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Preparing Tartan Fabric

Anderson & Sheppard Cloth Preparation Tartan Plaid

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#1 tailleuse

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 09:04 AM

From the Anderson & Sheppard blog, The Notebook.

 

"One of the most important aspects when cutting a checked cloth is to match it on both the top side and underside. This might seem simple, however more often than not the top layer of cloth has to be shrunk as the checks are not matching exactly as they should be."


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#2 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 09:55 AM

Laying out is different in bespoke tailoring and haute couture. 

 

In bespoke, the fabric is cut on the double with right sides together and the fabric is marked with a 1/4" seam allowance. 

In hc, it is often cut in a single layer with right side up, and the fabric is marked on the seamline. 

 

I assume one layer is larger than the other because of the way it was rolled on the bolt. 


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#3 shirtmaven

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 11:58 AM

Fabric is often bowed. This means the fabric is not straight from end to end
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#4 hutch48

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 12:58 PM

There is an aspect in matching tartans that some don't realise, tartans woven the traditional way are not necessarily uniform in their pattern spacing so while you match one end, the other end of the seam does not line up the stripes. It takes an experienced master/mistress to successfully match tartan garments made from traditional materials.


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#5 tailleuse

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 10:44 PM

 

 

In bespoke, the fabric is cut on the double with right sides together and the fabric is marked with a 1/4" seam allowance. 

 

 

I've taken a few bespoke men's tailoring classes. We did not use only 1/4" seam allowances, which are very small and were used on places like besom and breast pocket seams, certain darts, and the lapel.  On the body, we used 1/2" and 3/8"' seam allowances and once an irregular measurement that could only be traced by using the top and bottom notches of the back seam and the edge of the oaktag back pattern piece. More rarely, on certain pockets, we used 1/8" or 3/16" measurements. The most common seam allowance was probably 1/2".  


Edited by tailleuse, 29 June 2016 - 10:48 PM.

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#6 tailleuse

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 10:52 PM

There is an aspect in matching tartans that some don't realise, tartans woven the traditional way are not necessarily uniform in their pattern spacing so while you match one end, the other end of the seam does not line up the stripes. It takes an experienced master/mistress to successfully match tartan garments made from traditional materials.

 

I thought that the cloth had gotten out of alignment, or that because of the way the pieces would be sewn together one layer had to be stretched in advance to ensure that the patterns would match.

 

In any event, this process was new to me.  At least it's sparked a discussion.


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#7 greger

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 01:49 AM

 
I've taken a few bespoke men's tailoring classes. We did not use only 1/4" seam allowances, which are very small and were used on places like besom and breast pocket seams, certain darts, and the lapel.  On the body, we used 1/2" and 3/8"' seam allowances and once an irregular measurement that could only be traced by using the top and bottom notches of the back seam and the edge of the oaktag back pattern piece. More rarely, on certain pockets, we used 1/8" or 3/16" measurements. The most common seam allowance was probably 1/2".  


In general many tailors use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. This means on the pattern. But, what tailors pattern shows much? These patterns are used in so many ways and on so many type of cloth that the lines are moved according to need. Some cloth is not stretchable. Less cloth for thin cloth and more cloth for thick cloth, which means the pattern is smaller or larger. If there is an indication of a pocket it's merely a line, no seam allowances for that, because of the type of pocket and how it is sewn. May go somewhere else. Inlays have there own purposes. Perhaps the traditional tailors pattern is disappearing? Classes are not an apprenticeship, either. How many students of classes just go buy a pattern, anyway? The general pattern is all that is needed. The concerns of the garment are dealt with on the cloth.

#8 tailleuse

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 05:40 AM

In general many tailors use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. This means on the pattern. But, what tailors pattern shows much? These patterns are used in so many ways and on so many type of cloth that the lines are moved according to need. Some cloth is not stretchable. Less cloth for thin cloth and more cloth for thick cloth, which means the pattern is smaller or larger. If there is an indication of a pocket it's merely a line, no seam allowances for that, because of the type of pocket and how it is sewn. May go somewhere else. Inlays have there own purposes. Perhaps the traditional tailors pattern is disappearing? Classes are not an apprenticeship, either. How many students of classes just go buy a pattern, anyway? The general pattern is all that is needed. The concerns of the garment are dealt with on the cloth.

 

The patterns I wrote about were prepared by bespoke tailors trained in Italy, the kind of people who started learning at 9 years old after school.  If you have seen the documentary "Men of the Cloth," that's the style.  These classes, back when more people were interested in tailoring, enabled students to find apprenticeships.  The recommendation for students with little-or-no experience was to use a medium-weight cloth like flannel, but people with experience used whatever they wanted, including gabardine. Obviously, IRL there will be adjustments made based on the weight of the cloth and if it's a new pattern made to fit an individual, which would have inlays.

 

The finished, tested patterns with which we worked had the seam allowances I described.  The last coat I worked on had a 1/4" dart and a 3/8" dart. The body seam allowances were 1/2".  The neck was probably 1/4", I can't recall.


Edited by tailleuse, 30 June 2016 - 05:50 AM.

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#9 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 07:57 AM

Several comments about the seam width. 

     I just returned from London and the Savile Row tailors I visited use 1/4" sometimes with large inlays --maybe 2"-- on the corresponding sections. The cutter makes the pattern for the customer ordering it and this reduces fitting problems, Some use Rock of Eye technique as well as measurements when making the pattern.

    I talked with Richard Anderson again about ROE. I understand it but can't explain except to say that the cutter considers the stance and carriage of the person as well as the measurements when making the pattern as well as at the fitting. Richard and I agreed that this isn't something you learn--you either have this talent or you don't.   

   I agree that 1/4" is very small --especially for non-professionals. However 1/4" is what they use at Anderson-Shepherd. 

 

My original point was where the marks are placed on the seamline or on the cutting lines. When thread tracings are put on the seamlines, you have clearly defined matchpoints.


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#10 Henry Hall

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 09:38 AM

What's the point of cutting in single layers? With a patterned cloth it seems to me like more work and an increased chance of making mistakes.

 

In bespoke, the fabric is cut on the double with right sides together and the fabric is marked with a 1/4" seam allowance. 

In hc, it is often cut in a single layer with right side up, and the fabric is marked on the seamline. 

 

I might be misunderstanding this. Where exactly is the 'seamline' in HC, because if it is behind a normal seam allowance then it is no different from bespoke. You only need to mark the seams when there are inlays anyway, if the seams have been defined (as on a tried and true customer pattern) no inlay is necessary and thus no worry about matching in that way.


"Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury." - Coco Chanel.


#11 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 10:10 AM

A normal seam allowance in HC is often 1". The pattern has no seam allowances. When the muslin is used, the muslin is folded back or pinned, then marked, on the seamline. .

 

Couture jackets frequently have more intricate seaming than the traditional man-tailored jacket.  


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#12 hutch48

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 11:41 AM

Most of the seam allowances I have seen on a wide range of garments is about 1 inch (26mm) and if you have much less there is little room for modifying the garment if the wearer changes size over time. It only matters with open seams in most instances, felled seams, overlocked seams and most commercial hybrids simply don't use them. When you design the pattern in the first place you add whatever is needed to allow for the seam type that will be used.


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#13 greger

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 06:37 PM

Quarter inch seams, and sometimes less, are better. When you press a seam open that seam allowance sometimes needs to be stretched to fit the shape. Smaller is also more flexible allowing the garment to move with the person wearing the garment. Seams that may need to be expanded for weight gain, that inlay needs a lot of extra work to be shaped as the other side of the seam is. No doubt different parts of the world have different methods. The only reason for the seam allowances is so that the seam doesn't pull apart since you can't sew on the very edge. In most cases quarter inch is plenty. (tailleuse, I learned that at the age of four. Not that it matters at what age I learned it.)

Something about Rock Of Eye. On a shirt the center back is on a fold. Look at the bottom of the side seam on a person and look horizontal to cb. Take the spatial measure. Since the body is 3-D and part of the horizontal line is on a curve the spatial measure needs that extra length, which is also taken spatial. With the full length, now you know where to set the shears, plus one seam allowance and start cutting all the way up. Now there are two ways to think for cutting. 1) you can go up line by line with spatial measures. 2) or, you can follow the curve up the hip into the waist and out to the scye. Work your way part way up the scye. Another 3-D spatial measure is the curve into the top of the shoulder. Finish out with the neckline. On the front fold the button plack, where the buttons go, under and again start at the bottom waist. Bast it together and see how you did. There are no errors to be self conscious about. Use an old bedsheet. Look at your errors and figure out how to figure out how to look to correct for spatial measures. An experiment with nothing to lose. You can put the seam anywhere you want. There is no fooling around, hemin and hawing, no fiddling around with paper, pencils, rulers, etc.

#14 Terri

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 08:50 PM

What's the point of cutting in single layers? With a patterned cloth it seems to me like more work and an increased chance of making mistakes.
 

 
I might be misunderstanding this. Where exactly is the 'seamline' in HC, because if it is behind a normal seam allowance then it is no different from bespoke. You only need to mark the seams when there are inlays anyway, if the seams have been defined (as on a tried and true customer pattern) no inlay is necessary and thus no worry about matching in that way.


I believe the difference is in the pattern making process firstly, HC being a nett pattern (without seam allowances) and secondly what is marked on the fabric are the actual sewing lines, and those are thread marked.

Cutting single layers is slightly more time consuming but it does have some advantages especially with some cloth.

#15 posaune

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 11:46 PM

Oh yes. Think about a slippery silk printed with //// stripes.
You will cut this single and you have to match each seam and each sleeve.
It is diffult to do it with s.a. and doubled.
lg
posaune
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#16 Henry Hall

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 02:10 AM

Fair enough with lining, I've cut this in single layers many times (nearly every time) to guard against slippage.


"Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury." - Coco Chanel.


#17 lepus

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 03:42 AM

From the Anderson & Sheppard blog, The Notebook.

 

"One of the most important aspects when cutting a checked cloth is to match it on both the top side and underside. This might seem simple, however more often than not the top layer of cloth has to be shrunk as the checks are not matching exactly as they should be."

 

There is something in the blog post linked to by tailleuse that puzzles me, even after pondering on it for some time.
 

In the first photograph one sees the cloth laid out and the front pattern (rather boldly) chalked out. The second photograph shows the right front cut out, with some overwidth it seems, lying on top of the second layer in order to match both layers accurately. The blogger, Matthew Borkowski, describes the process: the layers are matched, on the seamlines one assumes, then pinned together and the resulting top layer's bumps and fullnesses are shrunk away so that both layers are flat and perfectly matched.
 

All fine, but what I don't understand is this: shrinking away fullness necessarily changes the weave. The pattern has already been marked on the cloth, so that means the pattern may change as well during this operation and the possibly distorted pattern then forms the basis for the cut.
 

One may argue that the amount of distortion is likely to be small, say 3 mm or so. Possibly, but another location on the same piece may also need a 3 mm shift and that may well be additive. Besides, I've handled double layers that were quite a bit more out than 3 mm.
 

Suppose the possible distortions in the pattern are dealt with at the fitting stage, although those distortions are unpredictable from a pattern drafting point of view. Necessary alterations during fitting would then, in general, be recorded to be kept with the customer's data or used to modify the pattern directly. But as the pattern has been unpredictably changed from the paper original, those notes or changes would also be random and therefore worthless. Discarding the notes however would mean extra work for the next pair.
 

I can hardly imagine Anderson & Sheppard sacrificing reproducibility in this way, so there must be something I'm missing. With no opportunity to ask them and so many Professionals, Senior Professionals and Super Professionals contributing to this thread, I venture the question: what is it that I'm overlooking here that ensures pattern accuracy as well as fabric congruity? Enlighten me, please.
 


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#18 Henry Hall

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 05:46 AM

I think he's talking about matching the folded layers and shrinking them before either chalking or cutting even begins.


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