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I make dress shirts for myself and for others. My advice would be to get a well fitted draft and go from there. If you are looking to buy cloth, there is Rosen & Chaddick, (which sells Thomas Mason, Alumo, Canclini, etc) also there is Tip Top Fabrics in NYC which sells cloths purchased from designers and there lines are quite good, in Italy try Teca Tessuti, and there are a few companies that sell online as well. Hwa Seng textiles, and others. All of the ones I've listed sell premium cloth; American Sember in NYC sells Thomas Mason cloth, but only to those who have a wholesale account. I have both the Silver Line and the Gold Line books, which are as good as advertised. I will post links to two Italian shirting sources, but their costs might be prohibitive to some, though they are quite good.

 

http://www.camiceriapiccolo.com/

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I make dress shirts for myself and for others. My advice would be to get a well fitted draft and go from there. If you are looking to buy cloth, there is Rosen & Chaddick, (which sells Thomas Mason, Alumo, Canclini, etc) also there is Tip Top Fabrics in NYC which sells cloths purchased from designers and there lines are quite good, in Italy try Teca Tessuti, and there are a few companies that sell online as well. Hwa Seng textiles, and others. All of the ones I've listed sell premium cloth; American Sember in NYC sells Thomas Mason cloth, but only to those who have a wholesale account. I have both the Silver Line and the Gold Line books, which are as good as advertised. I will post links to two Italian shirting sources, but their costs might be prohibitive to some, though they are quite good.

 

http://www.camiceriapiccolo.com/

Just had a look at Piccolo's price list, wow, just wow. So expensive. Amateursarto, do you also do non-fused collars and cuffs?

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I really appreciate the offer but, I'm not ready to go through the hassle to buy my own cloths yet, I mean I can't tell between workmanship, good cloth is just going to be wasted on me. I normally pay about RM320 for one shirt, what can having my own cloth save money? Joe will sew me a Thomas Mason shirt for 'bout RM730.

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Just throwin those sources out there, cancer (i agree with TS about your name, btw, LOL). The cloths are expensive, but once they are made up, the shirts are great. I have a few made up from 2 ply 170's (couple years old) and they still feel like silk and have no pillilng or fuzzing present on the surface of the cloth. TS, I do fuse some of the collars and cuffs I make; mostly when I want that extra firmness only fusing can provide. I also use it on shirts I make for others since they are accustomed to that and as a result prefer it. When it comes to fusing, it's all about using professional grade fusible collar interlining and using a heat transfer press or a clamshell steam press or dry press to set the fusing. If done according to manufacturer's specs, you can get a few years wear out of fused collars and cuffs. I have shirts that were made in 1998 that have no delineation at all on them. But you have to use the right stuff. BTW, gshen's tumblr page is quite impressive. Maybe this ought to go in the other thread, but where are such exquisite wools and silks sourced from? As someone who makes ties and pochettes, bows, etc. I appreciate the quality and workmanship in gshen's offerings. Btw, how much is 730 RM in US dollars? (can't get my phone to cooperate)...

 

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Guest amateursarto

joonian,

i just saw your post. sorry about that! where i am in the world may prove to be more of an obstacle than what i charge. i am in the midwest of the united states, in st. louis, mo usa to be exact. i'm not too far from chicago, illinois (280 miles, 4 1/2 hour car trip). i charge 470 MYR ($150 USD, that price doesn't include the cloth since most of my clients bring their own cloth to me). I can provide cloth to fit any budget. I have a one time pattern drafting fee (235 MYR, $75 which is waived if the client commissions at least two shirts). I hate to charge the pattern drafting fee, but there is a lot of work in drafting a shirt pattern. Right now my patterns are hand cut, though in the future I will probably offer a computer drawn pattern draft for less money. If interested joonian, i can post pics. If not, I can understand that as well.

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Question: Why do non-fused collars and cuffs cost more at a tailor? To my rather simple mind, I would have thought they would be cheaper? Is the fusing replaced by the equivalent of a canvas, like in a coat?

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The cotton interlining is quite expensive and difficult to source. Also, it is more difficult to sew a collar where the interlining can shift. For this reason there is a type of sew-on interlining which has a water-soluble glue. You fuse it to the collar with an iron and sew as usual. The interlining defuses completely with the first laundering.

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To be honest, there is a minimal difference in cost to make a non fused vs fused collar. I have no problem sourcing cotton collar lining here in the US. Also, I've never used the lining that kotmj speaks of, and I would suspect that the water soluble feature is added to increase the cost of the interlining. Any good shirt maker can sew a collar or cuff w/o that stuff. When I make non fused collars I apply a light dab of water soluble glue stick to the collar points, one at center back and one just opposite of each collar point. That's a total 5 light dabs of glue stick and nothing else. After sewing, the glue stick is usually gone as a result of pressing the collar after spritzing it with water. If anyone is embarking upon making a shirt and gets to collar making, I recommend you try it. kotmj, have you begun to make dress shirts in your apprenticeship? if so, is that what the sifu does, as you stated above?

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Amateursarto, I hope to eventually get to shirtmaking, but I think I'll just draft them. Here in Malaysia we have many independent shirtmaking seamstresses and shirtmaking factories. I have no idea how they make a living. The factories employ mostly Bangladeshi workers. The home-based seamstresses also take care of other people's babies on the side.

 

I had my tailor make me a non-fused collar before, and it was the oddest thing he has ever heard. He spent half an hour trying to convince me that it is a bad idea.

 

He ended up having to sew the shirt himself, because we all know you cannot actually outsource or delegate something you cannot yourself make. It will just end in disaster. He said it took him 3 hours.

 

The shirt was magnificent.

 

With the second shirt, he outsourced the sewing. The collar was done badly. The third shirt was better. However, I asked him to use two plies of interlining, and he did -- except it was two plies for the collar leaf and only one ply for the collar band. The collar leaf is too heavy for the collar band to hold up, so that shirt has a droopy collar.

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Yeah, it's a trial and error process finding what works best for you. I made fused collars and cuffs exclusively early on, but without the right equipment and supplies it was hit and miss. Now, having sourced the right stuff, I have smooth, firm collars that last anywhere from 2 to 4 yrs., depending on how often they are washed. What really causes the fusing to bubble and separate is drying the shirt in a dryer. The change from wet to dry as well as moderate to high heat causes the cotton interlining and separate. So if someone has a really nice fused shirt, I suggest that it be washed and air dried. And always iron the shirt using water, never dry. Also, avoiding starch prolongs the life of a shirt, especially white ones, since starch yellows the fibres of the shirt.

 

As for non fused collars, it does take some skill to make one. The key is to ensure that the interlining is secured to the outer cloth reasonably well before sewing. The same rules of sewing a fused collars then apply. If any of you guys would like to get an inside view of the shirtmaking process, I encourage you to take a look at the following website: http://www.mikemaldonado.com/. It's geared toward aspiring shirtmakers, but the education is good for all. Kotmj, there is a pattern drafting course there as well. It costs $300 (USD), but worth it.

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I need to get a couple of decent dress shirts made. Are there any shirtmakers you gents recommend besides Ah Loke? How are his spread collars? Cutaways?

 

And does he have shirting in house? I'm not that picky about shirting. Just looking for a nice soft poplin in blue and/or white.

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AL does have bolts of shirting. A few months back he used up his best vintage pale blue poplin. He once offered it to me when I first got to know him at what is retrospectively a great price but I was too noob back then to take it. I think he was quite sorry himself to see it gone.

 

No doubt he has a new bolt of pale blue. He also has a certain bolt of "non-iron" white poplin that he pushes hard on customers.

 

Wardrobe is the distributor of Alumo in Malaysia. Very sexy fabric. Their Bangla mastertailors should do a good job.

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@Terror I've bought two lengths of Thomas Mason Silverline from him in the past. Made up by Iris, naturally. Cost quite a bit in the end and I'm not much of a shirt connoisseur so I'm looking for something more affordable.

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How Long do you guys think I would need to soak the cotton Thomas Mason fabric in cold water before rinsing it?the reason is I want to pre shrink it before sending it to ALT to be made into a shirt.

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I have an elaborate pre-shrinking routine. Not sure if every step is necessary.

 

1. Have the cut edges serged in a shop. This is to prevent fraying.

2. Launder once, which by definition means at least an overnight soak.

3. Soak in tap water 24 hours or more.

4. Spin dry.

5. Iron from damp to dry while preserving grain.

 

Step 5 is essential.

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