Bespoke Cutter And Tailor

Bespoke Professionals => The Coatmakers Forum => Topic started by: hutch-- on April 24, 2016, 02:11:57 PM

Title: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on April 24, 2016, 02:11:57 PM
I am a fan of "retro" clothing for the normal reasons, they are usually well made, its out of current style so it never goes out of style, its a Harris Tweed pure wool jacket that is almost a good fit but its designed for someone with a bit bigger girth that I am. My question for someone who is versed in jacket design and modification  is related to the viability of modifying it by moving the front buttons about 2 inches to get the waistline about right. Looking at its construction there is no way I would want to try and modify the side seams as its fullly lined and the inner pockets are sewn through the lining.

(http://www.movsd.com/photos/jacket/01_label.jpg)
This is the label inside the jacket to certify that it is made of Harris Tweed.

(http://www.movsd.com/photos/jacket/02_jacket.jpg)
This is the front view of the jacket without the front buttoned up.

(http://www.movsd.com/photos/jacket/03_buttons.jpg)
This photo shows where the 2 buttons are which is fortunately very close to waist height.

What I had in mind was removing the two front buttons, they are a leather finished button with a rear loop, and placing them about 2 inches to the left and narrowing the waist in the simplest manner I can think of. Generally the jacket fits OK, shoulder slope is a bit high for my square shoulders but it fits well enough, sleeve length is fine and its wide enough across the shoulders so that I don't tear out the sleeve seams. About the only complaint is the Scottish wool from the island is a bit scratchy so it will need to worn with a collar.

Any advice here would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on April 24, 2016, 02:43:57 PM
Well you'll get an unbalanced overlap because you can't reposition the buttonholes. So it effectively only pulls in one side and if the fronts are centred, the centre back seam will be two inches to one side, and the sidebody seams of one side too.

The jacket being fully lined is no obstacle to dealing with the seams. The inner pockets play no role in this alteration.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Greger on April 24, 2016, 03:17:27 PM
One method that works up to a certain point is to make the thread shanks longer. A little less than showing for max.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Schneiderfrei on April 24, 2016, 04:26:10 PM
Hi greger,  What are thread shanks please?
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on April 24, 2016, 10:42:22 PM
One method that works up to a certain point is to make the thread shanks longer. A little less than showing for max.

That would make the coat even bigger!
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on April 24, 2016, 10:43:19 PM
Hi greger,  What are thread shanks please?

The 'necks' of thread attaching the buttons.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: jruley on April 24, 2016, 11:40:08 PM
OK, so you need to reduce the waist circumference by 2".  Here's a suggestion (no doubt the professionals will have better ones):

First, try pinning the excess out of the side seams at waist level.  Assuming this works, and doesn't cause other issues, you could do the following:

- Carefully open the side seams of the lining

- Rip open the side seams of the jacket from about 2" below the armscye to about 2" from the hem

- Re-sew, but take deeper seams, graduating from the original seam allowance at top to 1/2" more at waist level, then back out to the original amount at bottom

- Press seams thoroughly

- Re-sew the lining seams by hand.  You could graduate these as well or accept a little excess material on the inside of the garment.

This assumes the jacket has side seams under the arm running all the way from scye to hem.  If these end at the pocket, I'm sure a more complicated procedure is involved.

Hope this is helpful.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: posaune on April 25, 2016, 01:33:50 AM
What Jime wrote is the way to do it. 5 cm is a bit much for replacing the buttons.
I would measure the hip to see how much there is which can be removed too.
lg posaune
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on April 25, 2016, 02:52:36 AM
Except that it's probably far easier to sew the new seams before opening the existing ones. And perhaps taking a small excess from all four seams (side body to back and side body to front) rather than just the entire excess from one set of seams. Assuming it has a side body?

Taking it all out at the rear side seams makes for an overly narrow back, when in fact it is the fronts that usually have the excess. A narrowed back can cause the vents to pull open. In an unfinished jacket you can just trim the front parts after a fitting, whereas in a finished coat that can't be done.

Also stretch the newly suppressed seams before closing the lining.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: spookietoo on April 25, 2016, 09:24:40 AM
Hutch - its such a nice jacket and such a good basic color, I would go thru the trouble of doing proper alterations. Try taking photos of yourself to see how best to take up the excess while maintaining the balance.

The VERY first thing you need to do is get it off of the silly wire hanger. Its making divots in the shoulders already.! ???
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: jruley on April 25, 2016, 10:02:15 AM

...shoulder slope is a bit high for my square shoulders but it fits well enough...


I wonder if there is a simple alteration for this too?  How much padding is in the shoulders?  If you removed some, would the jacket fit better?
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on April 25, 2016, 10:07:59 AM
 :)

Hi Spookie,

> The VERY first thing you need to do is get it off of the silly wire hanger. Its making divots in the shoulders already.!

It was only hung on it for a few minutes to take the photos, its just that I don't have any more jacket coat hangers left.

To everyone, thanks for your advice, after reading it all I am going to take it down to the tailor who lives near me and ask his advice about the fit. A friend of mine had a look at it while I was wearing it last night and said it should not be taken in. I have only been wearing a T shirt under it where if you were wearing a shirt, vest and a jumper you would need the extra room.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on April 25, 2016, 06:42:05 PM
Maybe your friend has a point. All my colder weather coats are slightly larger than the ones I wear in better weather with just a shirt. Enough room for thicker jumper if needed.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: spookietoo on April 26, 2016, 09:37:48 AM
Hutch, A skilled IRL opinion sounds great and if no alterations are required, its an even better find. Good luck and let us know what the tailor says.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on April 26, 2016, 06:13:14 PM
I took the coat down to Peter Argy today, he had a look at the fit, pinned it up from the back as he thought it was for someone who was somewhere more portly than I am and got it to fit really well so I put the bite on him to do it as it involved work of a type that I don't know enough about to do. He said you could get away with shifting the buttons if it was a cheapie but said you would not ruin a Harris Tweed coat by taking shortcuts.

He has an old fella, a tailor in his 80s who comes in on a regular basis who he will get to do the mod as he is a genuine old style tailor who is good at all the handwork, especially opening and modifying the lining so I will get a good result. I was right about the age from its style, early 1970s and it has no visible signs of wear and its basically a no frills classic design so I will get some decent life out of it. I know when he likes something because he fits the same size coat that I do, I am just taller than he is and he said he would buy it for himself if I wanted to part with it.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on April 28, 2016, 03:29:05 PM
I just got it back from the tailor today and its a very good result, I will take some photos later but it was a reasonably complex set of modifications. The true side seams run through the pockets so the excess was taken out by an extra seam on both sides and the shoulders were modified to improve the fit. the sleeves were also slimmed down to better suits a person of my build. It was done by an 80 year old plus old master who did all this work by hand and I am glad I did not try and do the modifications myself as I simply don't know enough about coat design and modification to try it.

Cost me $150.00 AUD which is very reasonbly for the quality of work done and I now have a near to perfect fit Harris Tweed coat that can be used as casual wear.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Schneiderfrei on April 28, 2016, 04:56:28 PM
Lucky Guy :)
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: spookietoo on April 28, 2016, 06:53:12 PM
Wow! Very reasonable price for all of that work! Lookingng forward to pics.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on April 29, 2016, 02:29:27 PM
Here are the photos.

(http://movsd.com/photos/jacket/01_frontmod.jpg)
This is the front which has no visible modifications done as the main modifications were done in the back extra seams.

(http://movsd.com/photos/jacket/02_backmod.jpg)
When Peter pinned it up, he corrected the shaping so that the back fitted better and reduced the girth to fit my basic size. Sorry about the way it hangs but I put it on the proper coat hanger backwards so I could hang it on the door.

(http://movsd.com/photos/jacket/03_seammod.jpg)
This photo shows the extra seam set towards the back of the sleeve opening that contains the main modification. There were some issues of shaping corrected this way and there were changes in how the sleeves were hung to get the shoulder slope correct. The original side seams ran through the two side pockets and would have been an untidy modification.

It fits well, is comfortable to wear and suitable for casual wear which means I will get to wear it regularly as it gets colder. The problem with formal wear is that I almost never need to wear it so it does not get used all that often.

Peter did say that the center back seam would have been the wrong modification that would have messed up the back and shoulder fit.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Greger on April 29, 2016, 04:24:27 PM
"Peter did say that the center back seam would have been the wrong modification that would have messed up the back and shoulder fit."

That would have made a funny coat.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on May 01, 2016, 12:20:17 PM
I don't quite understand the photo with the arm raised. That seam is surely the normal rear side-body seam that was always there?
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Greger on May 01, 2016, 03:32:35 PM
Doesn't have to be a seam there. Some of the old coats the fronts nearly went all the way to the center back seam.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Henry Hall on May 02, 2016, 11:28:11 AM
ah well...as long as hutch is satisfied that's all that matters.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on May 02, 2016, 11:51:07 AM
 :)

Honestly it has come out well, its just that we have had an extended Autumn where it has been warm on and off so I have not got to wear it all that much but it fits well, looks OK and is a nice casual coat to wear. It will see some work in the coming months as it gets colder.
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: Jeffrey2117 on May 13, 2016, 10:08:09 AM
I just got it back from the tailor today and its a very good result, I will take some photos later but it was a reasonably complex set of modifications. The true side seams run through the pockets so the excess was taken out by an extra seam on both sides and the shoulders were modified to improve the fit. the sleeves were also slimmed down to better suits a person of my build. It was done by an 80 year old plus old master who did all this work by hand and I am glad I did not try and do the modifications myself as I simply don't know enough about coat design and modification to try it.

Cost me $150.00 AUD which is very reasonbly for the quality of work done and I now have a near to perfect fit Harris Tweed coat that can be used as casual wear.

Hello Hutch,

    What modifications were done to improve the shoulders?

regards

Jeffrey2117
Title: Re: Jacket modification question.
Post by: hutch-- on May 13, 2016, 11:40:30 AM
Jeffrey,

Sad to say I was not privy to the full details but I did see what Peter did with the original pinning up while I was wearing it. He also said that the lower seam in the sleeves were modified to slim the sleeves slightly. Most of the shaping was done in the extra side seams added towards the rear of the armholes. The coat was a reasonably good fit in terms of shoulder width and arm length but a bit big around the middle. I am also very square shouldered with forward leaning shoulders and I think he did the adjustment with the way he modified the back.