How much can a jacket be altered?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by j, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    I guess my question is both general and specific. I have an Oxxford suit that I posted about earlier. The shoulders fit me well. However, the chest measures to 46", while I measure 40". The waist, at the top button (of 2) measures 43", while my waist at that point is about 32-33". The skirt is about 46" which is about 3" too big. The sleeves are not an issue obviously, and they don't have working buttonholes so they are easy. The pants would also have to be taken in accordingly- they are about a 36 if memory serves, and might need recutting.

    Will it be possible to alter this suit to fit me, or would I do better to sell it on ebay and use the proceeds toward something closer to my size?

    More generally, what dimensions of a suit can be altered satisfactorily, assuming a good tailor? And by how much? Can the chest of a garment be taken in 3"? The waist 6-7"? Can the shoulder breadth ever be altered? This is a question that must have come up on here at some point, but I haven't seen it. In general what can be done to a jacket?
     


  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Generally the chest is pretty hard to take in, especially 6" I would try to find something within 2-3" of your chest measurement. Of course, a tailor could dissassemble the entire jacket and recut/sew it, but it would likely not be worth it, as it's not too hard to find Oxxford stuff on ebay for a relatively low price.
     


  3. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    If his chest is 40," he wants a 46" taken in at most 2-3 inches.
     


  4. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Sorry, misread the info about the chest panel. You could likely get it take in enough to fit in the chest panel, and in some of the other places, however, you are probably paying more in alterations than you would pay to get a similar jacket that fits you.
     


  5. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    That sounds like some heavy jacket reconstructing. The chest itself will be tough to alter because you have all those pads inside that might have to be recut or they'll end up under your arms. The waist can be taken in at the side seams, but more than 1" will require something done to the sleeves; the armholes will be smaller and the sleeves will have to be retapered in order to fit them. The skirt can be adjusted at the side seams, probably the easiest alteration to do.

    My suggestion would be to sell it and save up for a good MTM.
     


  6. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    i agree with alias. if the jacket doesn't fit in the chest, little can be done to alter it.

    as for your shoulder question, i've had the shoulders made more narrow. i believe it's an alteration to the seem that runs down the back. it cost me about $45. this will also shorten the sleeves somewhat so it should be done before altering the sleeves.
     


  7. bestmastertailor

    bestmastertailor Well-Known Member

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    Sell or give it away, and buy a good made-to-measure suit from a reputable tailor. There is entirely too much alteration and the garment will never be "right". An old saying in our trade is "the best alteration, is no alteration".
     


  8. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    That's what I figured. I'm not extremely attached to it, so I will put it on ebay. I should be able to get enough for it to buy one closer to my size, and start from there. Thanks everyone.
     


  9. MilanoStyle

    MilanoStyle Senior member

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    Ahhh .. I think you and I have similar problem when buying RTW suits. Except, you have bit smaller body frame than me in 44R, which makes problem bit worse than me(?).

    my chest is about 44". under 44R, chest fits pretty good.
    my waist is 33", this is my biggest problem. probably for you as well.

    In jacket, you can alter fair bit on the waist seam. middle seam at the back. Thats about it. Tailor can determine how much he can take in. It all varies your seat size, upper back etc..

    Do not worry about pants, tailors can bring down 38" waist into 33" no problem. Some will yepp saying .. this pants are huge and pockets will get too close etc.. When done it right, it looks as good as natural 33" waist pants.

    I have not met a signle tailor who got it right at one shot. you may need to visit other tailors multiple times to get it right (like i have).
     


  10. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    If you got it at a thrift store or something, you should unsew it and teach yourself some sewing techniques and sew it back together. It's so fun. I do this all the time, I'm not good, but it's still fun.
     


  11. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Brian,

    I've done that before and I might consider it on one of the other suits I have lying around, but this is an Oxxford in basically perfect condition. I wouldn't dare do it. It would be like tearing apart a Mercedes Gullwing to learn how a carburetor works. For a skilled mechanic with proper tools, that might be okay, but in my case, it would be like doing that with only a Crescent wrench.
     


  12. bestmastertailor

    bestmastertailor Well-Known Member

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    the first thing you learn as a tailor when apprenticing:
    To rip, is to learn.
     


  13. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Senior member

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    Can an unvented or single vented jacket, be altered to make a side vented jacket?
     


  14. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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  15. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Senior member

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    (Leo Jay @ 21 Oct. 2004, 12:47) Can an unvented or single vented jacket, be altered to make a side vented jacket?
    No; there is no excess cloth built in at the sides. Â You need that overlap so that the vent does not perpetually look open.
    Oh, ya. Good point. Thanks for the quick reply.
     


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