Sewing ‘miss’ to sewing ‘hit’ – refashioning a too long, too large jacket

The very first project I ever sewed is a very cool jacket (Vogue 8623). While I love the jacket, the cool white fabric, the enormous collar, the orange brocade lining and the super-awesome vintage buttons, I don’t love the length, ending right at my hips, my very widest area. So I made it better. Behold!


As if the unfortunate hem-length wasn’t bad enough, the jacket was also about a yard too big. Since this was my first pattern, I didn’t know about choosing sizes based on high bust rather than full bust measurements, and I cut and sewed a size 24, rather than my now usual 18. The jacket is meant to be rather loose fitting, and has raglan sleeves, so the football player shoulder situation could be worse, but there was a lot of width in the hemline. Just where I don’t want it.

So I fixed it! I chopped off around six inches from the hem. I was in a hurry, so I re-hemmed by simply folding the white fabric under, then folding the orange fabric under, slightly shorter than the white fabric. I steamed and pinned to death, then topstitched. It’s not the cleanest hem in the world (and I broke a needle!), but it worked! I think topstitching was a good finish for the fabric, as it was so thick.

I removed about eight inches of width from the back by closing the back pleat and adding a new seamline right down the center back. Basically, I joined two edges of the back pleats and removed the ‘box’ part of the box pleat). Here are the before and after shots from slightly different angles. I really need to start using a tripod to take pictures!


I shortened to wear to a wedding, and was pleased (because I am a vain, vain creature. Like in a Jane Austen novel) to get a lot of compliments and “where did you get your jacket?” Along with the “oh! you should sell your things!” and “do you have an etsy site?” Which makes me not want to tell people that I can sew. Oh, my store would be a sad, sad place. With very few items, all overpriced and made for just one person’s taste. Mine, all mine!

My original review (with closeups of the awesome vintage buttons!) can be viewed here.

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  • Psycho Sue
    September 13, 2010

    i love it when we can make a sewing "blah" into a YAY! This is perfect, and as a pear I think this is the best flattering silhouette for us. The hip covering thing just….doesn't work. Very inspiring!

  • Andrea
    September 13, 2010

    I love your style! So far, I have really like every SSS outfit you've posted but this one really caught me. I'm running out today to buy these two patterns!

  • Debi
    September 13, 2010

    Fantastic refashion! I love the new length! I can't believe that was your first sewing project–it is amazing!

  • Heather
    September 13, 2010

    Haha! Great post and great reconstruction on a previously made item. I like it much better as a cropped jacket, especially what you did to the back! Good job.

    And yay Jane Austin! :)

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