24 May 2013

Upgrades and Improvements

I've often mentioned the importance of a good relationship with a skilled tailor. Fit is everything, and regardless of whether you buy clothing new or thrift, the help of a good alterations tailor will make all the difference in how well you look in your clothes. A good tailor can also help with alterations having nothing to do with fit, customizing stock garments and making them more your own.
This is a linen jacket by Polo, made in Italy. In the warmer months its a favorite, especially with white trousers and driving moccasins. My only problem with it is the full lining. A linen jacket should be light and breathable, and a full lining just doesn't make sense.
I recently had my tailor remove most of the back lining, and the jacket is much better now. This is how it should have been constructed in the first place.
This isn't an easy job, and not one that every corner dry cleaners can perform. It will require a lot of hand work, so if you do this find a skilled tailor. After the lining is cut out, the edge will need hand finishing.Additionally, the exposed seams will need edge treatment. A full lining is usually there to hide unfinished edges in the first place. On a better jacket built with a half lining, the edges will be finished or taped with strips of the same material as the lining. In this case, there was little extra fabric, so he edged have been surged to prevent fraying.
A piece was cut from the extra material to build a lining for the vent. Look closely, this was also done by hand. The exposed edge of the skirt also required hand finishing. 
The jacket originally had brown buttons,
which I had changed for white to give it a more casual feel. 

This isn't a cheap alteration, but considering that I got the jacket for next to nothing in the first place, the overall cost is still a deal. The jacket is now much better than when I got it, and still cost under $75 all told.  One of the many benefits of thrift shopping is that with things being as cheap as they are, you can really spend some money to get your alterations just right, and in the end wind up with better quality clothing that fits better for a fraction of the cost of new, lower quality stuff.  Thrifted clothing, far from being a compromise, cab in fact be an upgrade and an improvement.

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Marc said...

This is an alteration I perform fairly regularly and it's a good job.

I'm not of fan of using the serging machine for visible seams; taping these would have been better and added some summer colour. Turning and stitching them is another option. It won't show through the jacket back. It;s easy to iron a part-lined coat from inside.

It's less of a bother to create a buggy lining than might be supposed. It's not difficult to remove the extra lining up to the back seam of the side body (or removing the back and side body). It's just unpicking seams. The remaining front lining covers two of the seam edges so not all that much taping is needed really.

One other thing: I don't find that lightweight viscose linings add all that much weight or heat, and linen linen helps a lot with reducing the rumpling at the back. The option should be there though and I think your coat looks good and should be how you want it.

Old World Gent said...


If the lining is silk, rather than the synthetic stuff that many (most?) manufacturers use, the back lining will not make the jacket any less cool or breathable. It will also keep the back of the jacket from sagging.

Natalie said...

Willing to share the name of your tailor? I've yet to find one who is willing to undertake the task.

Joe said...

This was done by Le Couturier House of Alterations in Central Square, Cambridge, Mass. They're good.

Boston Bean said...

Le Couturier is highly recommended.

Address: 550 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139

Email: lecouturier@comcast.net

Phone: 617-497-1258

Business Hours
Monday – Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Joe said...

They're not exactly cheap, but they are well worth whatever they charge for their work.