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Working buttonholes alterations nightmare

alghul

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Hello,

I have a question about the options of shortening the sleeves of working buttonholes. I know it's a difficult process (won't make the mistake again of buying working cuffs OTR) but I want to know if what my tailor did is common practice and the best I could expect or if he just ruined the jackets and I should be compensated.

I brought my tailor 2 jackets with working buttonholes. I asked him to shorten the sleeves from the shoulders since I wanted the job to be done as perfect as possible. He told me it was too expensive and that he could do it directly from the sleeves. I was not convinced but I left and I trusted him since he's kind of a reputable tailor with a lot of experience where I live.

In any case, when I went to get my jackets back, to my horror, the buttons were not working anymore since all the extra fabric is now blocking the holes. I was super unhappy and told him it was not acceptable and that it ruined the jackets. He is very proud of his work and seemed very upset. He seemed to think that the work he did was good and the only option available. I asked him what he could do to make it better and he told me he could re-sew the buttons to make it work. I really fail to see how it could improve what he did but I figured it can't be worse. If it was a good option, he would have done it in the first place.

I will be picking-up my jackets next w-e and I want to know whether or not I should ask him to undo his work completely (if feasible) and bring it to another tailor or ask for some kind of refund

Thanks
 

Bromley

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I will be picking up my jackets next w-e so I don't have pictures. I just want to make sure I know what I am talking about in order to better negotiate with him when I go.
Shortening sleeves from the shoulder is a pretty advanced alteration, and I would guess it's probably beyond the purview of most alterations tailors. If you can find a tailor who is able to do it well, it makes sense that it would be expensive.

Shortening a sleeve from the hem necessarily means the distance from the last buttonhole to the sleeve hem would shorten. Depending on that distance, there may or may not be an acceptable margin to manipulate. Changing that distance would be my concern, not the functionality of the buttonholes.

If your tailor shortened the sleeve from the hem and the spacing from last button to sleeve hem looks fine, I'd say you should enjoy your better-fitting jacket and not worry about using those buttonholes.
 

alghul

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Shortening sleeves from the shoulder is a pretty advanced alteration, and I would guess it's probably beyond the purview of most alterations tailors. If you can find a tailor who is able to do it well, it makes sense that it would be expensive.

Shortening a sleeve from the hem necessarily means the distance from the last buttonhole to the sleeve hem would shorten. Depending on that distance, there may or may not be an acceptable margin to manipulate. Changing that distance would be my concern, not the functionality of the buttonholes.

If your tailor shortened the sleeve from the hem and the spacing from last button to sleeve hem looks fine, I'd say you should enjoy your better-fitting jacket and not worry about using those buttonholes.

Thanks for the answer. Would a spacing from the last button to the hem between 0,5'' & 1'' be acceptable?
 

Bromley

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I think if it looks fine to your eye that's all that matters. It's also a detail that no one is really going to notice. If my choice was between a too-long sleeve, or buttonholes close to the hem, I'd certainly choose a better fitting sleeve with the buttonhole compromise. If it really bothers you, you could just remove that last button-- the buttonhole itself may likely be less conspicuous.
 

alghul

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I think if it looks fine to your eye that's all that matters. It's also a detail that no one is really going to notice. If my choice was between a too-long sleeve, or buttonholes close to the hem, I'd certainly choose a better fitting sleeve with the buttonhole compromise. If it really bothers you, you could just remove that last button-- the buttonhole itself may likely be less conspicuous.

Good advise, cheers!
 

MaE

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I think if it looks fine to your eye that's all that matters. It's also a detail that no one is really going to notice. If my choice was between a too-long sleeve, or buttonholes close to the hem, I'd certainly choose a better fitting sleeve with the buttonhole compromise. If it really bothers you, you could just remove that last button-- the buttonhole itself may likely be less conspicuous.

I had a similar problem on one of my tweed jackets with functioning buttonholes. The sleeve was a bit too long and it would have been very complicated/expensive to shorten it by the shoulder. Therefore, I finally chose to shorten the sleeve the “easy” way and even if the first button is now quite close to the hem, I think it was well worth it and don’t regret it at all. I hope
this will help you!

9169CF25-A937-463F-B858-029AB267188C.jpeg
 

Thin White Duke

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I had a similar problem on one of my tweed jackets with functioning buttonholes. The sleeve was a bit too long and it would have been very complicated/expensive to shorten it by the shoulder. Therefore, I finally chose to shorten the sleeve the “easy” way and even if the first button is now quite close to the hem, I think it was well worth it and don’t regret it at all. I hope
this will help you!

View attachment 1410793
This doesn’t look bad at all.
I’ve had the same issue a few times. I don’t think I have disproportionately short arms so it pisses me off that several times I have to go through this. Anyway if my jacket worked out like this pic I’d be OK with that, and as you see it can be mitigated a bit by undoing the last button.
This is about as close to the edge as you can go with the buttons without it looking weird.
 

IJReilly

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I have never understood why anyone would ever open the buttons on their sleeve. It is a pointless function and should not be on RTW. As long as it looks good, don't worry about it.
 

Phileas Fogg

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first and foremost is the wearability of the jacket. If the sleeves are too long, the visual Oddity created by that dwarfs the issue of the buttons relationship to the sleeve. I think it looks fine.
 

Peking_Gent

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I have never understood why anyone would ever open the buttons on their sleeve. It is a pointless function and should not be on RTW. As long as it looks good, don't worry about it.

It's honestly only good for showing off cuff links. Or maybe for washing hands as the sleeves can be rolled up, I do that sometimes.
 

Keith Taylor

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I’ve shortened a sleeve from the shoulder myself, just as an educational exercise on a throwaway blazer, and having been through the experience it’s not something I’d ever ask of a tailor. These days I’m wary of even opening the shoulder lining to adjust the padding. There are just too many moving parts in too fine a balance to go fiddling around in there with any degree of confidence that you won’t screw it up. It can be like opening up the back of a watch and seeing the springs fly across the room.

As others have said, correct fit in the sleeve is more important than retaining working cuffs or maintaining a prescribed distance between buttonholes and hem. Poor fit is visible across a room but a slightly iffy buttonhole is only noticeable up close, and it will usually only be noticed by weird obsessives like us :)

P.S. If you ever want to see a real butchering of a sleeve you should visit the seamstresses of Mongolia. A few years ago I took the suit I wore to my wedding to have the sleeves shortened, and since the old dears who do this kind of thing aren’t all that familiar with western clothing I got mine back with the sleeves simply folded in on themselves and clumsily resewn as unbroken bulky tubes, a sight roughly recreated below using a jacket I’m altering right now. Nightmare.

FFD1083B-CFEC-4E40-B1DA-5C0FF240C738.jpeg
 

d00d

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I'm resurrecting an old thread here, but I recently had this problem with two jackets I had made for me where the tailor made the working buttonholes for the second fitting, without having measured properly from my thumb to wrist bone. I thought it was good enough at first and foolishly didn't speak up.

Long story short, I had the sleeves shortened directly from the cuff, after three different tailors told me that shortening from the sleeves would be too difficult. One sleeve has around a half inch from the last button to the bottom of the sleeve, the other has about an inch.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's FAR better than having sleeves that are too long. I don't like wearing jackets unless the sleeves go to my wrist bone and show ~1/2" or so of cuff, so this is the lesser of two evils. I never notice/think about the fact that there's a gap between the two sleeves. And frankly, I can't remember the last time I actually noticed the distance between the last button and the sleeve on anyone else's jacket. A costly learning experience but one I can live with.

From now on, I'm simply not getting working buttonholes until I have time to wear around the jacket for a bit with a few different shirts.
 

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Mirage-

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I always have to shorten my sleeves, unless I buy from SuitSupply that is, so I purposefully stay away from working cuffs. The tailor usually removes the first button, but once I used a different one and she did not, so now I have the buttons close to the hem. I initially thought it was a disaster, but to be honest, after wearing it a couple of times, I realized that not only no one notices it, I don't even notice it myself.

And frankly, I can't remember the last time I actually noticed the distance between the last button and the sleeve on anyone else's jacket.
Indeed, I can't recall ever noticing that on others either. And I am paying attention, as I do notice how most people wear jackets that are way too short, and often with (imo) horrible skinny lapel and pointless single-vent back.
I have come to the conclusion that every other detail about the jacket is probably more important.
 

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