Stretching your jacket up a size

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

  1. Zmit

    Zmit New Member

    Messages:
    14
    No no no....I tried this method, I hung all day like a monkey. Not worked.
    Hands stretch together with the jackets sleeves!!!! And the sleeve is still short in relation to the arm - they are the same stretched out.
    After this I have very long arms and coulde use captan control yoke from mine FO seat, but problem of lenghing sleeves was not solved.
    So I had to ask more experienced people here.
     
  2. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    I began to, uh, outgrow my ELC '33 Werber so I immersed the lower half of the body in tap-hot water and wore it for half a day. Results good - I could even blouse the waist a little!

    Then I gained 5 lb in 3 months! The gods look down and laugh.
     
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  3. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    Is there a professional jacket stretching service anyone knows about? Like for shoes? It might get better results to do things like lengthening sleeves or body, or expanding a collar, by machine. If there is such a machine.
     
  4. Blackcat1369

    Blackcat1369 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Hello, came across this forum searching this exact topic! I have an older padded cafe racer that has gotten a bit too tight in the shoulders and armpits. Anybody have any tips for getting the maximum stretch in those areas?
    Thanks!
     
  5. Greg Gale

    Greg Gale Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    912
    Don't do anything, just wear the shit out of it. Maybe go sleep in it. Wear it with a thick sweater. Do some exercises, move around, drive. It will stretch eventually. Just be patient. I've had my A-2 for more than half a year. It was interesting to compare it with a new one this weekend, mine had much more shoulder room.
     
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  6. Dr H

    Dr H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,607
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    I've never heard the term 'isophoric alcohol' before (as an organic chemist) - it seems to be bandied around on different fora on the internet, but I imagine that isopropyl alcohol (2-propanol) is probably what is being described.
     
  7. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,562
    add some ice, a little lemon juice to the tequila, and the shoes and or jacket will taste great,,,, and get ya bent.
     
  8. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    Be aware that the more stitch, the less stretch....ie the more tailoring/piecework there is in the part of the jacket you need stretched, the less stretch you can get there. Heavy duty thread has to fight stretching, tearing and other forces and it does!

    Stand collars are basically impossible to stretch. I suppose you could if you built your own hat stretcher to a smaller size (the ones for adult hats are all too big).

    The belly region of an A-2 won’t stretch well either - it’s got too little horizontal or vertical space without something (zipper, pocket, seam) sewn on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  9. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    How about heat stretching? Hair dryers and such?
    Is it workable on a dry (but well conditioned) jacket?
     
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  10. Thomas Koehle

    Thomas Koehle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    846
    Location:
    Mexico Aguascalientes
    the effect of heat goes directly into the other direction - in the car industry we use heat on leather seats to get off wrinkles - gentle applied heat with a airgun shrinks the leather and due to that removes the wrinkles

    Do not know the effects on Leather Jackets but think is the same
     
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  11. Flightengineer

    Flightengineer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    526
    Location:
    RF
    Absolutely agree.
    I used hair dryer to completely got rid of the folds and dents on leather rear seat of my car, formed for 4 years under the child car seat.
    I'm sure that warm air will shrink the leather - not stretch.
     
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  12. zoomer

    zoomer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Location:
    Gerbracht Aeronautic Corp.
    Then a lot of wikihow-type people are in for a disappointment.
     
  13. robrinay

    robrinay Active Member

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    I stretched the sleeves on my ELC M422a and added about an inch to the leather. Sadly I wasn’t careful and the lining came apart at the shoulder costing me for a sleeve reline. I suspect this was largely owing to the weakness of the Rayon satin lining as compared to cotton drill etc.
     
  14. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,279
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    I think Silver Surfer touched on this a few good posts ago but I can't find it. Think he advised just wet the leather areas you wish to stretch, not the interior lining etc, and pull both sides of the leather only, with your hands, making sure there are no seams / stitching that may tear or weaken. If its sleeves then wet the complete sleeve on the outside with a wet sponge cloth etc, and hold with one hand the end of the leather near the knit, and the other hand on the sleeve side of the shoulder/body join, trying not to grab the lining as well. keep pulling to stretch the leather only. Just be make sure you have your hands locked on the sleeve area only, you don't want to be pulling a join apart.
     
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  15. robrinay

    robrinay Active Member

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    Good point - I pulled the leather at the end of the sleeve while wearing the jacket - my shoulders must have gripped the lining causing the tear.
     
  16. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,279
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    My Werber has shrunk a bit in the sleeves and back, originally its measured back 25 1/2, shoulders 18, sleeves 25 1/2. Over 5 years of wear while the shoulders have stayed the same, the sleeves have tunnelled making them 25, and the back, as all these jackets do, has shrunk a little and risen up at the lower back while the front hangs down, it now measured 25.

    Below is the process I used to stretch the leather out using water to make the leather pliable. The trick as in my post above is to wet the exterior leather only not the leather and lining, while when stretching try and grab the leather only, not leather and lining, baring in mind that your stretching the leather not the seams where the stitching is.

    First wet down the areas you wish to stretch, completely soaking the exterior leather but not getting the lining wet, should only take a short time to soak in, you don't need to hose it for longer than a minute if that. Mine took no longer than 30 secs to saturate enough to work with. The water will seep through to the lining in areas but the lining shouldn't be saturated.
    IMG_0378.JPG

    next stretch the areas you want to stretch in small sections, trying to grab only the leather, leaving the lining loose if possible. ALWAYS stretch inside any seams or joins. i.e. if a sleeve, grab on the sleeve area not the shoulder/body or the knit or where it joins, otherwise it may stress the stitching and at worst rip the seam. See in the images below how I've grabbed the leather no stitching in between. Do small areas systematically across the area you want stretched and then stretch the entirety of the area.
    IMG_0384.JPG IMG_0383.JPG IMG_0392.JPG

    I put it on to reconfirm to my shape as it drys out naturally, avoid drying out in the sun as this will only shrink the leather again. By this stage its pretty damp, and you should be able to see the fruit of your efforts.
    IMG_0406.JPG IMG_0398.JPG

    As you wear it dry it should reconfirm to your shape, as its drying, zip it at least 3/4 closed and you can do some stretching in the jacket, don't stress it, as the seams are still wet, just a little stretching here and there to help keep the shape you want.

    Below is the dry version. As it naturally dries it will shrink a little but should have some evidence of stretching in those areas that you worked on. The sleeves are now 26' and the back is back to 25 1/2, and not riding up as you can see in the photos. So I've made an inch in the sleeves and 1/2 in the back.

    IMG_0411.JPG IMG_0412.JPG IMG_0417.JPG
     
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  17. Greg Gale

    Greg Gale Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    912
    Impressive results, but that's something I would never dare doing to my A-2 :eek:

    Would it work using leather conditioner instead of water?
     
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  18. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,279
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    You could try it but I think you'd have to completely saturate the jacket in it, just so the leather is pliable and while it may stretch it would take ages for the leather to dry out to a wearable state; one can only try though. Depending on your hide and tanning process, water just evaporates off fairly quickly. It took 5 hours to dry.

    A good way to test is see what happens to your hide after you get it soaked in the rain. If it dries back to normal then it should be fine. I've heard here that some hides from various makers had issues with water leaving stains as such, I wouldn't do this if your concerned that it may leave marks or stains as there is no guarantee what the end result will look like. My jacket is pretty splouchy anyway so doesn't matter to me, I particularly like that look.
     
  19. Greg Gale

    Greg Gale Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    912
    I guess I'll just wait for a rain to catch me out in the open, then pull on the sleeves a bit here and there - how hard does one need to pull?
     
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  20. Flightengineer

    Flightengineer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    526
    Location:
    RF
    Very impressive result, Matt!!!
    Intresting, will it turn to the former sleevelenght or not.
     

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