30 Aug 2014

Altering a bespoke tweed suit

This weekend I am quite engrossed with altering a vintage three piece tweed suit I bought in the Spring. The suit was originally bespoke made by Liverpool tailors Thos. Dowell  & Son.
I took a chance when acquiring the suit as the jacket was closer to a size 40; while I am a regular size 37. But the lovely fabric - a  heavy Cheviot in Dark Olive with warm orange/red overchecks - and the fact that the trousers fits perfectly convinced me that I would overcome the needed fitting of the jacket.
For a while I have been considering to do some alterations of a jacket myself as I would like to try making a perfect fit; I gained some sartorial experience and interest when I a few years ago made some Medieval 14th century clothing (jackets, hoses, trousers, waist coats and hats) entirely by hand. 
So this weekend's experiment is driven by pure curiosity and endeavour to splendor; more than trying to avoid my alterations tailor and his fee. Even though such costs would equal a lovely new Stenström's shirt...

Working concentrated on the right sleeve. The left sleeve is already attached with crude stitches.

I detached both sleeves as the jacket needed to be narrowed in shoulders, chest and shortened in sleeve lenght. 
Then I narrowed the shoulders by 1"1/4 each; I also removed excess fabric under the arms narrowing the chest and cutting the armholes higher.
Next step is to attach the sleeves; at the same time making sure that the sleeve lenght will be perfect.

Slightly terrifying appearance
The jacket has now been narrowed on each side and the armholes cut higher 

Fitting of the jacket

The waistcoat not yet altered; I will need to narrow the chest and armholes

I am rather pleased with the result so far - sleeve crudely stitched to the jacket


  1. Was the sleeve cap re-cut to match the new shoulder shape? Also did you mark the sleeve for matching again?

    If you haven't already, you might want to look at http://www.cutterandtailor.com/forum/

    1. Dear Marc, thanks for the link - I don't believe I have seen this forum before; looks very interesting!
      No, chose not to re-cut the sleeve cap as it's complicated affair with the working cuffs. When fitting the shoulders I took into consideration to get the right lenght and angle of the sleeves.
      Yes, I marked the sleeves for exact match when re-assembling the jacket.
      Thanks for your relevant questions, sir!