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The suiting thread


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One of the advantages of doing what I do is, I almost never have to go "consult" an expert. The experts come to me. Several times, even. 

So I had an interior designer in the shop. Made him 2 suits. Studied architecture at RMIT. His parents run a chain of Hainan-themed cafes with I think 16 outlets. All self owned (not franchise). He designs the cafes his parents run. 

"How much to fit out the typical shoplot into, say, a cafe?" I asked him. 

There was no hesitation in his reply. "500k," he said. 

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We've just been very busy making clothes. There are many garments which require processing. A few weeks after MCO 2.0 ended, demand exploded. Before that, I had so much time on my hands, I even made some videos.

It appears likely that Selangor will have a "hard" MCO soon. The probability I estimate at 50%. It is more likely than not that JT can continue to operate, because we're registered as a factory, not a boutique.

Demand will again evaporate. This gives us time to complete the orders we have on hand. And after that, maybe even shoot a few videos.


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In an authentic Korean hair salon, waiting for my turn. At this point they have washed my hair. 

The Korean hairdresser asked how I'd like to have it. I said why don't you suggest a style. She started describing the style she thinks would suit me, but her English was non-existent, and I had no idea what she was babbling about. I told her to proceed with it. 

A bit later, I saw what she was doing to the customer beside me. She was giving him what I could only describe as a bowl cut. I had my doubts at this point. 


Here's my genuine gangnam haircut. I have to say it's really one of the best haircuts I've received. She did not give me a bowl cut. 

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I'm hardly what one would call a face mask expert. But the government has strongly recommended wearing two face masks to properly filter out airborne aerosol.

That strikes me as an inelegant solution. I have a better solution. 

The sort of face mask I am seen wearing above is the best I've used. 

a) It creates an almost absolute seal around your face. All the air has to come in through the membrane itself, not through the sides/gaps of the mask. 

b The elastic straps around the ears were optimally chosen, strong enough to create an absolute seal of the mask around the face, but without causing discomfort. 

c Because of the optimal tension created by the elastic straps and the semi-rigid nature of the mask, it simply doesn't slide down the face the way regular masks do. 

d Because of the semi-rigid nature of the mask, it creates a pocket of space/air between itself and your mouth, allowing you to speak naturally. Regular soft masks plaster themselves against your lips, obstructing speech. 

I got a sample pack of these masks with a Lazada purchase, and was immediately impressed by how much better they are. I then ordered a box. 

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Interesting. I just received a call from the Lazada seller from whom I bought the masks above. 

He says he is very happy to have me recommend the masks to friends, but that I should not say the price is for a box, because they made a mistake in the listing. The price is for 10pcs only. They sent me a whole box (50pcs) due to a mistaken listing. 

What an odd call. The thing is, I didn't recommend these masks except here on this forum. To have a big time Lazada seller call me to stop telling people it comes in a box is so strange. 

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Yesterday, I received an email from a potential customer. He says he's a fan of the Huntsman style; would I make it for him? I replied to the effect that I, too, admire the Huntsman silhouette. That it's the first time someone has asked me to replicate it. That I look forward to doing so.


Hi Jeremy, I have heard good reports about your work and would like to have a 2 piece suit made (with a second pair of trousers). I am a fan of the Hunstman style of Savile Row, hour glass figure with a single button.

Given the current MCO, are you accepting appointments?

I look forward to meeting with you and having the above made.

With kind regards,

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I really do look forward to doing so. Have always wanted to do it. As in, very structured canvas, strong shoulder pads, semi-roped sleeveheads, 2" longer in the bodice than my usual cut, and rather angular front parting.


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I hear a lot about Meiko on a Singaporean forum that discusses tailored clothing. It's great to see the man behind it. The link was sent to me by a customer. 

Towards the end, he kept saying how he's "slowly" training his daughter to take over. I don't speak Mandarin, but even I take notice of how many times he said "man-man" (slowly). Basically, it means his daughter shows absolutely no talent at this. That's what it means. 

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I will be practicing coatmaking at home during the lockdown. The Mayang boy, who continues receiving a (reduced) salary, is obligated to. For 3.5 hours per day five days a week, we will be sewing practice jackets. We discuss our progress with each other daily. 

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I have 5 orders to ship to customers in the next 2 weeks or so. Johor, Brunei, Australia, UK and Singapore. This business of shipping clothes is a science onto itself.

Maybe some background. The stuff I ship is very expensive. One of the parcels that I will be shipping soon is worth some RM15K. The second most expensive of the parcels is RM10K.

I used to ship clothes in cardboard boxes. Boxes give the contents the most protection from mechanical damage. Boxes also "squish" the garments the least, meaning they arrive with fewer stubborn creases. For this reason, I still prefer to ship in boxes domestically.

However, the cost of international shipping has gone steeply up since lockdowns around the world. When I ship in a box, they calculate the cost based on the volumetric weight of the box. Which, in my case, has nothing to do with the actual weight of the parcel. I pay very dearly for shipping the air in the box.

So it is necessary to ship in bags. When I ship in soft bags, they calculate the weight based on the mass of the parcel, not the volume. This is very advantageous cost-wise. Also, I have been advised that the customs of many countries prefer to inspect goods shipped in boxes, because it often indicates that the goods are of high value. Parcels in soft bags are less likely to be scrutinised by customs.

However, soft bags give little protection against mechanical damage. So far, I have countered this via the hope-and-pray method. It has more or less worked, but obviously, now with the MCO, I have the time to divert attention to devising a better way.

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And that better way is the triple layer wrapping method.

First you bag the clothes in an extra thick PE courier bag. 


The extra thick bags are very glossy/shiny. The thinner ones are a little matt. That's how you differentiate them. This bag forms a nearly hermetic seal around the contents, protecting it from liquids (like oil from neighbouring parcels). The thickness also gives protection against puncturing from neighbouring sharp objects.

Then wrap the courier bag with double layer bubble wrap. This bubble wrap gives more protection against mechanical damage.


Then, bag it in a woven plastic gunny sack. The gunny sack give real protection against abrasion damage. The one I am using has a clear plastic membrane on the inside for more liquid resistance.



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Here we have a work sheet for a shirt muslin. This particular customer is having his wedding reception next month in a castle in Germany. No change of plans despite the lockdown. It is a "full spectrum" order, i.e. jacket, trousers, vest, and shirt. Everything we make. Hence, full spectrum. 

He has forward bowed shoulders. I used to have the greatest difficulty fitting these sort of shoulders. The correction for these sort of shoulders lies in REPOSITIONING the neck hole towards the rear. Took me forever to figure out.

The shirt muslin is drafted and made using a set formula to my measurements for every customer by the shirtmaker. Then, after the fitting, I would make all the corrections to the pattern (including neckhole position) before the shirt is actually sewn. 

But now I have the time to be more optimised. Since I anticipate having to do a neckhole correction, why not do it in the very first draft? 

So I made two little sketches on the worksheet for the shirtmaker. These represent deviations from the standard cut. They have the effect of moving the neck hole towards the back. 

I shall lalamove all the bastes and muslins to the customer and do a fitting via video chat. During this MCO, I actually have a base of operations in PJ: My employee's house in Taman Mayang.

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I recall, many years ago, Steve Jobs introducing on stage the Apple TV or something. I am generally unfamiliar with the Apple ecosystem, but find Steve's presentations very watchable. Anyway, even back then, Apple's new product presentations were global cultural events watched by millions.

A big part of the Apple TV back then was its ability to play YouTube on a big TV screen. I thought to myself, who would want to do that? The resolution of most YT uploads then were 640px, and internet connections (even university campus wired connections) were so slow that streaming even low-res video came with long pauses in the playback as the buffer filled. What a stupid thing to watch on TV, I thought. Low res, lots of (long) random pauses, and low production value amateur videos.

What a different world today. YT has become my preferred channel for media. This tells me companies like Apple are comfortably 10 years ahead of me.

YT has this cool feed feature that serves up videos you're likely to want to watch based on what it knows about you. A couple months ago, suddenly, one day, it served up videos related to the Myers Briggs INTJ personality type. This is surprising to me because I find Myers Briggs to be so much humbug and nobody actually knows what to do with it. There are 16 personality types under MB; YT only served up those related to the INTJ type to me. So YT's algorithms are able to assess your MB personality type based on your behavior patterns on YT. I watched a couple of those videos, and found them to be useless. I mean, ok, so I'm INTJ. What can I do with that info? Nothing.

Then, yesterday, out of the blue, YT started serving videos related to the sigma male. Apparently, the defining characteristic of a sigma male (as opposed to alpha and beta males) is their irreverence towards dominance hierarchies. Sigma males do not see people as above or below them in some social totem pole. They regard everyone the same. Also, apparently, Sigma males are of the INTJ personality type.

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I finally upgraded the forum to a higher hosting package which comes with an SSL cert, which causes Google to now see it as secure. Chrome actually started hiding the forum even from myself, declaring it unsafe. What nonsense. Over the longer term though, I need to transition the forum to self hosting.


For 5 days a week, 3.5 hours each day, the Mayang boy and I practise coatmaking. Each in our own homes. We video chat before we start, then keep updating each other with our progress by snapping pictures, and at the end of the session, do another video chat.

I mean, what else can you do? So far, we've sewn hip pockets, the front dart, and the pocket dart. We'll move on to breast pocket, internal pocket, vent, sleeve, etc. After practising on each element of a jacket in isolation, we then embark on sewing a whole jacket.

For this purpose, I quickly appointed a room in my house with suitable furniture to function as a workroom. I have the pleasure of working at bench height (90cm) where the majority of those who sew work at an unergonomic table height (70cm). I have music coming out of Harbeth monitors -- this is really high level sonic luxury. I never take the sound coming out of the Harbeths for granted. There is a richness to the sound that you keep noticing. I have really functional lamps---flicker free and warm colour temperature. I sew on the legendary Singer 201K, which is a beautiful machine which operates beautifully. It was the apex of Singer manufacturing.

A bit more about coatmaking. Every fashion design grad can sew any of the individual parts of a jacket. In fact, they would have sewn several jackets before they graduate. However, in the sort of tailoring we do, it is never about "having a pocket" or having a sleeve. It is necessary to make them to a preternaturally high standard. Therein lies the challenge. Everybody can sew a pocket. Not many can sew them well enough.

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Practice piece by me. The vertical line on the left is the front dart. The vertical seam on the right is the underarm seam. Below is obviously the hip pocket. But the hip pocket stealthily integrates another feature called the pocket dart. The white cloth at the extreme bottom is the pocket bag, which I made extra short to save on cloth. 

This is almost 100% like on a real jacket. 

Below, the Mayang boy's effort. 


A bit less refinement. My version is like a skilled coatmaker's on a severe hangover. The Mayang boy's is very much a learner's effort. 

BTW, because this is a jacket, currently the most sophisticated piece of garment still worn by men, the front dart is not your father's dart. Let me show you the technique behind the front dart. 


Behind the dart. All kinds of things happening here to make sure the dart remains straight, as well as feel contiguous with the area around it. 

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My first breast pocket in 9 years. I would grade this as "learner's level". Breast pockets, due to their position on the jacket and hence their visibility, must be made with great refinement. 

A curved breast pocket like this is significantly more difficult to make well. 

I sent pictures to my coatmaker, and he thinks it's pretty good for a first attempt. He says a curved breast pocket is the most difficult of all the pockets.

The Mayang boy did not manage to complete his, even though I helped him troubleshoot. He simply missed steps. You can't ignore any step and expect to have a pocket at the end. 

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There is a category of speakers called nearfield bookshelf speakers exemplified by the JBLs above. They're meant to be positioned very close to the listener. Once upon a time, these things were very popular. In the hifi heydays of the 70s and 80s, Europeans would have their little bookshelves in their little bedrooms or listening corners. Computers as we know them haven't entered people's homes yet, and the smartphone hasn't been invented, and TVs were very expensive. There was only one TV per household. For entertainment, people engaged in all kinds of hobbies. Playing musical instruments, ham radio, crafts, stereo listening, etc. All now quite obsolete.

Somehow, these little speakers fell out of favour. In their stead, we have little plastic Logitech computer speakers which have always sounded like pure crap to me. I never took to listening to speakers for enjoyment because they never captivated me. The quality wasn't there. No magic.

I thought headphones sounded much better.

Now that I've discovered the world of real hifi, I ask myself why so few people listen to real speakers. Almost everybody has these Bose or Logitech desktop crap. Sony Bluetooth. The goddamned turd soundbars and subwoofers. Billions of people. Yet, so few own real high end speakers.

There is such a huge difference in sonic quality between them. Why don't more people realise this?

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On 5/30/2021 at 8:34 PM, kotmj said:


I will be practicing coatmaking at home during the lockdown. The Mayang boy, who continues receiving a (reduced) salary, is obligated to. For 3.5 hours per day five days a week, we will be sewing practice jackets. We discuss our progress with each other daily. 

Absolutely stunning

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