How to Tailor a Pea Coat

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You can shorten a coat's length and sleeves at home with a sewing machine.
You can shorten a coat's length and sleeves at home with a sewing machine. (Image: Janie Airey/Valueline/Getty Images)

Finding the perfect pea coat can be difficult. Sometimes you might find one that is exactly what you want, but when you try it on, the sleeves are too long, the coat goes to your knees, or it's too wide. Or you could simply want to alter a coat to give it a cropped waist, shorter sleeves and some flair in the torso. If you have a sewing machine, you can make these alterations at home rather than spending money at a tailor.

Things You'll Need

  • Coat
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric marker or pencil
  • Ruler or Measuring Tape
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins

Shortening the Length

Try on the coat. Make a small marking on the inside of the coat where you want the length to be using a fabric marker or pencil.

Take the stitches out of the seam using a seam ripper.

Fold the hem so it is at the desired length. Pin it in place. If necessary, trim any excess fabric before pinning; otherwise, the hem might be too bulky to sew.

Sew the hem in place using a sewing machine.

Remove the pins and trim any loose threads using a pair of scissors.

Taking it In

Turn the coat inside out and put it on.

Insert pins in the sides of the coat where you want it to be taken in, beginning at the armpits. Make sure the pins are pointing away from your body.

Sew along the sides using a sewing machine. Trim any excess fabric using the scissors.

Remove the pins and trim any excess thread using the scissors. Turn it right side out.

Hemming the Sleeves

Take the stitches out of the sleeve hems using a seam ripper.

Put on the coat. Mark where you want the sleeves to end on the inside of the sleeves using a fabric pen or marker. To ensure both sleeves are the same, measure how many inches from the end of the fabric the mark is, and make an identical mark the same number of inches away from the end of the fabric on the other sleeve.

Trim both sleeves. Fold the hems of the sleeves and pin them in place. Sew the sleeves using a sewing machine; then remove any pins. Trim any excess thread using the scissors.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the coat has a lining on the sleeves and bottom hems, sew the outer hem, and attach the lining using a slip-stitch. Fold the lining, so the edges meet the outer fabric's edge. Slide a threaded needle through the crease in the lining's fold and to the edge of the outer fabric, so it makes a tiny stitch. Continue to slide it up again through the crease in the lining fold and to the outer fabric until you have sewn the entire hem.

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