Sunday, November 6, 2011


While I made my Halloween Prom Dress, I also fixed up a few blazer jackets that I bought at a thrift store.  Two of them were just hemming the sleeves, but one I modernized.  So, here are the three:

The Navy Suit Jacket
The Brown Linen Blazer
The Khaki Green Blazer

I will save the Navy one for last, because I worked the most on that one and will start with the Brown one.  All I did with the brown one was hem the sleeve about 1".  

Just Cut, Press & Sew

I was also thinking of making a cinch in the back to form fit it a bit, but I thought that it may look sloppy.  I just left it as is.

One Down...Two to Go

For my second blazer, I also only hemmed the sleeve length.  This one had buttons on it so I copied the button look.

Original Sleeve

I unstitched the buttons and measured where to cut and resew.

Markings with Chalk

I then marked with chalk where I was going to stitch to match what I just cut off.  I also made dots so I would know where to reattach the buttons.

Two Down...One to Go

Now the last one.  This looks like it was a suit jacket that once had matching pants from the 80's or something.  It was wool with a liner.  

Some great points:
  • Premium tailoring
  • Awesome vintage button 
  • Cropped (hit at the low waist, rather than hip)
  • Sleeves length fit
Some not so great points:
  • Shoulder pads (It was like a box on me)
  • Lapels that were unfolded and a bit claustrophobic
  • Liner was totally unstitched at the bottom hem
So, there are more pros than cons, so when I tried it on at the store, I decided to take a chance.

My first item of business were the shoulder pads.  If I can't get those right, then I wasn't going to work on the rest of it.  I unstitched the inside liner at the arm holes and this is what I saw in there:

Ick!  I don't even have words for this...

So, I cut the shoulder stuffing out and promptly threw it in the trash, never to look at it again.  For some reason, that grossed me out.  It was like looking at a couch cushion foam under the upholstery.  My advice:  Do Not Ever Look At Couch Cushion Foam (or the padding under rugs).  Enough said.

I then had to fit the shoulder seams.  Once the padding was out, they were deflated boxy shoulders - not a good thing.  This was a bit trial and error.  I pinned as best I could, crossed my fingers and sewed a new seam (meaning I didn't unstitch the old seam, just sewed in about an inch).

Shoulder Seaming

I then cut off the excess, once I was happy with the fit.  I had to try it on and tweak the seams a few times, but did finally get it good enough.

Next was the liner.  It was all unstitched.  With the liners to these sort of pieces, it must be done all by hand.  Good 'ole fashion needle and thread using the slip stitch.  

Ugh, Unstitched Little Devil!

Once my DVR'd episode of Danicing with the Stars was done, so was I with the handstitching.  Phew.  Go Ricki Lake!!  Who knew she was so good?

Next and last were the lapels.  I wanted to keep the vintage feel of this jacket and was thinking Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's: Elegant.  I went to Joann's and bought a button card with a white rhinestone in a black plastic bezel with a shank buttons.  The existing closure button also was a black shank button.

I folded down the lapels as you would normally see them and pinned in place.  I chalked my dots to affix my new rhinestone buttons to.

'Ole Navy is Getting a Make-Over

I then handstitched the buttons onto where the dots were.  This is how the lapels will stay folded.  Since the jacket is wool, there really is no other way than stitching them down to keep them in place.  Now that the buttons are in place, it looks like the lapels are buttoned down.

Fabulous, or What?

Here is a closer look at the lapels and shoulder shaping:

I Love It!

The Navy one took the longest, but the three in total cost me about $3 each and about an afternoon of sewing.  Not too shabby.  

Now that it is getting a bit cooler here (Florida), I am looking forward to wearing them.  If you have a bit of sewing talent, you really can fix up anything.  You just need your imagination and some thread.  Oh, scissors help too.

Happy Thrifting!

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