What to Do If Your Blazer Is Too Big or Too Small (Easy Tips) Update 05/2022

Don’t give up on that ill-fitting jacket just yet whether you’ve lost weight, gained weight, or inherited one designed for a different body shape.

Whether it’s a formal suit jacket or something more informal, a few little tweaks can transform a blazer from the ideal nightmare to the perfect dream. Even better, you don’t need to be a tailoring guru to get professional results: some alterations may be made without threading a single needle, while others require only a basic understanding of sewing.

Having said that, no matter how much ability and competence you have, there are a few things that will be impossible. A blazer is a complicated beast with an intricate structure that can only be scaled down, sized up, or otherwise modified to a limited degree.

Is it possible to change a blazer? Without much surgery, you can reduce the waist by a dress size or two, add shoulder pads where there are none, remove shoulder pads where there are some, narrow the sleeves, and lower the length by an inch or two.

But forget about turning a size 8 jacket into a size 18, a waist-length blazer into a bottom-grazing blazer, or drastically altering the shoulders. No matter how good a tailor you are, you can only alter proportions and sizes so much before the blazer loses its structural integrity.

We’ll look at what you can alter… and how you can change it.

How To Alter a Blazer For a Woman


When it comes to modifying a woman’s blazer, the particular method you’ll need to apply is determined by your goals. If the blazer appears boxy and outdated, cinching it in at the waist will instantly update it… as would cutting a chunk off the end and making it into a creative cropped jacket.

Finally, what you do will be determined by the look you desire… However, given that many concerns about women’s blazers revolve on them being too’square,’ most people will want a more fitting design.

Start by determining how much of the blazer’s fullness you want to reduce for a more attractive look. You can achieve this by trying on the clothing before shaping it with sewing pins into the desired fit (clip-style clothespins may work better if the fabric is extremely bulky). Take the blazer in at the side seams and bast the modifications in place once you’ve sorted out what needs to be removed from where. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, stitch through the outside fabric and lining to secure it. Finish by removing the basting stitches.

Altering a Blazer That is Too Big

If your blazer is more than a couple of sizes too big, you might want to consider donating it or repurposing it for something else. Because of the intricate construction of blazers, attempting to alter them by more than one or two dress sizes risks jeopardizing their overall appearance. Making small cuts to the length, waist, sleeves, and chest is more than achievable if your expectations are reasonable. We’ll look at how to fix other places later, but first, let’s look at how to shorten a blazer that’s too long in the lengthwise direction.

The Method

  • Step 1: Put on the blazer and measure how much length you want to take off. To designate the required length, pin the inside of the blazer all the way around.
  • Step 2: To release the lining, remove the old hem (you might find using a seam ripper helps).
  • Step 3: Using a ruler, make sure the new hem is straight all the way around. To verify that both sides of the blazer are aligned, fold it in half. As you work your way around the new hem, pin and smooth the lining in place.
  • Step 4: Try the blazer on after you’ve put the new hem in place to make sure you like the length. Make any necessary modifications before hand stitching the hem in place. To complete, iron the hem on the inside of the jacket.

Tailor a Blazer Waist


If you like blazers, you know how difficult it can be to find one that doesn’t seem too boxy. Designers appear to believe that we all either have square middles or love a jacket that makes it look like we do for reasons only they know.

Finding a jacket with a tailored waist is difficult, but getting one is not. We already discussed how to slim down a waist by tucking the blazer in at the side seams. Here’s how to use darts to get the same outcomes.

The Approach

  • Step 1: At the front seam, open up the lining. Try on the blazer and note the places that need to be taken in with pins.
  • Step 2 – Remove the blazer and relocate the pins from the front to the appropriate location on the inside (you might find it easier to leave the front pins in place while you line up the ones on the inside).
  • Step 3 – To achieve a good fit, make as many darts as necessary. If the blazer is lined, hand sewing the darts may be easier than machine sewing. As you go, take out the pins. Finish by re-stitching the seams.

How To Take in Blazer Shoulders

Shoulder adjustments are the most complex of all the blazer alterations. You may easily end up with a scrunched-up shoulder line or one that droops if you make a few little mistakes… neither of which is likely to be what you planned. However, it’s not completely impossible… Just be cautious with those scissors.

The Method

  • Step 1: Turn the blazer inside out and, if necessary, remove the shoulder padding. Remove the shoulder seam from the shoulder to the place where the armpit falls with a seam ripper.
  • Step 2 – To take the shoulder in, fold over the outside of the sleeve as far as you desire (an inch will usually be enough). Try on the blazer after pinning the fold. Proceed to step 3 if the shoulders are in good shape. Fold the sleeve over another inch if they’re still too big.
  • Step 3 – Re-stitch the shoulder seam from the inside of the jacket with a sewing machine. Cut away any excess fabric to complete.

How To Alter Blazer Sleeve Length


Altering the sleeves of a jacket is a simple project. This is the easiest of all the improvements you may make. Obviously, you’ll only be able to lengthen depending on how much additional material there is in the hem, and while shortening, keep in mind that a big alteration can throw the buttons off. However, if only a slight adjustment is required, you should have no problems.

The Approach

  • Step 1: First, turn the blazer inside out. Remove the hem and loosen the lining using a seam ripper. If you’re going to lengthen the sleeves, iron them from the inside out to smooth out the old hemline.
  • Step 2: Pin any necessary modifications to the length of the sleeves (if feasible, pin from the inside – if you pin from the outside, you’ll have to carefully relocate them to the right position inside once you remove the blazer).
  • Step 3: Create a fresh straight hem around both cuffs with a ruler for perfection. As you make your way around the hem, pin and smooth the lining in place. Make sure both sleeves of the garment are the same length.
  • Step 4: Hand sew the new hems in place. Iron the hems before turning the jacket right side out to finish.

How To Alter a Blazer That is Too Small

Don’t toss your blazer into the donation box just yet if it’s too small. You should be able to let it out slightly depending on how much excess material is in the seams and hems (and by slightly, we mean slightly – if you wanted to add several dress sizes, you’ll have to buy a new blazer). This is how you do it.

The Approach

  • Step 1: Remove the stitches going up the side seams and arms with a seam ripper. If your blazer has a back seam, replicate it here.
  • Step 2: On the inside of the blazer, draw straight lines with a ruler to indicate where your new seams will be.
  • Step 3: Sew the seams closed along the lines you’ve drawn – a sewing machine will give you the straightest line, but you can also hand sew if you like.
  • Step 4: Remove the creases created by the previous seams by pressing the new seams with an iron. If you’re dealing with really obstinate creases, a clothing steamer may be useful.

How To Alter a Blazer Without Sewing


Perhaps you borrowed a blazer from a friend and are unable to make any lasting changes. Maybe you don’t have time to get the sewing machine out. Perhaps you are unable to thread a needle. There will be instances when you need to change a garment without breaking a single thread for whatever reason. And, believe it or not, it’s not difficult. If your blazer isn’t fitting just right, these quick tweaks will fix it in no time.

Hem Tape

Where have you been if you’ve never heard of hem tape? This double-sided adhesive is a small wonder worker, allowing you to make a variety of adjustments (permanent or temporary) without breaking out your sewing supplies. If your blazer’s hem is too long, just fold a new hem to the proper length, put a piece of hem tape into the crease, and iron. It’s simply that simple. It also works well for reducing sleeves that are overly long. Varied tapes have slightly different techniques of use, so read the directions thoroughly before getting started.

Pins for Bobby

A pack of bobby pins is something that no home should be without. A few bobby pins will have you sorted in minutes, whether you want to crop a hem, nip in a waist, or shorten a sleeve. Keep in mind that they are simply a temporary remedy, so you may need to look into a more permanent solution at some point.

Glue for Fabric

You can glue it if you can stitch it… and, in most cases, much faster. A smear of fabric glue can be used to alter a hemline or shorten a sleeve quickly and easily. Simply make a new seam, dab some glue on it, and push to fix it. Done!

How Much Does it Cost To Alter a Blazer?

You won’t always be able to be your own seamstress, whether it’s due to needle phobia or a lack of time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, isn’t that why professional tailors were created?

If you decide to hire a professional, a blazer modification will cost you anything from $55 to $160. The actual cost will vary depending on the type of changes you require and where you are in the world, but as a rough estimate, expect to pay:

  • Shortening/lengthening sleeves without buttons costs $60.
  • Shorten/lengthen sleeves with functional buttonholes for $150
  • Side seams can be let out or taken in for $65
  • $55 to take in or let out back seams
  • $160 to change the shoulders and $75 to shorten the length

Prices vary, but if you find a tailor ready to adjust a blazer’s full length and breadth for less than $30, run… Unless you value the life of your blazer.

Please feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it and know of anyone else who has a troublesome blazer.

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