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kotmj

The suiting thread

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Obviously it can be great for your capacity expansion. Unlike yohei fukuda who takes two years to deliver his bespoke shoes; second fitting after one year. But of course quality is the main priority.

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13 hours ago, kotmj said:

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I have always felt that buttonhole preparation is a big part of what makes a buttonhole successful. The way most buttonholes are perforated is through a hole punch to create the eyelet and shears to create the slit. However, this results in an underwhelming shape. Basically, you get a hole and an adjoining slit.

This morning, I set in motion a way to produce a teardrop perforation, as seen above. How was such an elegant shape produced? Ah, but I have so many competitors here reading me. Should I tell? 

A pippin punch?

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First jacket from the starving coatmaker who sold me all his silk threads. I thought he has a reserve stash, but he hasn't, which is why the buttonholes on this were done in polyester thread.

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He makes a light and soft jacket. Almost worryingly soft. Very soft pocket welt interlinings, a collar which felt very delicate from its softness, paper-thin lapels. He said something about how he sews the sleeves to the body by hand instead of machine which removes the rigidity of the machine stitch.

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2 hours ago, kotmj said:

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Sorting the silk threads into colour groups for easier retrieval

Woo~ Quite a large assortment of silk thread you have there. 

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I'm sort of in the process of hiring another full time employee. I'm not actually certain if the business can afford it. But then, the business may also not afford not having another FTE. Employees are, of course, fixed costs. For the longest time, JT's costs have been almost 100% variable. The costs are only incurred when revenues are made. Now, with rent and payroll, there is a cost which is incurred regardless of the revenue situation. This makes the business more vulnerable: to economic downturns, to sudden revenue drops, etc.

There are currently two cutting tables at JT. One for me, one for a part timer or apprentice. Sometimes, there are two part timers, an apprentice and me in the shop. Four people. Just not enough tables. Which was why I ordered a 6'X3' solid white oak table from a cabinetmaker. It's also why I bought another sewing machine, the Singer 201P.

The capital expenditure doesn't end there. I realised there is only one (1) cloth shears at JT, a Shozaburo. I need to buy at least one more. That shears has been in service daily since when I was doing my apprenticeship in 2011. Here's a video that shows how Shozaburos are made.

 The price for an 11" Shozaburo is now RM550. Nowadays, KAI, the Japanese cutlery conglomerate and owner of Shozaburo, offers a modern, rationalised version of the traditional cloth shears. It's called the KAI 7000 series. It's how you would make cloth shears today given the possibilities of modern manufacturing technologies. The 11" version is called KAI 7280. It's priced at half the cost of a Shozaburo. I just ordered one. Here's a video about the KAI 7000 series flagship cloth shears.

 

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Lapel hole made by my apprentice using the silk thread I bought off the starving coatmaker.

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I'm currently making a 3-piece suit in this Dugdale houndstooth for a customer, and a jacket only for another customer.

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Some interesting people I met recently:

a ) There is this company listed on bursa called Cocoland. It has a market cap of about half a billion ringgit. The daughter of the ultimate controlling shareholder is my apprentice. It's interesting to me to see how a guy worth a few hundred million ringgit goes about managing his kids (he has two). His son, the eldest, lives in a rented house with his wife and child. He has to rent because that's all his salary could afford. He works in the father's factory, making a market-competitive salary, but no more. His younger sister, who works for me, also relies on what JT pays her to buy stuff for herself, though in her case lodging and food, as well as a pretty nice car, are covered by the family. The father sure is doing what he can to avoid spoiling his kids.

b ) This morning, a Hollywood screenwriter was in the shop.

c ) Last Wednesday, while driving to work, as customary, I checked out the news sites. On the front page of every newspaper was the face of a guy I had whatsapped with just the day before. It was my customer. He went from obscurity to national infamy. He was shown seated in a winged armchair, making a confession. I was in the midst of making him quite a number of suits and quite a few shirts.

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The two watchmakers' bench lamps arrived. Totally flicker-free due to the high frequency electronic ballast which is housed within the thick vertical arm. I find this to be a very good solution for all task lighting, as you see here being deployed at the machine sewing station.

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The lamp at the hand sewing station. There are three joints in the lamp which allow considerable flexibility. The joints are very stable---there is no "creep" due to gravity. The ball joint at the lamp housing allows the lamp to be slightly tilted away from the eyes, preventing glare and eyestrain. You see the very important tilting function below.

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I'm sticking with tungsten/halogen lights at the cutting tables for now because I find the warm, full spectrum light they produce to be soothing.

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Today has been super intense. Apart from overseeing the pattern editing by my apprentice, I also saw a customer while the sewing machine guys delivered and commissioned a button attaching machine in the shop. After a hurried lunch, a Singaporean cloth distributor came with Fabrizio Donati of The Embassy to visit and discuss business.

I thought I'd decompress by meditatively sewing buttonholes on a vest. It also lets me experience for myself working under the watchmakers bench lamp. (The lamps are fabulous.)

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Just a quick pic because I'm so impressed with this myself. Looking at this makes me feel as if I'm a real tailor. The jacket has undergone no final press, not even by the coatmaker. A more Instagram-worthy pic will come tomorrow, together with the pale blue shirt and forest green grenadine tie the customer is going with.

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Today, I was told of the demise of two established industry players. One, Testa. It is insolvent and will be liquidated. This also means the Atelier Romentino brand is gone.

Second, Sparkmanshop. It will also close down. Some profitable outlets will be sold to management. Its manufacturing facility in Cheras will be liquidated.

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