What is that X of Thread on the Back of Your Jacket and Should It Be Removed?

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I like to consider myself your virtual friend who offers you style advice. And friend, your style may be hanging by a thread! Two threads to be specific, the ones creating an “X” on the back of your blazer or jacket. Do you have any jackets or blazers with an X of thread on the vent at the back? What is that X of thread on the back of your jacket for anyway? Those threads are not a style detail and should be removed before wearing your garment.

What is that X of Thread on the Back of Your Jacket and Should It Be Removed?

Most blazers, coats, and also some skirts have back vents. When these garments are shipped, the manufacturer will baste that vent closed so it doesn't shift and crease in transit. Sometimes when stores receive these shipments, they remove the threads prior to placing the garment on the salesfloor… but sometimes they do not.

With online shopping, customers receive merchandise straight from the manufacturer, which means no middle person to snip away that “X” of thread on the back of our jackets. It's up to us, the customers, to see if our garments have those threads and to snip them prior to wearing.

Your Style May Be Hanging By a Thread

What is that X of Thread on the Back of Your Jacket and Should It Be Removed?

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The X of thread is sewn to make them super easy to remove. Simply snip anywhere on one of the threads, and you should be able to pull them out of the garment without any damage. If one of the threads isn't budging, check the inside of the jacket as the knot may be caught up in the lining. A little snip near the knot will ease the thread out of your jacket.

If you don't see an “X” on the outside of your jacket but the vent (where the jacket opens in the back for movement and comfort) is closed, check the inside of the garment. Sometimes, retailers will baste it closed from the inside, especially if the two pieces of the vent do not overlap and instead work like a slit. For these instances, you still will follow the same procedure of snipping the thread open and pulling out the loose pieces.

For these minor alterations to your garment, you will want a pair of very sharp small scissors or a seam ripper. I have a pair of these cute gold scissors that look like a bird; they come with a rubber cap to protect the point. I keep them with my makeup brushes and use them for all those situations when cuticle or embroidery scissors are needed. Snipping an “X” from the vent of my blazer, trimming false lashes, removing a tag that itches… I just make sure the situations are not the type to gum up or dull the blades.

While you have those scissors, your garment may have other threads that are to be removed upon purchase.

  • Manufacturers also sew pockets closed to keep them from creasing. If you snip anywhere on the stitching keeping the pocket closed, it should release the stitching and open up quite easily.
  • Self-belts on dresses are held in place with a loop of thread on either side. These threads are to ensure the dress and belt stay together when on a sales floor, but are not needed when wearing the garment. Like the threads on the vent of your jacket and in your pocket, these threads are very easy to snip off your garment. A perk to removing these threads is now you can easily wear the belt anywhere on your torso, switch out the belt, or possibly style it without the belt for some versatility!

Now that you are empowered with this style knowledge, pass it on! Don't let your fellow woman have her style hang by an X of thread; knowing increases confidence as well as personal style.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. What about those loops meant to keep the clothing item on the hanger?Do they have a function at home.They always pop out when you wear the clothing?

    1. They too can be removed; I usually don’t try to mess with removing them altogether as they can be sewn into the seam. However, a little pair of sharp scissors can get them right near the edge and the loops are usually so soft the remainder won’t irritate or add bulk. Sometimes I keep them, especially if it’s a wide neck, strapless, or a fabric that will stretch when hanging. They can keep an item on the hanger and keep it the right shape. I’ve been known to safety pin them down inside if it benefits me to keep them, but I often snip them right off!

  2. I think those small scissors are called “embroidery scissors,” in case that helps people do a search. And I have to confess (like on that State Farm commercial) that I have a hard time snipping the labels out of my scarves because they have the fabric content. I try to just hide it, but it doesn’t really work.

  3. Thread loops for temporarily holding the belt on a dress? My mother wore dresses like that all the time (which is why I never do) and she must have thought the thread loops were meant to be functional. Now I know!

    As for stitched pleats, a kilt ordered from Scotland arrives with all its dozens of pleats lightly stitched down. A chore to remove the stitches, but what a reward to wear the kilt and let the pleats spin.

  4. I’m with the reviewers who leave their pockets basted closed — unless I actually need the pocket (in a jacket), in which case, I open the right one and leave the left one closed. I hate bulging pockets!

    Re the X on the pleats and vents — I laugh whenever I see someone with this, and then debate about saying something. My office was hiring a new person and, during the interview process, my boss discarded the person with the X on the back of their jacket. Sad. (But, the person actually WAS clueless. The X was just a symptom.)

  5. I used to leave the X stitch in because the slit was deemed to high for my butt! Then I clued into slips. I have stitched up skirts because I am crazy like that! 🙂

  6. Thanks for the stitched cross advice.  I had no idea about it (or stitched tags on coats saying “wool /  etc”) probably since I see lots of them about. A stylish friend made a condescending  remark about my ignorance so my (only) designer jacket which I love remained in the cupboard until I knew the answer.Thankyou allie /commenters – I will wear it out tomorrow minus stitching!

  7. I have to laugh because the day before you posted this, I had a kick pleat emergency. I had noticed the stitching while trying on the skirt and meant to remove it, but forgot while getting dressed at 6am.

    So, I’m strutting across the parking lot at work, feeling pretty good in my new pencil skirt, when suddenly…. I realize that I forgot to cut the stitching out of the kick pleat.

    My strut suddenly became more of a scurry to my classroom, so I could flip my skirt around and deal with the stitching. I was just grateful that I drove myself to work and hadn’t been like that on public transportation.

    I have been guilty of leaving pockets basted shut on purpose though.

  8. My pet peeve are the people who leave the tag on the OUTSIDE sleeve of their coat that says the fabric content “100% wool”

    Its meant to come off people!! Sheesh!

  9. Thanks for saying this, I often meet women and men who were the cross on their jackets and wonder if I should tell them. But most of the time I bite my lip and keep quiet…

  10. My pet hate is people leaving the tag on coat sleeves – you know, the one which says they’re pure cashmere or whatever. Also, I often leave basted pockets as they are to help preserve garment shape once I’m wearing it – especially in trousers.

    Great post – thanks! 🙂

  11. I’ve actually seen product reviews that complain about the pleats being stitched closed with mismatched thread in a big X–I had no idea the ignorance ran so deep until I read those.

    People typically manage to clip out price tags on their new clothes. Why are basted pleats and pockets so mysterious?

  12. I once saw someone walking around wearing Gap jeans that still had that strip of tape with the size printed on it running down the back of her thigh. Thanks for reminding people to check their new clothes before heading out the door!

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