A US Navy Vietnam veteran remembers : "As a young third class petty officer I once had a set of Navy dress blues "tailor-made" in San Francisco, California. They were embroidered with my first "liberty cuffs". Liberty Cuffs were those embroidered patches sewn inside the cuffs of Navy dress blue uniforms. These uniforms were worn by Navy enlisted men, pay grades E-2 through E-6. The embroidered patches were non-regulation- "illegal" - and often resulted in sailors, if caught (usually by the Shore Patrol personnel), having their liberty cancelled and their being sent back to their ship or shore station.
The patches (liberty cuffs) were sewn, usually by a uniform tailor using a hidden stitch. This resulted in a regulation looking uniform when the cuffs were in place and buttoned, but displayed when the sailor was on liberty, and unbuttoned and rolled the cuff up one roll to display the fancy designs. Liberty cuffs were found all over the fleet, and in many stateside uniform tailor shops. In actuality, though, they were most commonly made in Asian ports. In fact, the oldest versions of these fancy inside cuffs were often attributed to "China Station sailors", "China Fleet sailors", or "China sailors", for short. Gu... read more