Stitching the Ulan Visor

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
This helmet of Alan's has already been posted, now we are going to look at how to restitch a tschapka visor:
The problem here, which is common to tschapkas is that the visor needs restitching. Tschapka visors look cool because there is no stitch line showing across the visor. However, this also creates a weak point in the helmet. The tschapka visor is multi layered...there is the inner core and three thin layers of leather glued on, one on the inside and two on the outside. The inside layer can be black paper on an OR's issued helmet or black finished leather as on this piece which shows signs of being a custom purchase item. The two outside layers are composed of a thin natural coloured layer and then the glossy black finished surface. These two outside layers are what is stitched to the shell. These layers and the visor are placed vertically against the shell and then stitched with a series of running/tack stitches. The visor is then pulled down into position and we now see the folded upper edge of the visor with no stitching showing. After 100 years, it is fairly common to see this fold split and broken and I don't see anyway of fixing that. In this case, the threads had simply rotted out. To be continued.....
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
First, a photo showing the liner stitching on the front of the tschapka. This stitch has two names, a "running stitch" or a "basting stitch" according to my wife :) This is the same style of stitch that is used on the tschapka visor and the calf skin sweatband on officer helmets.
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The OR's pickelhaube liner is stitched continuously around the rim of the shell and is not sewn like this.
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The first stitch. When you are doing this by yourself, you need to support the visor close to the helmet so it does not flop around. You also need to pull the liner up out of the shell so you can see what you are doing. I have glued a small patch on the fold because it was torn.
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We are four stitches in here and you can see why the visor has to be supported. The thread of course is coated in beeswax.
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This gets quite tricky as you work your way along and more strands of thread are 'hanging around" :D A paper clip is used to keep the liner tongues from flopping around and getting in the way.
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Once we have stitched across the visor, all of this thread has to be pulled from inside and outside in order to cinch the visor up to the shell. This is hard on the nerves as you do not want to break the thread and yet sometimes, it takes a bit of effort to get things into position. You really need two people to do this stage of the work so one person can hold the shell and the other can cinch up the thread getting the visor into position. You could do it on your own but two sets of hands make things go faster. (y) Finally, the end of the threaded is knotted two or three times on the inside and I cake these knots with beeswax to prevent any loosening.
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Finished!
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One last thing which can be seen in this photo....in my experience, the custom tschapka is always stitched up the front of the shell. On the outside obviously this stitch line is covered with finish. On the inside, a paper thin strip of leather is glued over the stitches.
 
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b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
37.5 years as a High School History teacher.....you can take the boy out of the classroom but not the classroom out of the boy. 😊Too old to change now!
 

aicusv

Active member
This is something I was wondering how to do, thanks for posting. I would be a little afraid that pulling the thread through like that would cut into the leather.
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, you do have to be very careful and quite frankly, you are praying that the thread does not break or as you say, the thin leather that is being stitched does not tear. However, I don’t see any other way to fix this issue. I have done three of these visors now but it is a “tense process “ 😳 Everything really depends on the that thin 100 year old leather.
 
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