Stefan Hills, 11/20/12

Can you shrink a Barbour jacket? The short answer is Yes! I believe you can.

But why would you want to? The answers are many, like 1) I was bored on a Saturday night and the wife was out with her girlfriends; 2) you are in between sizes; or 3) you want to break in the jacket.

At this point I should add that I fully understood that there was the very real risk that I was about to ruin an otherwise perfectly good jacket, not mention James Bond collectible from SKYFALL. But I had another in my closest and so was willing to take the risk. You know you are a Bond Fan when you buy back ups!

When I spoke to the sales agent at my local Barbour store, who in turn spoke to the alterations department for Barbour, they informed that if I wanted the sleeves shortened, Barbour would not remove the elbow patch and move it up, they would just reduce the inch and 1/2 I wanted and rebind the leather trim of the sleeve hole with a new leather trim.

I did not like the fact that I would lose the space between the sleeve opening and the elbow patch as the screen jacket had that gap.

The prep was pretty simple, I had personally removed the hood, and the extra buttons on the front of the jacket that held the hood in place. At this point the hood is still not totally useless. But once the zipper comes off, that’s all she wrote with regards to the hood. Some have said to merely cut off the zipper, but I think that if you want a clean finish you need to unpick the zipper and restitch.

Besides, the Barbour thorn proof dressing does a good job of sealing the holes that are made by the removal of the buttons and thread. The chest flap was next. And my tailor said that it was a major pain to remove the flap correctly, as it was attached to the inner seam of the jacket and lining. Some have also said that you can attach an extra button to the inside of the jacket and tuck the flap in the opposite direction. I did think about it. But in order properly pull back the chest flap, the button has to almost be placed where the sleeve meets the inner arm pit. This makes for an uncomfortable pinch. So, the chest flap has to go. The loss of these elements of the jacket, made the jacket MUCH lighter to wear, but also no more than a warm blazer.

Can you shrink a Barbour jacket?METHOD:
Now we get to the good part; throw on your favorite swimming trunks and a t-shirt, put on the jacket, button up, pop your collar and fire up the shower. I had mine on the highest setting, in terms of the heat of the water, and it was really steaming.

While in the shower, I kept bending my elbows, and crossing my arms as I wanted the fabric to confirm to my body. I did this the whole time and I was in the shower for about 20 minutes. Once getting out of the shower, gently squeeze out any excess water. Taking off the jacket, I realized that though the jacket on the outside was soaked, most of the inside was dry. Put the jacket into a cotton laundry bag, with draw strings. This way any metal or buttons do not get damaged from tumbling around in the dryer. If you do have laundry bag, use an old pillow case and firmly tie off the ends.

I set the dryer to high heat, for 30 minutes, and threw it in. I would recommend checking on the jacket every 10 minutes or so. I did not and in hind sight I should have, instead going to pick up take out at the local Chinese Cafe.

Once I pulled out the jacket when I got back, the results did surprise me quite a bit in a good way. I got the desired fit and look I was after ever since I saw the image of Bond, on the cover of Bond on Set, the making of Skyfall. Also the sleeves were now at the desired length.

The jacket brand new was stiff, and Barbour’s dressing has a tendency to seep into the inside of the jacket, and makes clothes feel a little clammy. The shower and dryer not only broke in and relaxed the jacket but it now fits better and has a reduced clamminess.

The shower also gave the jacket that weathered in look, which is another reason why I am holding off the rewaxing. I like the character the jacket now has. In the pictures to the right, I have tried to illustrate where the modifications have been made with regards to screen accuracy and have used a stock jacket as a reference. Both jackets are a size Large.

The only change I did not make when compared to the screen jacket was that I did not remove the button on the other side of the throat latch. I think removing this button was a mistake by the costume department, GASP! there, I said it. I mean, why remove all the buttons and not remove the throat latch, instead of folding it over? If you fold it over to keep the latch out of the way, keep the button that makes it functional. So I kept the button on the opposite side and to me it makes sense to do so. Other than that the jacket is pretty accurate to what one see’s on screen.

This was my BOND experience, nowhere as exciting as the day in the life of our favorite fictional hero, but come on, admit it, there were moments while reading this that caused you to break out into a cold sweat??