This post is continued from “Fixing up an old leather jacket: Part 1” where we replaced the zipper. Part 2 will cover how to replace the lining.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I found a fantastic leather jacket at Value Village for a reasonable $24.99. The leather was in great condition, it fit me well and the style was quite classic.
The only problem was the ripped lining and broken zipper. Here I’ll show you what I did to replace the jacket lining.
Remember, click on any of the images to enlarge in a new window, if you’re following along.
I also sized the images slightly larger than Part 1, for easier reference.
What you’ll need:
- old leather jacket
- new lining: measure the length of the body plus the length of the sleeve, to calculate how much lining to buy. Or, wait until you’ve removed the old lining, and either lay it out to calculate how much fabric you need, or take it to the store for more accurate fabric requirements.
- seam ripper
- leather foot for your sewing machine OR baby powder
Here’s what I did:
First, unpick the old lining from the leather jacket. What we’re going to do here is use the old lining to make the pattern pieces for the new lining. No drafting required!
Choose a place to start (I started at the hem), and work your way around the whole seamline. Try and keep the lining as intact as possible.
Continue until the lining is completely removed from the jacket. This stage is kind of cool, as you can see the inside of a leather jacket! Mine had writing and felt markings all over the inside. Maybe I’m just a dork but I thought it was neat to see.
Back to the jacket – now you should have two completely separate pieces. One unlined jacket…
and one lining shell…
Next, I marked my centre back line. Measure from sideseam to sideseam, divide in half, and mark. Do this at the hem, at the waistline (eyeball it if you can’t tell exactly where the waist is) and between the shoulders.
Slice the back lining piece up the middle. Now, you have a half jacket. Choose the half with less rips and holes to use for the next step. (But keep the other half, don’t throw it out yet.)
Bring out the seam ripper again, and carefully unpick the rest of the seamlines: sideseam, armhole, shoulder seam.
Lay out your new lining fabric. Using the old lining pieces as pattern pieces, lay them out on the lining.
Pin the centre back lining piece along the fold of your lining fabric. Remember slashing up the middle of the back? We’re aligning that edge now along the fold.
Pin the balance of your lining pieces to the lining fabric.
Now, it’s likely that your lining pieces don’t have much seam allowance left. Mine were serged, plus I may have been a bit tired of seam-ripping and ripped some of my seams instead of carefully unpicking. Do as I say, not as I do! But if you must do as I do, it’s OK. We’ll just add back the proper seam allowance to our edges now.
From the holes where the seam was stitched, measure 5/8″ (1.5cm) and mark. (Or if you ripped it along the seamline, measure from the ripped edge.) Continue along the edges, marking your new cutting line.
Cut along your marked lines.
Repeat for all lining pieces.
Now, we’re going to rebuild the lining. This is where the other half of your lining comes in handy as a reference.
Start with any darts or pleats, then sew the shoulder seams and sideseams. Sew the sleeve seams, then set them into the lining body.
Press under the hem allowances on the sleeve hems and body hem.
Once you have a lining shell and a jacket shell, it’s time to join them together.
Attach the lining to the jacket, along the facing, neck edge, and hem. Use paper clips or binder clips to secure the edges.
Because the leather seam allowance isn’t a full 1.5cm, I’ve lined up the holes from the previous stitch line along the imaginary seam line of my lining. It should match the size of the old lining piece before I added seam allowance.
Sew along the edges, aiming for your stitches to fall into the holes from the previous stitch lines. The picture below illustrates how to line up your edges better.
Sew along all of the edges, leaving a 4-inch opening somewhere to turn the jacket. Turn the jacket right-side out through the opening.
Hand-stitch the opening closed, working the needle through the existing holes in the leather. Sew the lining to the cuff hems by hand as well.
AND… we’re finished!
Here’s the numbers for this project:
- Jacket cost: $24.99
- Lining, thread, new zipper, leather needles: $16.27
- Time spent from start to finish: 6 hours
- Injuries: 1
- Broken needles: 1
- Total cost for my semi-new leather jacket: $41.26 + a weekend afternoon
Thinking of doing it yourself? Just remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It would be nice if it was, but it’s just lining. No one will see it, and making your jacket new and clean is the main part. What I mean is, if the cutting is a little off, it’s OK. Lining is meant to float around in your coat anyways, a perfect fit is not required.
Would I do it again? Honestly, probably not. It was more work that I thought and it’s one of those things you do once, are REALLY glad you get to wear the finished garment, and never want to do it again! I’m happy that I did it and that I know how, and that I took enough pictures to write a decent how-to guide to share.
But now, next time you’re thrifting and find a great jacket, you have the resources to save it. You won’t have to pass it up if the lining is ruined or the zipper’s broken.
Happy thrifting and good luck!