How To Shorten Coat Sleeves

Do you want to learn how to shorten coat sleeves? If you regularly wear jackets, the coat should cover the jacket’s sleeves by between 3/8 inch and ½ inch.  For a professional look, you will have to alter the coat and the coat’s lining separately.  This will also make any future alterations easier.

To change the length of your sleeves, you'll need:

  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  1. Decide how much you want to shorten the sleeve. Generally, the sleeve should fall below the wrist bone when your arm is down, but feel free to shorten it as much as you like. Play around with different lengths until you find one you like.
  2. Mark the new length. Use tailor’s chalk to mark where you want the sleeve to end. Mark another chalk line 3/4 inch below the first. This will be your cutting line.
  3. Keep the layers together. Thread baste around the sleeve eight inches above the hem to prevent the lining from moving while you work. Use a seam ripper to detach the lining at the hem. Fold the lining up away from the sewing area. Remove the hem stitches from the coat sleeve and cut the coat fabric at the cutting line.
  4. Hem the coat sleeve. Fold the fabric at the chalk line that marks the new sleeve length and pin it into place. Use a slip stitch to hem the coat sleeve fabric.
  5. Shorten and hem the lining. Turn the coat inside out and unfold the lining so that it’s below the shortened coat sleeve. Cut the lining one inch below the sleeve hem. Fold the lining hem ¾ inch. The fold of the lining should cover the hem of the coat sleeve to provide some extra room in the lining. The ease allows you to bend your arms without tearing the lining. Baste the lining above the fold and hem stitch the bottom layer of the lining 1/8 inch below the coat’s hem. 
  6. Add a professional touch. Turn the coat to the right side and press lightly.  Use a press cloth and light steam to prevent any shiny spots. Remove the basting stitches around the upper arm.
     

 

 

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