Suit jackets are a must-have in the wardrobe of a modern man.
They are classy, go well with most things, and most importantly, they make you look like a million bucks.
But what if the suit jacket that you have is too tight for you? Is there any way to make it bigger?
Suit jackets can be made bigger, but only by a few inches. This is because most suit manufacturers allow very little seam allowance in their jackets, which results in a lack of fabric for expansion.
But as we’re going to explore in this article, things aren’t as simple. By the end of this article, you’ll be fully aware of what you need to do with your tight suit jacket and the pros and cons of each option.
How To Make A Suit Jacket Bigger?
Suit jackets can be made bigger by letting out the seam allowance that holds excess fabric.
First things first – What is seam allowance?
Seam allowance is basically the excess fabric that’s stored at the seams of a garment. These seams can be opened, which will result in the excess fabric being used.
While you may think of it as some advanced concept, it’s used in the clothes we wear every day. Here’s an example of seam allowance in a pair of trousers:
Using this excess fabric can make your suit jacket bigger.
But there’s a problem.
Most suit jacket makers give very little seam allowance in their garments. This does ensure a better fit, but it puts a limitation on how much increase in size your jacket can take.
Therefore, if the excess fabric is just not enough for you, you can talk to a tailor about the possibility of adding side panels.
This is very difficult to do for suit jackets (which means it’s going to burn a hole in your pocket), but it’s still possible.
However, at this point, it will probably be better to just buy a new suit jacket, both financially and in terms of fit, because with side panels, you cannot be hundred percent sure about how the finished product is going to fit you.
Do Suit Jackets Stretch Over Time?
Suit jackets don’t stretch over time. The material of a suit jacket, be it wool, linen, or cotton, is usually stretch-resistant.
This means that unlike some pieces of outerwear where there’s a breaking-in phase (like a leather jacket) that stretches the jacket to fit you perfectly, a blazer is going to remain the same size unless it’s subjected to tailoring.
You might read a bunch of hacks on the internet that proclaim that suit jackets can be stretched easily, but please don’t pay heed to them.
Despite being in the fashion industry for the last 13 years, I’m yet to come across any method that can make your linen, cotton, or wool suit larger without any tailoring involved.
There might be some way to stretch a suit jacket made from other materials such as polyester and nylon, but even in that case, the jacket isn’t going to stretch out more than a few inches.
So, in my opinion, it is much better to go for tailoring rather than waiting for your suit jacket to stretch itself.
Can Suit Jackets Be Let Out?
Suit jackets can be let out, but only by a few inches. The exact amount of extra fabric would depend upon the seam allowance of the jacket.
The process of “letting out a jacket” is basically using the extra fabric provided by the seam allowance to make the jacket bigger.
Now, the problem is that most suit manufacturers give very little seam allowance. And this is for good reason too, because it ensures that the jacket falls better on the person wearing it.
Therefore, you can only let out suit jackets and sport coats by a small margin. Anything more than that, and you’re looking at adding side panels, which is going to take your alteration costs through the roof.
Can a Suit Jacket be let out in the Chest?
Suit jackets can be let out in the chest region. The seam allowance for this is usually present at the back of the jacket.
But the jacket can’t be enlarged at the armholes, because there is usually very little excess fabric there (in order for a better fit).
Letting out the torso region of the jacket is a complex process, and I recommend that you only go to quality professionals for the procedure.
What To Do If Your Suit Jacket Is Too Small?
If your suit jacket is too tight for you, you can either go to a tailor to make it bigger or you can buy a new suit jacket that fits you well.
As to which of these two options should you choose, well that depends on how small your jacket currently is.
Let’s assume that an increase of an inch or two in size is going to solve all your fitting problems. Well, most jackets have a small seam allowance of a couple of inches, so it makes more sense to go to a tailor.
But if you need any more increase in size, then it is not possible with the same jacket due to the limitations of the seam allowance.
The only option that is left is buying a new suit jacket that fits you perfectly.
Tip: When you’re out shopping for a new jacket, pay special attention to the shoulder region. The rest of the jacket is pretty easy to alter to your liking.
In this article, I tried to cover the different considerations that you have to keep in mind when trying to make your suit jacket bigger.
While it is definitely possible to make a suit jacket bigger, the increase in size is only going to be marginal.
There is no way (at least no affordable way) to go one size up without ruining the fit of the jacket. The suit can however be let out by an inch or two, depending upon the seam allowance of the fabric.
My name is Alex Higson and I am the founder of Magic Of Clothes. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and clothes and style are a huge part of my life.