How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step

How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves is a great skill to learn. You can learn how with this step by step tutorial.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

 How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves

I have had this post in draft for a while. Altering suit coat sleeves is not difficult if you know a few tricks. It does take a bit of time, but it is very worthwhile. You can expect to spend one to two hours working on this project. Tailors charge $20.00 or more per sleeve for this service, you can do it yourself and save money.

Suit Coat Hem Supplies Needed:

•good quality sewing thread, preferably cotton
•a sewing machine (straight stitch only, don’t panic),
•iron
•press cloth or dish towel
•tailors chalk
•ruler
•scissors,
•roll of fusible interfacing approximately 1″ wide. I use a product called Stitch Witchery. It’s very inexpensive and you can find it in the sewing department at Walmart or Joanne Fabrics.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Ripping Directions:

•The best advice I ever received on alterations, was to only work on one sleeve at a time. Don’t be tempted to take them both apart, you may not remember exactly how it went together and you will loose that professional look.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Fit your jacket sleeve length, mark with a pin, and measure how much needs to be hemmed. FYI, the sleeve should touch the top of your hand when your arms relaxed hanging down at your sides.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Remove the stitches that hold the lining to the sleeve. If your jacket has buttons on the cuff you will have to remove those as well. In addition, the lining may be tacked in a few other places, cut the tacks and roll the lining up the sleeve about half way.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•If your jacket is vented at the cuff, remove all stitches holding the vent in place. The goal is to open the existing hem and flatten the vent. If there is interfacing in the cuff, you may be able to leave it in place and will not need to add more interfacing.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Now for the tricky part: measure how much your hem needs to be shortened and mark with tailor’s chalk. The basic rule of thumb is if you are shortening the sleeve more than 2″, you will have to sew the vent closed. No one will know that the jacket used to have a vent. Overall, this is the easiest process. It is far more complicated to keep the vent. Trust me, you won’t even miss it.
•On my jacket, I also used the ruler and chalk to mark the cutting line. Cut away the excess vent fabric. You want the seam allowance edges to be even all the way to the end of the sleeve.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Sewing Directions:

•After trimming away the fabric, sew the vent closed using a straight stitch, and catching the interfacing to hold it in place in the side seam. If you need to add interfacing to the hem of your sleeve, do that before sewing the side seam shut. Keep the interfacing parallel to the raw edge of the sleeve. It should be centered over the fold of the cuff for a crisp finish like in the photo below.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Time to trim the excess fabric from the hem. I had to shorten my sleeves 3″. I removed 3″ off the raw edge. Mark with ruler and chalk, then cut.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Mark and cut the same amount from the sleeve lining.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Press the fabric slightly to make it easier to hem. Be sure and use a press cloth if your jacket is wool. Also, do not press your suit coat sleeve completely flat, it will look rather funny when wearing it. You may choose to use a rolled up towel in the sleeve to avoid creases, or use a sleeve roll if you have one.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Fold the hem in place. Using the other sleeve as a guide, re-measure sleeve allowance and pin the lining in place over the raw edge of the sleeve. Try the jacket on and make any necessary adjustments before completing.
How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
•Hang in there we are almost done! Time to slip stitch the lining to the hem. Using a needle and thread, pick up only a thread or two of the wool sleeve and then the same amount of the lining. If you are not much for hand sewing, remember the lining won’t show. If you pick up more of the lining fabric at first it’s okay. Just be sure your stitches are not visible on the outside of the sleeve.
The finished hem.
•Finally, refer back to the original sleeve for button placement. Sew the buttons on the finished sleeve in the same position as the original. A light pressing (use the press cloth), and you are done! Time to start all over with the other sleeve!
That wasn’t so bad, now was it? You can do this!
Best of luck on your sewing project!
Check out these other fun posts!Meet Betty Bling (Faux Garden Head) - FBMeet Betty Bling
How to Sew a Fleece Robe|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Spring Table Setting|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
Painted Velvet Chairs updated with spray paint.|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
 10 Steps to a Fixer Upper Bath|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com
10 Steps to a Fixer Upper Style Bathroom

Join the Sewing Community

Subscribe to get FREE Learn to Sew Worksheets.

Powered by ConvertKit

12 thoughts on “How to Hem Suit Coat Sleeves, Step by Step

  1. Always thought it was far beyond my reach to hem a coat sleeve. Not anymore – due to your clear and easy to follow instructions and good photos. Thanks for that – and keep on going doing DIYs and sewing tutorials – you are good at it! Always nice when somebody shares their 'aha' og other experiences which they themselves found really helpful.
    The last photo is a bit unclear – it is

  2. Thank-you from Australia… I have had a beautiful designer tailored jacket sitting in my cupboard, unwearable because the sleeves were far to long. With your easy to follow instructions, I now have a stunning jacket that fits beautifully.
    Thank-you for taking the time to write such an illustrated and easy to follow guide.

    Regards
    Chonie

  3. Hi, thanks for your tutorial. It really helped me to save some money. However, I wonder, is it possible to add vents to those sleeves? And do you know if I ever send the jacket to be altered by a tailor, what result would it be? Will they remove the vents or they would keep it? Thanks.

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading my blog. You cannot add a vent to the shortened sleeve because you will be missing the fabric necessary to complete it. Each tailor works differently, some keep the vent even though it is shortened. However, it will look funny being so small. Many jackets are made without any kind of vent at the sleeve, so completely removing the vent gives it a more polished look. Hope

  4. Thanks for much for your tutorial – it was so clear and concise. My friend wanted me to hem a pair of pants for her — which I could easily handle. Then, she gave me her name brand (Burberry) wool coat to shorten the sleeves. I was so worried! Thankfully, I found your tutorial and successfully and neatly hemmed up her sleeves.

  5. Very well done tutorial! Thanks to your clear and simple instructions and photos, my husband has a nearly new Irish tweed jacket that looks like it was made just for him! It was kind of you to take the time and effort to share your skills! I went back to read your other tutorials and found them very well done as well. Bet you’re a great home school teacher!

  6. I was wondering if any of the pictures show the altered sleeve on the outside. It looks like the last pictures are still showing the vent? Thank-you!

    1. The photo shows the sleeve after it was altered. The placket is sewn so that you can’t tell the difference between a sleeve that has been altered and one that hasn’t. Hope that helps1

  7. This is the clearest instruction I have read to date. I have been wanting to try this for some time and now feel confident enough. Excellent presentation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *