How to Replace WWII Knit Cuffs

Updated July 20, 2017

Leather jackets with knit cuffs, knit waistbands and fur collars are associated with World War II pilots. During World War II, the jackets were made of dyed leather and the knit cuffs and waistbands matched the leather in colour. If you are lucky enough to still own one of these jackets, you might have noticed that the knit cuffs have become worn and desire to replace them. To make the replacement cuffs appear authentic, match their colour as closely as possible to the colour of the jacket.

Cut the stitching securing the old cuffs to the body of the jacket with a seam ripper or small pair of scissors. Cut only the stitching. Do not cut the leather or the lining of the jacket.

Measure the dimensions of the new cuff. The length will be the owner's wrist measurement plus two inches. The height will be the same as the old cuff plus one inch.

Fold the new knit ribbing material in half so that the ribbing pattern is perpendicular to the fold.

Cut a rectangle out of the new knit ribbing material. The long edge of the rectangle should be placed on the fold in the material. The long edge will be the measured length of the new cuff.

Open the new knit ribbing material and refold it with the short edges of the material together. The ribbing pattern will be parallel with the short edges of the material. This will create a tube shape for the material.

Stitch the short edges of the new knit ribbing material together with the sewing machine. Sew this edge first so that the cuff's side seam will be hidden inside the cuff.

Fold the cuff along the same fold used when cutting out the material. The ribbing pattern will run perpendicular to the fold.

Stitch both layers of the cuff to the inside of the leather sleeve opening. Set the sewing machine to make slightly wider stitches, so that they go through the leather easily. Do not sew the cuff to the inside lining at the same time as the leather, as that will cause the lining to bunch and pull.

Turn the jacket inside out.

Hand-stitch the lining to the new knit cuff with a needle and thread. Leave room in the lining for the elbow to bend. The lining will hide the seam of the cuff to the leather.


If you are unsure of the new measurements, you can always use the old piece of knit ribbing as a guide.


Do not cut the leather or the lining.

Things You'll Need

  • Seam ripper or scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Knit ribbing material
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
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About the Author

Amy Moore has been a writer since 2004. In addition to her freelance writing, she has worked as a paralegal, editor and freelance web designer. She has published articles in the "North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal" and the "Deseret Language and Linguistic Symposium Journal." Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language from Brigham Young University.