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The Denim (contrast) Thread

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I think there are two challenges to using a zigzag to sew a bartack.

 

1) The only way for the zigzag to move the cloth is via the feed dog which is the toothed steel at the bottom of the cloth. This is called "bottom feed". Bottom feed works fine for light materials; for heavy or "squishy" materials, it is good to have top feed as well. This is achieved by having the needle execute an elliptical motion, effectively pushing the cloth backwards as it sews it. Squishy and multi-ply materials need top feed in addition to bottom feed because squishy materials can stretch, so the top of the material may not move much even though the bottom of the material is transported to the back by the toothed feed dog.

 

The second reason a zigzag is not an ideal solution is because the operator has to be very careful to terminate the stitch at the right spot since the zigzag stitch does not have a fixed length.

 

A specialised bartack machine solves both problems by clamping the workpiece and moving it via a geared system, and by having a fixed bartack length.

 

Here's a video of the Juki LK-980 in action. This is the model that was offered to me today for RM2000. Notice the price in the video.

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The Union Special 38500 in the jeans workshop I'm currently using to sew my jeans. Every machine there is in such a condition.

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IMG_20160629_015645_zpsmfzovdv2.jpg

 

Made some belt loops just now. The sewing machine dealer asked me for some so that he can adjust and tune the bartack machine I am buying from him. Only once he can tune the machine to produce consistent bartacks through these belt loops will he sell me the machine.

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IMG_20160629_170151_zpsck9fqelc.jpg

 

I thought the days where it took this many Chinese to thread a sewing machine were over, but apparently not.

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The superlative Thai brand Indigoskin, here in a moment of weakness showing off something which looks like loose skin falling off the model's ass on their facebook. For some people, if you get the waist right, the seat is wrong, and vice versa. In general, if you have a realtively small seat measure, most jeans will prove to have too much of a back rise.

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I think I have found a name for my jeans. Let's provisionally call it xxx. I am about to register the domain for it, but I'm not sure if I should go for xxxjeans or xxxdenim. Both are available. Just xxx.com is available but may cost a lot of money.

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Found a Merrow in KL today! It's such a rare and niche machine. I can easily afford the price, but what gives me pause is that I would end up with rm35k worth of sewing machines. In my apartment. Even the dog is short on space to lie down.

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I first encountered the use of the Merrow in jeans through Roy Denim. It's "just" a decorative overlock stitch.

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IMG_20160703_165652_zpszfuubfod.jpg

 

My Juki bartacker tuned, oiled and ready for delivery. I sewed bartacks with it through 8 plies of 14oz raw denim and it worked confidently, making one perfect bartack after another.

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You need to show us the latest photo of your living room. But I do think you need have a proper workshop elsewhere. Work is home and home is work. But your work needs machines that need space to work too.

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New photo of my living room after this bartacker and the Union Special 35800 arrive on the 11th and 18th respectively. I may also take the Merrow.

 

The problem with the workshop is a complex one. The location I pick needs to provide a good solution to many factors: low rent, congeniality of surroundings, suitable for both manufacturing and retailing jeans, and proximity to the homes of the two jeans seamstresses. I've pretty much decided on continuing to use the existing jeans seamstresses because they have friends who previously worked with them and they can recruit them for me if I need the manpower. They give me access to a network of former jeans seamstresses, all Malaysian Chinese women, which is an advantage.

 

The bottleneck in all this is me. I have to deal with the workload of a growing bespoke suiting business. If the jeans business is not progressing as quickly as you think it should, it's because I'm preoccupied with suits!

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Take my advice. Do ONE thing. Once it's stable and humming well even when you r not there...then and ONLY then start another....take your time with my bush jackets. No point lah to start ten things all at one go especially when the linchpin is just you. No point lah try to run a makeshift goldmine, ivory trading house, planting, building illegal bridges to charge users toll, forging alliances with tribal chieftains and warlords to syndicate everything from water to illegal mining - I used to know someone who I know very well.....very well....so well that I see him everyday....it went no where. Take my advice. Most ppl don't have the balls to stick their necks out to call a spade a spade...but always remember planters have immunity.

 

Small steps....one at a time..this is wisdom.

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I understand what you are saying. Alas, I do not forsee a time when any business I run will operate even when I'm largely absent. Because I have a philosophical problem with this thing I call rent-seeking. I think I should only participate in the profits of a business if I operate it to a meaningful degree. If I no longer operate a business but have others operating it, I should sell them the business entirely and get out. To cream profits as a passive investor is a perfectly legitimate and popular way of doing things but it is not for me.

 

My disgust for rent-seeking came about recently but it is a long and intimate story I am not allowed to tell.

 

Neither have I an exit strategy for anything I'm doing. It's like a guy who is much fascinated by yatching. He buys himself a yatch, and organises his life such that he could do yatching. He has no exit strategy for yatching. The thought doesn't cross his mind. Because yatching is not a means to an end. It is itself the reward.

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The six denims I currently have. I feel that with denims, it is impossible to evaluate the cloth in its raw state. It has sizing and superfluous dye in it. Hence, I have serged the edges and all six swatches are currently in the washing machine for a wash cycle. Only after a laundering does the real character of the cloth become apparent and the customer is able to make a selection.

 

Weights are from 9oz to 14.5 oz. The three on the left are Cone Mills while the three on the right from various Japanese mills.

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After the wash, large differences between the denims can be observed. One is Cone Mills, the other Japanese. Which is which?

 

The six swatches which before look and feel relatively similar, now after a wash have large differences in appearance and feel. At the same weight, one is soft and limp while others are still stiff. Some hold on to their dye with tenacity while some give it up easily.

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New photo of my living room after this bartacker and the Union Special 35800 arrive on the 11th and 18th respectively. I may also take the Merrow.

 

The problem with the workshop is a complex one. The location I pick needs to provide a good solution to many factors: low rent, congeniality of surroundings, suitable for both manufacturing and retailing jeans, and proximity to the homes of the two jeans seamstresses. I've pretty much decided on continuing to use the existing jeans seamstresses because they have friends who previously worked with them and they can recruit them for me if I need the manpower. They give me access to a network of former jeans seamstresses, all Malaysian Chinese women, which is an advantage.

 

The bottleneck in all this is me. I have to deal with the workload of a growing bespoke suiting business. If the jeans business is not progressing as quickly as you think it should, it's because I'm preoccupied with suits!

If you ever need a protege....;)

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When presented with six shades of indigo to pick from, a normally very decisive customer was at a loss on how to make a selection. Which thankfully did not stop him from picking two. But what if, one day, I have 30 shades of indigo to pick from? People might end up spending half an hour fingering the swatches. Then shortlisting 5 of them. Then taking a pic and whatsapping it to their girlfriend/friend/wife/mother/brother to break the impasse. People would overstay their one-hour slot, and the next customer would get impatient and mayhem, even a mini civil war may break out at the hotel.

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This would only increase the pressure on the customer. Beads of sweat on forehead. Elevated pulse. Clenched teeth.

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You know in Japan. They don't do this. The reasons are obvious. Firstly, nothing can be gleaned from a small square piece of jeans. So what they do is usually take pics of the front and back of jeans - 6 months, 1 year etc. and since some Japanese do prefer US jeans bc they fade differently and the weave is less coarse. These jean makers can actually show pics as well of how comparatively Japanese Jeans acquire patine from US jeans. From my personal observation, though I am strictly not a jeans man - the second hand market seems to be the happening scene in Japan, their attitude towards jeans is a bit like patin shoes. Many hip Japanese much prefer to buy second hand leather and jeans. In fact I was told the second hand market commands a premium, I hope this insight helps.

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Neither am I much of a jeans man. Every type of garment has its place. I wear a variety of stuff; I don't live in jeans.

 

However, there are people who do. They literally wear the same jeans everyday, from morning till night. They also choose not to launder it for months on end. I'm afraid the jeans business will attract such a crowd. When they walk into the room, the fragrance of aged cheese wafts through the air. If you have keen eyes, you will notice little fleas launching themselves from the jeans onto the floor and furniture. As they plop themselves into a seat, you see a cloud of fungal spores rising in the air.

 

For this reason, I am looking for a contractor of fumigation chambers. I will have one built at the entrance to the workshop. It's about the size of a London telephone booth. The customer walks into it and will be fumigated for 5 minutes before being allowed into the workshop.

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Minutes ago, I wrote to an illustrator asking him if he would like to design some back pocket arcuates for me. Shoud be interesting.

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