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kotmj

kotmj's Tailoring Notes

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The Great Siberian Greatcoat

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You'd think that's a regular lapel hole for colourful little fake flowers, but this is a tool for Siberian winters so every feature is about promoting warmth of the wearer.

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Quilted Thinsulate lining

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All set for the next Great Ice Age.

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It's cheap when you consider the alternative: Frostbite. Especially of dangling extremities. Even if they did not completely freeze over, once thawed, they might not function quite the same again. Which may result in OKU children.

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Embroidery is a vast subject. The body of knowledge is huge. There are several "schools" (more like genres) of embroidery: goldwork, blackwork, crewel, silk shading, etc. Even for something as well defined as embroidering initials, at least half a dozen stitch types can be employed, each giving a different appearance. Some stitch types give a certain appearance at a certain character size. My embroiderer, while excellent at embroidering Chinese characters, hasn't found the right type of stitch for Roman alphabets at a small size. Neither have I found the optimal stitch type -- until recently, when I happened upon it.

 

So today, I tried the new stitch type. I took pictures with my phone as I worked to whatsapp to my embroiderer. I won't post all of them; just these two.

 

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Yesterday, someone told me about a new series on TV3 which is being made called The Entrepreneur. He's one of the top 10 finalists, and was asking for wardrobe sponsorship. The show has a similar format to The Apprentice and will be hosted by Dato Rosyam Nor. Airs in March. This should be interesting.

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The Manager called. I have to sponsor all 5 male contestants, or none. We're looking at 7 suits and many shirts. All to be ready in January(!!). Rolling credits on every episode. If I don't do this I think it goes to Sparkmanshop. The biggest problem is the January start of shooting.

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Wow not so sure I like the terms being served or that the benefits are any clearer. How many people are expected to watch the show on TV? I hardly watch TV so I am not sure where the placeholder should be. Do you actually get the suits back? I am guessing that you might have to resort to fused jackets in low end fabrics, in order to meet the datelines and budget. Actually why is the TV manager not approaching Suit Supply, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Zara etc? Maybe you should ask them to do additional episode on how you became an entrepreneurial tailor. 

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Bummer. Start of shooting is 5th January. Also, contestants are from all over Malaysia -- some aren't even in KL yet. I declined due to the timeframe.

 

But, wow, holymoly, you're demanding! Or maybe you're just more experienced in the modalities of these things? I just go with the flow. I think credits at the end of all 11 episodes is pretty sufficient for a couple of suits. It's a primetime show.

 

I think they have close ties with Sparkmanshop and normally use them. They have no clue who I am -- one of the contestants brought my name up and wanted me badly.

 

Anyway, up in Fraser's Hill now. Want to walk some jungle trails with the dog.

 

The Holland & Sherry rep from Singapore is coming to KL -- just got a call from him to meet up. Hope he's here Friday, since that's when I get back.

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That lapel roll, beautiful 

 

I am about to have a lighter grey suit being made at the moment, wonder what button goes well with the light grey fabric. The white MOP looks nice here ~

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Those are actually blonde horn, not MOP. Light grey suits do present a problem with buttons; I will myself look at corozo because they are dyed into many colors unlike horn with its very limited color palette.

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Hippo made me realize I do not have light grey corozo. I fought a bit with having to go to the trouble to source them. But, I'm supposed to be a professional tailor, not some "this don't have, that don't have; this cannot, that cannot" kind of tailor, so, haih, so troublesome, I went about getting some.

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My horn button supplier supplies only natural horn, i.e. horn in its natural coloration, undyed. Fortunately, horn does come in a range of colors like blonde, amber, chestnut, dark brown and black. Unfortunately, it does not come in navy or light grey. For these shades, corozo or plastic have to be used.

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For my side, only grey offers is plastic, I have yet to look into the button store yet, maybe they have some corozo too. 

 

So I am looking for some alternative colors for the light grey, sure grey on grey is handsome. But if I have to go off color.....I was looking on tumblr and see black, dark down, dark blonde...

 

I have some light blone / white horn, fabric plain grey, style two patch, two vents open quarter, 3.5" lapel, pairing with white button on light grey, acceptable ?

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Chestnut or amber has an overly warm tone for grey. They look like they do not belong there.

 

White, or even off white (bone white) I feel is more suited to "fashion" -- Paul Smith, Topman, etc. Bespoke is always somewhat muted and lower contrast. The whites are never quite white, the blacks never quite black, etc.

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IMG_20160415_223353.jpg?raw=1

 

The first sewing machine bought by any aspiring tailor is an industrial single needle lockstitch machine. Except I didn't. My first experience with one still haunts me. When I first started learning to sew, the sifu assigned me to a Singer. It was an impossible machine to use. It has what is called a clutch motor -- the de facto sort of motor used by maybe 95% of sewing machines out there. The electric motor has a constant RPM -- the clutch is what determines how much of that power gets transferred to the sewing machine. That damned Singer has a lousy clutch which was essentially binary -- either no power gets transferred to the machine in which case it does not sew, or the full power gets transferred in which case it sews at, oh, 7000 stitches per minute. I never could control that bloody thing. Even 6 months later I could not. (There was a reason why I was assigned to that machine. No one else wants to use it.)

 

So bad was my experience that I never wanted to sew. But, since it is necessary to sew small pieces now and then, I bought a portable domestic sewing machine from Brother which was just about adequate for the task.

 

Then, recently in Ipoh, I bought nine machines, one of which is the Juki DL-5550-6 pictured above. It is a model I have been specifically looking out for -- Peter Kruize the Dutch jeans maker uses the nearly identical DL-5550-4, and my coatmaker has been using the DL-5550-6 for 20 years.

 

I just sewed two trouser bastes today with my own DL-5550-6 and wow, just wow. It has a silken motion -- it makes this sensuous sound as it sews: a soft, silken sound. The control I have over the speed of sewing is unprecedented -- this Juki has a servo motor -- there is no clutch. Instead, the motor has a variable RPM which you directly influence with the foot pedal. With a regular clutch motor, the motor is always turning, even when the foot pedal is not pressed. It makes a coarse sound like a hair dryer on a low setting. With the servo motor of this Juki, the motor does not turn until you depress the foot pedal -- until you do, the machine is totally silent. It is also semi-computerised: You get all the buttons and levers and adjustment possibilities of a fully mechanical sewing machine, and on top of that you get more features made possible by electronic control. You can bash the control panel with a mallet and destroy it yet the machine continues working in fully mechanical mode.

 

A very good machine. The market value for such a Juki on the second hand market is about RM2000 or a touch below that. I bought this for RM600.

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