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Refacing a tuxedo lapel - a work in progress (with pictures)

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Recently, I was asked to participate in a wedding and the dress code is black tie. I am a very difficult fit and can't just go to a store and rent or buy, but I do have my grandfather's old tuxedo, an Armani Collezione from the mid to late 90s, I think and it fits passably (but still needs work). It has (or had) those low and wide notch lapels that Armani was known for. They drew a lot of attention to my gut and I decided to change them to peaks. While this is normally impossible as you need to add material to the ends of the lapels, you run into trouble with the facing. However, as I would just be replacing the facing anyway, I could build a peak and it would be hidden by the new facing. With me so far?

I first drew up a template for the peak on some heavy paper, chalked out an outline on some wool and canvas, and basted it to the ends of the lapels. I did a double cross stitch where the raw ends of the canvasses met, trimmed the peak canvas, padded, and secured the edge of the fabric. I wanted to leave as little bulk as possible on the underside, so rather than turning the raw edges of the wool addition, I did a tight double cross stitch to prevent fraying. It's not so visible in these pictures, but it's there.

The next step was to cover the canvas with flannel to prevent it from leaving impressions during pressing. While I don't have any proper black flannel used by bespoke tailors, I did have a pair of sleeves that I picked up while working in alterations at a local MTM company. They have widely set stripes, so it was also useful as a guide to space stitching. As the original sewing at the lapel edges went through the satin, edge tape, and shell cloth, the tape and cloth were left unconnected after I took off the original satin. To secure them, I laid down the red stitching visible at the edge of the lapel. The flannel was then secured by a loose cross stitch to the edge tape (not pictured; I'll take a picture when I finish the other lapel.)

After securing the flannel, I chalked out the facing accounting for the new peak, put in thread markers, cut it out and basted it on. This is shown in the above picture. After finalizing the gorge, I realized that it was too low and kind of out of proportion with the peak:

I then chalked out a new gorge line (visible in the picture above, also the bottom line in the picture below.) I also let out what I could from the outside of the collar seam to balance out the new gorge (the top line represents the old collar edge.) I'm going to have to cut out a new facing and start over. (I did some of the felling on the gorge in white thread, but I have no intention of keeping it like that. I only used white because it was lying around and was meant to be temporary anyway.)

This is about as far as I've gotten, but I'll post more pictures as I progress. I plan to add a lapel hole and have yet to secure the lining, so I'll document those also. Enjoy!
post #2 of 2
Very cool thread, thanks for sharing.
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