Hey y’all, today we’re going to talk about denim jackets, or more specifically how to alter a jean jacket. Why would you want to alter one? Well, in my case it all has to do with patina and fading.
I love vintage things. I love that they have history and stories and that there is wear that only aging – not fast track “distressing”- can add. But my own old denim jacket didn’t fit any more, so the only shortcut to that authentically worn look I love was to buy vintage. And so I had my heart set on a vintage denim jacket.
There’s just one problem with that – my vintage choices were mostly limited to men’s jackets. And even the smallest men’s jacket that I could find still drowned my small frame. So I bought a less expensive one to see if I could alter it to look intentionally and fashionably oversized instead of “here little girl, want to wear my jacket?”
This jacket isn’t going to stop my hunt for the perfect vintage jacket, but it should at least tide me over until I find that unicorn. I want one that has the welt pockets at the sides and I’d like a little bit less of a dropped shoulder and a slimmer sleeve.
But, here’s what I did. First, I took out the sleeves and most of the side seams – down to the waistband (because I wasn’t going to mess with hardware). I tried the sleeveless jacket on wrong side out and pinned out where I wanted the seams to be, taking in 2 inches on each side at the top of the side seams and tapering in to the waist (where I took out 2 1/2 inches on each side) and then out to the unaltered waistband. I marked out a line over the pins, then added a seam allowance beyond the line.
I cut off the fabric beyond the seam allowances on each side as shown above. Then I re- flat felled the side seams. This does mean that I lost most of the fading on the seams, but hopefully that will come back soon.
Next, I measured each armscye on the seam line (not the raw edge).
I compared my armscye measurement to the top of each sleeve, again measuring on the seam line, and determined that I needed to cut 2 inches off each sleeve. So I marked 1 inch on each side on the sleeve cap and tapered that to nothing at the wrist (because again, I didn’t want to have to redo a buttonhole or mess with the buttons). Then I flat felled the seam on each sleeve so that the sleeves were tubes again.
I re flat felled the seams to attach the sleeves back on to the jacket and I was done. And this is the point where I admit that this jacket that took me 2 hours to alter has sat on my shelf waiting for alteration for almost a year! One of these days I’ll learn to just do the altering because it’s never as hard and it never takes as long as I fear it will.