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How To Alter Leather Clothes. The Definitive Guide to the Leather Work

Clothing alterations require skill, precision and expertise. Making changes to your clothes, both minor and major changes, requires a professional touch to do it right. Often, clothing alterations goes wrong, especially when done by an amateur or for exceedingly delicate clothing. Getting alterations done to your clothes could be because of the lack of fitting, a mistake somewhere, or maybe just a complete revamp. No matter how slight or minor those alterations are, it necessary to know what it entails before getting your clothes into the operation room. In this article we will cover question on how to alter leather clothes.

Altering Leather Dresses

Like fur, lace, and net clothes, certain clothing materials are very hard to alter if your tailor is not an expert with it. A perfect example of this is leather clothing. Many tailors avoid making alterations on leather clothing. This is not just because it is hard to alter but also because there is a high chance the dress might get damaged if proper care is not taken.

Making alterations to leather clothing, especially leather jackets, require a certain level of expertise. Not to worry, we are here to take you through a guide on how you can get your leather clothes altered, what it would cost, and other essential things to consider when getting alterations done to your leather clothes.

Factors to Consider before Learning how to Alter Leather Clothes

Of course, as earlier mentioned, altering a material as difficult as leather materials isn’t an easy feat as it requires high-level expertise and precision. As much as many common factors such as size, length, and not being the right fit come to play, there are other essential factors that must be thoroughly considered before knowing how to alter leather clothes.

As much as tailoring leather clothes isn’t entirely impossible, it largely depends on which of these factors that must be considered below.

The Type of Leather Used in Making the Clothing

Knowing how to alter leather clothes is important, but the type of leather in question is also as essential. If the leather used is a natural one, the chances of having a successful modification are higher. On the contrary, if the leather material is also merged with artificial fur or faux, having it tailored could lead to it being damaged.

For instance, leather jackets made of materials such as fur makes modification without damage practically impossible. You must be sure about the type of leather to be altered because not all are alteration-friendly.

Genuine Leather Rolls For Craftsmanship Work

The Style or Design of the Leather Cloth

The style or design of the leather clothes are also to be considered. Typically, leather clothes come with quite obvious and intricate details and designs. Such designs will make it practically impossible to alter them as these styles often get in the way of the modification process.

Other specific details on leather clothes such as ribbing, flaps, and pockets, most times, interrupt alteration and ignoring them to make such changes will simply lead to a very terrible modification job. More so, if the leather clothes contain special inside features such as an insulation system, that could also get in the way of an alteration.

Thus, you have higher chances modifying plain leather clothes than ones riddled with complex details and designs.

Skill and Dexterity

As much as altering clothes can be done if you are fully aware of the process, it equally requires dexterity and skill. Altering cloth materials are not that difficult, but when a material like leather is involved, it isn’t an easy feat to pull off.

Knowing how to alter leather clothes is quite a profitable skill. Thus, it requires uncommon expertise. If you aren’t sure about properly doing it, it’s best you hire a professional to make the alterations. If not, you may do so much damage that you might end up throwing your leather cloth away.

If you can’t do it, be sure to find the specific professional that knows how to handle various types of fabrics. This will ensure your leather cloth or clothes are in safe hands. There are lots of mediocre tailors out there. Thus, you must ensure you find one with the needed expertise level.

Machinery Availability

One of the perks of tailoring materials, especially leather ones, is that you may need special tailoring machineries such as an industrial sewing machine, and other types to successfully make your alterations. Thus, if you have no access to such machineries, you’ll need to find the right professional with these tailoring machineries to modify your leather clothes for you. Even if you are pretty sure you can handle the alteration process, you need the machineries.    

Knowing how to alter leather clothes is one thing, but having the wherewithal is another.

Hands On Sewing Machine


If it isn’t possible to do the modification yourself, you’ll need a professional tailor to do it for you. Thus, you must be aware of the amount you’ll be spending.

Of course, given the difficult nature of leather materials professional tailors will charge considerably more than they’d charge for alterations done on regular materials such as polyester, cotton, and the likes.

Averagely speaking, a tailor could charge between $25 to $150 for basic alterations. However, it also depends on the complexity of the alteration and which part of the world you reside. It may not look like much, but when you compare the price spent to alter leather clothes to the half-off deal prices of getting replacements, people get quite reluctant about taking their clothes for alterations.

There are many situations in which making minor alterations cost as much as buying a new outfit. Thus, if you feel getting a replacement will be quite economical for you, you should do just that.

Parts of Leather Clothes that are Difficult to Modify

Some part of leather clothes that are difficult to alter include the:

  • Zipper
  • Pockets
  • Collar
  • Shoulders
  • Sleeves

Thus, it’s best you find a professional tailor to handle it if you can’t. Once a damage has been done, it’d be especially difficult to correct it. But if you know how to do it and you have access to tailoring machineries, you can pull it off.

How to Alter a Leather Skirt

When it comes to altering a leather skirt, you can make alterations to a leather skirt when you have the suitable equipment and material to be used. Leather skirt alterations mainly involve changing the waist size, the length or a complete revamp. You can adjust the zippers, add new materials to create an entirely new style, or a complete write over of the skirt.

Making alterations on a leather skirt would involve a leather needle (a special kind of needle used to sew leather) and a steel plate for your equipment. This is because leather leaves holes when alterations are made with regular needles, which would spoil the entire outlook of the skirt and leave a permanent mark.

How To Alter A Leather Skirt

The first step to altering your leather skirt is that you should not use pins. There are special needles for alterations on leather; they are called leather needles. If you plan to use your machine, try to go slow and steady on the jacket. Always use masking tape to mark out your adjustments. Your leather skirt can be adjusted just like any other skirt; either to reduce or increase a particular part. It only requires more attention and proper care. Cut out slowly and carefully to prevent any mistakes you can’t fix. With all this in mind, you can make alterations to your leather skirt like any other skirt you’ve got.

How Much Does It Cost to Alter a Leather Skirt?

Making alterations to leather skirts, whether minor or significant, attract extra charges compared to other alterations done to softer fabrics. This is because leather skirts require specific tools and expertise and are much harder to work on than different fabric type skirts. Leather skirt repairs could range from $85 – $100 starting price depending on what is being repaired. On the other hand, leather skirt alterations could range from $200 – $500 starting price, depending on what is being altered. Prices might vary for much more complex alterations.

How to Alter the Sleeves of Leather Jackets

Leather jackets are one of the most fashionable pieces that have stood the test of time. They look great, fantastic, and sophisticated, of course, when they have good sleeves. Alterations to leather jackets remain one of the hardest alterations to make. One is because of the complexity of some jackets, and another is because it is leather. When trying to make alterations to leather jacket sleeves, you need to remember that it is a delicate material — however, this does not mean that you cannot do it by yourself.

First, make sure you have the measurement of the sleeves and that of your arm. Mark the areas you will like to cut with masking tape; this makes it much easier to cut and reduces your chances of making a mistake. Cut out the markings carefully and slowly with scissors, every careful with the shoulders since you will reattach your new sleeves.

The next step is to do a lining replacement. Attach the lining neatly to the shoulders, then cut the lining an inch and a half shorter than the new sleeves. Then reattach the new sleeves at the wrist with either a sewing machine or a needle and thread. Once the linings are correct, proceed to join the shoulders with the new sleeves.

How Much Does It Cost to Alter Leather Jacket Sleeves

Leather jacket sleeve alterations attract a higher amount of money due to their complexity and specificity. Alterations to shorten your leather jacket sleeves with buttons cost an average of $150 and $100 without buttons. While sleeve leather jacket alterations could range from $100 to $150, general alterations on a leather jacket could start from $200 – $300.

How to Alter Leather Pants

Like every other wear, leather pants could also be altered to fit in and shape up your body. While leather pants aren’t the most straightforward clothing to adjust, they are undoubtedly much better than leather jackets and do not cost as much. Not all garments can be altered in the same way. Each one requires a distinct, delicate touch to fixing it up, and so do leather pants. When it comes to making alterations to leather trousers, it could either mean you want to reduce or increase the waist, or you want to reducer increase the length, or maybe make it more fitted or free overall.

Leather pants are much easier to make smaller than to make bigger. Leather pants are to be hemmed when trying to adjust the length. It could be done using a leather needle or hemming glue. With a piece of chalk, leather needle, thread, a pair of scissors, iron and a sewing machine(optional), you are good to go.

Measure the length you would prefer your trousers to be and mark out that length (for shorter alterations) or on the new material (for longer alterations). Cut off the spare part, leaving an inch and a half for hemming. For longer alterations. Using a nylon thread and a size 14 to 16 needle, hem the bottom of the trousers. For longer length, add the allowance for the hemming, and join the two parts then go ahead them the base. You could always replace sewing for hemming glue. When done well, this is preferably the neatest method.

How Much Does It Cost to Alter Leather Pants?

Getting your alterations done by a professional could attract more fees. This could start from $85 to $250 depending on the complexity of alterations to be made. Pant alterations with lining would attract more fees.

How To Alter Leather Clothes

Alterations to clothing remains a delicate work in the tailoring industry. It is even more complicated when it is to be done delicate materials like nets and leather. However, it is not impossible to do if you have a little bit of sewing knowledge and a good guide. It is most advisable to hand it over to a professional to get it done the right way if you are not so confident in your sewing skills.

Bonus: Leather Clothing Alteration FAQ

Can I Alter My Leather Clothing from Any Tailor?

We advised that you alter your leather clothing from tailors who specialize in the use of materials as cowhide or horsehide for leather clothing. The material is quite thick and needs special sewing equipment, unlike silk and cotton. Any mistake during alteration may cost more to fix. Save yourself the stress by visiting an expert in leather clothing.

How Do I Fix Holes in The Sleeves of My Leather Jacket?

You do not have to dispose of that lovely leather jacket because you have holes in the sleeves. It can easily get fixed with minor alterations. The long sleeves of your leather jacket can be altered to a vest or replaced with new sleeves. You get to have a change in style and save some cash from getting a new one.

How Do I Know My Leather Pants Are Ready for Alteration?

When it becomes difficult to move in your leather pants, you need an alteration. Are you having some difficulty with the zipper? Then an alteration should be done. Your leather pants should feel like a second skin but should not be uncomfortable. When you begin to feel discomfort when you wear your pants, then an alteration is due.

Can I Make My Leather Pants Longer?

Yes! Just like silk and cotton, leather pants tend to have a hem allowance at the bottom. It can help increase the length of the pants. In cases where the hem allowance is not enough, an extra hem can be added by a skilled tailor.