How to Upcycle an Enormous Suit into a Sleeveless Coat in 2 Hours

Refashioned sleeveless coat from an enormous suit

The weather in Northern California can be unpredictable with wild swings from morning to night, so I made this sleeveless coat as a stylish layering piece when I need some extra warmth.  In this tutorial,  I’ll show you how to make your own sleeveless coat by refashioning a thrift store suit.  This is an easy project that took me only a couple of hours to complete over the weekend.

Here’s a quick overview of this on how to refashion an enormous suite into a sleeveless sleeveless coat.

Step 1:  Chop off the sleeve

Step 2:  Take in the sides

Step 3:  Shape and finish the armholes


Refashioned Sleeveless Coat with No Sleeves

Step 1:  Chop off the sleeves.  I removed the sleeves from the seam.  This jacket had a built in vest I was on the fence about, so I kept if for now.l

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat

Step 2:   Take in the sides.  Pin the sides of the jacket.

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat serge Sides

Cut off the excess fabric and serge or sew the sides.

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat with reshaped armholes

Step 3:  Shape and  the armhole.  Because the jacket was so huge to begin with, the shoulder width was very wide, so I had to cut out new armholes.  Notice how the vest is gone?  It kept getting in the way when I was sewing, and I chopped it off in a fit of frustration.

Refashioned Sleeveless Jacket Gaping Armhole

Step 5:  Adjust armhole.  There was quite a bit of gaping at the armhole.

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat Adjusted Shoulder Seam

I fixed the gaping by taking in the excess fabric at the shoulder seam.  Notice how the jacket is turned inside out?  I find it’s easier to make these kinds of adjustment this way.  Sew along the pins to reduce the circumference of the armhole.

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat with facing

I had to make the same adjustment at the neck facing to reduce bulk at the shoulders.

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat Cut Bias Binding

Step 6: I finished the armhole with bias binding.  I made my bias binding by cutting 2 1.5″ strips of black fabric and pressed it lengthwise.

Refashioned Sleeveless Coat Sew Binding

I sewed the bias binding to the right side of the armhole, flipped it to the back and stitched it down from the front.


Refashioned Sleeveless Coat back view

I like how this upcycled sleeveless coat dressed up  my outfit.  In the picture, I’m wearing a plain black crew neck and white jeans under the coat.  Without the coat, the outfit was meh, but once I put it on, the coat added a touch of menswear that was polished and pulled together.

I have a skirt and a set of sleeves left over from this project.  Stay tuned for a part 2 of this refashion . . . .

Did you enjoy this project?  Let me know in the comments or share with your friends!


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There are 7 comments for this article
    • trevorlovesmommy at 1:16 am

      That’s just my bad photography on my crap iPhone. The before shot was indoors and the after was outdoors. The good news is that I’m taking photography classes, so hopefully you see a dramatic improvement in my photos.

  1. Jane Bruce at 7:33 am

    I love re-purposing my clothes- it’s wonderful for those “mistakes”- the things that we buy that we don’t ever wear because there is something not quite right about it- yet we refuse to give it away because we feel guilty, and we think that one day it will work for us- NEWSFLASH It will never be right!!!!

    I’ve always worn a lot of vests so that has become my favorite thing to make out of a jacket, shirt, sweater, etc- I do not have your sewing skills so I am a bit more limited-

    I love your ideas, keep them coming!!

    • melissa1lin at 10:10 am

      Hi Jane. Thanks for your feedback. You can still make a sleeveless vest quite easily if you start with a garment that already fits well. All you have to do is remove the sleeves and finish the edges. My project was a little more complicated because my original garment was so huge and required quite of bit of tailoring to fit well. Give it a try.

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