upcycling shoulder pads – vintage jacket

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I love this vintage jacket I bought in a charity shop in Summertown in Oxford … classic, beautiful style. However, as much as I love a bit of vintage design, the shoulder pads were too much. I really wanted to retain the rounded look at the shoulders but reduce the size of them. I now have a very wearable jacket that retains the gorgeous spirit of the original garment.

Recently H&M collaborated with London College of Fashion students on a sustainable collection for London Fashion Week. One of the comments raised on Facebook was the issue of how scalable upcycling as a design technique is and it’s a big challenge for ethical fashion. In many cases of upcycling, designs are one-off bespoke pieces involving such time consuming alterations that they would not be profitable. Those are the ones I do just for the love of it, such as my brown dress in my last post. However, I believe this is exactly the type of upcycling technique that could be scaled profitably. A professional seamstress could make this type of alteration to a jacket in a couple of hours, keeping these garments in the retail pool. What’s more, these are exactly the garments that end up in landfill because they are not stylish or useful as they are.

Even better, if you fancy a go at upcycling this is a good technique to learn because it can be repeated. Learn some new skills or brush up your old ones and have a go, then you have a made-to-measure version that fits you perfectly. And once you have done one, you can scout the charity shops for more jackets to alter. Jackets are a great buy second hand .. bought new, they tend to be pricey; they are not a heavy wear item of clothing so they retain good condition and they are often made of 100% wool so they represent great value for money.

Here’s how I altered mine ….


shoulder bulk.1

leather trim.1

One sign of a good quality garment is proper pattern matching so I was determined to make sure I matched this one, to stay true to it’s Fortnum & Mason routes … and because it just looks better!

pattern match.1

So, there you have it, a scalable upcycle!  Tailoring is not for the fainthearted but it’s really satisfying and a useful technique to conquer. If you do have a go yourself, please share some pictures, you could post them on my 1134SewingClub Facebook page or email to summerscales@gmail.com.

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