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Can Leather Jackets Be Tailored?

I love wearing leather jackets. In fact, I love them so much that I am always willing to spend top dollar on them. But if you don’t have the body shape of a lanky 6’2 guy, it is pretty much certain that your leather jackets are going to need some tailoring.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought a few motorcycle jackets from All Saints to review them. Now, one of the pieces that I really liked was a bit oversized. So I sized down. But sizing down made the jacket too tight.

I was in-between sizes, which means the only option that was left for me was tailoring.

Can Leather Jackets Be Altered?

leather jacket

Leather jackets can be tailored by experienced professionals. Altering leather requires special equipment, and thus it would be better to go to a dedicated leather worker rather than a regular tailor.

In an ideal world, every store would carry a leather jacket that is going to fit you perfectly. But in my experience, most off-the-rack biker jackets do need to spend some time at a tailor’s. There’s just no way around it.

What Parts Of A Leather Jacket Can Be Tailored?

The length and fit of the sleeves, the size of the torso, and the collars on a jacket can be tailored relatively easily. A professional can also add or remove the belt on your biker jacket.

All these changes vary widely in terms of the cost and effort that go into doing them. For example, shortening the sleeves of a jacket is very simple compared to reducing the size of the torso.

The Length Of The Jacket Cannot Be Changed

Here’s a lesson that I learnt the hard way. I bought a vintage leather jacket that was slightly longer than what I wanted, and when I brought it to my tailor, she told me something very clearly:

If your jacket is too long, you cannot make it shorter.

The main issue here would be dealing with the zipper and the excess leather. Leather is a thicker material, so folding and then sewing it up won’t work. The excess material can be cut, but the cost for such a labor intensive project is going to be sky-high.

I am sure that there is someone out there who can make the length of your leather jacket shorter, but the entire procedure would probably end up costing you more than what you originally paid for the jacket.

How Much Does It Cost To Tailor A Leather Jacket?

The price varies according to which part of the jacket you wish to change. However, you can expect to pay between $50 and $500 on average to get your leather jacket tailored.

If you wish to change something drastic about the jacket, it will cost more as a result. If there is something minor that needs to be done (such as repairing a zipper), the cost will be substantially lower.

The most expensive thing to tailor in a leather jacket is usually the armholes. Making the armholes shorter requires a complete dismantling of the jacket, and that takes many hours. Of course, this also results in increased costs (around $150, to be precise).

Tips For Getting Your Leather Jacket Altered

Here are a few tips for you if you want to get your leather jacket tailored.

Do Not DIY

If you know what you’re doing or have previous expertise sewing leather clothes, go ahead and customize your jacket in whatever way that you deem fit.

However, I would advise the majority of people reading this to get their leather jacket tailored by a professional. It’s simply not worth it to do it yourself.

Leather is a costly and challenging material to work with. You might destroy your jacket if you don’t have a specific level of experience in playing around with it. D-I-Ying it just doesn’t work.

Go To The Tailor In-Person

Many customers just send a rough message to their tailors along with the piece they want customized. Something like “Make this jacket a size XS,” for example.

Please don’t make that mistake. Sizing is something that differs from brand to brand and person to person. It would be much better if you actually go to the tailor and let him or her take your measurements.

This would also provide you with an opportunity to talk to your tailor in greater detail, and it would also make communication easier and clearer.

If you’re spending so much money to have your leather jacket tailored, it’s only natural to spend your some time to get your measurements taken properly. By doing this, you will ensure that the jacket will have the best overall fit.

Only go to those tailors that have experience in leather

Leather is a very strong material. Regular tailors don’t normally have the equipment to work with such a thick fabric. If it’s possible, I’d recommend going to a leather shop instead.

Leather jackets are altered and tailored at most leather shops. They’ll gladly accept your jacket and alter it to fit you precisely.

If you don’t have access to such leather businesses in your area, I recommend visiting a reputable tailor with the specialist machinery for dealing with animal skin. Make a call ahead of time to confirm this.

Final Remarks

Leather jackets can be tailored by an experienced leather worker. The best option for tailoring a leather jacket would be to go with a tailor who specializes in leather, because the equipment required for tailoring leather is not available with every tailor.

Thus if you have a leather jacket that is just too loose for you now, don’t fret because you can easily change its measurements.

In my personal opinion, tailoring is pretty much essential for off-the-rack motorcycle jackets, but it also works with other versions of the leather jacket such as the cafe racer and the bomber.