Hello friends and happy Monday morning!
Yes, I realise my posts are currently all over the place. Frankly? I haven’t got a clue what day it is most of the time at the moment. Life in Coronatimes is wild, right? But I digress! Summer is well and truly over now, and as much as I love hazy sunny days, I certainly don’t miss the heat. As we go into autumn, though, I’m all about light jackets to pair with both my vintage and alternative styles! And a denim jacket? Perfect for this weather! So today I’m going to teach you step-by-step how to crop a denim jacket and alter it to fit you!
Roughly two years ago I did a post with Punky Pins on embellishing a denim jacket with pins and patches. I’d been given the jacket by The Boyfriend® just before, and loved it even though it really didn’t fit me at all. After The Lockdown Weight Gain, it really didn’t do much for me. So I decided to change it to something that works better for me!
First thing’s first; the grey/blue colour wasn’t doing much for me. So it was a simple case of throwing that into the washing machine with a Dylon capsule. It didn’t come out super black like I wanted, but another spin with a Dylon pack would sort that out. Remember that most thread is a polyester blend, and those don’t dye well or at all, but I really liked the yellow/gold stitching, so I was happy to keep it.
I air-dry everything (I live in London, we don’t know what a tumble dryer is), so I let it fully dry for a few days before I carried on. Make sure it’s bone dry before you cut or sew anything, or else you might end up with wonky seams!
How to Crop A Denim Jacket
Measuring is your friend here! Pop your jacket on and mark out where you want it to fit with a pin or some tailors chalk. I measured up from the bottom of the jacket in order to get the most cohesive measurement. My jacket has pockets, so I made sure to cut just above them so there was no excess bulk.
I pin just under where I want to cut, but you can mark out with chalk your exact line if you want to be ultra neat. Honestly, with my slapdash cutting I should’ve done the same! Learn from my mistakes, friends.
Once you’ve cropped your jacket successfully, you have two options. One, to keep the raw edge of your jacket and fray the denim. Two, do use the existing waistband to keep things neat. Both are cool, but I wanted this particular jacket to look a bit more ‘put together’, especially since I was planning on wearing this with more 50’s styles. Although the raw edges look awesome, so you do you!
With using the existing waistband, we’re not going to unpick and re-sew the waistband. Because one, I can’t be bothered to unpick the existing thread neat enough to re-use it. And two — who really has the time for that when we’re simply cropping a denim jacket? Think smarter, not harder. Or the alternative title of ‘I’m Too Lazy For That’.
Anyway. You’re going to measure from the top of the waistband what your usual seam allowance is. I use 1.5cm seam allowances, but I’d honestly suggest no less than that. Denim is bulky, yo!
From there, you will sew the right-sides of the fabric together with the raw edges touching, and it’s really that simple! I sewed particularly tight to where the edge of the waistband is, so that it kept it’s shape and length pretty true to my original markings. Not pictured but possibly important, I also overlocked my raw edges. This can also be done with a zig-zag stitch or Hong Kong seam by using bias binding to encase the raw edges should you not own an overlocker. Or if you’re a hero sewing by hand.
It’s also worth noting that you may need to pleat the back of the jacket — it will come up bigger in the back than your waist measurement. I had only an extra two centimetres, so I found the middle of the back panel and folded in half a centimetre each side to create a tiny inverted box pleat. It’s adorable, because small things always are.
Once it’s given a good press, steam and ironed five times to get the bulk of the seam to lie flat — it’s done! Et Viola! Half a days’ work, and you have the perfect cropped jacket to wear throughout Autumn and Spring. Best paired with a whole onslaught of enamel pins and patches, of course. Because I’m just that guy.
And now you know how to crop a denim jacket — the easy way!
Have you ever altered a denim jacket? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments!