Adding a third button to a two-button jacket?

Discussion in 'Suits' started by carldelo, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    I'm wondering if converting a two-button to a three-button jacket is feasible. Has anyone done this? I searched the lounge and found nothing on point.

    I'm sure it can be done, but not whether it can be done well. Obviously the lapels must be reshaped - but can that be done by pressing only, or would alterations be involved? I'm wondering if the internal structure of the jacket would then be insufficient to hold the lapels in their new location with the right drape. I don't imagine it would be worthwhile to open up the jacket to rework the canvas (if it has canvas).
     
  2. skyvue

    skyvue Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,221
    Location:
    New York City
    I have wondered this, too -- most recently just the other day. I put on a 1950s two-button that I think would look better as a three-button, and when I slid my finger up and held it together approximately where the third button would be, it seemed as if it would be an easy change to make.

    But I'm no tailor and have no clue about clothes construction, other than just eyeballing it.
     
  3. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    I've done the same with jackets in a shop and wondered if it was feasible. Once I had a jacket come back from the dry cleaner pressed incorrectly. It was a 3-button that had been pressed as if it was 2-button. It made me think the reverse would be possible.

    I'm thinking I'd like to give this a try on a heavily-discounted 2-button jacket that I like the looks of. If the conversion fails, not too much would be lost - depending on how much tailoring is involved, of course.
     
  4. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Messages:
    13,719
    Location:
    USA
    For a canvas lined suit (I have no idea about fused) , pad stitching is employed to produce the roll line of the lapel. In order to change the roll you would need to remove the old stitching and restitch to the desired roll.




    [video=youtube;yxPcKRmByy0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxPcKRmByy0[/video]
     
  5. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    Wow, an amazing amount of hand work goes into the lapel roll. I think it would be crazy to try to change a jacket of that quality.

    I'm guessing in a cheaper fused jacket the lay of the lapel is created mainly by pressing, so could possibly be re-pressed. I'm heading by my tailor later, I'll ask her opinion on this.
     
  6. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Messages:
    13,719
    Location:
    USA
    Actually, only custom tailors and a few of the top manufactures pad stitch the lapels by hand these days, the rest use a pad stitching machine. They're pricey so your local alterations tailor will not have access to one.
     
  7. kpreed

    kpreed One of the Regulars

    I just buy 3-button jackets only, now days, but I do have a couple 2-button jackets that I really liked converted to 3-button. For me in a wheelchair, only 3-button jackets drape correctly on me these days.
     
  8. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    So, how do the conversions look? Does the newly-formatted lapel behave itself? I've had double vents closed up on four jackets and it is a completely invisible change - how do you judge the results of your 2 to 3 button conversions?
     
  9. Qirrel

    Qirrel Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    The suburbs of Oslo, Norway
    This doesn't really work with fused jackets either. The fusing does the same thing as pad-stitching, just in a less durable way. Besides, the collar also decides the roll of a lapel, so if the lapels are pressed out of their normal two button shape the collar will become distorted. If you want the lapel to roll higher, the collar must also roll higher. If you do press the collar to roll higher you risk revealing the undercollar felt.
     
  10. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Messages:
    13,719
    Location:
    USA
    Cary pushed it all the way to the top without showing any felt.




    [​IMG]
     
  11. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    What you say makes some sense to me - but are you speaking from actual experience, or just supposing? Have you seen the distortion you describe?
     
  12. Nobert

    Nobert Practically Family

    Messages:
    803
    Location:
    In the Maine Woods
    I'm going to throw something completely out of left field that may be utterly useless but, see if it presents any options.

    I looked at a suit in a local vintage/consignment shop some months ago. (I really wanted this suit, by the by. Gorgeous sunshot fabric, double breasted...but was way too big in the shoulders and waist, and the pants were too short and didn't feel like they had enough material to let out, at least without losing the cuffs...anyway, enough of my troubles).

    An interesting feature of this suit was that the inside of the lapels had all this cross-stitching, a sort of spider-web of lateral stiches all along the lapel. As this was a double-breasted, is obviously wasn't made to alter the number of buttons, but, is it possible that this method can be used to alter the roll of a lapel? I'm not sure if that means anything, but I put the observation there to see if the more knowledgable have anything to say about it.
     
  13. Qirrel

    Qirrel Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    The suburbs of Oslo, Norway
    Yes, I have tried this before. The jacket (completely fused) had only minor (almost not noticeable) fit issues after I had pressed it rather vigorously for 15 minutes. That was a low buttoning two button. The problems with the collar are much more obvious the higher up on the chest you go. So as long as you don't do it on a fully canvassed suit I guess you could have some success. I still think you would have to repress it quite often to force the lapels to stay where you want them though.
    Another thing which would make this ill-advisable is if the lapels bellow out, which they usually do, if only slightly so. Check out dinerman's suit on this page: http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?26-Show-us-your-suits/page463. You can see how the lapels bellow out after the two bottom buttons before breaking at the third button.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  14. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    Qirrel - thanks for your feedback. It sounds like this is a task that might be worthwhile on a thrift store find, assuming it was of no real vintage value in itself. I guess I'll have to keep looking for three-button jackets, although they are increasingly rare these days The few suits I've found recently with three-button jackets came with bizarrely low-waisted trousers - my next stop may be MTM.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.