sewing saturday! reworking a vintage blazer

sewing saturday - upcycled blazer

I found a 1980s blazer at a thrift store sometime in the last year and never ended up wearing it. We've all had that seemingly simple, wearable piece that never sees the light of day, and mine was this oversized black vintage blazer. In order to give it new meaning, I thought I'd liven it up by adding some fabric contrast - so for today's belated DIY, I'm sharing how to replace the sleeves of an old blazer, jacket, or blouse to give it some interest.

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What you need for this project.. a blazer (or blouse or jacket or anything with long sleeves), some fabric (I used half a yard), a seam ripper, and your sewing machine. If you don't want to mess with lining, look for a blazer or coat with unlined sleeves - the one I used was lined everywhere but the sleeves, which made the swap really simple. Also, look for fabric with similar style to the original piece - in my case, my fabric was a medium weight cotton with no stretch like my medium weight, no-stretch poly blend blazer.

I threw around the idea of adding dark denim or a camel colored fabric (above) to the blazer, but in the end opted for an ikat printed woven cotton. It matched perfectly and added stripes of color along the sleeves.

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To begin.. disconnect the sleeves at the arm hole from the blazer using your seam ripper. Keep one sleeve intact and take apart the other using the seam ripper - you will use this sleeve as a pattern piece. As you're doing this, take a mental note of seam allowance and remember to follow the same seam allowance when you piece together your new sleeve. Iron out the sleeve pieces and place them on your fabric, then cut. Generally sleeves go with the grain of the fabric, like in this photo, so I followed that concept with my sleeve pieces.

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Once you have your cut pieces ready, it's time to put the sleeve back together using your new fabric. I left one original sleeve intact so I could make sure that I was doing it right. I trimmed the new seams with pinking shears and ironed them open. The sleeve had two pieces, one large and one small, and I matched the edges as the original sleeve showed, then sewed the new sleeves to the original blazer, matching the armhole seams of each. After the sleeves are connected to the blazer, I sewed my cuffs in place, rolled my sleeves up, and the blazer was ready to wear!

sewing saturday - upcycled blazer
sewing saturday - upcycled blazer sewing saturday - upcycled blazer
sewing saturday - upcycled blazer

Hopefully now I have a new autumn staple, and with the added interest of the sleeves I definitely like the blazer better - and all for the price of an afternoon project and a yard or so of fabric. Next time around, I want to change the collar of another thrifted jacket and add contrast that way.. maybe with denim?