Help Starting A Metal Battle Jacket

At the Download Festival earlier this year, I saw so many metalheads wearing Battle Jackets, it was like being at a patchwork quilt convention.

I saw enough patched denim as I watched Municipal Waste in a sludge-sodden tent, that took me right back to the 80’s when I wore my own.Help Starting A Metal Battle Jacket

Now I thought, how cool that would be, if I could start my own Battle Jacket and come back next year fully patched. & since I missed having patches on my denim from way back, I went in search of inspiration.

So here’s what I’ve come up with , & if you’re looking for help starting a Battle Jacket, I hope you’ll find this post useful.

O.K, let’s get rolling with this.

A Battle Jacket is for…

The serious metalhead who pledges allegiance to their favourite bands by displaying them upon breast & back.

What you will need.

  • Inspiration
  • Denim
  • Patches
  • Needle & Thread
  • Patience

I’ve been doing my research and listening to others. & because there’s a tonne of video’s on Battle jackets, I’ve found 2 videos uploaded by Blackmetal werewolf who basically nails it.

He’s a Canadian metalhead who’s made his own battle jacket & covers a lot of good points. If you want to go start looking at others to see how & what they’re doing, then check him out for inspiration.

He talks about..

  • Hand sewing or machine?
  • Dental floss or thread?
  • Iron or sew on patches?

In the next vid, he talks about why the Battle vest should be personal to you, & dispells the rules of making one.

He says…

It’s just a quick and really easy way to convey what you’re into, as a heavy metal fan. If you see someone with a big ass slayer patch on the back of their jacket, it pretty obvious to tell they’re really big fans of slayer

Yeah, sounds obvious reading this, but what he means is that you give your favourite band the biggest patch. Me? It’ll defo be a big Black Sabbath patch on the back with all the classic metal bands orbiting around.

Alrighty then, now the video’s are done & dusted, I hope you’ve drawn some inspiration as I have.

Also, just lately I’ve seen a lot of metal bands gravitating towards the old style. Look at Joey Jordison now in his new band Sinsaenum all decked out in black Leather. It seems a trend now to go back to that 80’s classic era of, dare I say metal fashion.James Hetfield Battle Jacket

I’m sure Denim & Leather has never really gone away, but it’s had a revival recently as Dez Fafera & Robb Flynn (remember the tracksuit days!) now look the part in denim cut-offs. But to top it all, Papa Het commands the stage strutting around in his full metal Battle Jacket.

Now that’s some inspiration!

O.K, now I’m ready to get busy…

I’m going to get the materials I need & start making my Battle Jacket. I’m sure as hell no whizz with a needle and thread, but never mind, the fun part is seeing the end result, right?

So If you’re thinking of staring your Battle Jacket like me, here’s my intend to do list. It’s just really simple instructions that you can follow along.

I’m expecting this to be fun & easy and can’t wait to get all things together.

My 4 step process will be:

  1. Get a Needle & Thread. – Finding a sewing kit should be easy, just ask elders or go buy one.
  2. Get The Denim. – Either a full sleeve which I can cut with fabric scissors, or preferably a denim vest.
  3. Get The Patches. – Source the best sew on patches which tell my ‘metal evolution’ story.
  4. Get The Stitching Done. – Hell yeah, crank the music, a live DVD, Rock Radio Station or whatever & just sew.
  • Tips. Frayed ends look rad. If you can get this effect on the arm holes, go for it.
  • Putting spikes on the shoulders look cool, but they might trap long hair and annoy you.

Also, the above list won’t be done in a marathon session. My battle Jacket will take form over the next few months, so I won’t get bored. Plus the total cost of one should be made more affordable by making small upgrades.

Because I get paid monthly, my Battle Jacket will get new additions only then. There’s no rush to complete a battle jacket as it should evolve & tell a story. If you’re constantly discovering new forms of metal like me all the time, I say just take your time go with the flow.

My choice of patches will be, AC/DC, Maiden, Sabbath & Motorhead, mixed with early thrash bands moving on to Pantera & Fear Factory who I love. Basically to tell a story as I’ve grown. That being said, It’s a guilty secret my first album I ever bought was Sweden’s soft hair rockers Europe. Methinks I’d better leave off the patch.

Where To Find?

Getting hold of a low-cost denim jacket should be easy. Go to any thrift or charity store and find one that you can take home and cut up. You may find Grey, Black or an even old style stonewashed one.

If you don’t fancy pawing through the racks full of dead men’s jackets, (sorry, couldn’t resist!) then just stay online & go over to eBay & have it come to your door. If you’re looking for an item that’s not changed hands then try metal mail order specialists EMP.

However, I understand, there’s an overwhelming choice of where to start looking, so I’m just gonna keep it simple & go with the big trusted places. I’ll add in some useful links below.

If searching for sleeveless denim I’ll try Amazon, If I’m looking for patches I’ll try EMP. When seeking a bargain bid, I’ll go ebay.

Alright, enough said. Let’s wrap things up here so we can both get started…

The Pro.

Proudly making your own Battle Jacket that is personal to you. It’s your battle vest, you can put on it whatever you want and f**k all the rest.

The Con.

The laborious sewing. Especially if your mother declines or church goer Aunt Mable is unable to assist with your Battle Jacket.

Final Words.

It’s quite clear. Battle Jackets are worn by the most faithful and fanatical heavy metal lovers out there. It’s easy to go out and buy the tour shirt, but I reckon, when you start to make your own Battle Jacket, it really demonstrates next level dedication.

& like fingerprints, no one on this planet would or should have a Battle Jacket like yours. It distinctly says who you follow & shows dedication in your efforts to build one up.

I say

With a Battle Jacket, you’re gonna look the meanest badass at the summer fests windmilling your long locks, clutching your Viking Drinking Horn!


So grab your Denim & Patches, Needle & Thread, & let’s get our Battle Jackets underway.Rock n Metal 90x90 Logo

Finishing up here fellow metalheads, if you’re inspired to start a Battle Jacket or want to share your story, then hell, come & get involved in the discussion below!

I’d love to hear from ya…



  • JSaúlGzz says:

    That’s rude, those jackets looks cool (a bit hot I think). I listen to metal since I was a child, I listened a lot of metal from some popular bands like Metallica, iron Maiden, Guns n’ Roses and such, and I have some friends that wear some of these jackets and they seems great with them on them.

    Great post.


    • Pete says:

      Hey Saul,

      Battle Jackets look on cool metal fans, especially mixed with tattoos and spiky wristcuffs. And the best thing? You can make a Battle Jacket however you want!. Denim vests are the canvas and the patches the art. Seriously, I can’t wait to get my Battle Jacket underway so I can share my progress here. Come back again sometime Saul to see mine take shape.

      Thanks for visiting today,

      Take care now,


  • Kayla says:

    Haha that’s cool. battle jackets are coming back, but then again I see them at concerts more. Nice info on how to have the perfect battle jacket! I like the videos too. If I ever decide to make a battle jacket I’ll be sure to come back to find out how to do it the right way(;

    • Pete says:

      Hey Kayla

      Battle Jackets have never really phased out, they just stayed on the backs of only the most hardened metal fans. I would say that patched denim mostly lost its appeal when Nu Metal heralded us into the noughties.

      Magazines made Grunge, Punk & Nu Metal the new darlings on the scene & denim clad rockers were treated like old has beens. Now bands like Machine head & Metallica are going back to the old looks in favour of the commercial period they went through.

      Now I reckon battle Jackets are getting a revival, especially with more metal bands going back to their roots & in time fans will follow the image. James Hetfield has some cool battle jackets which are emblazoned with loads of old school thrash bands.

      Anyhow, whatever you decide, Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Take care now,


  • Heathguy33 says:

    This is awesome. Me and a buddy of mine have been trying to do this for a while now. But we did not have any idea on how to go about the whole process. I will let him know about your site and bookmark it to use for myself. Once we get the jakects made. Is there anyway we can send you pictures? To get feedback on them.

    Thanks hope to hear from you soon.

    • Pete says:

      Hey there Heathguy & thanks for visiting my Battle Metal post.

      Years ago as a young buck, I had a denim jacket that was emblazoned with Iron Maiden & Sabbath patches. Long lost in the echelons of time now. But now just like you I’ve decided to make another Battle Jacket but even better. As the post states, I took my idea from seeing all the denim clad rockers at the Download festival and then did my research on the net for inspiration.

      Following on from that, I’ve ordered a denim Vest online & some Memorial Patches. I plan to have a theme for my Battle Jacket which will be called “Fallen Heroes” Battle Jacket. This will include all the legends that have passed away and made heavy metal what it is through their influences. On the Battle Vest will be Lemmy, Randy Rhoads, Cliff Burton, Dio & Dimebag. That’s just the ones that spring to mind right now, but there will be a tribute patch to Bon Scott on there too. Cant wait to get started with this!

      In answer to your question about sending me a pic of your battle Jacket? Yeah, I’d love to see what you’ve done! At the time of this post I don’t have a forwarding email address as I’m concerned about spam content hitting my inbox. That said, you can message me on the contact form and i’ll personally tell you where to add an attachment to. Other than that, why don’t we hook up using G+, Instagram & Tumblr?

      Love to see and share your Battle Jacket here at Rock n’ Metal Collectables!

      Thanks again bud, all the very best,


  • Farhan says:

    Hey Pete! It’s been too long since I last came across an article on your website. Great to see you still writing awesome articles!

    You know, where I come from, metal battle jackets are really starting to phase out. They are mostly reserved for the young teenage metal fans, and even then, very few of them often wear these jackets. Some folks from the underground hardcore punk scene still wear similar jackets, but of course, with patches of their favourite punk band logos.

    It’s great to know that in the West, these jackets are coming back into trend. But yeah, I totally agree with you that making your own battle jacket, really shows a deeper level of love for metal music!

    Great guide on making battle jackets man! Keep rocking, you heavy metal Viking!

    • Pete says:

      Hey Fahran! Great to see you back here & thanks for the approval.

      Yeah, that’s a fair point, about Battle Jackets. In parts of the world they are seemingly sparse compared to say the 80’s when they were worn by every just about every metal fan. (Me included.) Back then though, it was more of a heavily patched denim jacket with the sleeves on instead of the biker style ‘cut-offs’.

      I don’t think battle jackets have gone away here so much in the U.K, just more reserved for the concert & festival goers who can seen be wearing battle jackets in their 1000’s. So although rarely seen on the streets they do all bunch together at arenas or clubs. I would have to say that the most loyal metal fans are the ones keeping Battle Jackets close to their chests and hearts.

      I believe there’s going to be an upward trend especially with metal icons like James Hetfield recently wearing his many Battle vests on stage & the metal fans will surely follow. Just look what Nu Metal did to the scene, denim & leather went out & red caps & Adidas came in. Even Machine Head cut their hair and started wearing tracksuits at one point! I think from this time forward there’s going to be a turnaround.

      Anyhow, I can’t wait to start making My Battle Jacket as I’m now awaiting a knock on the door for delivery of an ordered denim vest & selected patches, and I haven’t used a stitching needle in years but so what? It’ll be a labour of love & joy see taking shape.

      So here’s to all getting together for next years festivals where I can join my Battle Jacketed Brethren with a fully charged viking drinking horn!

      Thanks again Fahran, hope to see you soon!

      Take care,


  • Hannah says:

    I’m not a big fan of metal but I’m massively into my punk and have been making and wearing studded leather punk jackets since the age of 14. Just started up a new one and also a new denim vest. Lookin’ good so far. It’s great to see a post like this encouraging people to be proud of their music taste and individuality.

    Keep on the good work on your site. It’s coming ulong so well!


    • Pete says:

      Hi Hannah, good to see you here again.

      Punk Battle Jackets go way back, and I’m unsure which one of the 2 actually came first. Maybe they both came into punk & metal culture from the late 70’s?


      Glad I’ve found someone who is & has been making their own Battle Jackets because I think they’re really popular but in an underground trend. At festivals, I’ve noticed there are thousands of folk wearing them & gaining more visibility from the bands onstage nowadays.

      I’m still waiting for my ordered patches and vest to arrive, so not really doing much at this point, but I plan to make several. The first one will be my Fallen Heroes Battle Jacket I can take to Download & Bloodstock Festival next year, but there’ll be another at least in the making, showing my favourite bands.

      O.K, Good luck & happy times making your Punk Battle Jacket, & thanks for the feedback, so grateful for the encouragement!

      Cheers Hannah,

      Take care,


  • Brian Browne says:

    I still have my old Rocker jacket. 1982-1993 and as you said Pete we kept are sleeves on I do not recall anybody cutting the sleeves off unless your motorcycle dude. And depending on demographics and the kids you hung out with depended on what type of patches you had on. There was no Internet as you might remember so are jackets were never loaded down with patches and I personally hates pins cause the little bastards kept popping off. My nephew is into dark, black, doom and the blood and gore metal but loves his uncles old timey metal jacket. Have fun making it shouldn’t take 2 years like it did back in the day!! Lol!!

    • Pete says:

      Thanks Brian for chiming into this post about Metal Battle Jackets. I’m still working on the project & hope to get a fully fledged battle vest before the summer rock festivals. Actually I’m still waiting on a Dio memorial patch to arrive from China. Ordered it like 5 months back. Guess I need to put this down as a loss!

      Just like yours, mine was a full sleeve Denim Jacket. It had, Maiden, Sabbath & as I recall a Def Leppard Patch aswell. Those were the days!

      Thanks again Brian, for sharing your story here at Rock n’ metal collectables. Nice one!

      Very best,


  • deliapopescu21 says:

    hey! great post. i waned to ask: i have an iron maiden patch that i want to sew on my jacket but i only know two songs from them. i have their discography on my phone, but i dont know where to start and i dont have time to listen to it. i have a general idea about the band and its members, i know names of the albums and years. can i sew the patch on or is it supposed to be all with favourite bands?

    • Pete says:

      Hey there.
      It’s good you’re listening to Iron Maiden man!
      About your Battle Jacket, just sew on whatever you feel is personal to you. Your battle jacket is gonna look like nobody else’s, so just put on one, two, three, or a hundred patches on there, it really doesn’t matter. You can put on just an Iron Maiden patch on your Battle Jacket or several other favorite bands. Go ahead and have fun, remember, get creative and make yours look exactly how you want.
      Cheers bud, rock on!

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