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  1. Last week
  2. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Lapel hole made by my apprentice using the silk thread I bought off the starving coatmaker. I'm currently making a 3-piece suit in this Dugdale houndstooth for a customer, and a jacket only for another customer.
  3. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I'm sort of in the process of hiring another full time employee. I'm not actually certain if the business can afford it. But then, the business may also not afford not having another FTE. Employees are, of course, fixed costs. For the longest time, JT's costs have been almost 100% variable. The costs are only incurred when revenues are made. Now, with rent and payroll, there is a cost which is incurred regardless of the revenue situation. This makes the business more vulnerable: to economic downturns, to sudden revenue drops, etc. There are currently two cutting tables at JT. One for me, one for a part timer or apprentice. Sometimes, there are two part timers, an apprentice and me in the shop. Four people. Just not enough tables. Which was why I ordered a 6'X3' solid white oak table from a cabinetmaker. It's also why I bought another sewing machine, the Singer 201P. The capital expenditure doesn't end there. I realised there is only one (1) cloth shears at JT, a Shozaburo. I need to buy at least one more. That shears has been in service daily since when I was doing my apprenticeship in 2011. Here's a video that shows how Shozaburos are made. The price for an 11" Shozaburo is now RM550. Nowadays, KAI, the Japanese cutlery conglomerate and owner of Shozaburo, offers a modern, rationalised version of the traditional cloth shears. It's called the KAI 7000 series. It's how you would make cloth shears today given the possibilities of modern manufacturing technologies. The 11" version is called KAI 7280. It's priced at half the cost of a Shozaburo. I just ordered one. Here's a video about the KAI 7000 series flagship cloth shears.
  4. vrp

    The suiting thread

    Woo~ Quite a large assortment of silk thread you have there.
  5. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Sorting the silk threads into colour groups for easier retrieval
  6. Nabilalif

    The suiting thread

    The depth of the hollow of the lapel is eye catching.
  7. Nabilalif

    The suiting thread

    Again. Nice lapel roll
  8. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    He makes a light and soft jacket. Almost worryingly soft. Very soft pocket welt interlinings, a collar which felt very delicate from its softness, paper-thin lapels. He said something about how he sews the sleeves to the body by hand instead of machine which removes the rigidity of the machine stitch.
  9. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    First jacket from the starving coatmaker who sold me all his silk threads. I thought he has a reserve stash, but he hasn't, which is why the buttonholes on this were done in polyester thread.
  10. niakulah

    The suiting thread

    A pippin punch?
  11. Nabilalif

    The suiting thread

    Obviously it can be great for your capacity expansion. Unlike yohei fukuda who takes two years to deliver his bespoke shoes; second fitting after one year. But of course quality is the main priority.
  12. kotmj

    Shirts

    BTW I was there to buy this machine. It will be cleaned, adjusted, and delivered in the coming weeks. I asked for it to be mounted on a 24" table, which is almost half the length of the typical sewing machine table. Such a small table so that it doesn't take up too much space in the shop.
  13. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I can't wait to see how it turns out. I wonder if he will be my third fully-canvassed coatmaker.
  14. kotmj

    Shirts

    This morning, I was at KL's oldest sewing machine sellers. They take up two adjacent units of shophouses, occupying all floors. The place is chock full of sewing machines of all kinds. I'm not sure about most of you, but I am a sucker for all things mechanical. The shop has been there for decades, and it smells and feels exactly that way. I asked the 70-something-year old proprietor a problem which has always plagued me. "My shirt buttonholes, once cut, have all these broken cloth yarns coming out of the hole. I'd have to cut away all these loose yarns coming out of the hole. How to avoid this?" He tells me it's due to the wrong kind of knife being installed in the machine. For shirts, use a straight knife. The angled knife (looking like the blade of a guillotine) is for trousers. I found the explanation unconvincing. "Isn't it due to the knife being blunt?" I asked. No, he said, it's just the wrong knife. I just had my shirtmaker send me a picture of the knife installed in his buttonhole machine. It is angled.
  15. Nabilalif

    The suiting thread

    Nice lapel roll
  16. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I told recently of this coatmaker who called me out of the blue asking if I have work for him. When I visited him, I bought his stash of silk thread. I also gave him a jacket to sew. Here's a whatsapp picture he sent me this morning of the work-in-progress.
  17. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    There are quite a few steps to buttonhole preparation. These are the steps preceeding the actual hand sewing of the buttonhole. a ) Reinforcing the general area of the cloth which will accept a buttonhole b ) Marking the position of the buttonhole c ) Reinforcing the perimeter of the buttonhole d ) Perforating the buttonhole These are before the buttonhole is even sewn.
  18. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I have always felt that buttonhole preparation is a big part of what makes a buttonhole successful. The way most buttonholes are perforated is through a hole punch to create the eyelet and shears to create the slit. However, this results in an underwhelming shape. Basically, you get a hole and an adjoining slit. This morning, I set in motion a way to produce a teardrop perforation, as seen above. How was such an elegant shape produced? Ah, but I have so many competitors here reading me. Should I tell?
  19. Earlier
  20. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Dealing with my apprentice, the only mantra I have now is Patience. Patience, patience, patience. Whatever my most pessimistic estimate for the time needed to do something, I'd multiply that by four. That's how long it will take her. It takes a pro one hour to draft, cut and sew a vest baste. With her, I drafted the vest and handed it to her, and 1.5 man days later the vest baste is ready. It took so long I need to do a time motion study on her to find out how she manages to spend so much time making something so simple.
  21. kotmj

    Shirts

    So, so. I've now figured out the difference between the two buttonholes. The one on the left is called a whip stitch; on the right is a purl stitch. The way you change between the two is by threading the bobbin slightly differently, and by decreasing the bobbin tension in the case of the purl stitch.
  22. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    A few days ago, a coatmaker contacted me out of the blue. He introduced himself. Do you have work for me? he wanted to know. I've known about his existence for a few years now, and even saw some of his work. Quite impressive. I was told that he has his own pool of customers, so he's not really a backroom sort of person, but one who would do retail tailoring, even though he's not set up for such (he doesn't have a shop). On those occasions he would sew jackets for a cutter, his rates per jacket appear to me to be ridiculous. So I never bothered to contact him. Yet, times appear to be very lean for him. He's starving. So he called me. I dropped by his flat and discovered that he has a big stash of silk buttonhole twist. He badly needs cash. He was basically willing to sell anything, even the sewing machine he was using. I made him an offer for his whole stash of silk thread. So, it is now mine. We talked a little about how he could sew for me, but his approach to relationships with cutters like me is dysfunctional. He's always had a very short term transactional relationship with cutters; charge them a lot when these cutters are in a tight spot (when the cutter needs a jacket done super quick on a national holiday, when the garment type is exotic and the job refused by most coatmakers, when the specification for the jacket is very high, etc.). He's a "special situation" coatmaker, one a cutter is forced to use for a specific jacket due to certain circumstances. Having this pain solved would cost 3X more than normal. I told him I only pay such and such for a jacket. I never pay more, I said. He says he's used to charging a lot more. I said I only pay so much, but I sell several such jackets per week, so the flow of work is continuous. My coatmakers are very busy sewing for me, I told him. It's one jacket after another after another. Since he's starving, he agreed to take on one jacket at my price. We'll see how the cooperation goes, he says.
  23. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    It's a vintage Edwin Woodhouse
  24. Nabilalif

    The suiting thread

    Nice. What cloth is that?
  25. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    This is supposed to be a jacket for myself. I wonder if it will be completed.
  26. carbman

    The suiting thread

    Came across this while on a late night youtube freefall:
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