of a spin out.
Oh, and both of the Jedi patches on the sleeve say Revenge of the Jedi and not Return.
The Skywalker Ranch patch on the lower pocket and the Lucasfilm pin on the collar were actually bought by me at Skywalker Ranch itself when I visited there in 1993, though the Skywalker Ranch EMS patch was bought from eBay in 2009.
With regards to the Skywalker Ranch EMS patch, on occasions a patch was specifically purchased for the Jacket but wasn't included as there was simply no room for it. In this case I bought a really nice Area 51 patch but it was dropped in favour of the Skywalker Ranch EMS one which took its intended place.
I used to love Coka Cola, so the pin on the shoulder epaulet has been there since the early days, even though I have long since given up drinking the ol' Black Death.
The Darth Vader chain hanging from the pocket button used to a be a Rocketeer keyring. You'll notice there is no press stud for the pocket as it fell off over a decade ago so the chain is sewn into the Jacket.
Speaking of chains, the long chain around the sleeve was added in very early on and serves no purpose at all. The end of the chain is actually sewn into the Jacket under the pocket button so won't fall off.
The large silver pin at the top is from Star Walking Inc. a Star Wars fan club I co founded back in 1988. This pin was to celebrate the club's 25th (silver jubilee) anniversary in 2013 which is why it's included here.
The Star Trek Next Generation chest pin was placed on this side of the Jacket to off-set the movie pin on the other side.
Some patch changes are inevitable as was the case with the Battlestar Galactica patch. As a big fan of the reimagined series I didn't hesitate to remove the blue NASA patch before it and insert this one in its place, even though it's pretty bland in colour.
The Star Wars 10th Anniversary patch on the lower pocket was one of the first replacement patches from the Jacket's initial incarnation. In the early days the Jacket wasn't entirely focused on science fiction alone, so the inclusion of this patch was the start of a new trend which continues today.
I used to buy clothes from Armani Exchange and on one occasion I bought a jacket from them which came with a neat AIX pin. Not knowing what to do with it, I placed on the Jacket next to the Skywalker Ranch patch.
The gold pin to the left of the Skywalker Ranch patch is from Princess Cruises. Being a bit of a recently converted cruise enthusiast, I became a Gold Member for Princess which included a special pin, so I opted to put this here.
|The Right Side|
|The top of the sleeve features some Star
Trek patches. Although there are a LOT of Star
Trek patches in existence, I don't like most of
them. The Deep Space Nine patch was included as
I really liked the show (along with The Next
Generation patch above it), but I didn't like any of
the Voyager patch designs so unfortunately this
show isn't represented. As for Star Trek: Enterprise,
I didn't like the show enough to include the official
logo patch for it.
The three Indiana Jones patches on the sleeve were very hard to line up because the sleeve at the elbow is a different size to the wrist. In the end some cheating was required to get them to match but it all seemed to work out. Unfortunately there is no room for a Crystal Skull patch (which DOES exist) so that is rather frustrating. For a time I thought about replacing the Raiders of the Lost Ark patch with one similiar in design to the two below it - I saw this done on an imitation jacket and it looked quite good - but considering the large armount of fiddly repositioning work involved (and the time it would take to do - and eventual frustration), I opted not to do it.
As mentioned previously, I knew a Star Wars collector who sold his collection in 2000. The patches on this side from his collection include the three Indiana Jones patches and the Lucasfilm patch, which ended up offsetting the Skywalker Ranch patch on the other side really well.
The Jacket has only lost two items in its time and one of them was from the top collar. The original Star Wars 10th Anniversary pin went walkies years ago so it was replaced with the V logo pin, which I concede doesn't match the two Star Walking Inc. and Star Tours pins that well.
The Star Trek movie pin on the upper chest was a replacement for another Star Trek pin. The original one had a piece broken off (as can be seen in the photo at the top of this page), so I replaced it with a new shiny version.
The partially obscured patch under the sleeve is the V logo. The original licenced V logo patch looked really terrible - it wasn't even close to the proper design - so I never bought it, but this non official one came out in 2009 and looked great so I snapped it up, not realising the word "Sweden" is written in Sirian (the Visitor's alphabet) underneath.
Some patches were MUST HAVE items, such was the case with the Babylon 5 patch which cost me $50 in an auction back in 1998.
For over 20 years the Jacket featured two circular Batman patches underneath the Alien Nation one. In June 2015 these finally made way for the rather bright Gotham City and Cold Station 12 patch - the latter featured in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise - which I really liked as the space station was built into an asteroid.
Also included is a bright blue Blue Harvest patch which fit into the space above the pocket really well. After the June 2015 upgrade, this side of the Jacket is now far more colourful than the other side so the two sides no longer balance out which isn't good.
The three Star Wars pins above the Babylon 5 patch are a curse to me. The Jedi one in particular is notorious for spinning around when the Jacket is being worn and needs constant adjustment (ya can't have crooked pins!)
The Damned pin above the Babylon 5 patch relates to a 70s-90s UK punk band which I was a fan of.
The Buffy and Angel pins on either side of the Babylon 5 patch are actually keyrings from a teen magazine.
The Star Wars A New Hope patch is sometimes misconstrued as being really rare, but in fact millions of these were produced in the early 80s by the official fan club and can be found anywhere. This patch was included on the pocket simply because it was good fit.
Despite being a non smoker, I'm a huge fan of John Player Special (JPS) because of their beautiful black with gold trim colour scheme, this is why there is a JPS pin next to the Lucasfilm patch.
Although some patches may look crooked, for the most part they're on straight enough.
Fortunately when the Jacket is worn they all appear to be straight which is the main thing.
|The back of the Jacket has been a
contentious part of the overall design for a very long
For a decade the lower half was left totally empty because I knew if I was going to sit in a chair Id be sitting on the patches. In time though some patches slowly made their way into this quadrant and in June 2015 I decided to fill it all in completely!
The large Batman logo ended up being a problem to sew as there are two pleats on the sides that I had to work around. Also as this is not the official logo, sometimes the inclusion of the eyes in the design annoys the purists.
The Buffy patch was added years ago, whereas the V for Vendetta patch was only included in June 2015. I liked the look of the red on black colour scheme which is why these are here. For a time I considered putting patches in the spaces above these, but this hasn't eventuated yet, though it probably will if the right patch designs are found.
With this in mind, I have a great Forbidden Planet logo patch from the classic movie, but the size is just a little too big for this space.
Though the TMA-1 patch may look like it relates to NASA, it is in fact from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ironically at one time the Jacket DID have two NASA patches but they were both removed.
It's not often I will deliberately track down specific patches to include on the Jacket, but both the Weyland Yutani and Umbrella Corp patches were bought for this purpose. Interestingly the original patches that these replaced were both Back to the Future designs from Universal Studios in the US.
I was keen to include more movie patches on the Jacket so I started scouring around for patches to other Sci-Fi films I liked. One of these was Flash Gordon. This design was the only one I could find so it took the place of the Star Wars patch which was moved to the top. The main concern of this patch is the large orange circle is not located in the centre of the design, which gives the impression the patch is off-centre if you automatically think the circle is the middlepoint. There was also a concern the yellow colour would detract from the Batman logo, but ultimately this seemed to be the best location for it.
There is a thin band of material running across the middle of the Jacket which was originally a no-go zone for patches. Why? Well underneath this band was a rope inside the lining which could be used to pull the Jacket tighter around the waist in cold weather. It wasnt until 20 years had passed when I realised I never once used this feature, so I removed the rope and the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy patches were added in.
The Phantom Menace patch wasnt something I wanted to include, but it balanced out the other two patches (Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) quite well. Despite being keen to sew patches on straight, these look crooked because the band they're sitting on is crooked too. Alas due to their location and the importance of getting them to sit as straight as possible, these three patches took me HOURS to put on.
With the exception of Weyland Yutani and Umbrella Corporation, all the other patches in the lower quadrant were included in the big June 2015 makeover when I added and changed a large number of patches in one go.
In the top middle is a Cyberdyne Systems patch which was a logical inclusion next to the Weyland and Umbrella patches (making three somewhat shifty business corporations aligned together). Because this patch had to be centred to the ones above it, sewing this on straight was absolutely crucial and unfortunately it took a couple of goes to get right.
Another cool patch to include was one from The Last Starfighter, fortunately for me this sewed on straight the first time. The same cant be said for The Clone Wars patch below it, this was moved from another part of the Jacket and is slightly crooked. But because the guy in the design is holding the gun on an angle, I don't think its that noticeable.
Below is the Soylent Green patch which I originally didnt know existed. I was rapt to include this despite concerns that being so white it would discolour very quickly and become damaged. Either way this seemed like a good position for it.
The bottom/middle patch was a prize find. I am a huge fan of The Thing and there are simply no patches for this movie anywhere. Though its not my favourite design, considering its the only The Thing patch around, as well as it being a great shape to fill the space, I was happy to put it here.
Above The Thing is the Planet of the Apes patch. This was originally located where the Attack of the Clones patch is situated - and it looked really good there too - but it was removed (without anyone ever seeing it) in favour of placing it here. I also bought an ANSA Planet of the Apes patch, but due to its large 4 inch diameter there was simply no room for it to be sewn on anywhere which is a real shame.
The NCP patch is the only patch I have deliberately altered from the original version. This patch came inside a blue shield which was a completely incorrect shape to the one seen in the show (Battlestar Galactica), so I cut the shield off and just made it a circle which in the end fit the design of the others around it really well. This patch has caused me a bit of grief over time. It was moved from its original location and sewn into a new spot, only to come out crooked. It was then removed again to be relocated to a spot closer to The Thing patch and fortunately this time it came out straight. Another issue with this patch is trying to push the needle through the thick yellow border which requires me to place a piece of wood under the Jacket to assist. Not fun.
The Starfleet Command patch is also another one which was originally sewn on crooked, so it too had to be moved to a new position closer to The thing, which in turn gave me a chance to correct the mistake.
Finally at the very bottom is the Delos patch from Westworld. This was added in to balance the Soylent Green patch on the other side. In fact both Soylent Green and Delos are true first timers in that they were not only only sewn on once, plus they were added into an area of the Jacket which has never seen a patch before yep they broke all new ground.
Finally, on the sides are the Bazinga and MNU patches. The MNU patch (from District 9) was bought and sewn on twice. Believe it or not, the first version featured white text on a black background which I didn't like, so I bought the patch again with black text on a white background and swapped them over - yep more work for me.
Although I'm a fan of The Big Bang Theory, I really didn't want to add the Bazinga patch as Sheldons catch phrase really doesnt interest me, so if any patches are to be replaced in the future, no doubt this will be one despite the nice colour of it.
Both the Bazinga and MNU patches were selected purely for their physical shape as I didnt want to add more circular patches in amongst all the other circles present. Further to this, the patches could only be a certain width to fit into the available space, so some of the more preferable options I really wanted to include had to be dropped because they too wide.
Ironically, the lower half of the Jacket is now really stiff from all the patches sewn onto it.
|-||The Batman patch took me three DAYS to sew on as it was critical it didn't come out crooked.|
|-||I'm not a big fan of Alien Nation the TV show (though I enjoyed the movie), however, I really liked the green colour of the patch. Unfortunately I sewed it on the Jacket without realising there was an inside pocket right behind it, so it had to be taken off and done again more carefully so I could continue to use the pocket.|
|-||The original idea for the sleeves was to have one side be all Star Wars and the other side be all Star Trek. Alas Star Trek patches for Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise didn't come out for many, many years, and by that time I simply got sick of looking at the blank space on the lower part of the sleeve, which is why the Indiana Jones patches were placed there.|
|-||I prayed they wouldn't make a 4th Indiana Jones film ... but they did AND released a patch for it! Dammit!!!|
|-||Sewing patches on pockets was a nightmare to do. For this reason all the pockets have only experienced one patch change in the Jacket's lifetime, and the upper pockets in particular were very difficult, but no matter what, the pockets are all still usable.|
|-||I once considered sewing on a patch for the film Willow, unfortunately the writing was silver in colour on a white background and I had a concern it would get very dirty very quickly - plus it was hard to read.|
|-||Sewing patches that are designed to be ironed on are particularly difficult due to the plastic backing which is intended to "melt" the patch onto the cloth. To ensure every patch is removable, I always sew them on but sometimes I have to use a piece of wood or a solid board to push the needle through the plastic. For this reason some needles have been known to bend out of shape. Not fun.|
|-||Every once in a while I will scour eBay for any new Star Wars patches, once upon a time I came across someone selling an impressive Empire Strikes Back 20th Anniversary patch, but the seller would only ship it to the US so I was unable to get it. I felt like saying to the guy "ahhh dude all ya gotta do is just stick it in an envelope!"|
|-||With numerous patches being replaced over the decades, needless to say I ended up amassing a huge collection of "rejects", including some brand new patches which never made it onto the Jacket in the first place. I was able to sell most of these off which funnily enough ended up on other peoples jackets.|
|-||Aside from sewing on patches, I can't actually sew!|
Despite the Jacket being my pride and joy, I also know that wearing it too often would wear out its welcome, remembering that people will often come up to me asking if there are any new updates. For this reason the Jacket usually only appears at very large scale pop culture expos in the colder months.
I'm actually amazed at how the Jacket has stayed together for so long, especially when you consider the THOUSANDS of holes which have been poked through it from all the sewing needless over the decades.
The Jacket has also made an appearance in two films: "Skyforce: The Movie" and "Oneself".