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kotmj

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Everything posted by kotmj

  1. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    The blue one is for a Brit who needs it for a job interview in Qatar.
  2. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Let's kick off this thread with a jacket I found in the workshop. The owner of the jacket had brought it to a cutter to have it copied. The cutter, in turn, gave it to the coatmaker with a "Nah, copy." To be clear upfront, I do not like this coat. Let's look at the coat. What catches the eye first is the barchetta breast pocket, immediately signalling a Neapolitan origin. The second element that announces itself is the miles upon miles of super-obvious pick stitching, which upon closer inspection, reveals a machine origin. Once upon a time when tailoring was still honest, pick stitching is supposed to be as inconspicuous as possible. It says so in every tailoring textbook. It also actually had a structural function of keeping edges crisp, or of holding pieces of cloth together. This particular pick stitching, OTOH, is purely decorative and is so loosely sewn, it has no hope of holding anything together. What really bothers me about this pick stitching is that you find it even on the front dart. What purpose could it possibly play there? Indeed, it is unfortunate we need front darts to achieve shape, which is why tailors press it so flat so as to make it less obvious. Puttting in a row of that super-puckering pick stitching makes the darts draw attention to themselves. But notice also the severe puckering around the front of the sleevehead on both sides. It is clear the coat has been dry cleaned before, and by a second-rate dry cleaner at that. The buttonholes were machined, but I have to say they are very good imitations of hand-sewn buttonholes. The lapels are padded by machine. Everything about this jacket is machined. In the picture immediately above, you notice black and burgundy shapes in the blurry background. I shall have more to say about those. They just could not let go of the pick stitching. You find more of that obnoxious stuff on the inside of the jacket. I have never seen anything more exuberantly pick stitched. Hah, made in Spain, eh? But why the barchetta? Here's why: Which explains everything. The black and burgundy shapes belong to a very expensive jacket in the making. It represents the successful conclusion of a salesman's salesmanship, and it is an embodiment of somebody's dream of elegance. Both the cloth and the lining is Loro Piana. Unfortunately, it is black, and it is fused.
  3. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Completed goods which will not be picked up anytime soon. I forgot to bring my camera from home to take a pic of the right one for IG. It was completed yesterday. The one on the left has been previously featured.
  4. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    It looks like we'll all be sitting at home for quite a while. I totally do not believe MCO 2.0 will end in four weeks. If anything, this may be longer than the first MCO, since we now have more than 10X the daily new cases compared to last year. Quite a few things are different this time around. The first MCO sapped the cash of many companies; this time around, companies are even less liquid. RM600 subsidi upah is no encouragement for them to keep staff around. Notice how Saravanan doesn't even bother to tell companies to not lay off, the way he did the first time around. Companies ignored him then; they care even less now. Once a B40 person is laid off, his/her options to generate a living wage are almost nil. The likelihood of sudden mass demonstrations is much higher this time around. This is something Zahid, Najib & Co are praying for. They are looking for instability, because in fluid situations opportunities present themselves for them to create a new constellation. If nothing changes, it looks grim for them. Without some change, their fate is certain.
  5. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Of course, I had to ask myself why so few people realise this. Why does everyone expect the government to do things for them? Partly, it's because the government wants to foster the image of being patriarchal /matriarchal. Partly, because they have no incentive to reveal their real business model. And as I've said repeatedly, unless you are of a certain IQ level, you have almost no ability to figure things out on your own. You have to be explicitly taught, repeatedly. That, the government won't do. The government is not patriarchal. It is parasitic. But that's OK! You just have to know it. By knowing that, you orient your attention and energies differently. You no longer walk around in perpetual disappointment with the government. In fact, when you know it, you lose most of your interest in daily political developments.
  6. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    The government is very much like Mastercard in its business model. It takes a cut on every transaction. But it tries to hide that fact from the general population, to avoid being unpopular. Just like Mastercard, which prohibits vendors from stating the credit card fees, or providing discounts if payment is by cash. The government is not your friend. It doesn't matter which party is in government. It still operates like Mastercard.
  7. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    In talking to the Malay boy, I realise he has different expectations of the government than I have. He is very dissatisfied with the government. He thinks it has failed him. He never got any real money from the government. It suddenly occurred to me that many people think this way. I have never been disappointed in the government because all governments ever do is to tax you in many, many ways. In exchange for all the money they take from you either directly or indirectly, they provide some infrastructure and services. Which, despite all the money they take from you and the monopolies on natural resources they have, they still have to go borrow. They borrow it from you, BTW. Through EPF, etc. So I've never seen the government as something I can get money from. In fact, the more you have to deal with the government, the less money you end up having. In actual truth, the government gets most of its money from you. If more people see things this way, there will be more rational behaviour. And self reliance. You are wealthy to the extent you create value. Looking to the government to save you is like looking to a burglar to guard your house.
  8. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    While I was at the business consulting firm's CEO house to collect the subwoofer, I checked out his gear. His only speakers are these ancient and decrepit Italian made Diapason bookshelves. He drives them with state-of-the-art electronics: a stack of Naim components. When listening to music, he is perched upon his throne, in this case an Ogawa massage chair. Right next to the throne is a Samsung refrigerator. Why is there a fridge in the living room? The fridge was opened and its contents revealed to me. Bottles upon bottles of hard liquor.
  9. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Swelled edges, two-patch pockets. Sleeves mounted very rearwards due to the customer's stance.
  10. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Yes, one keeps hearing of Tidal in this hifi milieu. I'm currently streaming via Bluetooth to a variety of amplifiers and receivers through Logitech Bluetooth Audio adapters. It works really well. An upgrade to wireless streaming would be the next step (I suppose). The RM70 Bluetooth dongle brings any old amp into the modern age. The interest in hifi came about when I wanted to upgrade the Mi Bluetooth speaker that I use in the shop for casual Spotify listening. It adds some ambiance while we work. I looked at the Sonys, which have all a very questionable styling. I looked at the Marshalls---much more to my taste! After a while of exploring Bluetooth speaker options, a realisation dawned in: They are all in mono! That's when I set my sights higher...and saw the Sonus Fabers and ProAcs. Which I currently cannot afford/justify. But very happy with my Missions and Dalis. Maybe I'll try a Wharfedale and an Elac someday. I even bought an enormous 30 kg active subwoofer. It was listed on FB marketplace. I went to pick it up---the seller is the CEO of a business consulting firm that some of you may have heard of. Jajaja. He imported it from Denmark, that subwoofer. I was thinking I would not be able to cross state borders, but 2 hours spent on the MITI website yielded a MITI letter. Which gets me through every roadblock. What magic. If 2020 was the year that would never end, 2021 might top it still.
  11. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    My banana plugs are red diamond studded for the +ve and black diamond studded for the -ve. I never thought I'd enjoy hifi so much. Headphones simply aren't the same. There seems to be a threshold for performance when something goes from serviceable to magic. Swelled edges. It has been difficult to implement this feature with previous coatmakers because of their cognitive limitations. I realise now that dumb people, when confronted with information they do not understand, equate the new with something they already know. Ah, they think to themselves, I have already done this many times. Except they haven't. They don't dig for confirmation that they have in fact understood you because that requires too much mental activity. What if they discover that they haven't, in fact, understood you? That means they have to learn something new. And nothing is more work than that for dumb people. Getting them to learn anything new is so ardous. I thought it is possible, over time, to help them overcome their limitations. Now that I'm older, I have found a better way: I just fire them and find a smarter replacement. I overcome their limitation by being more sophisticated at finding their replacements. Even with my current coatmaker, who is the smartest I've worked with, I have to be very careful to manage his mind when communicating a new technique. He tends to equate it with something he already knows. I have to first shock him into a state where he realises he doesn't, in fact, know. Now is the time to explore something new. Learning and adopting something new is much easier when the person knows he doesn't know. This is how the Malay boy managed to learn to make such world-class buttonholes. Dumb people also completely underestimate what smart people can do. For instance, Employee #1 resigned in a recession thinking that I would feel vulnerable with so much know-how leaving, and would be forced to make her a better offer to keep her. Unfortunately for her, the know-how has always been on my side. I can take a complete newbie and bring him up to serviceable levels in a few months. I have developed the recruiting know-how to get the right people, and a certain way of training that makes them learn quickly. Resigning in a recession is also something only dumb people would think of doing. Such poor strategists.
  12. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    The 21 micron designation seems to be a cheeky, contrarian naming by VBC to counter the Supers war waged by the likes of Zegna with their "14 milmil". Parisian Gentleman has a writeup: https://www.parisiangentleman.com/blog/21-micron-a-campaign-by-vitale-barberis-canonico Not very enlightening, that writeup. Jacomet does not approach writing about tailoring the way technicians would, but does so in a romantic, liberal-arts sort of way. I find Crompton to be more exact and factual. If you haven't felt the Superbio 21 micron range, just imagine a soft and refined cloth that has great body and density, but is not cardboardy or carpet-like. it is flowing. Tomorrow is the last day of freedom for many in KL before the total lockdown. I was wondering if I should perhaps be locked down in PJ instead of being in Bukit Tinggi. But nah, I just cannot live in PJ. Besides, Bukit Tinggi being in Pahang is subject to CMCO not MCO, this means much more freedom for me. I am much better prepared for this MCO than the previous one. I have long transferred my PC from the shop to my house. I also have two hifi setups in my house this time instead of getting sound through old earphones of mediocre quality or through bluetooth speakers (which are also lousy). If you're not into hifi, I highly recommend you try it out. It's magic. I listen to youtube through hifi systems! Tomorrow, I shall move all my coffee-making equipment from the shop to my house. The previous MCO I had to drink pre-ground coffee by Starbucks (Vienna roast) sold at Speedmart 99 because my grinder and even aeropress were in the shop. It was as grim as it sounds. This time around, I will be at home in glorious Bukit Tinggi with Belantara beans and a Eureka grinder.
  13. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    My coatmaker is also very attracted to the cloth. I think it's the 3rd jacket we made in the Superbio, and even the first time around he told me how nice the cloth it. This time around, he asked me how he can get some for himself.
  14. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Reshot with a different tie and a different lens, the 70-year old Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58/2. You can read more about this iconic lens here: https://casualphotophile.com/2019/02/13/carl-zeiss-jena-biotar-58mm-f-2-lens-review/
  15. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I just figured out who Prof Robert Langdon was modelled after. He's an avatar for his creator, Dan Brown. Very ivy league.
  16. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Professor Langdon's tweed jacket. In the style thereof. For a real professor.
  17. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Melei buttonhole
  18. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    On New Year's Day, delivered a suit to a British customer formerly with hsbc. He was very, very happy.
  19. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    I find myself at the PC this evening. I hate PCs. They're prehistoric in every way. I have a full-sized keyboard in front of me. I delivered quite a number of suits lately. One, to a young Punjabi couple getting married. The bride-to-be was cute like hell. I would marry her. He just sent me a pic today of himself in the suit I made and his bride, thanking me for the work I did. His suit was a challenge in every way. I learnt a lot from having done it. That order expanded JT's experience with unconventional patternmaking techniques. It also taught us how to deal with Punjabi customers, reputedly the world's most demanding. I delivered a four-piece (3 pc suit + shirt) to another couple. The groom is a financial journalist; the bride a consultant with the premier consulting firm in the world. She was jittery as hell. I was not keen on taking that order, because the bride-to-be found indirect ways to make me understand that there will be dire consequences for me if the results are not great. So I never invoiced them. But they called. And they wrote. Each of them, individually. I couldn't wiggle myself out of their order. There are hundreds of tailors in KL---why must it be me? Reluctantly, I invoiced them and took their money. Fortunately for me, the suit turned out quite great. She told me so herself. An old customer who is a partner at a major accounting firm came to try on 3 suits we had made for him. The chest needed taking in. I know the reason for this. If I had the energy, I could write a whole chapter about this phenomenon, and all the side effects etc.. Maybe I'll do it in my memoirs. He still has another 2 suits on order. For these two, I am thinking of revising his jacket pattern to take into account all that I have learnt about cutting for corpulent figures. I think he will be shocked at how much better the jacket looks after the revision. This particular technique for corpulent figures came about after I was very unhappy with the Donlon wedge. The Donlon wedge is a technique on jacket patterns to help the jacket better encompass the protruding gut. I used it on several customers, but: they look fat with, or without the jacket. I wanted a cut that makes them lose 10kg with the jacket on. How? Well, I may have found out how. I first used it on a senior Kenanga guy. He was blown away by the suit. Immediately ordered another. Again blown away. The Kenanga guy is the childhood friend of a senior bank negara guy, for whom I've made several. They met at a function, and the Kenanga guy asked the bnm guy who made him his suit. That's how he learnt about me.
  20. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    There is also the trust factor. I don't think he trusts me enough to accept any kind of explanation. When there is insufficient trust, any explanation sounds like an excuse. So I chose to give zero explanation. I just gave him his money back. He even gets to keep the trousers. He tried talking to me to understand the situation, but I sensed a trust deficit. Also, I was having lunch. Anything I say may sound like an excuse. So I took the higher path. Also, he is so "jumpy" as a customer that I think he is not suitable as a customer. Jittery. Expecting perfection in every dimension, including price. So there was no point keeping him.
  21. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    The brown cloth isn't the polyester I thought it was. I see now that it is quite suitable as a muslin. Recently, I made 2 pairs of trousers for a German guy. I don't normally make just odd trousers (or just shirts) for new customers because I never figured out how to make any money off such small orders. However, in this recession, such orders became ok. It's not like we're busy. So I accepted a number of such small orders over the past few months, orders which for years I declined. I learnt one thing. Even in a recession such orders make no economic sense. I could tell immediately that this German customer has a rather atypical body shape. The jeans he was wearing was falling off his butt, revealing quite a bit of buttcrack, masked only by the shirt he was wearing. There was no abrupt transition from waist to butt; they were both almost tubular. On the front, the protruding belly pushed the trouser waistband downwards to pubic hair level. However, I have had all kinds of challenges in the past and in many cases (not all), I emerged victorious. Maybe I'll figure it out this time too. It was not to be. His wife didn't like the look of it. He wanted to come for alterations. I was not keen on continuing with this order because I've already given him what I judged to be the best possible approach and execution to the trousers given the context and constraints. The drags at the rear were not the result of malpractice, or misjudgement. I intentionally left them there since he is sitting 90% of the time, and comfort in the sitting position is more important than looks in the mirror while standing. I refunded him in full. He is an extremely intelligent person, probably with an IQ above 150, and is a seasoned businessperson, so during the telephone conversation we had where I offered a refund instead of having to see him again (my time is precious), he sensed there is something he is not getting. He suspected there is more going on than he knows. He wanted to get to the bottom of the situation, but I was having lunch and in no mood to talk at any length.
  22. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Of course shortening the back balance is not free. It deoptimises other aspects.
  23. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Interesting you mentioned Jungclaus, because I received another of his books a few weeks ago. This one is about fit problems and how to change the pattern to correct them. This one should describe the problem you have. It's about shortening the back balance, essentially picking up the trousers at the back. Jungclaus says to displace the top of the trousers by "1-2 cm to the right" around the pivot point d1 over the original block pattern. The question that arises is what if the customer needs double or triple this amount. So, say, 4 cm is necessary to achieve a clean back. Do you do 4 cm or do you stop at 2 cm? I am of course confronted with this almost daily and have a set of solutions that takes into account the subtleties of the context.
  24. kotmj

    The suiting thread

    Second comment is your hip line. It is that line of greatest circumference around your seat/hip. Generally, it is 3" below the seam where the waistband connects to the trousers. There is big variability in the level of this line relative to the waistband seam. It varies from 3" to 6", depending on the style of trousers. Trousers for women are particularly variable in this regard. You can wear your muslin, and just make a chalk mark of where your butt is most prominent. The hip line goes through that horizontally (like your yellow line).
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