Tweed jacket upcycle project: Day three – steam and rework

Last week I posted part three of my Harris Tweed jacket upcycling project. If you’re only just coming to find it, you’ll want to read back to the original idea outlined here, and part one here and part two here. I’ll wait patiently until you’re up to speed on what is going on here at the Laboratory of Total Tweedism.

Photo 11.10.15, 07.56.09

At the end of last week, my idea was to use the steam iron to flatten the sides of the front, easy job, and then add the two missing buttonholes using the sewing machine, another easy job. Except, it didn’t quite go that way. In the cold light of day, or a 60W bulb, in this case, I could see that my first efforts weren’t all that straight, and no amount of steam was going to fix that. So I undid the stitching.

Photo 11.10.15, 10.15.41

This time I carefully ironed the folds. This gives much better accuracy, and tweed is surprisingly like cotton in how it responds to heat and steam. It irons pretty well, which helps a lot when hand stitching the pieces back together. The end result of this was a much improved front. I’ll not claim perfection, as I’m nothing if not an amateur at this.

Photo 11.10.15, 10.16.39

I also took the time to work the collar a bit using the steam. This needs quite a lot of reshaping, and without all the buttons in place yet I’m not 100% sure where it needs to end up. So far though, I think this looks very promising. Yes, I can see it needs a bit more adjustment, as the right hand side is a bit larger than the left.

Photo 11.10.15, 10.15.52

In total, this is where I’m at right now. Quite the transformation!

The next step I hoped to have quickly out of the way, especially as it’s really the last real work before I reach the finishing line. My hopes were dashed though when I discovered that while the sewing machine will happily make a buttonhole in two layers of regular denim, there was no way it was going to do the same for 4 layers of Harris Tweed. I couldn’t even get the buttonholing device into place.

Photo 11.10.15, 10.16.12

The existing buttonholes, sewn by a proper machine.


Which means I’ll have to go old school for the next step and hand sew the buttonholes. Luckily Youtube comes to the aid. We’ll see next week how it turned out. Wish me luck!

The rest of the series?


  • WDW 11/10/2015 at 20:43

    Looking forward to seing the result. Despite my previous adventures in sewing I never hand sew a button hole. They say it’s one of the biggest challenges and a sure way to spot a real craftsman/-woman

  • Dauvit Alexander 14/10/2015 at 23:12

    Inspired and inspiring. Looking forward to the next instalment!

  • Anne Amosford 16/10/2015 at 11:24

    Found your blog by googling whethet to steam harris tweed before i cut it out and got your blog. Looking forward to seeing it finished. Enjoy the buttonhole experience!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.