Buying Vintage clothing online is like a box of chocolate. You can never be sure what you’ll get in the end – especially regarding the fit. I’ve often ended up with clothes far too big and bulky for my taste. But thankfully I have a sewing machine to tackle this problem. My newest altering vintage garment project is this beautiful jacket.
I bought this jacket online at DaWanda (it’s like Etsy, only European). It looked beautiful in the photo and I was really looking forward to wearing it. Unfortunately on me it looked like a large, awkward potato sack – with stiff 80’s shoulders and a far too wide body. To me, it felt like at least two sizes too large.
Still, I liked the fabric. It had a good quality and the design was just too nice to let the jacket rot in my closet. So I decided to try and see if I could make it wearable for me. Here’s a flollow-along sew-in of the jacket including all the steps I took and all the fallacies you should avoid.
What I wanted: a slim and elegant look
The awful shoulder pads needed to go (because I already have the Romanesque square shoulders, thank you so much). I wanted a slimmer more flattering look, especially at the waist. This meant, that I had to size the jacket down considerably and while doing this create a flowing silhouette. The length of the jacket was ok, so I wanted to keep this.
Step by step altering the jacket
- First I undid part of the inlay seams at the sides of the jacket and then removed the sleeves fully. Attention: If you attempt something similar, I advise you to mark the sleeves as “right” and “left” before you unsew them. I forgot that and I’m still not one hundred percent sure I put them back in the right place.
- Then I ran in the the side seam considerably creating a nice hourglass like silhouette and then cut off the remains (*same thing with the inlay). How much to take away? I tried the jacket on and went from there pretty much by intuition. But if you’re unsure you can always pin the lines you would sow and try it on again.
- I took away around 5 cm (2.5”) on each side, so I had to transfer the sleeve, too. To get the sleeve hole right I created a makeshift template from the original one. But be careful when you’re making thinner sleeves. I applied rule of thumb and must have been extremely lucky with it. In retrospect I’m actually quite surprised I didn’t ruin it there.
- Then comes the easy part: setting the sleeves and closing the inlay seam. I didn’t bother to hide the seam at the sleeves, I just de-basted it. Et voilà: Tailor-made Vintage jacket! (Ok, it was much harder than it sounds in these few sentences…)
Do your dare to alter Vintage garments?
I’m really glad with how my altered vintage jacket turned out. It fits very tight now and I like that it’s made to wear open. I’m not one hundred percent content with it because one sleeve sits a little bit strange and I haven’t figured out yet, why that is.
It was a strange feeling at first to cut into this old jacket made of sturdy tweed fabric – especially when your cut is irreversible. The jacket was probably quite pricy at its time and I knew that if I messed up the whole thing was lost. I took some risks there but it turned out surprisingly well in the end and I’m proud of it.
Still – I wonder… Am I the only one having this strange respect for Vintage garments just because they’re old? Or is it the history of this piece that I’m changing forever and that makes me nervous?