Question on Alterations

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Jaxenro, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    254
    At what point would you consider a suit not worth altering for size? I dropped about 20 pounds from maybe 220 to 200 and might go down another 5 to 195. I was a 46R with 40” waist pants now maybe a 38 waist and possibly a 44R depending on the cut (not all 46’s are the same)

    Should I look at buying new? Can I drop the waist 2” without it looking funny? What about the coat? I have some nice suits I don’t want to lose
     
  2. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Pants can be altered plus or minus three inches with no problem; anything greater than four inches throws off things like the spacing and placement of the back pockets, where the out-seam sits relative to front and back, etc.

    A particularity skilled tailor can re-cut and reduce a coat quite a lot. But realistically, anything more than one size presents problems because, the greater the chest and jacket-waist are reduced, the more elongated the armholes become (picture an upside down teardrop shape). At some point, the elongated armholes pinch the underarms and back chest below the shoulder blades, thus restricting movement.

    Cost is another factor to consider: you might pay a few hundred per jacket re-cut. So unless a suit is irreplaceable or cost a significant amount, it may be more cost-effect to just replace it.
     
    Patrick Hall likes this.
  3. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    13,426
    Location:
    New York City
    This ⇧ is spot on. The real key, IMHO, is the jacket as if you are truly down a few inches in the shoulders (in particular), then it becomes very hard and very expensive to make the jacket truly fit and look good. When doing major alterations on a jacket, so many proportions need to be fixed and so much underlying construction needs to be done well that - most of the time, despite good work - odd things like a bubble in the upper back or puckering around the chest area, etc., will still occur and prevent the suit from truly looking crisp and neat.

    Congrats on your weight loss. My sincere suggestion is to get down to your "ideal" weight, prove to yourself that you are going to sustain it there (hey, it's not easy for anyone, so that's not a knock on you) and, then, devote your budget to buying new suits appropriate to your new size. In the end, your money will be better spent that way and you'll have suits truly structured to fit your new frame.
     
  4. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    254
    The good news is some of the weight loss just gets me back to where I was

    There really isn’t a lot of difference between the shoulders on a 44R and a 46R it’s more at the stomach I think I will try one and go from there

    Pants I am mostly good on we are talking 2” at most
     
  5. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    254
    So I took one in to my tailor to test and they didn’t think it was actually that much of a change just trim a little from the back seam and cost about $30. So I will see when I get it back
     
  6. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Messages:
    376
    Location:
    Italian living in Spain
    I usually suggest one size, no more. This however depends on the pattern (stripes, solid or check) and also style of the garment. Realistically, for somethign to look and fit properly, I wouldn't suggest to alter more than one size
     
  7. Jaxenro

    Jaxenro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    254
    The 46R’s I get are usually too big around the waist but 44R’s are almost always too tight at the shoulders so I have been having my 46’s taken in at the waist and it seems to be working out
     
  8. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Over the hills and far way
    I would advise great caution, and to have a reliable tailor. I had an issue with too big a suit (bought it when I was less experienced, and kept it in closet because shoulders were 1 size too large) and had it retailored (length and shoulders). I don't know how to explain but all the proportions became weird after (ratio with lapels, pocket positions). You won't change the length so that's fine, but even the arms will move. As for my unfortunate experience, I just got rid of this suit now... Best,
     
  9. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    378
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    The success of alterations is a matter of how much the tailor is skilled in concealing the work done but there are also some physical limits beyond which the alteration will be apparent to you every time you see it.
    Altering length is probably one of the trickiest, since if the jackets already starts with low pockets and low button stance you will definitely feel that something is off. I had it done on a Versace suit that was 1 inch about longer than I preferred. The alteration turned out satisfying only because the suit had higher than normal button stance and pockets.

    Shoulder reduction is also prone to that, especially when an attempt to tame down a fiercely wide 90s shoulder is made. It will look off because at the end you can not get rid of the bulky pad without making the jacket look like a sack. With less strong shoulders and less extreme reductions it may work but then the benefit is much less too.

    Sometimes, however, it is better to take the risk than living with ugly ill fitting garments.
    An alteration that I find essential, instead, is altering the collar size. And by that I mean unstitching the collar, taking in the centre back, shortening the collar piece at one side and reattaching it. It does wonders on the fit across the upper back, as it will make the collar sit snugly against the neck. Also, if one has a lower shoulder, doing the shortening at the stronger side will help balancing the gorge.
    As a side effect, one shortens the shoulder line a bit as well, which helps if one has a jacket which feels slightly roomy on the upper back.
    The problem is - most alterationists won't bother to do that, either because they are lazy or have no idea how to really work with coats.
     
    Patrick Hall likes this.
  10. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    852
    I did not want to make a separate thread about this-- Does anyone know if a tailor can shorten a suit jacket by 2 inches? I read an article on alterations that stated doing any more than 1 inch isn't worth the risk. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
     
  11. Hap Hapablap

    Hap Hapablap One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    130
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    My biggest concern would be the pockets/pocket flaps looking too low if that makes sense. Maybe fold the skirt up and see if the pockets look weird to you. That would be my deal breaker.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    MondoFW likes this.
  12. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,682
    Location:
    New Forest
    This is just a suggestion. If you know of a dealer who trades in vintage attire, you could sell your unaltered, now oversize garments and at the same time, buy correct size and have a new look wardrobe. For example, I have a size 42, pure cashmere overcoat that I bought new many years ago. I sold it to a dealer and for an extra twenty pounds I bought a superb, Savile Row suit. It was a wrench to see my beloved cashmere coat go, but as I have gained weight, it has become more of a tight fit. Someone else will get good wear out of it and in the meantime, I'm more than pleased with my Savile row suit.
     

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