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The suiting thread


kotmj
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IMG_20161209_200235.jpg?raw=1

 

I wish the sleeves were smoother, but it is not possible with this soft, light VBC Super 140's with cashmere in combination with the amount of ease, probably 1.5". The ease is the difference between circumference of wearer's arm to the circumference of the sleeve. If I increase it to 3" it will be smoother, but also visually baggier. Increasing sleeve circumference also means a larger, lower armhole.

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Taylor_Wessing_PPP_2016_0381-1024x1024.j

 

The moment you step out of the menswear enthusiast scene, you encounter such droopy gorges and classically medium-width (3") lapels. Most suits are still styled this way today with the additional feature of a slight belly to the lapel edge -- it's very classic and just refuses to die. I keep trying to get myself to appreaciate the lines, but ultimately prefer the "reformist" style.

 

This potrait of an African schoolboy won its Swiss photographer GBP 15k. I wonder what the judges see in it.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/nov/15/taylor-wessing-portrait-prize-won-photo-boy-school-uniform-claudio-rasano

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New site has launched jeremytok.com.

 

Still needs some work and a page dedicated to black tie and to suit maintenance. Brochure seriously needs an update. I need an intern I can exploit so badly.

 

It's a lot of work because it was from scratch. Every word and every photo is by me. The copywriting in particular was difficult because I am not required to write much in my job (as a tailor). The ability to do serious writing atrophies over time. You have to edit the layout for desktop and mobile separately, which was unexpected.

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Saw the display suit above while walking back to the car after lunch in TTDI. It's a striking cut.

 

But look at how they handled the front dart.

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You'll be surprised to learn that all local coatmakers do their front darts like this. I first encountered it very early in my carreer while with the sifu. I told him this is a very strange way to suppress a dart. It is acceptable with plain cloths but not with striped ones and certainly unsuitable for loud checks. He gave me that "dunno what to say" look.

 

I imagine in his mind the following dialogue took place.

 

"Aiyah, this young man. Thinks he knows so much. Of all the things to question in tailoring, of all the technical challenges, he goes and question the front dart. The front dart is never a problem. I have been sewing several front darts a day every day for the last 50 years. In Penang they do like this. In Sabah. Whole of KL. But he comes and tells me, oh, like this cannot, like that cannot. Niah seng, if he weren't paying tuition I would have kicked him out."

 

As for me, this would have been the dialogue going on in my head.

 

"Wow, this is a fucked up way to handle a front dart. No European tailor does it this way. If I were to post pictures of my jackets with such front darts, the amount of bashing that will ensue on my forum, on Styleforum, and on lowyat will be impossible to survive. I'll be like Sylvester Stallone in some installment of Rambo in the last 20 minutes of the show where he is cowering behind a mangrove tree with bullets whizzing by. He is bruised all over, his clothes are in tatters, and he is trying to extract a bullet lodged near his kidney."

 

Also notice the bra-like, pointy chest. This is a direct consequence of the enormous suppression taking place in the front dart.

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For a change, I have a question. How do you communicate to the dry cleaners to press it to second button?

 

Hopefully Jeeves has experience in this. Though I wonder if even the reputable dry cleaners can roll a lapel and belly back to it's former glory.

 

"In Penang they do like this. In Sabah. Whole of KL. But he comes and tells me, oh, like this cannot, like that cannot."

 

It's this very attitude that frustrates me and makes it so hard to find tailors that do things the right way. They live in this little world of theirs and rarely look outside for inspiration. When I ask about canvassing they'll say, "oh it's a very old thing. No one does it anymore."

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IMG_20161217_142222.jpg?raw=1

 

Since I'm ranting about the sifu might as well go all the way. The second issue I had with him was with how the sleeves are mounted.

 

In the photo above, in the area of the top right quadrant, you see two little chalkmarks of about 3/4" length next to each other at the bottom of the armsyce. I took this picture last night.

 

The marks indicate how the left and the right sleeves are to be mounted onto the bodice. They indicate the rotational position of each sleeve. It took just two or three conversations with my current coatmaker whom I've worked with for four years to establish this protocol. The chalkmarks are significant because

 

a) they mean we can mount each sleeve to any rotational position

b ) and that each sleeve can have its own rotational position independent from the other.

 

None of this was possible with the sifu. The sifu drafts each armsyce to a fixed formula, and each sleevehead to a fixed formula. The two mount to each other beautifully. This is perfect for RTW jackets, but we are doing bespoke where each body we fit has significant assymmetry and lumps in unexpected places. The sifu told me that nobody rotates the sleeves. It is not done. What you do instead, according to the sifu, is you get the major balance of the bodice right and the sleeves will automatically be in the proper position due to the force of gravity which causes the several kilos of flesh and bones of the arm to hang plumb.

 

It sounded so convincing, but is empirally useless. It doesn't work. I need to rotate each sleeve individually independent of each other and independent of bodice balance.

 

I tried to get the sifu to work out a protocol to accommodate this but he doesn't even want to talk about it. He dismissed the conversation in about two minutes.

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The third issue I had with the sifu is a big one. He refuses to sew gorge darts!!!!!

 

WTFFFFFF!!!!

 

He said they are "chor kung", literally "obstructing work". In other words, he finds them a nuisance.

 

I cannot do what I do without the wonderful instrument of gorge darts. About 90% of my jackets have gorge darts.

 

I could type a lot more about what gorge darts actually do, their effects, the proper way to make them that curiously some coatmakers (because they, too, rarely ever sew one) seem not to know but I think that's too much technicality. Pre-order the memoirs instead... I'll include it in there.

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Having said all this, you should know that the sifu is considered a coatmaker's coatmaker, commanding the highest wages per jacket in KL. He is curious and intelligent (by industry standards). His work is very neat. Earlier this year, a customer came in with a jacket for which he waited half a year and paid a chunk of money for. It is fully canvassed. I took a look and saw all the hallmarks of the sifus workmanship.

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IMG_20161218_170031.jpg?raw=1

 

Caliendo, Napoli. I, for one, am glad he's in Napoli not KL. Beautiful cut. Not perfect, but quietly magnificent. There is a splaying of the foreparts due to shoulder slope issue, and inexplicably Caliendo thought it a good idea to do a self-lined jacket in the famously scratchy tweed. But these do not take away from the beauty of the cut. Solid white ermazine sleeve lining. Oil-rubbed horn buttons. Extremely neat handwork throughout.

 

Shirt by JT in Soktas Meander 71 100/2 X 100/2 (!!). Trousers by JT in VBC Perennial.

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Reflecting on this further, the splaying may not be a shoulder slope issue. It may have to do with the wedge inserted in the belly area in Caliendo's block to accommodate a beer gut which this customer does not really have. Most corpulent people have a protruding tummy, but this customer's mass distribution is different.

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IMG_20161218_173816.jpg?raw=1

 

Solito, Napoli. As the customer lifted the jacket to put it on, I am amazed to see that it has an extremely pliant canvas. The jacket behaved like a cardigan -- the foreparts flopped about like they were uncanvassed. I need to get some of this canvas myself.

 

Some of you will have read about the Anderson & Sheppard drape cut. Except that they daren't do a drape cut nowadays, since nobody wants it. You've also heard of the A&S soft tailoring. Well it may be soft -- but only by English standards. I feel that this Solito is the real soft-tailored drape cut. Large amounts of strategically-placed drape. Very soft tailoring. Because drape causes corrugation, the jacket isn't clean-draping, but I doubt that's the look Solito offers. I would have liked to see better fitted sleeves though. Cloth is 13 oz.

 

IMG_20161218_175245.jpg?raw=1

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^^ The Solito is nice. I have a similar one made by Luigi Borrelli, half-lined, very drapey. The patch pockets are cut with the top line slanting up in a curve towards the back, and together with the barchetta, 3-roll-2, lack of structure, accentuates the fluidy/curves of the whole suit. Very thin shoulder padding. A very relaxed look which may not be appropriate for power boardroom meetings (probably need a Canali for that).

 

Just an observation that the curves/slope/drape of the Neapolitan cut may actually be accentuating the customer's rotund features (plus sloping shoulders). Good if that is what he wants, but I feel a more structured look may be more flattering.

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Just an observation that the curves/slope/drape of the Neapolitan cut may actually be accentuating the customer's rotund features (plus sloping shoulders). Good if that is what he wants, but I feel a more structured look may be more flattering.

Fat is fat. Can't run away from it. 

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I'm preparing for a model photoshoot, both studio and location shoots. I was discussing this with the model and for the peak lapel suit he suggested I look at the series Hannibal (2013).

 

hannibal1.05-unneccessary-suffering2.gif

 

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wine1.gif

 

Dr Hannibal Lecter does indeed have the best peak lapels I've seen.

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