kotmj's Tailoring Notes
Posted 30 December 2015 - 12:13 AM
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.
Posted 31 December 2015 - 12:09 PM
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 ?
Posted 05 January 2016 - 10:41 PM
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.
Posted 15 April 2016 - 11:00 PM
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.
Posted 23 April 2016 - 01:49 PM
I notice that tailoring industry insiders are quite flexible about who or where or how their clothes get made. No only do they not necessarily make it themselves, with their own hands, but it may not even be made "in-house" by salaried employees. It may be made by a different firm. You see this a lot in the RTW fashion business whose supply chain is intransparent and transient, as in, fast changing.
In the watch manufacturing business, you see pretty much the same thing. The OEM makers draw upon a great deal of suppliers, service providers and manufacturing capabilities which they do not own. Hundreds of firms are involved in the making of a watch. In the masters thesis I wrote many years ago, I think fully 60% of Daimler's revenues are paid out to suppliers. In other words, a Mercedes is really only 40% Daimler and 60% Daimler's suppliers. Having worked for a Daimler supplier, I have an idea of how this cooperation works out and it is not very different from how it works in the tailoring industry. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes the whole industrialised world to make a car.
On the retail customer side, none of this cooperation is obvious. There is the romance of the "manufaktur". They like to think of the OEMs as fully vertically integrated, where every aspect of the watch was conceived, designed and manufactured in-house. In reality, nobody does things like that. It's a strange dream not supportable by reality.
Not just because of cost reasons. To make a very good product requires access to special skills and talent. These people, because of the market value of what they can do, may choose to be self employed, offering their skills to more than one OEM maker. An OEM maker may choose to do it with a salaried employee, but he may not be a star. In which case the product suffers.
Most makers insist more strongly on a great product than on strictly in-house production.
I see a tailor like Tailor On Ten saying they are vertically integrated. One article I think say they make everything in house. It is a very nice house. Looks almost like a Swiss watch "manufaktur".
Extremely few tailors do everything in-house. I got very intrigued with TOT's vertical integration. I wanted to know if they have a busy workshop in the house bustling with coatmakers, trousermakers and shirtmakers. I searched Google images. All I saw was maybe three guys cutting and sewing. They look very young and not very highly paid. I am almost certain the shirts are neither cut nor sewn in house. Trousers also probably not. Jackets may be cut and basted in house, but I am just not certain if the final sewing takes place in that nice bungalow.
In other words, not much production takes place in the manufaktur. It is mostly a retail space.
Not even bntailor owns its production. None of their clothes are sewn by their employees. It doesn't stop them from making great clothes.
I think the most sensible organisation for a tailoring outfit is quality maximization, not vertical integration. It is ok to have a very bespoke supply chain tailored to the craftspeople. Maybe some like to sew from home. Maybe some like to found their own little workshop and deal with you as an independent service provider, not a salaried employee. Whatever arrangement is best for the clothes and the people making them.
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