How will my tailored coat turn out?
January 8, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Tailoring question: Tell me what to expect if I have my wool coat altered. Details and pictures inside.

I have very little experience with having clothes tailored, so I have no idea what is possible and what isn't.

I own a wool peacoat. I would like the sleeves to be 1 inch, possibly 2 inches longer. I asked two tailors if it could be done, and they both said yes. I'm assuming this would be done by taking out the hem and using the extra fabric that is already there (about 1 inch).

Here are pictures of the sleeves:

Outside detail
Inside detail
Outside and inside

Is this a common task that tailors perform? How good of a job can I expect them to do on this? Will the sleeve edges look exactly the same as before on the outside? How about on the inside? Will there be crease marks where the hem used to be?

Now, lets say I wanted to lengthen the sleeves by greater than one inch -- since it doesn't look like the hem is more than one inch, should I assume this is not possible? Or are there some magic tailoring tricks I am not thinking of?

Give me any details you can think of -- don't assume I know anything just because it's obvious.

posted by whataboutben to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
Generally, if you have a good tailor, they will do a good job. Ask around in your local area (or here) for recommendations. For instance, I have a nice little asian lady about 4 blocks from me who I would entrust with any garment for any reason. If she says it can be done, it can be done.
posted by jckll at 4:00 PM on January 8, 2009

This looks very, very simple. As long as the tailor is reasonably competent, you will get the coat back looking exactly like it does now, just two inches longer in the sleeves!
posted by crabintheocean at 4:11 PM on January 8, 2009

Yes. That's a very, very common alteration that you could really just do at your dry cleaner or something like that. If it's a vintage pea coat, make sure there isn't significant wear at the edge, or you'll get a sort of stripe of wear if you let it out. Also: if they're really stretching how far they take it out, it might look slightly different on the inside. Besides that, go to town.
posted by YoungAmerican at 5:10 PM on January 8, 2009

I can't really tell from the pictures, but it doesn't look like there is much hem allowance there. I wouldn't bet on them being able to let it down much more than an inch (you can always tell them to lengthen it as much as possible up to two inches, and see what they can do). It also looks like the hem was sewn by machine with a straight stitch- I think can see a row of stitching about an inch from the current hem. This row of stitching may not be exactly the same distance from the hem as it is now, or the tailor may prefer to use a slightly different technique, especially if there isn't much extra fabric to work with. So it might not look exactly like it does now, but it won't look different enough to be a big deal. If the fabric is relatively new and unworn, there won't be creases or anything.
posted by doift at 5:37 PM on January 8, 2009

Best answer: It's hard to tell from your photo, but there is probably more seam allowance underneath the lining, so it's possible that the tailor could lengthen it by more than 1".

Also, I work as a seamstress for theater costume shops. Sometimes we have to lengthen pants, for example, and there isn't enough fabric to do a regular folded-over hem. In that case we stitch another type of fabric to the edge and fold that under. That might be an option if you get some closely-matching fabric.

Like everyone else says, this is a very common alteration and it should look fine. Wool is very forgiving, so they should be able to easily remove any creases along the old hemline.
posted by apricot at 10:51 PM on January 8, 2009

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