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WANTING TO INTERVIEW TAILORS FOR A HOMEWORK TASK :)


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#1 Wendy Coreena

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:27 PM

Hi there!
I am a fashion student and would like to interview some contemporary and 'traditional' tailors if that is possible ? ASAP!
I am looking preferably for Indian tailors in Australia, or women tailors, but any tailors information will be very helpful to me :)
I would really appreciate it if you took the time to answer my questions.
All i need is some answers to the following questions:



1) What methods do you use in the making process?
2) Is your clothing custom made?
3) What kind of materials do you use?
4) Is there a unique technique you employ?
5) How long does it take you to construct a jacket?
6) What or who inspires you generally?
7) Do you think tailoring has changed in comparison to traditional techniques?
8) How did you find yourself in this industry?
9) What does the term ‘tailor-made’ mean to you?
10) Are there any particular tools that you used in the past that are different from today?
11) What types of fabrics do you consider when making a jacket?
12) What is the difference in your opinion in wearing a tailor made (bespoke) garment as oppose to one which is not tailor made (mass)?
13) Who is your target audience / who do you find are your customers?
14) -
15) Do you have a connection to other tailors in the area?
16) Do you use a traditional sewing machine or a modern sewing machine?
17) Is hand sewing a technique you use very much of?
18) Are there any important tips you have for students who are interested in tailoring?
19) Where do you purchase your fabric from, and why ?
20) Does your jackets offer various options to your customer ? or traditional?
21) Do you use any type of padding or technique such as quilting within your construction of the jacket.

Additional information about your experience as a tailor ?


Thank you

#2 Wendy Coreena

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:28 PM

if anyone rather email me answers my email is : s3287641@student.rmit.edu.au

#3 ladhrann

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:30 PM

Wendy,

In my experience tailors tend to be very busy professionals and in addition to that tend not to spend much time online at all. Your best bet would be to look up the phone book for your area and to ring around and ask tailors if you could visit them and ask them questions for a school project. There is a list of tailors in Australia in the Tailor's Directory part of the site.

#4 Terri

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:15 PM

16) what is the difference?

#5 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:35 PM

16) what is the difference?


One with motor and the other with foot pedal, I guess.
I have used both but an industrial one is simply a little better with thin threads, faster and easier to handle.
www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#6 Nishijin

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:51 PM

As Ladhrann said, tailors are usually very busy, and very, very few of them are on Internet. You're lucky when they use email. So you'll have to find tailors in your vicinity and go and ask them at their shop, or you won't get any answer.


For the sake of it, and since it's my coffee break :


1) What methods do you use in the making process?

I'm afraid I don't really understand the question. Maybe the answer to the next one will give you a light about how I work.

2) Is your clothing custom made?

Yup, all of it. If it's not custom, it's not from my shop.

I have 3 lines of work :

- full bespoke (Grande Mesure), made in the traditionnal way of bespoke tailoring. Individual pattern made for each customer. Several fittings (usually 3 for a suit) during the make-up (first fitting on coat body just canvased and basted, second fitting body is made and lined, fitting to tweakings and for sleeves and collar, last fitting to check and last minute tweakings before finishing).

My own job is to advise the customer on choice of cloth and design the garment, make the pattern, make fittings. Sometimes I make the whole garment myself, but do to too much work I increasingly work with tailors for actual making.

The garments are made in the traditionnal way : full canvas, of course, hand-padded. Linings are set in with "open-coat" process, pockets are hand-made, linings are sewn-in by hand, collar is hand-sewn, all finishing is hand made. Sometimes, I hand-sew the lapels, instead of machining (depends on cloth and style).


- half bespoke (Petite Mesure) : the pattern is made the same way as for full bespoke. The garment is 100% machine-sewn using a process based on industrial making.

There is a lot of fusing implied, according to good industrial practices. The coat fronts can be either fused (with a floating chest piece) or canvased (a little more expensive).

Though it is sold as 100% machine-sewn, I usually do the buttonholes by hand since I don't own a buttonhole machine and it take little more time to do them myself than to go to a place to get them done.


- industrial custom (Mesure industrielle) : I advise the customer, take measures, send an order form to a workshop in Italy, who cut, make and trim. I then have just one fitting for eventual alterations, then make buttonholes and deliver.

This product line is for customers who need a suit in a short time, or for more affordable prices.





3) What kind of materials do you use?

Any material used in menswear : woolens (tweeds, flannels, meltons...), worsteds, mohair, cashmere, in weights from 220g to 1000g/m. And also linens, cottons twills and ducks, denim, corduroy, velvet

For linings, I use bemberg or mix bemberg/acetate, as well as silk or cotton. I offer to use japanese kimono silks for customers who want something different (I import it from Japan).

I publish the list of my suppliers on my website (page "Mes fournisseurs").

I work both with big mills making luxury cloths such as Super 200s worsted and with very small mills or artisan production for specialty cloths such as tweeds and woolens.





4) Is there a unique technique you employ?

Not really, I try to adapt my technique to the kind of look and feel the customer wants. My own taste goes to light, soft canvasings.

I have a unique way to cut trousers, that was created by my teacher and that I evolved on my own since, and also my own method to cut sleeves. But I guess every cutter and tailor has his tricks, and I don't pretend mine are better than others.




5) How long does it take you to construct a jacket?

Actual making, full bespoke, with the most hand-sewing (including lapels), with usually 3 pockets outside and 5 pockets inside : 70 to 80h, depending on cloth (very light cloths are difficult to work with).
This is without time to cutting (pattern + striking) and fittings.

Trousers : 15 to 20h


Half bespoke : I usually don't make them myself, but when I do, a coat usually takes 20 to 30 h. Canvased coats take more time than fused ones.




6) What or who inspires you generally?

First and most important : my customer ! It is custom work, I'm not a designer.
My own sources of inspiration : old styles (from 1880 to 1970s), military outfits, working-class outfits, some sportswear (sailing, horse riding, hunting and shooting...). And sometimes, a detail I've seen on someone in the bus :)
I also take inspiration from the work from other tailors or designers : Antonio Cristiani, Joseph Camps, Tommy Nutter / Edward Sexton, Davide Taub, Oswald Boateng, Arnys, Lorenzo & Massimo Cifonelli, Rubinacci, David Diagne...


7) Do you think tailoring has changed in comparison to traditional techniques?

I don't undestand the question : tailoring is traditional technique. Tradition does not mean immutable. It means strong roots in history of the trade, and evolution to keep the trade alive and adapt to contemporary materials and tastes.
There is a lot of change in techniques from 1930. But at the same time, the essence of the job is still the same, and studying techniques from 1930 still valuable to contemporary production. Copying them without thinking won't work, though ;)

8) How did you find yourself in this industry?

By chance. It was a hobby, I decided to make it my job when I happened to find that I wanted to change of job. As confucius said "Do a work you love, and you will not work a day in your life". Well, it also happens I never worked as much in my life, but at least it's fun.

9) What does the term ‘tailor-made’ mean to you?

Made with expert craftmanship to reflect the customer's personnality and taste. It has to be true to both the customer and the tradition of the trade.


10) Are there any particular tools that you used in the past that are different from today?

I don't have a long-enough history to say. But I would say it's damn hard today to find a quality thimble (and needles too, BTW). Everything else is an adaptation to modern materials.

11) What types of fabrics do you consider when making a jacket?

Fabric is chosen by the customer. To give advise, I need a brief about what the garment is intended to.

12) What is the difference in your opinion in wearing a tailor made (bespoke) garment as oppose to one which is not tailor made (mass)?

Fit. First and foremost. And fit means comfort.


13) Who is your target audience / who do you find are your customers?

Any man who likes cloths. I have customers from students to retired men, from young active businessmen to gentlemen of leisure, from soon-to-be-married grooms to men building a new wardrobe.

14) -


15) Do you have a connection to other tailors in the area?

A little. Not as much as I'd like, but I don't have time enough for social visits (and my colleagues don't have more time).

16) Do you use a traditional sewing machine or a modern sewing machine?

What is a traditionnal sewing machine ?

I guess I use a modern one, since I bought it new.

17) Is hand sewing a technique you use very much of?

Yes. There is very little machine-sewing on my full bespoke coats, and even for trousers I hand sew a lot.

18) Are there any important tips you have for students who are interested in tailoring?

First, know that it is a job that can turn you crazy. Really. I'm not kidding. It's a warning that a tailor gave me when I decided to become a tailor, and he was damn right. The job itself has all it takes to turn someone bipolar.

You have to be obsessed by details, but at the same time keep a global view of things. This is not for everybody. If you don't pay attention enough to small details, things that nobody but you see and feels, then you will never get a good enough quality.

Never, ever underestimate your customer. Many of them are quite knowledgeable, have been bespeaking garments for a long time, know what they want and how things are done. And they expect from you only the best.

Be ready to work a lot. I mean, a lot. 100h-week is quite usual. So, though it looks like an easy job, physically speaking, with no heavy lifting and such, it actually requires quite some stamina. Before I became a tailor, not only did I thought I worked a lot (and so said my friends and family), but I didn't even believe it was possible to work as much as I do now.

This has a bearing on personal life. Your close ones will have to understand and accept what your job implies : little family life, little free time, not a lot of holidays. That, and the fact that you are always thinking about your job (I mean, you're on holidays, and in the bus you see someone with an interesting coat, so you study it. Or an interesting problem on it, so you think about what causes it and how to prevent it. And you are always attracted by fabric. Oh, and there are craftmen everywhere : tailors, shoemakers, potters, woodworkers... And craftmen have a lot in common. So even on holidays, you will find someone with whom you'll talk about things that your close ones will call "shop" (even if you're actually watching a stone-cutter exhibiting his work). Even if you go to Africa, you'll find someone hand-weaving traditional fabric.

Some decades ago, the French english-learning method "Assimil" started with the phrase "My tailor is rich". Typical phrase-book. Well, I don't know where the author got this illusion, because I can testify that tailoring earns very little money. Of course, some very big houses used to make a lot of money, making garments for kings and more lucratively for all the officers of the British Army and Navy (including shops on the theaters of wars to catter officers there). But these days, if you want to make money, go to mass-market RTW, not bespoke tailoring.

So you really, really need to love your job. Because love is the only thing that will make you go for another day. And nobody will love it for you.


And no, I'm not bitter. I love my job, I'm happy (but tired) doing it, and I would not change for anything else.



19) Where do you purchase your fabric from, and why ?

England mainly, because English cloths have a kind of hand that no other countries can reproduce. Italy increasingly frequently, because they are big on super-fine worsted and colours. Scotland of course for tweeds, and Ireland for linens.


20) Does your jackets offer various options to your customer ? or traditional?

What do you mean by "traditionnal" in opposition to "various options" ? My coats are made as the customer wants them (or at least, as closely to it as I can do). It is bespoke, if it is technically possible, then the customer can ask for it.




21) Do you use any type of padding or technique such as quilting within your construction of the jacket.

Not usually. Quilted linings are traditionnal on body coats (such as morning coats and dress coats), but this is not something I'm asked for every day.
Of course, I can make quilted jackets and vests for winter, as overgarments.





Comment :

you asked mainly about "jackets", which in the trade is usually called a "coat".

I think it's important not to forget that tailors are not specialised in coats and suits. We can (and do) make just any kind of garments for men (and women for some tailors, I myself working only for men). In France, it is traditionnal for tailors not to do shirts and undergarments (it is the trade of shirtmakers). And of course knits have to be outsourced because it is a specific skills and tools (knitting looms). But except for those, anything goes !




I hope you will share with us the result of your study, it should be interesting.
http://www.paulgrassart.com

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain

#7 Terri

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:30 AM

Terri, on 24 October 2012 - 06:15 AM, said:
16) what is the difference?


One with motor and the other with foot pedal, I guess.
I have used both but an industrial one is simply a little better with thin threads, faster and easier to handle.


I wonder how many are still using a treadle machine-at least in the developed world. But really, the sewing machine itself works the same way with or without electricity.
The question is obviously ill-defined, or without much thought behind it. Though of course so few people sew any more that one could excuse the thought that there must be some modern update that may have changed the essential function.

#8 Schneidergott

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 03:25 AM

You could ask forum member Prakash Parmar if he's willing to answer your questions. He's not in Australia, but he's Indian!

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#9 Nishijin

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 03:35 AM

Foot pedal... I hadn't thought about that.

There is also clutch motor / servo motor. I use servo : more confortable, easier to handle, less noise, huge energy savings.


Terri, you're right, the mechanics of a lockstitch machine are basically the same since more than a century. There are some improvements (self-lubrication, for example, gears, ball bearings, steel itself...), but a lockstitch is still a lockstitch.

Actually, some very machines do make a nicer stitch than modern ones. But they require more maintenance...


They, there are industrial specialised machines, meaning not basic lockstitch, but 2 needles, buttonholers, button sewers, hemmers, and even automatic pocket making, automatic shirt collar making, automatic sleeve setting... This kind of equipement is usually out of financial possibilities for a bespoke tailor.


I think the machines typically found in a tailor's workshop are :
- lockstitch, single needle, bottom feed or needle feed (or both machines)
- lockstitch, single needle, walking foot (not everybody has this, I don't, but it is usefull for denim and leather).
- zigzag (not everybody has one, some have only zigzag and use it for straight stitch too)
- serger
- blind stitch machine (hemmer or lapel padding, usually only one of those, lucky are those who own both )
- ironing equipment (boiler, steam iron, dry iron (goose), pressing table, many ironing tools such as bucks and sleeve boards). I know tailors who don't use steam irons and only have dry ones.

It is possible to work with only a zigzag (used for serging), or even with only a lockstitch (serging hand-made).
http://www.paulgrassart.com

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#10 tailleuse

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 04:55 AM

if anyone rather email me answers my email is : s3287641@student.rmit.edu.au



You mean you can't be bothered to check this forum yourself? As far as I know, you're a complete stranger and you've posted a very long list of questions to people who are professionals, which means they are even busier than you are.

And, Netiquette 101: Using all caps is interpreted as shouting and considered rude.

Edited by tailleuse, 25 October 2012 - 04:57 AM.

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#11 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:00 AM

I have found out if you are over casting the long seams on a trouser by hand the seam would appear thinner when you iron the leg from the outside and both seams lay on top of each other. The thin serge thread done by the overlock still adds some thickness to the seams. But who has time to over cast the long seams with serge thread by hand, it is like a prison work. LOL

Edited by Der Zuschneider, 25 October 2012 - 05:01 AM.

www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#12 tailleuse

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 05:14 AM

I have found out if you are over casting the long seams on a trouser by hand the seam would appear thinner when you iron the leg from the outside and both seams lay on top of each other. The thin serge thread done by the overlock still adds some thickness to the seams. But who has time to over cast the long seams with serge thread by hand, it is like a prison work. LOL



When you say serger thread, what brand are you talking about? The first time I tried this I used "basting thread" from the Atlanta Thread Company, a glazed thread. It turned out to be the wrong thread for the task. The next time I used regular cotton thread, which worked better.


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#13 Nishijin

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:51 AM

I have found out if you are over casting the long seams on a trouser by hand the seam would appear thinner when you iron the leg from the outside and both seams lay on top of each other. The thin serge thread done by the overlock still adds some thickness to the seams. But who has time to over cast the long seams with serge thread by hand, it is like a prison work. LOL


It really depends on what thread you use in the serger. Try Scala 360 from Gütermann. This is as thin as possible, it will be thinner than if you hand-serge with cotton.

Better result in less time, I like that :)
http://www.paulgrassart.com

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain

#14 Terri

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:22 AM

Actually, some very machines do make a nicer stitch than modern ones. But they require more maintenance...


Yes, most of the older machines are better in my opinion.

I think I have mentioned before that if I was looking for a first machine to start out with, I would look for an old domestic Singer from the forties or fifties, solid metal body, in a cabinet. They just keep going and going- there is so little to go wrong with them.
The simpler the machine, the fewer problems in my mind.

The equipment I have in my studio/shop is:

Consew 220 industrial lockstitch probably 50 years old, no reverse.
Pfaff industrial zig zag machine at least 30 years old
Mitsubishi industrial lock-stitch with reverse 25 years old?
Singer serger/overlock three thread at least 50 years old
Mauser Special four thread serger 25 years old
Sheldon industrial boiler and iron. 30lbs psi steam, on a home built table, covered in 3/8"wool felt plus assorted pressing aids
Bernina domestic for stretch stitches and shirt buttonholes
Baby Lock domestic serger, 20+ years old for attaching elastic to spandex, rolled hem edges and regular serging

I have a colleague in town with a Reece buttonhole machine in his basement, who will do the buttonholes for me.

I might try a servo motor when the Consew motor needs replacing...it sounds like a nuclear power plant starting some days!
I sometimes think a vacuum table would be nice but I have done without so far.
I don't know whether a new computerized lock-stitch would be something I would invest in, I would be worried about the computer having issues and for what I am doing, the things it does wouldn't necessarily be of use to me.


As for hand overcasting edges......really? If you have tools to do those jobs, I say use them and free up time for more complex tasks.

#15 Terri

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:24 AM

BTW Nishijin, nice to read your replies- I bet that took longer than your coffee break though!

#16 tailleuse

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 06:50 AM

It really depends on what thread you use in the serger. Try Scala 360 from Gütermann. This is as thin as possible, it will be thinner than if you hand-serge with cotton.

Better result in less time, I like that :)

Thanks. Posted Image

Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#17 Wendy Coreena

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:22 PM

actually i thought maybe some people might not want to answer here. also i have been very busy lately with my assignments.. that is why i havent checked here for a few days.
thank you for those helping :) means alot

#18 Wendy Coreena

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:25 PM

Thanks Nishijin, I'll let you guys know how it goes :) have been constructing an indian military jacket (modern women)




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