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How To Alter Too Wide Shoulders Jackets?

  • Post published:24 March 2023

Are you tired of feeling like you can never find a jacket that fits your body type just right? Maybe you’ve found the perfect jacket, but the shoulders are just too wide, making you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable. It’s a common problem, but one that can be easily fixed with a little bit of alteration magic.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to alter too-wide shoulder jackets and give them a whole new lease on life. No more feeling like you have to settle for ill-fitting clothes! With our simple step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to customize your jackets to fit your body perfectly, giving you confidence and comfort every time you wear them.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Alter Too Wide Shoulders Jacket  

“Can a jacket be shortened?” is a common question when it comes to altering clothing, and the answer is yes! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll not only show you how to alter a jacket with too-wide shoulders but also provide instructions on how to shorten the jacket if needed. 

With our easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be able to transform a poorly fitting jacket into one that fits you like a glove. So grab your too-wide jacket and let’s get started! But before that, take a look at the things you will need:

  • A jacket that is too wide on the shoulders
  • A sewing machine
  • Sewing thread
  • Scissors
  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil, chalk, or pen

Step 1: Get The Right Measurements

Getting The Right Measurements

The first step in altering any garment is to get accurate measurements. The shoulder width plays a crucial role in ensuring a comfortable and flattering fit, as it sets the foundation of your garment’s structure. This measurement should be taken from one shoulder seam to the other, using a tape measure or ruler.

To obtain the precise dimensions, start by laying your jacket on a flat surface, with buttons closed and seams aligned. Using a measuring tape, begin at one shoulder’s outer edge and extend across the back of the jacket to the other shoulder’s outer edge.

Ensure that the tape is held parallel to the ground while staying in line with the shoulder seam. Once you have this number, determine how much narrower you would like the shoulders of your jacket to be. 

The difference between this number and your current measurements will give you an idea of how much fabric needs to be removed from each shoulder seam. 

Step 2: Pin And Mark Where Alterations Are Needed

Pin And Mark Where Alterations Are Needed

Once you have taken accurate measurements, use pins and tailor’s chalk to mark where alterations are needed. This will give you an idea of where exactly adjustments need to be made. 

To do this, fold the jacket in half so that the seams at the shoulders are touching each other. Vigilantly use straight pins to carefully secure the surplus fabric from the shoulder seams to the sleeve top by forming a fold.

Once satisfied with the pinned structure, then, use a pencil or pen to mark a line along both sides of the jacket where you will be sewing. The line should be perpendicular to the seams and should be the same distance from each seam (i.e., if you are taking in 1 inch, then the line should be 1 inch from each seam).

Step 3: Making Subtractions

Making Subtractions

A good rule of thumb is to take in ½” for every 2” of width that you measured in step 1. So, if your jacket measures 8 inches wide at the shoulders, take in 2 inches (½” for every 2 inches).

So, once both sides are pinned and marked, take off the jacket and lay it flat on a table for easier access. Next, take away fabric from both shoulder seams as needed, then press them flat with an iron so that they will stay in place after stitching them back together again. 

This will ensure a smooth transition between the old and the new seam lines, resulting in a  professional appearance. Be sure not to cut off too much fabric as this could affect how well your new alterations fit after wearing them again.

Step 4: Add Padding

Add Padding

To add support and structure to the altered areas of your jacket, insert shoulder pads into each side of the shoulder seam area. Make sure that they fit snugly and aren’t overly bulky. Otherwise, they may create lumps or bumps in your jacket.

The process of adding padding involves a thorough examination of your jacket structure and stitch lines. You need to select the appropriate style, size, and material of the shoulder pads to achieve the desired shape and support. When deciding on the placement, it’s important to consider the seam factor in achieving the desired width of the shoulders.

Then, with the help of a fabric marker or pins, carefully mark the position of the shoulder pad on the jacket’s backside. Cut the shoulder pad according to the marking and stitch it into the seam allowance, staying close to the original seam line. 

At last, check the alignment and reappraise the improved support and shape to ensure that the shoulder pad addition fulfills its intended purpose.

Step 5: Adjusting Collars & Lapels 

Adjusting Collars & Lapels

The next step is adjusting collars and lapels to achieve the best fit with altered shoulders. This can be done by removing excess fabric from both areas with scissors or a rotary cutter and then reattaching them with a sewing machine if necessary. 

You may also need to adjust any buttonholes at this point as well if their placement has changed due to alterations made earlier on in this process.

Step 6: Restitch The Shoulder Seams

To ensure that everything remains secure during wear, reinforce all altered seams with smaller stitches and heavier thread.

It is essential to carry out this procedure along all edges of every seam, including any additional layers of interfacing or padding used in previous steps of this guide.   


With the right measurements and the recognition of where attention needs to be paid, even the most complex alteration can become relatively easy and stress-free. By following the steps we listed in this post, you will be able to easily alter too wide shoulders jackets. 

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