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kotmj's Tailoring Notes


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#1 kotmj

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:27 PM

While editing this pattern this afternoon, I thought it represented a great opportunity to illustrate the relationship between back balance length and the hang of the sleeves. It's a complex issue and I wonder if I will make it lucid enough.

backpatternpiece_zps0ec2aacf.jpg

You see above the paper pattern for the back of the jacket. You see to the bottom right the neck scye. Above that, you see the shoulder line. At the top of the pattern is the armscye. About 4" to the right of the armscye, you see a vertical line in drawn in pen. This is the chest line. More importantly to our discussion, there is a shorter pen line, also vertical, about 3" in length, coming down from the armscye itself. It's partly obscured by masking tape. That's the sleeve pitch mark.

The sleeve pitch mark signals how the sleeve is to be attached to the jacket bodice. It signals the sleeve rotation, a term very popular on SF. (Many factors govern the hang of the sleeve -- the sleeve rotation is just one, and it's not even that important.)

The three masking tapes there is to secure a fold I made in the pattern. It's a fold of about 1/2" depth. The fold shortens the back balance length at precisely the place where I made it.

I do not always shorten the back balance length there (i.e. at armscye level, above the sleeve pitch mark). Sometimes, I shorten it below the level of the armscye. Sometimes I shorten it at waist level. Sometimes, I shorten it at two locations by varying amounts at each location. So even something like shortening the back balance is a nuanced affair -- you have to determine where exactly, and by how much.

A shortening of the back balance is necessary because the initial draft always errs on the side of an overly long back balance. It makes the jacket easier to fit.

The way the customer stands, and the distribution of mass at his back (determined by skeletal and muscular factors) are what determines the way the back balance is shortened.

And now I finally come to the point I want to illustrate with the picture. Shortening the back balance above the sleeve pitch mark changes the rotation of the sleeves.

#2 kotmj

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 06:07 PM

When I saw this on the table, I had to take a photo. It's a great illustration of shortening the back balance on a pair of trousers.
guyaw1_zps1b213d45.jpg

This is the rear of the trousers, after the baste has been unpicked and pressed flat. The faint chalk marks and fold lines indicate the lines of the original draft. The fresh and distinct chalk marks are the lines of the edited draft. The editing was done after fitting the baste on the customer.

Several points of interest:

1. The seat seam -- this would be the curved line on the left -- has been shortened by about 1".

2. There is a shift to the left of the entire upper portion of the trousers.

This is a pretty routine editing of a trouser pattern.

#3 kotmj

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 06:26 PM

So far, I've yet to meet a smart trousermaker. In KL, there is a widespread rule of thumb that the rear pockets be positioned 3" downwards from the bottom of the waistband, and 1.5" in from the side seam. Rules of thumb are really just a guide -- one needs to know when to deviate from these guidelines.

Here's a photo of someone wearing tailored pants with the pockets positioned according to local practice:
a3_zpsc199e278.jpg

You'll notice the pockets are much too close to the sides of the trousers!

Less rule-based trouser cutters would have positioned the pockets closer to the seat seam.

Another dumb rule very prevalent in KL is that the dart be positioned at the center of the pocket mouth. This is an arbitrary rule with no function. Darts should be positioned where they are needed, not where the pockets happen to be.

Here you see the trousers after re-cutting. The dart is not centered on the pocket,but is centered over the highest point of the buttcheeks.

guyaw2_zps0041b1c3.jpg

#4 kotmj

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 08:51 PM

There are two archetypes of collar stands. Here is the first sort. For purposes of discussion, let's call it the "efficient archetype":
Collar_Necklce_Pattern_large.jpg?1339605

The efficient archetype is by far the most prevalent of collar stands. Every single RTW shirt I've looked at sports this type of stand. So do the majority of MTM/bespoke shirts.

This archetype has the following two characteristics:
a) the curvature at the top of the stand is identical to the curvature at the base of the stand
b ) the width of the stand is constant

And here is the secret as to why this archetype of stand is so prevalent. Are you ready for it?

The Truth?

I reveal unto thee the Truth!
IMG_20141004_125937_zpscfbdc03f.jpg

The shape of the efficient archetype is brutally efficient in manufacture. The identical curvatures allow for stacking, resulting in minimal interlining scrap. Also, the stacking dramatically reduces the amount of cutting action required -- cutting the top of one stand also means cutting the base of another.

Let's look at the second archetype. Let's call it the Bavarian archetype, since it is very uncommon, and all indications lead me to think that it all comes from just one source -- M.Mueller & Sohn of Germany, a patternmaking specialist that supplies the patternmaking algorithms used in many CAD patternmaking systems.
IMG_5063_zpscc2a128e.jpg

Notice that the curvature at the top of the stand is not identical to the base of the stand. Moreover, the width of the stand is not constant -- there is a noticeable thickening at about the hollow of the neck, to compensate for the hollowness at the wearer's neck at that area.

Such a stand is very inefficient in manufacture. It doesn't stack at all, resulting in about 30% interlining scrap and double the cutting time, with the resultant lower output/more elaborate jigs/more wear to the cutting elements.

Here you see an Ascot Chang collar with the typical thickening absent in the efficient archetype.
AChang5_433x318.jpg

The Bavarian archetype is in my mind the more "featuresome" stand since it props up the collar, causing the tie knot to be higher up the neck.

#5 kotmj

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 03:08 PM

Cutting checquered cloth is a lot more work than plains. Even worse is when the checks are warped/distorted, as in this case towards the selvedge.
warping_zpsdc9qpkbp.jpg

The warping probably took place as the cloth was wound onto a bolt. I guess I will have to see if it can be stretched back with the iron, but I am not hopeful.

#6 holymoly

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 05:27 PM

Will you sacrifice a couple of inches off the selvedge? 



#7 kotmj

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 01:51 PM

There is not much redundancy in the quantities of cloth I order. I mostly need every inch of cloth ordered.

#8 kotmj

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 01:58 PM

Nothing reminds me of the reason I never seem to make anything for myself than actually making things for myself. I take forever, and am vexed for three days afterwards. For instance, coming up with this pattern for fishtail trousers took three hours. It is merely an adaptation of an already successful pattern. I normally need only 30 minutes for customers' trousers.
jeremyfishtail_zps7irtj5cg.jpg

I agonise over every curve, I second guess myself repeatedly, I keep changing things. Then, when I lie down to sleep, I am still thinking about that pair of pants.

It is a blessing that the jacket was drafted years ago already (but never made).
jeremyjacket_zpsywhueo2l.jpg

But, just now, I was double checking the jacket pattern and went into the whole crazy second guessing mode of mind. Even though I know the jacket will be great, because this pattern is a close derivative of one made for a customer, and which fits me quite well.
francis_zpsq7ueg1sm.jpg
(Pardon the Uniqlo chinos)

I'm hoping the suit will be ready for an inaugural trunk to a new city. I hope to do quite a bit of sewing on this jacket; mostly the canvas and the buttonholes including the Milanese on the lapel. Not sure if I have the time though...

#9 kotmj

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 02:08 PM

I also hope to debut my jacket personalisation program with this jacket.

#10 kotmj

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 11:03 PM

So, so! Canvas all chopped!
canvas1_zpsb68ynofb.jpg

This time, I'm experimenting with a super big chestpiece.
canvas2_zpsyjkjfwof.jpg

The all important shoulderpiece
canvas3_zpsuz8yo3rg.jpg

#11 kotmj

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 02:39 PM

I just found a new way of looking at the concave shoulder. Instead of seeing yourself propping up the shoulder ends to make them point upwards, see yourself as pulling down the middle of the shoulder.

#12 kotmj

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 02:59 PM

Notice the complex shaping in the shoulder region.
canvas7_zpscahqnaya.jpg

#13 kotmj

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 08:42 PM

Pocket baste for forward fitting. Cloth is a fluttery H&S Dragonfly Super 160's at 6.5 oz.
pocket%20baste_zpsxtzljuzp.jpg

#14 kotmj

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Posted 30 March 2015 - 09:17 PM

Today is 30th of March 2015. Let's see how long it takes before the instagrams of various young SGporean tailors start featuring, out of the blue, pocket bastes. They certainly don't have any right now.

#15 joonian

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 06:44 AM

are you referring to residentdandy? who are the other young tailors? the dylan guy?



#16 kotmj

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 02:02 AM

It's not polite to name the plagiarists.

#17 kotmj

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 07:54 PM

Of course it's all just tongue-in-cheek.

Nikon introduced stabilised lenses in 1994; after furious development Canon came out with its own a year later.

Those very interested in what they make are always making them better, clawing ideas from everywhere. It's natural.

#18 kotmj

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 07:25 PM

A little busy this weekend
busy_zpsmaipeysx.jpg

#19 kotmj

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 10:54 PM

Unlike the lot of you, I get to bring my baste home for as long as I like for evaluation.
kerbausuit_zpsb7ydttgf.jpg

Very happy with the technical aspects of fit. I'm a little too tired now to have further opinions. But, what do you guys think? I welcome all opinions.

#20 kotmj

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 11:12 AM

kerbausuit2_zpssumvubuw.jpg

If you want accurate, life-like reproduction of colours, you have no choice but use Canon. Fuji just cannot do it. This here is a quite accurate reproduction of the RAF blue.

Many years ago, a tailor from cutterandtailor told me I do not need a gorge dart. He's right, I don't. But I WANT TO. A gorge dart is a great way to sneak in even more chest fullness. The original draft of this pattern, made years ago by a younger me, had no gorge dart. After much agonising, I added them in. So glad I did.

From the front view, I am very happy with shoulders and chest, and overall length. When the front view was captured, the back had not yet been fitted, so we are seeing some of the effects from a long back balance from the front.

I find the skirt to be a little wide. It's fine when in motion, but standing still, there is too much width at skirt level in the forepart and side body. Cutting down on this would require more waisting; otherwise the bodice would be like a straight tube from waist downwards. Too bad, because I like the present ease in the waist.

I may lower the buttoning point a little.

It's still early, but I find the long, but relatively soft chestpiece to be a definite plus. This jacket is a Bendahara -- there are shoulder pads in there.

kerbausuit3_zpsq2puxhfw.jpg

This jacket had already been fitted to me by the coatmaker. He found the yoke to bee too long -- his pins around the neckscye corrected this. After this correction, he was very happy with the jacket and would have proceeded with production.

I took pictures of the back and found more correction necessary. Back shoulder slope was off by 3/4" -- the pins have now corrected them. Back balance at waist level was also off by 3/4". After these corrections I am quite happy with the back.

Notice the large amount of drape in the upper back. Love it. I can play golf in this thing.

The pants were made for me a long time ago by some other tailor.

I find the Canon colours so lovely. I think Fuji is wrong in going down the path of candy colours which are such a distorted representation of reality.




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