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The suiting thread

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The same jacket 23 hours later, before pressing. Notice how most of the wrinkles are gone. I would have no problem wearing this to any meeting. This is a demonstration of the crease recovery of the cloth.

Later, it will be pressed and I may take another picture if it.

 

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Part Timer C pressing a jacket. You see what appears to be some callouses on his knuckles. They are in fact wound scabs that came about due to a road accident as he was doing dispatch work for me.

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1 hour ago, monsieurxu said:

^ very nice J. Looks a smidgen short though

 

Love the powerful peak lapels and shoulders.

It is, in fact, short. Customer told me this is the longest jacket he has. Which means I'm not supposed to go any longer.

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I thought I'd just give a preview of a mall that most of you will come to be familiar with. When it's completed, that is. The picture was shot at the Empire City mall, which is inspired by European pedestrian shopping areas. In fact, from where I was standing, the JT Global HQ is right upwards, 19 floors above.

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Unbelievably, someone set up a tailor-themed bar opposite Menara Glomac. They practically just opened a few days ago. After their soft launch, they're doing the event above. I wasn't invited. I'm thinking of sending a part timer there to distribute my brochures to the attendees.

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https://instagram.com/thepressers?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=zab1vvkcqaby

Wow, I never imagined such a thing could exist. This company, which seems to comprise of two people only, does the final press for many Savile Row establishments.

I imagine the houses receive the jackets from the many, many off-site coatmakers already pressed, but there is a significant quality component to pressing. You can lavish the time and attention to press a jacket really well, or you can do a quick, superficial press whose effects last a day or two only.

Instead of disqualifying (and firing) coatmakers for inadequate pressing, the houses may just spend a few more pounds to have it pressed by specialist pressers where the quality and adequacy of pressing is assured.

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As I awoke this morning after a stressful sleep, my mind went through the possibilities for the day. I thought I'd leisurely make myself a wheatgrass juice drink which I'd leisurely sip, then maybe leisurely make oatmeal with blueberries. Then, I thought, I'd work out. I had started working out again a few weeks ago, and it was what caused my sleep to be unpleasant. The workouts are traumatic events for the body and psyche; after a session, the body is shocked by the demands it was placed under. For the next couple of days, your psyche is in a state of heightened alertness, presumably because it perceives the environment to be dangerous (after all, it was almost crushed to death by heavy weights). It disturbs my sleep.

Still in bed, I reached for my phone and saw that customers have been busy contacting me. Several emails asking for prices and appointments. Several WhatsApp messages. Two missed calls.

One of the WhatsApp messages was from a potential customer. He wants to meet me in the a.m. for a suit. But it's already 10am. I googled his name and saw that he's a German surgeon with his own practice in KL. I wrote back suggesting 11:30am, hoping he'd want a later time or date. Within a couple of minutes, he said yes. Damn.

Gone the wheatgrass juice. Gone the oatmeal. Gone the workout in my home gym. I hurriedly showered and drove to the shop.

He came into the shop with the hottest woman I met this year. Tall, blonde, Bavarian. Like Heidi Klum. They're a very nice couple. Wonderful people.

Throughout the day, I could feel the difficulty of relaxing my CNS. It is so amped up.

One of the WhatsApp messages was tricky to answer. It was sent by a senior executive of a company. I'm currently making them a number of suits. A few weeks ago, I was fitting her at their office when I remarked she must have put on weight. She said something about having put on a little weight. I said the weight gain is significant. Before I knew it, she said she should put on a G-string now that she's put on weight. She asked me if she should. I ignored the question. Since then, I've been contacted by her rather often. She now wants to come to the shop, ostensibly for alterations. I think I should get Part Timer C to be around for personal protection.

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I received a call from Malaysian SME, which is a publisher + events company which has a disingenuous business model. They had in the past interviewed me for their magazine; ever since, they kept trying to get me more involved with their organisation. They extended to me a 1:1 casual meeting with their CEO/founder. Which I turned down after watching him on YouTube. Jajaja, seriously.

This time around, they invited me to a gathering of entrepreneurs. A get-together, an exchange of minds with other business owners. Exactly what I need, I thought. I need a group of real business people to look at how I operate and tell me all the ways why it's poorly structured. (Some of my customers who are elder business owners keep trying to tell me the way I do things is not optimal from a business point of view. But all want to see JT in a shoplot or a mall, which I'm not keen.)

So I went. I braved the after-work jam. I parked 15 minutes away from the venue (the only parking I could find) then walked. I registered myself, then approached the hall. It was packed. I scanned the faces. Oh no.

The sort of faces I saw are like those at a bus stop in Chow Kit after work. Or, much like the people you see taking the LRT. These are just normal people. Regular folks. A cross section of Malaysian society.

I turned around, walked back to my car and left.

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My first time using the M.Mueller system for corpulent people, defined as a waist measure that is between 0-6cm larger than the chest measure. In other words, the tummy is larger in girth than the chest.

Maybe 7 or 8 years ago, when I was still cooperating with the sifu, I told him the drafting system he uses and which he taught me does not produce particularly good results for the very corpulent. in essense, it is the usual drafting system, just larger. It does not solve many of the problems encountered with the corpulent. The sifu's reply was however very potent: he said a large percentage of customers are corpulent, and he's been making suits for them all this while. In other words, the system is market-tested on live customers over decades.

I have, of course, heard of something called a Donlon wedge. But nobody uses it here. It's something in tailoring textbooks which did not find its way into practice.

For this particular customer, who meets the criteria for this system, I decided to explore this new territory. This system produces a very large wedge at the bottom of the jacket, called in the UK as a Donlon wedge, presumably after the guy who either invented or popularised it.

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A number of cuts are made into the paper, then the Donlon wedge is closed. The front dart is exaggerated to about 2cm, which results in a huge pocket dart. Then as a final step, the pattern is retraced onto a new piece of paper and completed with the lapels and pockets.

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Through the use of a very wide front dart and a pocket dart that is some 4X to 5X wider than normal, a pocket of space is created at tummy level to contain the overhanging gut.

I can see why this method is not very widespread: it's more work than usual.

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Marc%20Woo,%20Google%20head,%20Malaysia.

https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/business/marc-woo-appointed-country-head-google-malaysia

One of the Sultans we made by a coatmaker who has since been fired for habitually disregarding instructions. Shirt in Soktas Linda Meander 71; it was commissioned by a mutual friend who gifted it to him for his wedding.

I will miss the outgoing head who has been a good customer.

Now that I think back to it, that coatmaker was a nightmare to deal with. He fancies himself a "sifu", which is understood as a master of one's craft, yet after more than 30 years of doing this, both at front of shop and back of shop, he has neither a solid career nor business and makes a tiny fraction of what I make after only 6 or 7 years. He was dismissive of the very explicit instructions I gave regarding construction, and was a disaster at meeting delivery commitments. I was very happy to see him now jobbing at a major competitor of mine AT THE FRONT OF SHOP, interfacing with customers. The guy is useless, and damages any tailoring business dumb enough to not fire him sooner.

A few months after I ejected him, he asked if he can come back. That was one request I was happy to ignore.

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Ei, that jacket so familiar. Oh, now I remember! A few years ago, I spent four hours pressing that thing! The cloth was impossible. Of course nowadays, I have part timers to do things like that. I learn that picture was taken at his company's AGM.

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This morning, the above and his spouse each left a one-star rating on my Google page.

He so succinctly and comprehensively described my ideal customer profile. Perhaps I should have been less coy about it. In the future, I may just do a phone screening.

Customer: I want appointment. You free later today?

JT: Did you send your CV earlier? We require that before we can grant you an appointment.

Customer: CV? I'm not asking for a job. Anyway, I'm an assistant MD.

JT: You mean like a PA? We don't really take those in.

Customer: You don't understand. The MD is my father.

JT: Are you second or third generation?

Customer: Third. My grandfather started the company.

JT: Good. We don't take in second generations. Too parsimonious. What's the revenue like?

Customer: Huh, what? Like 36 million last year.

JT: Ah. We only do above 200 mil. When you reach that, give us a call. Thanks, bye.

  • Haha 1

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I've always wondered where Najib gets all his suits made. He was once seen in Canali Pavilion. I mostly assumed he gets them from a Canali-like brand but to a bespoke pattern. They might send them to him by mail from Italy, several dozens each time.

An extremely reliable source told me today he gets them mostly from two sources. One is Jakel. The other source is an obscure tailor called British Tailor in Kuching.

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British Tailor was for years the largest customer for Scabal cloths in Malaysia.

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I've been reading Permanent Style lately. It occurred to me that a few years from now, when he has run out of tailors in Europe to review, we will see a series titled "Simon Crompton does Lucky Plaza". (That's Singapore)

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Bought three of these lamps so I could use tungsten halogen bulbs instead of the LED lamp affixed to the ceiling. LEDs are so harsh. I've never liked them.

I also created what I'm calling a handsewing station, comprising a desk, a swivel chair, drawers and a lamp. It looks very simple and a matter-of-course, but it took me several years and some reflection before it occurred to me I need something like this and that this is the optimal setup. The drawers contain all the threads and sewing implements. I've seen the workspaces of many, many sewing tailors, and none have a place dedicated to handsewing. They either do their handsewing while seated at their sewing machines, or at their cutting tables. Both are suboptimal for all sorts of reasons.

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Of course the handsewing station also makes a great place to have a drink while answering emails on a tablet/laptop while monitoring the traffic situation on the LDP.

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I've been asking myself why don't I like working, or being in this unit. Did you know I've never liked this place? (It's still much better than a unit in a shopping mall or a shoplot.)

I then started asking myself what sort of space would make me happy to be in all day. Like, so nice, I don't even feel like going home. How would such a space look like?

1. It needs to be on the ground floor.

2. It needs to be situated in nature, or at the very least a garden.

3. It needs to have many windows to let in light.

4. It preferably faces the south because that sort of light is best.

It turns out there is one tailor who had such premises. He liked working there so much, that he would rather take the train to London to see customers than to be situated in London. His name is Thomas Mahon and he used to work out of Warwick Hall.

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In fact, I'm quite happy if I have something akin to Philippe Dufour's workshop.

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However, due to space constrains and other issues, Mahon moved out of Warwick Hall and into the first floor of a rural townhouse.

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The lamps are working great. They each contain a 40W tungsten halogen bulb. This is a rather moderate power, but three of them give a warm, pleasant illumination. A 70W bulb would be too intense and create hotspots.

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I stumbled upon the IG of what appears to be a freelance coatmaker in London. It really gives an insight into how the industry works. I was so surprised that she makes jackets for various houses on and off the Row. Multiple houses, one independent coatmaker working from a windowless room in a basement. She regularly makes for Huntsman, Connock & Lockie, Montague Ede, etc.

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