Can Leather Jackets Be Tailored? A Definitive Guide

Photo of a brown leather jacket being tailored. Can Leather Jackets Be Tailored?

Are you wondering if your leather jacket can be tailored to fit you better? The answer is yes, but with some factors to consider. Leather jackets are a classic and versatile piece of clothing that can last a lifetime, but sometimes they don’t fit perfectly off the rack. Luckily, tailoring can help you achieve the ideal fit for your body type.

When it comes to tailoring a leather jacket, it is essential to find a skilled tailor who has experience working with leather. Most alterations occur near the seams of either the sleeves, shoulders, chest, and armpits of the leather jacket. However, tailors find it difficult to alter thick leather jackets and areas with multiple pockets and zippers.

Additionally, the type of leather used to make the jacket can also affect the ability to tailor it. For some leather jackets, you may only be able to tailor if your leather jacket is a natural, untreated hide. If it’s made of faux or artificial fur, then tailoring can often damage and even destroy the coat.

Whether you want to shorten the sleeves, take in the sides, or create a slimmer fit, tailoring can help you achieve your desired look. However, it is essential to keep in mind the type of leather jacket you have and the cost of tailoring.

Below, we’ll dive deeper into the factors you should consider when tailoring your leather jacket and the expected costs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leather jackets can be tailored: With the help of a skilled tailor experienced in working with leather, you can alter your leather jacket to achieve a better fit.
  • Considerations when tailoring: Factors such as the type of leather used and the complexity of the alterations needed should be considered before tailoring a leather jacket.
  • Finding a skilled tailor: Look for a tailor who specializes in leather jackets and has experience working with the unique properties of leather. Recommendations and online reviews can help you find a reputable tailor.
  • Tailoring process: The tailoring process involves finding a skilled tailor, taking measurements, and making the necessary alterations to achieve the desired fit. Clear communication with the tailor is important to ensure your preferences are met.
  • Challenges in tailoring: Tailoring leather jackets can present challenges due to factors such as the insulation or lining system, the thickness of the leather, and the need for special equipment. Working with a professional tailor can help overcome these challenges.
  • Alterations and adjustments: Various alterations can be made to improve the fit and style of a leather jacket, including shortening sleeves, taking in the sides, hemming cuffs or waistband, and altering pockets or zippers.
  • Cost considerations: The cost of tailoring a leather jacket can vary depending on the complexity of the alterations and the skill level of the tailor. It’s important to consider the investment as an opportunity to have a well-fitted jacket that can last for years.

Understanding Leather Jackets

If you are wondering whether a leather jacket can be tailored, it is important to understand the unique characteristics of leather. Leather is a versatile and durable material that is commonly used in clothing, including outerwear like jackets. However, not all leather is created equal, and the type of leather used can affect how easily a jacket can be tailored.

Cowhide is one of the most common types of leather used in leather jackets. It is a thick and durable material that is often used for motorcycle jackets and other leather outerwear. Cowhide can be tailored to fit your body type, but it is important to work with a professional tailor who has experience working with leather.

Faux leather is another type of material that is commonly used in leather clothing. It is a synthetic material that is designed to look and feel like leather, but it is usually less expensive than real leather. Faux leather can be easier to tailor than real leather, but it is important to check the care instructions before attempting any alterations.

When it comes to specific leather materials, there are many different types of leather that can be used in leather jackets. Some of the most popular types of leather include:

  • Lambskin: a soft and lightweight leather that is often used in fashion jackets
  • Goatskin: a durable and water-resistant leather that is often used in motorcycle jackets
  • Suede: a type of leather with a napped finish that is often used in casual jackets

While leather jackets can be tailored, it is important to keep in mind that not all leather materials are suitable for alterations. Thicker leather materials and areas with multiple pockets and zippers can be more difficult to tailor.

Fun Fact:

Did you know that leather jackets were originally designed for pilots in the military? The jackets were made from sheepskin and were designed to keep pilots warm while flying in open cockpits during World War I.

The Tailoring Process

So, you’ve decided to tailor your leather jacket. Great choice! Tailoring your leather jacket can help you achieve the perfect fit and make it look like it was made just for you. But what does the tailoring process involve? Here’s what you need to know:

Finding a Skilled Tailor

The first step in tailoring your leather jacket is finding a skilled tailor. It’s important to find a professional tailor who has experience working with leather and understands the unique properties of the material. Look for a leather tailor or expert tailor who can make the alterations you need without damaging the jacket.

Taking Measurements

Once you’ve found a skilled tailor, the next step is to take measurements. The tailor will measure your body to determine where alterations need to be made. It’s important to wear the clothes you plan to wear with the jacket during the fitting so the tailor can get an accurate idea of how the jacket will fit.

Making Alterations

After taking measurements, the tailor will make the alterations needed to achieve the perfect fit. The tailor may need to take in the seams or shorten the sleeves, depending on your specific needs. It’s important to communicate your preferences clearly to the tailor so they can make the alterations to your satisfaction.

The Cost of Tailoring Your Leather Jacket

The cost of tailoring your leather jacket will depend on the extent of the alterations needed and the skill level of the tailor. Generally, tailoring a leather jacket is more expensive than tailoring other types of clothing due to the unique properties of the material. However, the cost is worth it to achieve the perfect fit and make your jacket look like it was made just for you.

Hints and Tips

Here are some hints and tips to keep in mind when tailoring your leather jacket:

  • Be clear about your preferences and communicate them to the tailor.
  • Look for a skilled tailor who has experience working with leather.
  • Wear the clothes you plan to wear with the jacket during the fitting.
  • Expect to pay more for tailoring a leather jacket than other types of clothing.
  • Remember that leather is a unique material that requires special care and attention when tailoring.

Alterations and Adjustments

If you are considering altering your leather jacket, there are several types of adjustments that you can make to improve its fit and style. Leather jackets can be tailored or altered to size without altering their design or style. Alterations can be made to the sleeve length, shoulder and chest area, and waist size of a leather jacket.

When altering your leather jacket, it is important to consider the type of leather used and the cost of the alteration. Tailors find it difficult to alter thick leather jackets and areas with multiple pockets and zippers. However, if your leather jacket is just a little tight rather than too small, then alterations are not recommended because leather jackets are somewhat flexible and can stretch in some right way.

Here are some alterations that can be made to improve the fit of your leather jacket:

  • Shortening the sleeves or taking in the sides to create a slimmer fit.
  • Adding length via sleeves, hemming cuffs, waistband.
  • Tapering sleeve hems to remove widths.
  • Altering pockets or replacing zippers with new ones.

When you start altering your leather jacket, it is important to know what you want and to communicate your needs to the tailor. Be specific about the adjustments you want to make, and provide clear measurements for the tailor to follow.

For example, if you want to alter the sleeve length, measure from the shoulder seam to the desired length. If you want to alter the waist size, measure around the narrowest part of your waist and subtract two inches to get the correct measurement.

Sizing and Fit

When it comes to leather jackets, sizing, and fit are crucial for achieving a stylish and comfortable look. A leather jacket that fits perfectly can enhance your appearance and make you feel confident. On the other hand, a poorly fitting leather jacket can make you look sloppy and uncomfortable. In this section, we will discuss how to achieve the perfect fit for your leather jacket.

Firstly, you need to determine if your leather jacket is too big or too small. If the jacket is too big, it will appear baggy and unflattering. If it is too small, it will be uncomfortable and restrict your movement. To determine the perfect size, you need to measure your chest, waist, and hips. Use a tape measure to measure the widest part of each area, and then compare your measurements to the size chart provided by the manufacturer.

If your leather jacket is too big, you can consider shortening the sleeves or taking in the sides to create a slimmer fit. However, if the sleeves are too long, you can consider hemming them to achieve the perfect length. You can also consider altering the shoulders and armpits to create a better fit.

If you have an oversized jacket, you can consider tapering the sleeves and waistband to create a slimmer fit. You can also consider removing some of the excess fabric to create a more streamlined look.

It is important to note that different types of leather have different properties, and this can affect the tailoring process. For example, thick leather jackets with multiple pockets and zippers can be difficult to alter. It is recommended that you consult a professional tailor to ensure that your leather jacket is altered properly.

Challenges in Tailoring Leather Jackets

When it comes to tailoring leather jackets, there are several challenges that you may encounter. Leather is a unique material that requires special care and attention when being worked with. In this section, we will explore some of the challenges that can get in the way of certain alterations and provide tips for working around them.

One of the main challenges when it comes to tailoring leather jackets is the insulation or lining system. Leather jackets often have a unique lining or insulation system that can make alterations more difficult. For example, if the jacket has a quilted lining, it may be more challenging to take in the sides or shorten the sleeves without affecting the overall look and functionality of the jacket.

Additionally, leather has different requirements for sewing than other fabrics. It is thicker and more durable, which means that you may need special equipment to be able to sew through it. This can be a challenge if you are attempting to tailor your jacket at home, as your store will not have the special equipment that can handle leather.

Another challenge that you may encounter when tailoring a leather jacket is the need for special equipment to be able to make certain alterations. For example, if you need to shorten the sleeves of your jacket and it has zippers on the cuffs, you may need a special machine that can sew through the thick leather and metal zipper teeth.

Despite these challenges, it is still possible to tailor a leather jacket to fit your body perfectly. Here are some tips to help you overcome these challenges:

  • Work with a professional tailor who has experience working with leather. They will have the necessary equipment and knowledge to make the alterations you need without damaging the jacket.
  • Consider the type of alteration you want to make and whether it will affect the insulation or lining system of the jacket. If it will, be prepared to pay more for the alteration or consider a different approach.
  • If you are attempting to tailor your jacket at home, make sure you have the necessary equipment and materials before starting. This may include leather needles, heavy-duty thread, and a leather sewing machine.
  • Take accurate measurements before making any alterations to ensure that the jacket fits properly. Use a flexible measuring tape and measure in inches (with metric measurements in parentheses) for the most accurate results.

Cost Considerations

When it comes to tailoring a leather jacket, cost is a significant factor to consider. It might seem like so much money at first, but it’s essential to remember that you’re essentially getting an entirely new leather jacket that fits you perfectly.

The cost of getting your leather jacket tailored can vary depending on the complexity of the alterations needed. A single seam or hem is essentially a simple alteration and might not seem like much money. However, if you need to make more significant changes, such as altering the sleeves or waist, the cost can quickly add up.

If you’re considering buying a new leather jacket, it’s worth checking for half-off deals available in stores. Sometimes, you can get a new leather jacket with half-off deals, which might end up being the same cost as buying a jacket and getting it tailored.

It’s also essential to keep in mind the type of leather used in your jacket. Some types of leather are more challenging to work with than others, which can increase the cost of tailoring. For example, a jacket made from lambskin or calfskin is more delicate and requires more expertise to alter than a jacket made from cowhide.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the cost of tailoring your leather jacket might seem like a lot of money upfront, but it’s an investment in a piece of clothing that can last you for years. A well-fitted leather jacket can elevate any outfit and become a staple in your wardrobe.

Finding the Right Tailor

When it comes to tailoring your leather jacket, finding the right tailor is crucial. Not all tailors are created equal, and not all of them have the necessary skillset and experience to handle a leather jacket. Here are some tips on how to find the right tailor for your leather jacket alteration needs:

  1. Look for an alteration shop that specializes in leather jackets. A general tailor store may not have the necessary expertise to handle the unique challenges of working with leather. A specialized alteration shop will have the necessary tools and experience to handle your leather jacket with care.
  2. Ask around for recommendations. If you know someone who has had their leather jacket tailored, ask them where they went and if they were happy with the results. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in finding a reputable tailor.
  3. Do your research. Look for reviews online and check the tailor’s website to see if they have experience working with leather jackets. A good tailor will have a portfolio of their work that you can review to see if their style matches what you are looking for.
  4. Find a leather expert. If your leather jacket is more complicated, such as a motorcycle jacket with lots of zippers and pockets, you may want to find a tailor who specializes in leather and has experience working with this type of jacket.
  5. Go to if you’re not sure. If you’re not sure where to start, ask a leather store for recommendations. Someone in the field can tell right away whether a tailor has the necessary experience to work with leather.
Pro Tip:

When you find a tailor that you like, start with a small alteration, such as shortening the sleeves, to see if you are happy with the results before committing to a larger alteration. This will give you an idea of the tailor’s skill level and whether they are a good fit for your needs.

FAQ: Can Leather Jackets Be Tailored?

Can leather jackets be tailored?

Yes, leather jackets can be tailored. With the help of a skilled tailor, you can alter your leather jacket to fit you perfectly.

What are leather jacket alterations?

Leather jacket alterations refer to the modifications that need to be done on a leather garment to make it fit better or improve its overall appearance.

Why would I need to get my leather jacket altered?

There are several reasons why you might need to get your leather jacket altered. It could be because the jacket doesn’t fit you properly or you want to update its style.

How can a professional leather tailor alter my jacket?

A professional leather tailor can make alterations to your jacket by adjusting the sleeves, taking in or letting out the sides, shortening or lengthening the hem, and making any other necessary changes to achieve the perfect fit.

What should I consider before getting my leather jacket tailored?

Before getting your leather jacket tailored, it’s important to keep in mind the type of leather used. Different types of leather materials require different techniques and may have limitations in terms of alterations.

How much does leather jacket tailoring cost?

The cost of leather jacket tailoring can vary depending on the complexity of the alterations made and the skill of the tailor. It’s best to consult with a tailor to get an accurate estimate.

What can be altered in a leather jacket?

Almost every aspect of a leather jacket can be altered, including the sleeves, shoulders, sides, collar, and hem. Pockets can also be added or removed, and other modifications can be made to enhance the jacket’s overall look.

Can a tailor make my leather jacket shorter?

Yes, a skilled tailor can make the sleeves shorter or shorten the overall length of your leather jacket to achieve the desired fit.

Are leather jacket alterations expensive?

The cost of leather jacket alterations can vary depending on the tailor and the amount of work required. However, it’s important to note that quality alterations often come at a fair share of leather jacket tailoring job.

Should alterations be made before or after purchasing a leather jacket?

Ideally, alterations should be made after purchasing the leather jacket so that it fits perfectly. However, some stores may offer half-off deals on alterations if you purchase a leather jacket that doesn’t fit perfectly.

Andre from leatherninja.com

Andre is a passionate leatherworker who spends his spare time working with leather. He loves the smell and feel of leather, and he takes great care in selecting the right pieces of leather for his projects. Read more here.