Saturday, September 30, 2006

Refashioning a ready-to-wear silk velvet jacket

Well, this is more of an alteration than a refashion, but refashion just sounds better don't you think?

Anyway, I found this great little silk velvet jacket at Nordstrom's Rack marked down from $198 to $30. The fit was a bit off, but no problem - I know how to sew - so I purchased it.

The major problem was the sleeve length. The sleeve hem hung past my fingertips (not including the lace trim), so I knew I had to shorten them. The back was a bit too wide, the button was too ornate and heavy for the fabric, and the front had something funky going on with the darts.

The side seams are ruched which you can barely see in the photo. I decided to mimic that design on the sleeves rather than rehem them. That would be quicker and I wouldn't have to take the lace trim off and resew it back on.

The first thing I did was turn the jacket inside out to find out where the lining was sewn together. Typically you can find a machine sewn seam on the lining of one of the sleeves. Sure enough, it was on the sleeve. I took my seam ripper and removed the stitches, which left an opening about seven inches long, which is long enough to get the entire jacket through to turn it insside out.

This is what the jacket looks like when it has been pulled completely through the opening in the sleeve lining. The ruching at the side seam was done by gathering the fabric and sewing the side seam securing the gathers in place. My plan was to use elastic in the seam allowance of the sleeve to mimic the waistline ruching as I thought this would be quicker. While it would indeed have been quicker it did not provide a nice ruching effect.

The sleeves are two piece sleeves. Before beginning my alterations, I had tried on the jacket and pulled the sleeves up to the length I wanted them and measured the distanced. In my case I determined I needed the gathering stitches to start 7-1/2" from the hemline.

To achieve the ruchhung on the sleeve, I sewed two rows of long machine stitches on each sleeve seam. I then pulled the gathers up to measure 3-1/2". Next, I sewed a piece of stay tape over the gathers to secure them in place.

With the jacket still wrong side out, I took in the back shoulder seams by 1/4" on each side. I pulled the jacket back through the lining and tried it on. The sleeves looked much better, but the shoulder/bust area still didn't look right. This jacket needed a small shoulder pad. I dug through my old stash of shoulder pads and found one that gave the shaping I was looking for. This one would also provide a bit of support in the upper chest area of the jacket.

The final step was to replace the fancy button. It was too heavy for this fabric causing the front to sag and ripping the fabric behind the button. I found a copper brown flat button that compliments the jacket well.

The jacket is as "refashioned" as its going to be. The bust area is still a bit odd, but I think it has to do with the way the dart is positioned and the ruching at the side seam so it can't be reshaped at this point. I like the way the sleeves mimic the side seams ... it really adds some more interest to the jacket.

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  1. Wow! Thanks for detailing the "refashion" of this jacket. It truly looks so much better now. What a creative touch with the sleeves.

  2. Sharon, What a score - $30.00!
    Yes, you are right, the sleeves now add great interest to the jacket. And the shoulder pads help it too. What a great find.



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