How to Alter a Coat That Is Too Big

Fed up with your oversized coat making you appear bulky and shapeless? Think about getting it tailored to fit you better rather than donating it. With a few easy steps, you can turn that loose coat into a chic and flattering garment you’ll enjoy wearing.

In this article, we’ll walk you through altering a too big coat for you. From taking in the sides to shortening the sleeves, we’ll cover all the techniques you need to know to achieve the perfect fit. With just a little time and effort, you can turn your oversized coat into a custom-made garment that complements your figure.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced seamstress, altering a coat can be a fun and rewarding project. Not only will you save money by not having to buy a new coat, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you transformed something old into something new and stylish. So grab your sewing kit and let’s get started on altering that oversized coat!

Key Takeaways

  • Altering a coat can be complex due to its structure, which includes the inner lining, padding, collars, and multiple seams.
    • Tailoring experience is recommended; otherwise, seeking professional help is advised.
  • Altering a coat to make it smaller is possible but challenging.
    • Adjustments can be made to sleeves, lengths, or collars relatively easily.
    • Major size reductions require deconstructing and reconstructing the coat, which is costly and risky.
  • Making a coat bigger involves letting out fabric from the seams.
    • The available fabric in the seams limits the extent of enlargement.
  • Altering the length or sleeves of a coat is among the easier modifications.
    • These adjustments require basic sewing skills.
  • Altering coat shoulders or collars is risky and can impact the coat’s structure.
    • A skilled tailor should preferably make these changes.
  • Trench, wool, and sports coats can also be altered, but the process varies depending on the coat’s structure and fabric.
  • Cost of alterations varies depending on the extent of the work needed.
    • Minor adjustments like sleeve shortening cost less compared to more extensive alterations.

How easy is it to alter a coat?

It is not easy at all. There is just too much difficulty in minimizing the cuts and fits of a coat that is too large or loose. However, a few parts of the coast can be easily altered, such as sleeve length and width. Compared to altering the entire coat, it is easier to make and alter these changes.

Opening a tight-fitting coat and letting it loose is also difficult if it is all stitched up. A professional tailor can do this, but it is not easy for someone not trained professionally to change the fit of clothes.

The step-by-step guide to altering your too-big coat

How To Alter A Coat That Is Too Big

Step 1: Start with lining

The first step in altering the coat is to determine its new length. After carefully taking all measurements, mark the length of the coat fabric with chalk or anything visible on the coat. When you have measured and marked the coat, cut off the fabric 3 cm below the top along the coat’s inner lining.

It is for finishing the coat hem with 3 cm of hair cut and left. To ensure the fabric remains folded, fold it along the drawn line and iron it well. After turning the coat upside down, sew the lining along the bottom of the coat. The shortened length should be ironed well after carefully sewing the entire portion.

Step 2: Start with the sleeves’ length

First, mark the exact position on your body where you would like your coat sleeves to fall, and mark the entire line on the coat using a ruler to make sure it’s perfectly straight and not crooked. Cut off the fabric carefully after leaving a couple of centimeters for hemming. Using pins to hold the fabric, fold the sleeve inside and stitch it with the same color thread as the fabric after cutting off the extra fabric and the lining. You can quickly get ideally shortened sleeves by removing the pins and ironing the sleeves well.

Step 3: Adjust the shoulders of the coat

It isn’t easy to alter the shoulders of a coat. Due to their structure and padding underneath, they have a high level of stability. A few things in the entire process can be riskier than altering shoulders. If padding is on the coat’s shoulders, removing it is the best way to alter them. This is recommended because you won’t be able to alter the shoulder of any coat with padding easily.

Step 4: Adjust the collar of the coat

In addition to defining the shape of a coat when worn by a person, the collar is also one of its elements. The coat collar must also be altered if it is too big for you and you are altering it. To do so, take proper measurements and cut off the extra fabric following the collar’s shape. The hems are stitched to give the collar a crisp appearance, and the collar is ironed afterward.

Step 5: Make sure all the hems are in place

After altering every part of the coat, starting with its inner lining, sleeve length, shoulder, and collar, you should ensure all the hems are stitched well and no threads poking out. Make sure your hems are neat and crisp if any such thing happens. Ensure all the edges are ironed to ensure the folds are well secured.

Once you have done the fitting, you can iron the entire coat and check whether it looks right. The coat must be the same shape and look from top to bottom, not just the length of the altered parts.

You must follow these five steps to alter a coat that is too big for you without looking flimsy or untidy. These steps can be followed to alter a coat to suit your needs.

What types of coats can be altered?

It is possible to alter a few kinds of coats if they are too big. It’s easy to alter and make your coat of your size if you have a loose coat you love wearing. Alterations can be made to the following types of coats:

  • Trench Coats – You don’t have to worry about wearing someone’s oversized trench coat. Trench coats can be altered and converted to fit your size by shrinking their lengths and widths from the right places. If the trench coat is exceptionally loose, its seams can be stitched to give it a tighter fit.
  • Woollen Coats—Even though woolen coats can be altered, they are not easy. These coats have thick, woolen fabrics, making sewing difficult. After altering a woolen coat well, you can give it a proper fit only if you have some sewing experience.
  • Sport Coats—If your sports coat is too big, you can also alter it. If needed, the length and breadth of the sports coat can be minimized by carefully following the alteration process. You can easily alter the entire thing, except for the shoulders, which are a bit difficult.

How much time and money does it take to alter an oversized coat?

It will cost you at least $20 to get a coat tailored to fit you perfectly if it is too large or loose. A minimum estimate of the value needed to alter is provided here. Depending on the tailor and the person altering the coat, the process may take a week or two. You can’t just finish it in a few hours without investing money.

If you are a sewing newbie, you can go through our sewing glossary to familiarize yourself with the different terms.

How to Alter a Coat That Is Too Big FAQs

What are the initial steps to alter a coat that is too big?

To alter a too-big coat, start by turning it inside out and buttoning it up. Look for areas where you can adjust the fit, typically at the side seams and the bottom hem. Carefully open up the lining at these points to access the seams. Then, pin the fabric to reduce the size, adjusting the seam allowances as needed. Once pinned to satisfaction, sew along these new seam lines and securely sew the lining back.

Can I make my coat smaller without sewing expertise?

Altering a coat to make it smaller is a complex task that often requires advanced sewing skills due to its structured nature, including its linings, paddings, and collars. While minor adjustments might be manageable, significant resizing often entails deconstructing and reconstructing the coat, which a professional tailor best does to maintain its shape and fit.

Is it possible to enlarge a coat that is too small?

Enlarging a coat is more challenging than reducing its size because it depends on the availability of extra fabric within the seams. You can attempt to let out the seams to gain some extra space, but this is usually limited to an inch or so, making significant size increases difficult. Consulting with a professional tailor is advisable to explore possible solutions for substantial alterations.

How do I alter the length of my coat’s sleeves?

To alter the length of your coat’s sleeves, first wear the coat and mark the desired length with chalk. Remove the stitching at the sleeve’s hem to separate the lining from the outer fabric. Cut the outer fabric at the marked length, allowing extra for the hem, and then do the same with the lining but with less allowance. Fold the hem inwards, pin it in place, and sew the fabric and lining back together. This process requires basic sewing knowledge and precision.

What should I consider before shortening the length of a coat?

Before shortening a coat’s length, consider the impact on its overall design. Major length adjustments can affect the placement of pockets and the balance of the coat’s design. It is crucial to ensure that the new length does not distort the coat’s proportions or functionality. For best results, such alterations should be minimal and ideally performed by a professional tailor to maintain the integrity of the coat’s design.

How much does it typically cost to alter a coat?

The cost of altering a coat varies widely based on the extent of the alterations needed and the complexity of the coat’s construction. Simple adjustments like sleeve shortening may be inexpensive, while comprehensive resizing or structural modifications can be costly. Coats with detailed linings or special fabrics may incur higher alteration fees due to the additional labor and expertise required.


No matter how oversized a coat is or how loose the fit is, you don’t need to worry because it can be altered and converted into the size you need. Professionals are the best people to handle the whole process, no matter how difficult it may seem. The step-by-step guide to altering a coat provided earlier in this article can prove helpful if you plan to complete the process yourself and with a sewing machine. Using it allows you to accomplish what you want most conveniently.

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