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DIY trick: easily make (fused) jacket lapels narrower

j

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I was re-checking out this cashmere jacket (like your average soft camel hair sport jacket, just cashmere) that I've had for a long time, thinking it would look a bit more hip and I might actually wear it if it had slightly narrower lapels. This is a Nordstrom brand jacket, and having torn into another one before, I know it's fused inside. So I got to thinking, and tried this, and it seems to have worked well. If you have any fused jackets you never wear because the lapels are a bit wide (I know, a rather specific problem...) you might try this trick before ditching them. This might be more applicable to the Streetwear thriftists, but I know some of you here like a slimmer lapel. Anyway, FWIW I thought I'd post it.

I simply pressed out (with a press cloth and tons of steam) the crease from underneath the edge of the collar and top of the lapel, then refolded the collar edge a little narrower, being careful not to expose any of the melton lining under the collar. With gentle pressure from the back side and more steam (press cloth again) and shaping by hand, I was able to reset the crease about 1/4" or so inward, thereby narrowing the lapel a little bit, and it definitely changes the look of the jacket. They weren't really wide before, but now they look better IMO. As an added bonus, the lapel really rolls well now and contributes to a higher "stance", showing a bit less shirt for a bit more modern look.

BTW, the reason (I'm pretty sure) this will only work on fused jackets is that canvassed lapels have padstitching holding the lapel in its original shape, and further, that stitching often is close enough to the edge under the lapel that it might show if you tried this trick.

It also probably won't work well on a jacket with a pronounced belly (curve) to the lapel. Many jackets have the curve end just where the lapel is expected to finish rolling, just above the button, and it would look odd to do this to those. A good tailor would be able to edit out the curve, but it's up to you whether something like that is worth it.

I will try to post some pics if my card reader will decide to work.
 

chobochobo

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I've done this to a couple of ebay suits, though I've yet to wear them. It does work (Perry Ellis, Bill Blass - so probably fused too).
 

babygreenspots

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Let's say you wanted it to be significantly narrower. I have thrift-store jackets from the seventies that have a great fit otherwiese but very wide lapels - is it possible for a tailor to make these more managable - or is this not advisable? This would mean cutting it and resewing it. It seems like it could be a problem for the size of the notch, but I would like to hear others experience.
 

j

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Apparently, lapels can be edited quite well, the major limitation being the buttonhole. You don't want it to end up touching the edge. But if you have room, they can be recut relatively easily.
 

j

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Give it a shot then!

Here's a pic of the result (still need to take in the sleeves a bit, let them down and do the waist a bit too... I"m so picky):

 

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