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kotmj

The suiting thread

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Ah Kim. He owned a tailor's shop for a long time. Unlike most other tailor's shop, he also owned his own workshop, which was right behind the shop. Staffed with a motley of nationalities: Afghanistanis and Pakistanis and such. When he was approached to take over a workshop startup as a partner, he took the opportunity. Today, he leads the workshop and no longer sees retail customers.

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I created a weekend part-time position at JTT. The first person to hold the job is pressing her first jacket. A UM postdoc researcher. Obviously grotesquely overdimensioned for the job, but that's how I like it. JTT, where jackets are pressed by Ph.Ds.

Postdocs earn around RM5500 a month in a govt research university. You must be paying top dollar for someone to iron your jackets.

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Just some quick pics because I'm really not supposed to be taking and posting pictures today (many orders to expedite).

 

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Wonder when I will finally find a partner so that I can send him to some temperate climate market and sell boatloads of this stuff.

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Apparently, this peacoat will see action on board a cruise ship to see the Northern lights sometime in December. It's the sort of stuff younger people do.

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Looks very thick.. if it can be suited to Melbourne weather, I will get one!

A peacoat in 10.5 oz pure Escorial ought to be very nice for Melbourne. It's an excuse to be cocooned in pure Escorial (like Spanish kings of yore) while looking smart as hell. The peacoat gives off a strong nautical vibe without any business or formal connotations.

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Part timer taking pics of the newly-arrived swatch books. She has been able to help me with a lot of things. I only have to show her once---she takes it from there.

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Crap. The Johor MB wearing a Neapolitan-style jacket.

 

Now that it has become mainstream, it's time to search for the next cool thing.

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The buttons are not merely decorative...

 

 

I actually love this, but there are a few small things that bug me.

 

1. The spread of the collar needs to be bigger. For such a coat, it needs to have presence. Right now the collar size makes it look weak. Collar looks misaligned too - but I will give it a pass. 

 

2. Buttons too close to the edge of the fabric.

 

3. The skirt needs to be robust and flared. 

 

4. Personal taste is to have adjustable cinched waist at the back.

 

5. Kinda wish that you carry the chevron design from the sleeves to the back and pockets. 

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Next peacoat will be even more ueber.

 

I'm kinda glad how this turned out considering how little attention I injected into this. Uncommon garments like this are often met with refusal by the sewing tailors. They prefer yet another single breasted jacket in plain cloth. The unusual buttons, the detail on the cuffs, etc. require thoughtfulness and impede the pace of progress. Only one of my four coatmakers would take on this job. As usual, my contribution was mostly to the fit. The exact execution of the details I left to him. I could be more involved, but I have dozens of suits requiring my attention.

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Occasionally, I do a house call. I do it when it is a very good customer, or it is a very nice house. I've been up many high end apartments, and I've got to say this is one of the best. I'll bring an ultra wide angle lens the next time to better show the interior. The building outside the balcony is the Shell Tower. I was surprised to learn about 80% of the Shell Tower floors are empty; only a few of the top floors have employees in them.

 

This customer was previously in The Troika, which I also got to see from the inside.

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Before, actually, at a vegetarian place at a corner opposite the Shell Tower.

 

I should not have gone for it. Should have kept to my usual rice+sambar only. Banana leaf rice, even the vegetarian version, actually leads inexorably to insulin resistance and later diabetes. The reason? The cooking oil. Indians pack as much cooking oil as they can into their little vegetable dishes. The stuff is saturated in cooking oil.

 

It is the cooking oil that leads to the high diabetes rate amongst vegetarian Indians. The mechanism for this takes a while to explain.

 

I circumvent that by going for rice + sambar only.

 

I do not use food as a source of pleasure because it is so obvious what that leads to. For me, food is just a fuel to keep going. The cleaner burning the fuel, the better.

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The box "For Filing" is overfilled like a public rubbish bin. All the paper patterns on that shelf are to be filed. I bought a filing cabinet and got the part timer to assemble it.

 

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Then had her do the filing...

 

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I had a brief encounter just now with someone I've been observing for several months. It's the first time we spoke. I thought all along he's Indonesian, but it turns out he's Malay.

 

He's one of those who is comfortable in his own skin. Clear, calm face. He's really young, maybe early 20's. He works as an undercutter.

 

I think he would be suitable as a cutter at JTT. I wonder if I should make it happen, and how.

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I bumped into M just now. I've not seen him in years. I've known M right from the beginning of my tailoring career, from the time I was apprenticing with the sifu. M would drop in every couple of weeks for reasons unknown to me and then start asking the sifu how I'm doing etc. I think he dropped by simply because he's a sociable guy and likes to chat with friends.

 

M is a shirt cutter. His method of making a living is he takes the measurements from the tailoring shop, he drafts the shirt directly on the cloth, he cuts it out and he passes the bundle to a shirt maker for sewing. He then delivers the finished product to the tailoring shop.

 

Every so often, he would accept employment at some tailoring shop desperate for staff. He is famous for never staying long. He must have worked at dozens of tailoring shops.

 

Maybe five years ago, Coatmaker A was simply not delivering what I needed him to. I desperately needed another coatmaker. M basically grew up in the industry and being sociable, knows everyone. I went to see him at the shop in The Curve he was working in then and told him of my problem. He made a phone call and connected me with a 70-something year old coatmaker in PJ.

 

Anyway, we had a short talk just now and, without my asking, gave me the number of another coatmaker.

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It's been a very long time since there is anything exciting in this business. By exciting, I mean along the lines of MOP. Recently however, my social media posts have been passionately commented upon by a particular person, let's call him by his abbreviation WH.

 

He started off pointing out what he thought were weaknesses in either fit or make, making these comments in the fatherly tone as a more experienced tailor. Very quickly, within a few days, the comments became vicious. He said all my clothes were made by Wardrobe's factory (I have not had a single garment made by them. In fact, I've never set foot in there.) A picture of a sublimely beautiful tuxedo lapel he said was "the worse lapel ever". He said I should "know my place". When I had two mannequins on display at The Intermark, he said he hurried over with another tailor to view them. He then proclaimed them to be crap. All this in the comments section of my FB & Instagram. Of course I deleted them.

 

The problem when you take on someone like a kotmj is that... well, he's kotmj. Chances of coming out of it unscathed is slim. While he took pains to disguise his real identity, I found out today he owns a tailoring shop in the center of KL, in a particular Wisma. Which I will not yet name. It opened very recently. He has but two likes on his business fb. One of those likes is he himself, using an alternate account. The other like is also probably from an alternate account.

 

He sort of stopped commenting of late. I don't actually mind a bit of such intrigue, and hope he continues. Because the old kotmj gets to come back.

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Haha I think I know which tailor you're talking about. After all, that particular Wisma is one of my lunch options.

 

If I got the right shop, well... let's just say he'll be lucky to still operate in that premise in the next year.

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