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TS,

Shrinkage is supposed to be limited to 2% according to industry standards. Cotton shirting really only needs to be soaked in cold water about 30 minutes, laid out to dry on a clothes line or in some other way and after that it's ready for the needle. The TM cloth (gold and silver lines) are great. I have both books and purchase from American Sember in NYC. If anyone ever wants a pic of a specific cloth let me know.

 

Edit: of course, the cloth needs to be iron or even better "pressed" after soaking in cold water. The reason I recommend pressing or ironing after allowing the shirting to dry is because when wet it's more susceptible to stretching. After drying, the yarn is tighter, and will withstand pressing or ironing's inherent stretching. A caveat to that is to press or iron after spritzing with water or use a steam iron. Never press or iron without a misting of water, just don't iron while saturated with water as when after soaking. David Page Coffin, (author of the book, Shirt Making), advocates ironing yardage while wet, but on this point I disagree with him.

 

AS

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amateursarto, I'm interested in the current price of the gold line and the silver line.Can you give an estimate how much it currently costs per meter for each line mentioned?would really appreciate it.

 

And do you have access to other books such as Alumo?

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TS,

I haven't ordered TM in more than a year, so I'll have to email and find out. But at last check, it was $ 28 - $ 30 per yd. for Silver and a few dollars more for Gold. I will find out and let you know. I am in the process of receiving the Pronto book from Grandi and Rubinelli. I have the books from Acorn and a few books from lesser known and lesser quality cloth mills. In all, I have a large library of cloths but have directed more of my attention as of late to tailoring suits. Again, if you guys ever want to see a specific swatch or color/pattern, let me know. By the way, I hear Grandi and Rubinelli have some fantastic stuff. Whenever I get the book, I will let those interested know what they've got. Alumo is difficult to source, or at least, they never return my emails.

 

AS

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I once wrote to Alumo -- in German to establish better rapport since they are in the German-speaking part of Switzerland -- and a woman with the surname of the founding family replied. Esssentially, she said she cannot sell me cut lengths, that I have to source them from the boss of Wardrobe, that I am at his mercy and have to pay the full markups of everyone involved.

 

However, she said that if I have any problems whatsoever sourcing them from Wardrobe I am to write to her.

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Received some sew-in shirt interlining, 100% cotton from theliningcompany. This is a stiff yet relatively thin cotton. Who would have thought cotton can have so much body of its own? Really excited to have this used in my shirts after I've given it a real proper pre-shrinking.

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TS,

The TM shirtings are as follows:

 

silverline "blue" book: $25-30 USD per yd. and goldline "red" book: $27-$35 per yd. the good thing is that the TM shirtings are 60"wide, so an average to above average size man will only need 2 yds. a guy who wears a 48" RTW coat would need to order a little more depending on his height. I usually order 1/4 or 1/2 yd. more to replace the collar and cuffs a few years down the line.

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Found a bespoke tailor near my house. From his showroom, suiting does not seem promising, though good fabrics are available to choose from (loro piana, VBC), I am much more interested in his shirting skills. Will post back pics of my test shirt with him. He quoted me RM400 for a shirt done up in a thomas mason fabric, but I went with a standard 2-ply cotton for my test shirt. Requested a split yoke, canvassed collar and cuffs, undarted but clean back.

 

Looking forward to getting it next week and posting it up for critique.

 

If the result is any good, will reveal the source - no worries.

 

Also, if anyone is willing to point me in the direction of a shirtmaker which they reckon is good, I would appreciate it greatly. PM me if you wish, good dress shirts are still top on my list during this trip back to msia.

 

Cheers boys, and have a happy new year.

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Had a first fitting for the shirt and also the pair of trousers I commissioned (in a H&S grey twill fabric). Will do a detailed (pictorial) review once I get the finished products next week, but here are some initial thoughts:

 

Trousers were done up in some other fabric, but fit almost perfectly - great looking straight cut with clean lines. This guy is good with measurements and listening to the kind of fit I was after. The only thing I had to adjust was the hem - and I'm a guy who absolutely struggles to find pants that fit me well off the rack.

 

My (amateur) observations of the details of the shirt:

1) Collar and cuffs are non-fussed, but still quite stiff. Might be softer once its laundered a few times but I'm skeptical. Might just have to source my own interlining, and see if that makes the collar softer.

2) Seem stitching is passable, about 6-7 per cm (to be confirmed once I take delivery of the final shirt).

3) Cuffs - he made convertible cuffs, without asking me, apparently its his "default". Have asked him kindly to not do so in any future commissions. When I ask for button cuff, I mean button cuff.

4) Buttons - the best shell buttons he had in house were bad. Like BAD. I went with thick plastic ones.

5) Monogram - The default is in some very fancy cursive font. I have asked for it to be regular (non-fancy, non-cursive) font next time.

 

In regards to fit I'm happy overall, but I mainly focused on how the shoulders fell, and they are indeed very clean. Will post photos once I get final shirt. There's quite abit of excess fabric around the waist, but fits perfectly around the chest. He said that this is due to me having quite a big drop from shoulder to waist. He said he can't further suppress the waist without putting in back darts. I'm still considering if I want back darts. The tailor was very accommodating and friendly and also happy to share with me some of the Cantonese terms for the details I requested.

 

He said he had one other client from Shah Alam which was as particular as me with regards to my shirts. Nice to know there are other people making these requests as well.

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Starting from RM200 I think for some uninspired 2-ply fabric. TM silverline is RM500, but I think he does specials if you order 3 or more, he said around RM450 per shirt. I got mine made in a Soktas (Turkish, I believe) white twill for RM450, because his TM SL book had limited plain white fabrics. He also has TM goldline but I'm unsure what the price is. I have not asked what he charges for labour, but I will do so next time.

 

My earlier post stating a TM shirt is RM400 was wrong. That was only for "selected" TM silverline fabrics (read: ugly cloth he can't sell. However, if you're into really bold stripe shirts, you might find something you like).

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No idea what his workmanship costs, I will ask next time I'm in there to collect my finished trousers and shirt. I suspect ALT will be cheaper. The H&S fabric trousers were RM500. I was quoted RM250 for no-name wool trousers.

 

I would not recommend him, yet as I have not received the finished products from him. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. It's not any big secret, just don't want you guys to be wasting your time. Prices and location will be revealed with pics.

 

I might get a shirt done at the legendary ALT to compare as well. Just have to wait for my Acorn fabrics and MOP buttons (from our favourite Singaporean haberdasher) to arrive. I suspect I'll have to get my order in by Thu/Fri next week if I want them ready before the CNY break.

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Had a first fitting for the shirt and also the pair of trousers I commissioned (in a H&S grey twill fabric). Will do a detailed (pictorial) review once I get the finished products next week, but here are some initial thoughts:

 

Trousers were done up in some other fabric, but fit almost perfectly - great looking straight cut with clean lines. This guy is good with measurements and listening to the kind of fit I was after. The only thing I had to adjust was the hem - and I'm a guy who absolutely struggles to find pants that fit me well off the rack.

 

My (amateur) observations of the details of the shirt:

1) Collar and cuffs are non-fussed, but still quite stiff. Might be softer once its laundered a few times but I'm skeptical. Might just have to source my own interlining, and see if that makes the collar softer.

2) Seem stitching is passable, about 6-7 per cm (to be confirmed once I take delivery of the final shirt).

3) Cuffs - he made convertible cuffs, without asking me, apparently its his "default". Have asked him kindly to not do so in any future commissions. When I ask for button cuff, I mean button cuff.

4) Buttons - the best shell buttons he had in house were bad. Like BAD. I went with thick plastic ones.

5) Monogram - The default is in some very fancy cursive font. I have asked for it to be regular (non-fancy, non-cursive) font next time.

 

In regards to fit I'm happy overall, but I mainly focused on how the shoulders fell, and they are indeed very clean. Will post photos once I get final shirt. There's quite abit of excess fabric around the waist, but fits perfectly around the chest. He said that this is due to me having quite a big drop from shoulder to waist. He said he can't further suppress the waist without putting in back darts. I'm still considering if I want back darts. The tailor was very accommodating and friendly and also happy to share with me some of the Cantonese terms for the details I requested.

 

He said he had one other client from Shah Alam which was as particular as me with regards to my shirts. Nice to know there are other people making these requests as well.

 

Oh, so those Malaysian cuffs are called convertible cuffs. They seem to be the default of almost every tailor here. When trying out a new tailor I always have to be super explicit about not wanting them. Another default are collars with the collar bone integrated into them. The other default are serged seams instead of French ones.

 

Collars and cuffs fused with the iron are also very common -- these delaminate on the first wash. The right way to do things is to use a special fusing machine that produces steam and high temperatures and high mechanical pressure but these represent a significant capital expenditure for most independent seamstresses. (Shirtmaking workshops have them.)

 

However, now that I have so many shirts made the "international" way, I am looking to exhume our tailoring past. To find construction techniques and design elements which are unique to Malaysian tailors and to make them relevant again. Obviously, for this to work I need to find the best implementation of each feature. For instance, once upon a time, sewing machines are not multi-featured. All they can do is to sew a straight stitch. No buttonhole feature, so shirts have the buttonholes bound by hand.

 

I have also been told of a trouser-making technique that is typical of "Ma-lai-ah" (Malaya). I'm working on finding out more.

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Interesting note regarding the french seam/serge seam I'll have to check out the inside seams, but pretty sure its serged from memory.

 

The collar bone preference was brought up by him quite early on in the discussion. Truthfully, there are quite a few elements to keep track off, I'll have to bring a list next time I'm using a new tailor. I also asked for side gussets, which is apparently called "moh kwai keok" in canto.

 

The sleeve placket had buttons, but speaking of buttons, the default for this guy is that buttons have no stem whatsover and the buttons are sewn quite flat with minimal allowance. Told him not to bother replacing them yet as I'll bring some MOP buttons for him to replace the plastic ones with (I could tell he was "excited" when he heard that, but he was quite accommodating and friendly - probably due to the fact that he made a healthy margin on my orders).

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