June 7, 2010
The idea of the marching band jacket as a fashion piece has been around for quite some time now. In fact, it was one of the things I had blogged about wanting really early on in this blog (read: ages ago). But I had finally found the perfect marching band jacket at a vintage store in Boston and it was only 15 dollars and it was like magic when I put it on and it fit me perfectly—well, not quite. The arms and shoulders hung beautifully, but the jacket could benefit from a little shortening. Bereft of my tailor, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and I’m glad to say I’m pleased with the result.
Fellows, allow me to present The Dandy Project quick-fix jacket-shortening method. Shortening a jacket instantly modernizes it, and prevents you from looking as if you’re drowning in fabric. Take note that this works best on fabrics that drape rather than stand stiff (e.g. suiting wool, not gabardine cotton). Also, I suggest you do this to a jacket that you wouldn’t mind looking a little shabby, say, a thrift store find. Leave the hemming of your Margiela suit to a trusted tailor.
1. Pencil-mark on both ends and in the center where you want the jacket hem to fold. This will determine how short the jacket will be.
2. Heavily iron on the fold from the inside, using some spray starch to set the fold. It should look like this laid out:
3. Using thread the same color as your jacket exterior, make loose stitches far apart from each other, making sure to go through the lining and on to the exterior so that the inside fold stays in place. Try to make the stitches on the outside as invisible as you can, anchoring them on one or two threads at most.
close up of my far-from-Savile-Row stitching
4. Use safety pins on the heavy corners, and on the parts that you might mess up. Just iron out the kinks here and there, and your jacket is ready to wear! Here’s what it looks like worn:
Ray-Ban aviators, DIY shortened band jacket, H&M t-shirt, Cheap Monday jeans, Zara shoes
As we danced on the street, my hemming stayed intact!
A few snapshots of Cannes on the day I wore it:
the busy coast of Cannes on a film festival day
my most tasty supper of poached cod, garlic aioli, and boiled eggs, potatoes, and fennel
the hand of the photographer, my brother, wearing my ring and making a gesture he entitles “F*ck Hipsters”