Jump to content


Photo

Interview with Alexander Kabbaz, American Shirtmaker

Alexander Kabbaz Joelle Kelly American shirtmaking

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,059 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 04 August 2016 - 07:47 AM

"I began sewing costumes, by hand, for the Westbury Music Fair (under my grandmother) when I was still in single digits. During my teens I learned the use of the sewing machine, making clothes for the requisite succession of girlfriends. At 19, as the manager of New York’s largest fabric store, I was teaching the use of the machine to large classes in the store. It was at that age that I created, mostly by hand, my first suit and a number of dress shirts which, in hindsight, were probably terrible!
 
"It was in my late 20s, after almost a decade of design education in the publishing field, that I returned to the field of clothing and began my career as a bespoke maker. I am mostly self-educated in that arena and credit the self-education with being able to bring a fresh perspective to the manner in which clothing is constructed. Well-versed in the “traditional” methods under the tutelage of older seamstresses, I made 43 changes to the basic construction methods of the man’s dress shirt. Some controversial, others simply logical; all remain in use to some degree today.
 
"Classic style is, and will always be, appropriate. Fashion is a fleeting exercise in the self-indulgence of the so-called “designers”: If they do not make some usually insignificant, often ridiculous, change in their clothing from season-to-season there would be no reason to buy anew and they would cease to exist. We should be so lucky."
 

 

via Keikari.com


  • Escottifer likes this

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


#2 SPOOKIETOO

SPOOKIETOO

    Apprentice

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:16 AM

Very interesting. Would love to hear his thoughts on how to properly fuse a collar.
  • tailleuse likes this

#3 greger

greger

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, USA

Posted 05 August 2016 - 07:47 AM

A tremendous amount of weight, the right temperature, and finally, the right length of time. Don't remember where he wrote the details. Time, might have been 24 hours. It might of been tons of pressure. He has a website. The answers might be there. Kabbaz also believes in machine sewn. Think he said that some of his seams have 40 stitches to the inch.

Edited by greger, 06 August 2016 - 04:39 PM.

  • tailleuse likes this

#4 SPOOKIETOO

SPOOKIETOO

    Apprentice

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 14 August 2016 - 07:29 AM

Forty stitches per inch! At some point couldn't a high stitch count compromise the structural integrity of the fabric? So many penetrations.

I've reached the conclusion I made need to try some of the newer fusibles for collars and cuffs. They were so dreadful and unreliable years ago that I quit using them.
  • tailleuse likes this

#5 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,059 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:Tailoring and couture.

Posted 14 August 2016 - 10:11 AM

Forty stitches per inch! At some point couldn't a high stitch count compromise the structural integrity of the fabric? So many penetrations.
 

 

I had a teacher who also thought that high stitch counts on shirts destroyed the fabric. He thought the numbers were trotted out by shirt makers to create a phony sense of value.

 

 I'm speaking generally, I've never examined Kabbaz's shirts.  I posted the interview because I remembered reading some nice comments about him online somewhere and thought it would be worth reading.


Edited by tailleuse, 14 August 2016 - 10:13 AM.

  • SPOOKIETOO likes this

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


#6 Henry Hall

Henry Hall

    Pro

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 840 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:De Lage Landen

Posted 15 August 2016 - 04:10 AM

If the stitches were, as an example,  1/16 of an inch long, then there'd be 16 of those stitches per inch. Doubling that (and making those stitches very small) would still only be 32 per inch. 40 stitches would make them just dots!


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#7 greger

greger

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, USA

Posted 15 August 2016 - 04:39 AM

Perhaps the seam is sewn twice at 20 to equal out 40.
It seems for durability there needs to be some give. Wire you can bend many times over some length. But, if you bend it in one small area, a few bends and it breaks. Seems to me, natural cloth fibers are somewhat the same. Maybe not as brittle, so last longer.

#8 Schneiderfrei

Schneiderfrei

    Pro

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 863 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Adelaide, Australia
  • Interests:learning and imagination

Posted 15 August 2016 - 09:50 AM

I have wondered about the same issue as Tailleuse and Henry.  I could not be happy with such tiny stitches and as well as being tiny dots and possibly damaging the cloth they would bulk it up and stiffen the join.


  • tailleuse likes this

Shell made out of gold
Found on a beach picked up and you held so close


#9 SPOOKIETOO

SPOOKIETOO

    Apprentice

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 15 August 2016 - 10:05 AM

As a person with years of sales expertise and numerous opportunities for participation at sales seminars......40 stitches per inch does sound like a "sales spiel".

After much thought, I can't recall ever having a seam fail on a garment I've made. (Except for the once or twice I used no name thread back in the 70's - live and learn.) What is considered an optimal stitch count for a shirt? 16 to 20 seems more than adequate.

I've just finished watching the finale of Downton Abbey- the costumes always have me wishing I was at my machine instead of readying myself for the coming week. Perhaps had I watched more episodes I could have completed more garments. Why did this not occur to me sooner?
  • tailleuse likes this

#10 greger

greger

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, USA

Posted 16 August 2016 - 03:16 AM

Kabbaz wrote somewhere about how many stitches he put where and why. The 40 stitches per inch I believe is only in two or three seams. He says he has shirts that he has worn once a week for several decades, and they still look new (even though they don't fit him so well, anymore). He washes his shirts with a certain type of Tide. There are other factors, too. The speed of looms were slower, which means less fibers broke during the weaving process. If you can find cloth before the new looms.... I think he has some cloth special woven at the slower speeds (at a slower speed it cost more, since the company's are being paid by time). He takes his business very seriously. He is very particular with fitting, which might take months (believe he said). When the final mock up is determined he gives that to charity. Then he begins making your shirts. His service is very high quality, which, of course, runs the cost up. Believe he even has a guest house for customer use for some of the fittings.

Edited by greger, 16 August 2016 - 03:18 AM.

  • tailleuse likes this

#11 Schneiderfrei

Schneiderfrei

    Pro

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 863 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Adelaide, Australia
  • Interests:learning and imagination

Posted 16 August 2016 - 10:13 AM

That is very interesting greger about the speed of the looms.  I have often felt the difference between older fabrics and wondered what factors go into that.


  • tailleuse likes this

Shell made out of gold
Found on a beach picked up and you held so close





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users