Stretching your jacket up a size

Discussion in 'How To Info' started by sealbeachbum, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. sealbeachbum

    sealbeachbum Member

    Messages:
    509
    Location:
    Sothern California
    I posted this on the old forum and by request I'm posting it again.

    I have a Willis & Geiger A-1 that was given to me as a gift. It was supposedly worn in the mini series "War and Remembrance" by a PT Boat skipper. It's a size 44 and made of Capeskin. I wear a 46 and it was too small for me, so I thought I'd try stretching it to fit me.
    I started by hanging it in the shower and spraying it down with hot water. Then I pulled and stretched in every direction, then stuffed it with a comforter and left it for several days to dry. After it dried I took the comforter out and tried it on. It fit perfectly!

    [​IMG]
    Before

    [​IMG]
    Stuffed with a comforter while drying

    [​IMG]
    After. Perfect fit!
     
  2. Atticus

    Atticus Active Member

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    1,497
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    North Carolina, USA
    And, IMO, the darker color looks better, too!

    AF
     
  3. sealbeachbum

    sealbeachbum Member

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    509
    Location:
    Sothern California
    Actually the treatment didn't alter the color. The picture of it stuffed is the true color. It is VERY russet.
     
  4. Hamsterbear

    Hamsterbear Member

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    296
    Location:
    SFO Bay Area, California, USA
    I had, still have, one of those Aero Leather "AeroFlightManfInc"" budget HH A-2's they were selling about 5 years ago, and it got very wet and SHRANK to the point of being a bit tight to wear, even with only a T-shirt- it's, the one in my avatar.
    I was never happy with the leather, as it was very low-end stuff, hard to break in, very stiff, almost cardboard-like... it makes an Avirex's leather look like a GoodWear by comparison. Some of Aero's "budget" stuff was pretty poor...I guess I got (stuck with) one.
    This jacket is relegated to a "beater" jacket that I hardly ever wear. I wonder if I could stretch it out by soaking it in HOT water then sticking those womens boot stretchers they use on the calf to stretch out? Maybe some rubber innertubes jammed in the arms and inflated as much as it will go? Nothing to lose if I attempt it....
    -Brian
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Try soaking in warm water, so as to not shrink the liner. While damp, stuff sleeping bags in, a few of them, towels,t shirts whatever. Let it sit for a week. then try on. I think you will be very happy.
     
  6. Interesting topic. I just joined this forum...
    So this stretching method was succesfully accomplished with a capeskin A1 jacket
    and another thread contributor discussed attempting it with a Horsehide A2.
    I wonder if it was succesful on HH?

    I own a 20 year old (newly bought) Horsehide A2 from Flight Suits Ltd (now G&B) which is a size 42 and I'm now a 44... Its wearable with just a T-shirt (which is OK here in So.Cal) but its not as comfortable as I would like it to be...so this thread got my attention.

    I want to get the jacket rebuilt by G & B (new knits, new liner) but should I attempt stretching it first?
    Will it damage the painted nose art on the back? (jacket on the right)
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

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    5,077
    Location:
    Ireland
    Bill, you're a genius. I recently bought an ELC Werber that is a very trim fitting 38. Too trim for me. I followed your instructions and it worked perfectly. The jacket now fits spot on. Many thanks. :D
     
  8. 6148th T.C.Squadron

    6148th T.C.Squadron Member

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    878
    Location:
    U.S.A
    Made to fit. Spray the jacket down with hot water, then wear the thing zipped up for a while. I did this at work, and I move around a lot. Stretched it out, at the same time made those great sleeve wrinkles. I know it sounds like a hassle wearing a wet jacket for the better part of a day, but it worked for me.
     
  9. a2jacketpatches

    a2jacketpatches Active Member

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    3,137
    Location:
    Northern California
    Not sure what kind of paint is on it, but acrylic can reconstitute especially with hot water, chances are that after 20 years any moisture within the paint has worked itself out and it is as solid as it will get but still a little risky. Hot water also releases any oils and will make them travel, any small scratches or specs of paint that reveal the jacket surface may begin to loosen even more and solid areas may bubble up. I've been working with just about all brands of acrylics for at least the past 25 years. If I were to intentionally remove paint from a jacket, hot water would be my first attempt. Get it nice and wet both sides and a little rubbing with the fingers will usually get it going.

    My partner Jim just had a bubbling issue and I'm trying to convince him to buy a heat press. I always press anything painted as it will actually push trapped moisture out of paint and best done right after the painting is done and before the clear coat is applied. Also, the first step in jacket painting is the most important, was it prepped correctly? Just about everything you can think of is not good enough and risky. Prep-solve auto body cleaner is the way to go, wipe on and dry off with cheap no lint table napkins several times. I know this may seem like long winded too much info, but it just goes to show all the risks you'll be taking on details you are probably unaware of.

    The following angel was the last paint I applied to a jacket and all of the previous precautions were taken to assure it would last forever. If i painted your jacket, I'd say go for the hot water resizing attempt, nothing to worry about.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. sealbeachbum

    sealbeachbum Member

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    509
    Location:
    Sothern California
    This was a really old thread but I'm glad it was revived and hope that it helps! :D
     
  11. Julian Taff

    Julian Taff New Member

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    3
    Thanks for the Info Bill. That's what I joined this forum for to find out if you can stretch a leather jacket. I have a vintage 1970s jacket that I can wear with just a shirt underneath but ideally I wish it was slightly bigger, I've only just bought it, so will try your method.

    A great Tache. You have too :)
     
  12. Tim P

    Tim P Active Member

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    2,001
    Location:
    Birmingham UK
    I am poised to try this with an Eastman. Wish me luck.
     
  13. Julian Taff

    Julian Taff New Member

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    3
    Good luck. I will let you know how mine turns out too.
     
  14. unclegrumpy

    unclegrumpy Active Member

    Messages:
    1,352
    If you only need to go up in size a bit, you might try putting on a sweatshirt or two, and then getting in the shower with the jacket on. Get it totally wet with warm water, and then continue to wear it until it drys. Figure you will be wearing it for all day.

    The trick is to let it dry slowly, and do not put it in the sun, though you can wear it in the sun if it is not too hot outside.
     
  15. sealbeachbum

    sealbeachbum Member

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    509
    Location:
    Sothern California
    Julian and Tim, keep us posted and let's see some pictures please! :)
     
  16. Julian Taff

    Julian Taff New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Ok, well I took the plunge yesterday morning. I went in the shower with just the jacket on. When I came out I stretched the chest area mainly and the shoulders , and also stretched the arms a little as I wanted them about 1/2 an inch longer.. I tried it on and straight away I knew the jacket was bigger!! It actually felt loose on me with nothing on top underneath. I then put the jacket flat on a towel and shaped it. I left it on a hanger and a few hours later when it was just damp, I wore it for about 3 hours with an old jumper on. It was dry by about 1am. The leather was quite dry, so I used some leather conditioner on it and left it over night. This morning the jacket was totally dry and was a lot more supple after doing the treatment, I was a bit concerned last night that I might have ruined it because the leather was really dry, but it's just like it was before I done it now I have treated it. By the way, this is quite a thick leather, not the soft type, it's more of a stiff type so not sure how it would stretch.

    Anyway, I can now wear it with a jumper and shirt underneath, and do up all 3 buttons, as where before I could only wear it with a shirt and just the middle button done up. I can't believe this has worked. It is a perfect fit now, I would say it's gone up almost a size. It was a bit scary to do but I wouldn't have worn the jacket like it was, it was like a strait jacket before and now its comfortable, and it will get so much more use.

    Thanks guys for all the tips, I never would have tried it if I hadn't seen Bills jacket that he had done.

    Cheers Julian
     
  17. Smithy

    Smithy Member

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    227
    Location:
    Norway
    This thread has made me prick my ears up. I have an old goatskin jacket which I really like, the body size is perfect but in truth it's about 0.5 inch to an inch too short in the sleeves. Interested to know whether this technique will lengthen sleeves and if so, can I do it by just wetting the sleeves and stretching or do I need to do the whole jacket. In other words can I spot lengthen the sleeves without mucking around with the rest of the jacket? Any hints and tips much appreciated.

    Thanks guys,

    Tim
     
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    one can also soak the jacket down with 50/50 distilled water and 90% or higher isophoric alcohol, wear it until it stretches then hang to dry.
    Worked on goat horsehide steer hide jackets from aero alexander eastman & goodwear.
     
  19. robrinay

    robrinay Member

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    298
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    I've never heard of isophoric alcohol - is it what we UK English speakers call isopropyl alcohol? However I'm sure alcohol and water will work - I read that cobblers use alcohol and water as a wetting and lubricating agent when stretching leather shoes - I tried it on a pair of Redwing engineer boots that I could barely get on owing to my high instep and it worked a treat - they fit nicely and there were no water marks. I used a quart of Tequila I'd been given years ago and never got around to drinking.
     
  20. a2jacketpatches

    a2jacketpatches Active Member

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    3,137
    Location:
    Northern California
    Tequila? That's alcohol abuse! :lol:
     

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