Adventures in Alterations – Tailoring a Zara Kids Jacket


Okay…kids clothes. I largely ignore them because I find them of poor quality, distasteful style, and boxy shapes that don’t accommodate a bust, hips, rear end, or show off a waist. With that being said, I’ve discovered some pretty good finds recently from brands that carry scaled down versions of their adult styles, like J.Crew here and here (not to mention Jeans’s great find), and now Zara. This doesn’t mean I’ll go crazy with kids clothes, because I still feel a little dirty shopping in those departments for myself, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get a decent fit and save a few bucks.

This Zara girls tweed jacket was $45.90 (still available in blue), which is much cheaper than an adult version which can run between $70 – $130 depending on whether it’s the Zara main line or TRF line. Considering the adult versions need alterations for me as well, it seemed like a good deal if I could get away with some simple alterations on this kids version instead of forking over the price for an adult size plus more costs in alterations.

I found size 9-10 to be a decent fit on me:




This girls Zara jacket is a light weight cream tweed fabric with small chain details that run along the collar and faux side pockets. The cropped shape is a modern cut and the frayed edges have a Chanel-esque appeal.

I liked the style, fabric and details of this jacket, not to mention the tiny fit in the shoulder. As usual, this kids jacket fit boxy in the torso (most evident from the side) and the sleeves hit at an awkward length on my wrist. I hemmed and hawed about the sleeves, but ultimately the length bothered me so I decided to add that to the alterations list.

The alterations I wanted done were:

  • Slimming the torso
  • Shortening the sleeves to a less awkward (and summer appropriate) 3/4 length

Shortening the sleeve was straight forward enough, but slimming the sides was looking to be a little more difficult. The side seams were very close to the faux pocket, so taking in that seam would displace the pocket detail. Instead, I looked at a seam that ran down the middle of the back. By taking in the jacket a few inches along that center seam, the extra fabric could be removed without having to deal with those side seams.



Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear love to say, “every seam is an opportunity for a tailor”, and this center seam is a great example of a non-conventional solution to taking in the torso.

Here it is before and after:



zara-kids-sideThe torso is slimmer for a more flattering fit and the sleeves are now 3/4 length, good for layering and scrunching. These two alterations cost $30 at my favorite San Diego tailor, which is much cheaper than tailoring a similar adult Zara jacket, that on me, usually need something as costly as the shoulders taken in (about a $100 tailoring bill).

You can see this newly tailored Zara jacket in action in this post.

What do you think of this kids jacket alteration? Would you alter a kids item to better fit you?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Ayumi Lafser

    I love it!  Remembering those days when I had to go look thru kids sections to find a clothes that fits… lol But that was “used” to, when I was still a teen or young adult.  As I hit older, I feel it’s a bit “too young looking” for me as far as the design, even the size fits me perfectly. This helped me open up eyes to look the kids sections again. :)  Thanks!


  2. says: Lisa Ng

    Great detailed shots! How did your tailor shorten the sleeves? At the shoulders? Great job! I wish kids clothes still fit me ;). I also feel dirty walking through the kids section. I just pretend to be looking for clothes for my son ;). very cute jacket, and great alterations!!!!!!!!!!! I love Stacey and Clinton. They have a new episode May 29??

    1.  I used to buy kid’s sneakers all the time. I wear a boys size 2.5 – 3. They fit well, as far as sneakers go, but I do notice kids shoes sometimes run a little wider than adult shoes.

    1. says: Cailyn

      I was looking at this jacket forever, too. Love both colors, but I’m afraid it might look too kiddish on me.. (I’m 22)? Any opinions?  

  3. says: AUBS

    man i’m forever grateful christina showed up @ the meetup 2 years ago.  la moda is such a great secret! 

    from the first before & after picture, i’m sure it’s just the pic, but the before looked slimmer.  but i see your point.

    as i scrolled down & got to the part where you were noticing the side seam & pocket, and already in my mind, i said, “take in the back seam!”  and you did…or should i say francois did.  haha.

    i think it is also a great idea that you took up the sleeves.  question though…what made u decide 3/4 length vs bracelet length?  not that im’ arguing…i’m not a fan of bracelet length but was curious to hear your opinion.

    1.  Seriously! Francois has done great things for my closet! I think what you’re seeing in the first pic is the extra fabric (the fabric that’s jutting out forward in the “side” photo) folding inward and creating an illusion of slimness. I though that as well when I was putting the before and afters together.

      As far as sleeves go, I’ve seen bracelet length sleeves look great on other people, but something about my lanky body type just makes it look like my sleeves are too short, like I had a growth spurt or something…lol. Since I always push or cuff my jacket sleeves up to about 3/4 or elbow length anyways, I figured I’d just alter them to that length to start with. Although, bracelet sleeves look great if you’re going to have another layer peek out at the wrist. I love wearing the Theory Gratian long sleeved with a long sleeve shirt peeking out underneath. If I don’t have long sleeves underneath, I push the sleeves up. =P

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *