Can A Wool Overcoat Be Tailored – 5 Things You Need To Know

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 9 min.

When it comes to clothing, it is always a challenge to find the right fit since there is no standard sizing in the US clothing sector. Specifically, clothes designed in Europe tend to run small while clothes designed in the USA are mainly true to size.

After hurriedly buying a wool overcoat, you might find that the coat is oversize. To fix the issue, you are likely to ask whether you can tailor a wool overcoat if a wool coat can be hemmed, and what are the costs of altering a wool coat.

To ensure that you buy the proper fit of the wool coat, you also need to understand how to wear the coat. In this article, I discuss all those issues so that you have a good understanding of a wool coat.

1. Can You Tailor Wool Overcoat

Yes, you can tailor a wool overcoat. However, wool is ordinarily expensive. Due to the high price, people wonder whether it is possible to alter a wool coat without damaging the coat. If tailoring the coat will result in the woolen coats being damaged, many people would rather have the coat as they purchased it.

Since wool is a natural fiber, a wool overcoat can be tailored as needed to have a better fit. The alteration in this context will entail getting rid of a specific section of the wool overcoat that makes the coat oversize and then sewing the other parts together.

If the sleeves of the overcoat are long, the sleeves will be cut, and the perfect allowance is taken into consideration before a new hem. Likewise, if the length of the overcoat is too long, the excess wool fabric will be cut and a new hem made on the length.

If you are not an experienced sewer, you might find it challenging to tailor wool overcoats. Wool is ordinarily bulky, which makes the fabric hard to sew since you need to have quality sewing threads and a special sewing machine needle that matches the bulkiness of the wool.

If you have a wool overcoat that needs to be tailored, I believe that it’s best if you take the coat to an experienced tailor or seamstress. These are trained professionals who also have all the necessary tools to ensure that your oversized wool overcoat is professionally tailored to fit you. In addition, your local tailor should be able to alter the wool coat for you.   

If you need to reduce the overall of your wool overcoat, you can achieve that by shrinking the overcoat. Wool is a natural fiber that can be shrunk by washing in high water temperature and drying in high-temperature dryer settings.

If your overcoat is made from cashmere wool, you can read this article on how to shrink cashmere wool.

2. Can You Hem A Wool Coat?

Yes, you can hem a wool coat as long as you have the right tools and time on your hands. Here is the process you can use to hem a wool coat.

What You Will Require To Hem Wool Coat

Tape measure


Seam ripper

Fabric scissors or snips

Wool coat

Straight pins

A thread that matches your wool coat


Chalk/marking pencil

Step 1: Preparation – make sure you have all the materials required

This is the preparation phase. As the adage states, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Therefore, you will make sure that you have everything required so that the hemming project will be a success.

Step 2: Find the original hem and remove it.

Depending on the length and thickness of the wool coat, you might be required to remove the original hem on the wool coat. Then, to have neat work, use a seam ripper to remove all the stitches.

Step 3: Find out how short you want your wool coat hemmed

Determine the length of the coat that you need. After finding out the required length of the wool coat, you will now pin the hem with the pins. Using the tape measure, ensure that you have the ideal length. Make sure that you have pinned the hem around the entire coat.

Step 4: Use scissors to cut the excess wool fabric from the hemline

Using the fabric scissors, cut away the extra wool fabric. For example, if you are hemming your coat three inches, you will need to cut away three inches so that the hem will be of uniform width.

Use the chalk or marking pencil to ensure that you uniformly cut the excess fabric. If you cut ununiformly, the extra hem width will make the wool coat bulky and could even make the material bunch.

Step 5: Thread needle with the matching sewing thread

You will now thread the needle with the matching sewing thread. Once you have threaded the needle, tie a knot at the end of the sewing thread and sew the hem.

Step 6: Iron the wool coat

To ensure that the hem on the coat will be uniform, set your iron setting on the wool setting and iron the coat.

3. Wool Coat Alteration Costs

Occasionally, you will find that you need your clothes altered. If you are an expert sewer and you have time on your hands, you can take up the challenge of altering your clothing. However, if you are busy and you don’t want any bother that might come with altering clothes, you are likely to enlist the services of a seamstress or a tailor.

Wool coat alteration costs vary from $30 for simple procedures such as coat hemming to close to $100 for complicated procedures like altering the coat’s shoulder. Even though most wool coat alterations will cost anything from $25 – $50, you can expect to pay extra charges for express services.

The cost of altering your wool jacket will be higher when compared to the cost of hemming another piece of clothing. For example, the maximum price you are likely to pay to hem jeans is $30, while for a wool jacket, you can pay about $100 to have the jacket hemmed.

You might be asking where I got those figures from. I am happy to inform you that I contacted different tailors and sewists and calculated the averages to achieve those numbers.

Here is a sample of how I worked out the figures from the collected information.

Summary of what you are likely to pay for altering your wool coat

If you want the sleeves of your woolen jacket to be altered, here are the prices that you should expect to pay.

Summary of what you are likely to pay for altering the sleeves of your jacket

3.1 Key Factors That Are Likely To Determine Your Wool Coat Alteration Costs

From my interaction with different tailors, I found out that various factors determine the fee you pay to have your wool jacket altered. So let’s now look at these factors:

3.1.1 Your Location

If you reside in a major town or city, you can expect to pay more for your wool jacket to be altered, while those in rural areas will pay lower prices. The difference in prices can be explained due to the high operation costs incurred in big cities and towns.

3.1.2 Relationship With The Tailor Or Seamstress

If you have a tailor or seamstress with whom you have built a strong relationship, you can expect to pay low fees. However, for newcomers, the price charged could be slightly higher.

3.1.3 The Expertise Of The Tailor/Seamstress

If your tailor or seamstress has amassed many years of experience, you can expect to pay higher prices for alterations. Experienced tailors are in high demand, and to get them to work for you, you have to be ready to pay a high price.

4. How To Wear A Wool Overcoat?

You can wear your wool in four different ways.

4.1 Wearing A Wool Overcoat For Soccer

To wear a wool overcoat for soccer, your outfit will comprise a warm scarf, casual jeans, a neutral knit, and then the overcoat. This option will work well since the scarf makes it look simple and, at the same time, elegant.

You, however, need to make sure that your scarf does not have knots. Instead, a few loops around the neck will make you appear relaxed, as is expected with a person going out to enjoy a soccer match.

4.2 Wearing A Wool Overcoat For A Date

The outfit will comprise rollneck, semi-formal trousers (probably woolen), and then the wool overcoat.

This wear of wool overcoat will work since the rollneck will make you appear to have made efforts to dress for the date without overdoing it (precisely what you want in a date).

If it’s freezing and you feel that the rollneck will not be enough on its own, you can put on a lightweight layer such as a cardigan or a casual blazer.

4.3 Wearing A Wool Overcoat For The Pub

Your outfit for this option will comprise dark jeans, a plain white t-shirt, and a knitted jumper. This wear will make sure that you can also wear the overcoat for relaxed occasions.

If the overcoat is neutral in color, you will then need to make sure that you opt for brighter colors as far as other clothes are concerned.

4.4 Wearing A Wool Overcoat For The Office

You will wear your overcoat with a suit and a tie in this type of wear. You, however, need to make sure that your wool overcoat covers your blazer, or it might appear as if the overcoat is running small. An overcoat of any color will be ideal with most suits.

5 How To Alter A Wool Coat

You might want to alter your wool coat if it’s either big or small. Let me explain how you can alter the wool coat in any situation.

5.1 How To Alter Wool Coat To Make It Smaller

If your wool coat is too big, you can alter it and make it smaller. The first thing to do is to find a section of the wool coat where you can easily open up the lining. This section will probably be either on the bottom of the wool coat or on the side seams of your coat.

You should now turn the wool coat inside out and zip up or button it. Proceed to enlarge the coat’s seam allowances and pin it up around the midsection and any other sections where you can identify an existing seam. After that, sew the seam and the lining.

Try on the wool coat and confirm that you have successfully altered the size to make it smaller.

5.2 How To Alter Wool Coat To Make It Bigger

While altering a wool coat to make it more miniature can be easy, altering it to make it bigger can be a complicated process that an experienced sewer should only undertake.

You need to note that unsewing a coat and sewing it back is not a simple process. Moreover, when you want to alter the wool coat to make it bigger, you must use minimal allowances to increase size. If you are unsure of the process, you should let a professional tailor do the alterations.

To alter a wool coat and make it bigger, you will need to let out the fabric in your coat’s seam. Once you have unstitched the coat, the material available will determine the extent to which you will be able to make the wool jacket bigger. Normally, the allowance will be about half an inch or one inch.

However, even if the allowance might sound small, you will be shocked to find that the wool jacket has got bigger once you sew it back and try it on.

6 Concluding Thoughts

We all love our wool jackets. They are warm and also give us an elegant look. If your wool jacket needs to be altered, you should take it to the tailor. However, if you are good at sewing, you might be able to tailor the jacket on your own using the process I have detailed in the article.

To reduce the size of your jacket, you can shrink the jacket in the wash and the dryer.