1940s Double Breasted Suit Alteration pt1



I'm not going to be able to make myself anything for the Air Raid this year. I feel safe saying that considering it's tomorrow! Not to worry, I have plenty to choose from, and I have an outfit already picked out! I'm in a separates mood...


I am working on a project for the event. A dance friend of mine bought a mid 40s double breasted suit from the Santa Monica Vintage Expo and needed to have it altered. I was SO up for the job!

I love working on vintage garments! Oh, the stories they tell. the history you can feel just by touching the fabric. It's such an education, especially if you love sewing.


This suit is a great pinstripe and it's fabric has an amazing weight. It's wool, of course, and despite a couple of mends (very, very professional mends) the wool is in amazing condition. It's been altered a few times, and the current wearer needs to have the waist let out about an inch, and the pant legs shortened about 3".

This was the only bad mend. The fabric on
the inside of the cuff does not match.
First I took on the pant legs. Cuffed, ugh. What I wanted to make sure I did was laid everything out smoothly and evenly. I looked at the finishes on the fabric and slowly cut away the machine hem stitch from the cuff.


Using the markings I took when I had my friend try on the suit, I marked both legs and then pressed out the old cuff (after cleaning it, we all know lint gets caught in there). The cuff was 1 3/4" deep. I kept that deepness on the shorter cuff. I was afraid that the taper of the pant leg would not be dramatic enough and I'd get a bit of pucker at the new cuff hight, which I did.


But, I pressed it out stretching the cuff wider ever so slightly and its fairly worked out. If I had more time, and were more meticulous about it, I'd actually take in the side of the leg about 1/4" and then cuff it. But I didn't.


From there, I folded over the cuff, pressed and cut the excess. I know, cutting a vintage garment! There was too much length in the leg not to cut it. With the new length, I plan on adding some bias tape across the raw edge and hand tacking it up. Presto, new cuff!



With that out of the way (sewing them tomorrow), I went to the main alteration, the waist. As I looked over the garment, I could see that the seat had been taken in a good 4 inches! Well, this tall man must of had no ass so I have plenty fabric to work with.


My biggest concern was the bias cut canvas on the inside of the waistband. I thought the tailor who took in the seat cut out the excess and I'd have to replace it with some muslin I have in my stash. Well heck fire, you gotta love classic tailors.


They carefully folded the excess into the waist, and all I had to do was take out the seam and place in my new one. I mean, it was too easy! Too easy!


I did have to take off the back seam belt loop. Looking on the inside it was cool to see that overlocking. I wonder what the machine looked like that did that!

So as I had prepared myself for a real challenging alteration of a vintage garment, I got a standard alteration thanks to a wonderful tailor who saw a suit that would last longer than the life of it's original wearer. Thank you kind sir. I will also do you justice when I alter the suit jacket.

Tune in tomorrow!


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post - so thoughtful and interesting

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're amazing Shelley! It's fun to see how a professional tackles alteration problems. My grandmother and great-grandmother were professional seamstresses so I have a great admiration for anyone who can really sew well and really enjoy watching the process.

    ReplyDelete

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