Thanks to Mark for pointing this one out.Discuss.
I love tradition and i love craftsmanship but i always get a little aggravated when a tailor or companies claims that handstitching is really the best option. for example you always hear about how hand stitches stitch and have give but what about a chain-stitch machine. i mean its one thing to say you fallow tradition its another to say that it is the best option.
Aaron, with all due respect, have you ever worn a hand stitched garment?
I work in the garment industry in NY and work with tailors and craftsmen every day. As well I own suits from Thom Browne (which are made in the Oxxford factory) Tom Ford (made in the Zegna Couture factory) and Brioni. I am fairly well trained in pattern making and construction and while i am nowhere near as skilled as Jeff, or the craftsmen at Oxxfrod, I have made a number of hand crafted garments. My comment was more based on industry experience, and Jeff's own comments about the merit of hand sewing. I was in know way insulting hand work, in fact i love tradition and i love the care and attention to detail that is put into a hand made garment. However that does not mean that working by hand guarantees the best results. There are some places in which machines can offer equal or better results than hand work.
Aaron, I think you are spot on here with your comment. I'll preface by admitting that I have become a machinist primarily over hand work for major construction techniques. In the top level of today's mechanized manufacturing, machines exist that offer a garment weightless give and strength in balance just as hand sewing does. This is not to say that ALL areas of the garment can be reproduced as effectively with a machine but overall the fit and finished quality in my opinion are far superior.Technology has advanced across the spectrum of other products and markets yet many garment industry consumers and tailors are reluctant to open their eyes to a similar change in our business. It is what I call a "legacy" based view of manufacturing. Small, old, often family owned or inherited shops simply do not have the perspective or more importantly the resources to invest in the highest quality most advanced mechanized suit manufacturing.Today’s consumer is also changing. We are in a consumable market in which instant accessibility and mass-customization regardless of product are demanding. While many people still have no problem waiting weeks if not months for a suit they expect that garment to be deliver spot on in feel but also in looks and aesthetics. My point here is that fewer people actually appreciate or even find appealing the “hand-made inconsistencies” of a garment. Hanger appeal and deliverability is where the client is at, (take Tom Ford as example) $6k suits more or less all machine made and all look spectacular on the hanger, much different form an Oxxford suit at similar price point which looks, in my opinion sloppy.Finding the right balance between the performance, aesthetics and most importantly the target consumer for ones products/ suits is tantamount but I am tired of people automatically assuming hand-made is the ultimate best. Let us open our eyes and encourage progress. If Formula One engines can be produced by highly advanced engineering machinery why can’t suits?
It is a very interesting debate, hand work vs. machine. though i have to say Tom Ford suits are actually a really good blend of machine and hand work. lining is felled by hand, the pockets are made by hand, the buttonholes are made by hand and the sleeves and shoulder seam are done by hand as well (though i actually believe that setting the sleeve and closing the shoulder seam could be done stronger and faster with the same amount if not more give if a chain-stitch machine was used.) however the collar ad lapel are machine padded though the under collar is attached by hand. most of the rest of the seams are machine sew with a straight stitch and then machine pick stitched to give the appearance of hand lapped seams. It is in my opinion a good balance recognizing the strengthens of both hand work and machines and utilizing them as best as possible. (I apologize if i have made a mistake about the construction of a Tom Ford suit i am writing this from memory as i am on a business trip and don't have mine in front of me.) It would be Interesting to see one of the more contemporary designer suits like Thom Browne, Tom Ford, or Band of Outsiders (hand made in Brooklyn) dissected on this blog.
Just wanted to say that I'm really enjoying this conversation! Carry on.JP.S. Aaron, if you have anything you'd like to donate, I'd be happy to cut it up! :)
J,I will donate you a handful of "modern" garments end of this year, including one of my own machine/ hand made blend garments.
I wish I had the money to give that stuff away :) but I'm sorry though occasionally we but Tom Ford and Rag & Bone for samples at my office so i let you know if i can grab a piece at the end of development and said it your way.
@Mark- I (and, I am guessing, a certain number of readers) eagerly await!@Aaron- drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org when you get a chance please.tnxJ
Jeffery, A bit off topic... but I've really ben enjoying your blog. You have spoken a bit about trousers, but I have always wondered how one would correct a trouser pattern for somebody with knocked-knees. Could you speak a little bit on how the pattern has to change in order to produce an uninterrupted line? Thanks so much.
Re trousers-I think that this is one thing that is best treated with a visit to the physical therapist and not the tailor. The traditional alteration would be to shift the seams toward CF/ CB but the crease will not sit cleanly on the shoe. I have also seen alterations suggested wherein the shape of the seam is curved to match the shape of the leg, but this will pose obvious problems when cutting stripes and checks.J
Slammin'!. That's all I can say. Great site you've got here by the well as well,
I recently came upon a pair of Oxford Clothes slacks at a thrift store. The quality was impeccable, so I bought them, and I love wearing them. Good to know from whence they came.