DIY Refashion: How To Upcycle Man's Tailored Jacket

DIY Refashion: How To Upcycle Man’s Tailored Jacket

By Mariana Kirova

If you enjoy thrifting and looking for treasure clothing material like I do, you’ll love this DIY refashion of an old tailored jacket into a stylish designer look feminine piece.

It turned out a true fabulous transformation, like some sort of a European designer’s piece (from what other people say about it). 

Who wouldn’t love to get such a compliment on their work?

Therefore, I’m so excited to share with you the innovative idea on how to refashion a man’s classic tailored jacket, so you can make your own designer’s original as well.

The Final Look Preview

The Details

Check out all the details in the video below.

There is some more after that on how and where I found the material, the method I used to upcycle it and some good size close-ups from the runway.

Sourcing The Material

Here I found a grey leather skirt. It is still waiting to get reworked :)

I used to go to charity shops a lot (we call them op-shops in Australia). My whole wardrobe comes from these shops.

The problem is that most of the clothes sold in op-shops are usually ready to wear as is. Volunteers spent precious time assessing, pre-selecting, sorting out and finally displaying the clothes in the shop.

Hence, going there and getting clothes that I’m going to cut up to re-use makes me feel kind of guilty. I always think that someone else might like it and wear it as is. Right? Have you felt this way as well?

That made me thinking of finding other ways to source material to upcycle. Thus, I switched instantly when friends told me of this place. I am lucky to have it nearby and it is perfect to go and source raw material for my DIY refashions.

It is a charity organisation op shop warehouse. Something like the Goodwill Outlets in US (I haven’t heard of similar alternative in the UK so far).

This local warehouse is the last stop for all unsold in the thrift stores clothing and textiles before exporting overseas or sending them to landfill (perhaps rejected clothing that don’t manage to the shop floor is also sent here).

Photos: Eco Fashion Sewing

If you are crafter in Perth, Western Australia and in need of clothing or fabric priced cheaply on a kilo, then you must visit the Op Shop Mega Barn located South of River in Canning Vale.

Photos: Eco Fashion Sewing

So, this is the place where a while ago I sourced variety of wool, cotton and other natural fibre material. The man’s tweed jacket that I refashioned into this new style I’m going to show you came from there.

You can see it in the pile on the photo, the dark green tweed on the right.

Photo: Eco Fashion Sewing

The Method

If you are following me for a while you might have heard about my upcycled collection I created for the first Eco Fashion Week Australia 2017. Back then I challenged myself to pick one specific way and approach clothes refashioning by using only this chosen method.

I called it ‘upside-down’ and named my collection ‘Upside-Down’ after it. Personally, I find this technique very fruitful for building up creative skills outside the conventional ways.

Yes, it is quite a challenge to get decent results out of it, but when you do – it’s priceless! (below are more styles I made by using it so far)

If you want to get creative and make your own DIY refashions and clothing this technique is great fun and deserves investing time.

Essentially, 'upside-down' is some sort of repurposing the way how the piece is worn. You take existing clothing and turn it around (or literally upside down), or tilt twist or whatever you decide to do with it until you get something new. Generally, you manipulate it in a way that ends up with a different, attractive way to wear it.

The only thing with this technique is to keep the whole garment or parts of it ‘as is’, without making significant changes.

My walk on the EFWA 2017 runway with the beautiful models. Photo: Jane Milburn, Textile Beat

Following the idea, this wool dress (also part of the collection) is a good example of keeping the whole item ‘as is’ and yet rework it in a wearable and pleasing way.  This project was literally turned upside down.

I believe, the method has excellent potential for upcycling old clothing into new styles and, therefore, in my opinion, deserves to be recognised as a separate technique for upcycling already existing clothes.

The video Clothes Upcycling: The Upside-Down Concept To Recycle Old Clothes explains it with some examples.

Creating Designer’s Jacket Without The Special Skills

For this particular project, the upcycled tweed jacket, I kept the back ‘as is’ and made the front out of the initial sleeves. I realise it might sound complicated at first but it is not.

You might find interesting the way that the issue with the size getting smaller with time is resolved and prevented... (all explained in the video).

To coordinate an entire outfit, I used the man's jacket leftovers to upsize and refashion small size jeans. (Check these articles if you're looking to upsize or fix, or this jacket).

Runway photos: Harry Leonard Imagery

To me,  this DIY refashion focused on how to upcycle a man’s tailored jacket proves that you can get a truly interesting designer look out of old and boring clothing. Just follow the main idea.

The best part?

You can do it just with basic machine sewing without having the special tailoring skills (surely, I don't have those).

But, don’t take just my word for it. Watch the video and see it for yourself.

Front and Back look from the runway. Photos: Jane Milburn, Textile Beat

I hope this project ignites the spark and makes you want to clean that craft table and make some original fashion pieces :)


Happy upcycling!

Mariana x

Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others to make their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.

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