1980s jacket refashion


When my friend Thelma gave me a bag of fabric and clothing for refashioning, this multi-coloured suede jacket was among the goodies. Oh my word! This jacket is amazing. It is clearly from the 1980s and it is boxy with very wiiide shoulders.DSC08213

But it’s a work of art – all that piecing together of the suede. How magnificent is it? I knew that I was going to have to treat it with the ultimate respect.DSC08214

I knew that it would have had shoulder pads, but they weren’t there? Had they been cunningly removed. Ah, no. They were lurking down at the hemline having become unglued from their moorings. I had to unpick the hem to remove them. Then I played about with the jacket and decided that all I could probably do would be to reduce the shoulder width and lift the sleeve cap up. Good thinking…



Or not. I unpicked the shoulder seam and the lining and started manoeuvring. Unfortunately it seemed as though I would then have excess fabric in the body of the jacket. Head scratching. I hung the jacket back on its hook and made a gazillion other things whilst I considered my options (one of which was to have it professionally remade!).

Then this week I got it back out and had another look. I unpicked the hem a bit more and turned the jacket inside out, and pinned (with thinnest pins I could find – which are now all bent!) the sleeve up on to the shoulder taking out about three inches of fabric. It looked ok! Still a little wide but I figured if I took it in any more I would be messing with the integrity of the pattern. Here I am halfway through the process and I think it’s pretty obvious which shoulder I have modified. It is pleasing that the sleeves are now the correct length for my arms!


and the back view

DSC09861Flushed with success, I did the second sleeve and this just didn’t go as neatly. I tried to match the symmetry of the other side, but it really is a case of near enough is good enough.


I did run the sleeves in a tiny bit, but again, I worried about ruining the balance of the pattern, so they are a bit baggier than I would perhaps like.


I feel as though it would still benefit from very light shoulder pads and I may insert a couple further down the track (probably won’t!!).


But if I move about you don’t notice it too much!DSC09869

Just on another note, I’ve teamed the jacket with my refashioned skirt (also kindly donated by Thelma). I decided to make it its own belt, which I fashioned from elastic purchased in Hong Kong with a 1930s shoe buckle doing duty as a belt buckle.

Before I finish the post, I have to mention the silk lining of this jacket. It is exquisite and appears to be some sort of Picasso print (I think). Anyway, another reason to tread carefully rather than do a full blown refashion.


Sooo, it is clearly refashioning fortnight here at Chez Fadanista. I don’t think I’m setting the world on fire, more like tinkering than refashioning, but I’m feeling pretty happy.

The details:

Jacket is unlabelled, but was clearly a handcrafted item from the 1980s. When I took it apart I could see each piece was numbered (forgot to photograph). It is still pretty boxy, but within acceptable limits for 2014.

Dress is my recycled skirt, paired with a belt made from a piece of elastic and a vintage buckle.

Top is my boring orange top made from fine merino.

Boots are Progetto Glam from Marie Claire in Claremont

Thelma: I hope you are as pleased as I am with what I did with this – your generosity still astounds me!






6 thoughts on “1980s jacket refashion

  1. Gorgeous colours in this jacket and the lining is just divine. You have done a pretty good job refashioning it and it looks fantastic.

  2. Great effort Sue! I feel sure the previous owner (someone passed it on to me) will be very pleased to see ‘fabulous fadanista’s’ conscientious effort to keep it original and give it new life. (Leftovers could be used for pocket trims on plain trousers/skirt??)

Leave a Reply