Altering a women's jacket to suit a larger figure can help solve a sizing problem and extend the life of the jacket. If the jacket construction includes simple sleeve seams and side seams easily opened with a seam ripper, you can insert narrow bands of fabric along these seams to expand the jacket's width. These fabric bands can include coordinating or contrasting colours and textures for a sporty or personalised look along the sides and sleeves. Carefully measuring and cutting the correct amount of fabric can help ensure a smooth assembly for a well-fitting jacket suited to the lady's figure.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Tape measure
- Paper and pencil
- Seam ripper or scissors
- Measuring gauge or ruler
- Fabric, coordinating or contrasting with jacket's fabric
- Straight pins
Measure the woman's figure: bust, waist, hips, shoulder length, arm length and arm width.
Compare these measurements to the garment's measurements. Calculate the difference and add 1 to 2 inches to allow for ease.
For example, if the woman's waist measures 28 inches, and the original jacket's waist is only 25 inches, the difference is 3 inches, plus 2 inches for ease in movement. Because the jacket has two side seams, divide this 5-inch width by two to create a 2 ½-inch expansion at each side seam.
Add a 5/8-inch-wide seam allowance on each side of each fabric panel.
Measure the length of the jacket and the sleeve to determine the lengths of the fabric bands. Record the measurements on paper.
Cut the four fabric bands according to the written measurements.
Open the side seams with a seam ripper. Open part of the hem closest to the side seams. Open the sleeve's long seam with the seam ripper. Open part of the armhole stitching close to the underarm stitching.
Pin one long edge of the band of fabric, right sides together with the jacket front, at the side seam.
Machine stitch with a straight stitch approximately 5/8-inch from the fabric's raw edge. Remove every pin that reaches the needle plate.
Pin this fabric band and the jacket's back side seam, right sides together.
Machine stitch 5/8 inch from the raw edge. Remove each straight pin as the fabric feeds across the needle plate.
Pin and machine stitch the second fabric band to the other jacket side. Remove every pin. Trim threads and excess fabric.
Press the seams.
Press and pin up the hem to align with the rest of the jacket hem. Sew neat catch-stitches to connect the hem with the rest of the garment.
Pin one band of fabric to one long edge of the opened sleeve, right sides together. Machine stitch 5/8 inch from the raw edges along the sleeve's length.
Pin this band to the other long edge of this sleeve, right sides together. Machine stitch 5/8 inch from the raw edge along the sleeve's long edge. The sleeve will have one long band or stripe.
Pin and machine stitch the remaining band of fabric to the second sleeve. Press the sleeve seams.
Sew each expanded armhole with two lines of stitching to reinforce the underam seam that connects the widened sleeves with the widened garment.
Press and pin up the sleeve hem to align with the rest of the sleeve hem. Sew neat catch-stitches to connect the hem to the sleeve.
Tips and warnings
- Lined jackets require corresponding adjustments to the lining shell so the garment and lining fit each other and hang smoothly on the woman's figure.
- Have the lady try on the jacket at different steps, such as after pinning one band of fabric to one side. Adjust the width of the band, if necessary.
- Re-hemming the sleeve hems with a narrower hem can extend the sleeve's length. Another option includes sewing a band of fabric to the sleeve's lower edge and creating a new hem allowance.
- Note that the amount of ease can vary according to the jacket's style.
- Be careful with the seam ripper, scissors and pins.
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