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Why you shouldn't start coat making topics in the Basic Apprentices' Forum

coat making professionals

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#1 Schneidergott

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 05:50 AM

Over the years of the existence of the C&T forum there have been several attempts to start a coat making topic in the BAF, and almost all have been locked or deleted, because they went against the very basic rule set by the administrator: No coat making topics!

 

Every now and again the admin or we moderators have tried to explain "why" this rule exists, but it appears that the majority of the home sewing/ amateur fraction doesn't really care about it and start those topics anyway.

 

Coat making is the most difficult discipline to master, and it cannot be done by reading books or topics on related fora. You will need personal guidance from a master coat maker. And that is the one thing no forum, not even one with a lot of professionals, can provide.

 

Also, it seems that many believe that a hand made draft will fit better than a store bought one. That is only true if you know what to do. Cutters and patternmakers spend years learning to make proper patterns, and it goes more into it than just drawing lines and using formulas.

It takes years of experience to see what needs to be done to the draft (or a coat at fitting stage) to make it fit a certain figure type. And again, this is nothing that can be tought via the internet, at least not in a way that is reasonable for all parties involved.

 

To those so eager to make their own coats and who think they can come here asking for help when things go south: Keep in mind that we professionals are on this forum in our free time. It is one thing to tell a fellow tailor to pick up the shoulder(s), reduce the chest ease and alike, knowing that he/ she is familiar with those things, and guiding a complete amateur though each step, spending hours preparing diagrams, photos and tutorials, and all that for free.

 

So, from now on, the "no coat making topics" rule will be upheld more thouroughly and the regarding topics in the BAF will be deleted straight away.

 

If any of you still desperately want to make a coat without the required knowledge and experience regarding measuring and alike, there are plenty of books available that deal with this matter.

For patterns you can either use store bought ones or those provided on the forum or buy the Rundschau books or others more easily available online, in libraries or in book stores.


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"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.


#2 Gray Malkin

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 06:03 AM

I sincerely apologize for breaking the rules of the forum, it really was not my intention to do it. Unfortunately I don't have a tailor who can teach in my town, So this place and the few books that I have are my only recourse, but it would never occur to me to abuse of your generosity and to commit such offenses to the trade.

 

Again, my most sincerely apologize.


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#3 Henry Hall

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 06:24 AM

Which is another way of saying: "you will never learn to make a coat", since if a person is here looking for some help, they're clearly not getting it anywhere else.

 

Fair enough, I've never broken the rule anyway and don't intend to.

 

What is a bit mystifying though is the attitude that cutting and tailoring is so impossible to learn outside an apprenticeship - to some level - as compared to the dozens and dozens of other crafts represented by online forums, websites or blogs. Crafts that are equally complicated and require skill.

 

As it happens, my grandfather taught himself violin making while he worked as a miner. In his 40s he gave up mining and went to work for an instrument maker without having been apprenticed to anyone. Now I'm sure he learned new things while working, but getting there in the first place was the challenge. Maybe he was talented. Maybe some people here are talented, but how will anyone ever know?


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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!

 

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#4 Schneidergott

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 06:55 AM

You are aware that those who want to make coats have the option to progress to the Advanced Apprentice's Forum, right? After showing that they are serious about tailoring!

 

Starting with less difficult tasks like shirts, trousers and waistcoats (and doing them right is not easy at all to begin with) will give you skill and experience. If you cannot make any of those garments in a decent way, what's the point in starting with the most difficult task right away?


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"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.


#5 Henry Hall

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 07:11 AM

Yes, I am aware and agree with it. It's also true, as you indicated, that a lot of people want to jump into coatmaking as quickly as possible because it seems to be more highly regarded.

 

How far is the jump from the basic to the advanced apprentices forum? After someone makes e.g 20 pairs of trousers? So that it is experience-based. Or do they have to be judged to a standard?


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).


#6 Alievens

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 07:53 AM

You are aware that those who want to make coats have the option to progress to the Advanced Apprentice's Forum, right? After showing that they are serious about tailoring!

 

I tried asking, to no avail.

It is very quiet in the advanced apprentice's forum...

 

What is a bit mystifying though is the attitude that cutting and tailoring is so impossible to learn outside an apprenticeship - to some level - as compared to the dozens and dozens of other crafts represented by online forums, websites or blogs. Crafts that are equally complicated and require skill.

 

I agree, but I can understand the need to tame the enthusiasm, those that are persistent will succeed anyway.

A lot of forums are drowning in ever-repeating topics with ever-repeating "use-the-search-function" replies.

 

Although I have absolutely no experience in this business, I can imagine how the forum rules accord to a real tailoring apprenticeship.


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#7 tailleuse

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 10:33 AM

 

 

How far is the jump from the basic to the advanced apprentices forum? After someone makes e.g 20 pairs of trousers? So that it is experience-based. Or do they have to be judged to a standard?

 

I'm sure the number will be different for different people, although it would be interesting to hear if there's an average. I can't recall if this forum has posted one, but there exist lists of standards for professional and bespoke tailoring.


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#8 tailleuse

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 10:39 AM

You are aware that those who want to make coats have the option to progress to the Advanced Apprentice's Forum, right? After showing that they are serious about tailoring!

 

Starting with less difficult tasks like shirts, trousers and waistcoats (and doing them right is not easy at all to begin with) will give you skill and experience. If you cannot make any of those garments in a decent way, what's the point in starting with the most difficult task right away?

 

Schneidergott,

 

(I'm not asking for myself) If one doesn't want to expose oneself to the full glare of the forum, is it possible for a Beginner Apprentice member to submit some photos to a moderator to find out if he or she is sufficiently experienced to move on to coats? Or is that how people have been doing it all along?


Edited by tailleuse, 09 December 2014 - 10:39 AM.

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#9 tailleuse

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 10:45 AM

 

 

Although I have absolutely no experience in this business, I can imagine how the forum rules accord to a real tailoring apprenticeship.

 

In that fascinating Henry Poole video posted here a few weeks ago, the master tailor said that advancement depended on experience and aptitude. It was clear the apprentice wouldn't get whatever apprentices get just because he put in the three years. It would take however long it took.


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


#10 greenlake

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 10:46 AM

As far as acceptable topics and proper projects, would shirt jackets be considered okay for basic apprentices? They can get to be more complex than men's shirts while staying unstructured.


Edited by greenlake, 09 December 2014 - 10:53 AM.


#11 greger

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 11:21 AM

Drawing, explaining takes a huge amount time. Start out and find out the person knows almost completely nothing becomes way to much work (with no pay). People who start out think it is so easy. Couple pairs of trousers and vest or shirt before coat with competence then coats.

Not sure if http://www.tailorandcutter.co.ukis around but customer pays, instructors git paid and the student learns. Both put out work. It is a fair trade and they have a course.

Some learn very well self taught while others need assistance. Pay for books or pay for assistance sometimes books, too. Education cost money, so somebody pays. And some think we have a magic wand when really it is their hard work. If really interested nuckle down and save the money for courses or books. This is not easy nor hard but shear detrimenation. There are other courses. The one above is for home. There are other sorts of classes.
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#12 Terri

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 11:09 PM

Quality not necessarily quantity. But some quantity is required.

Most people under 40 in North America did not receive any basic instruction for sewing cooking or drafting and woodworking in public school, as we did. When I went to school it was mandatory. Then it was cut to focus on other learning, cause who needs to learn how to work with your hands?

So, if a person has zero experience sewing, they have a lot of very basic learning to do even before they attempt a shirt!
We sewed a drawstring bag first if I recall correctly, then moved on to drawstring pyjama pants. Not very exciting but at least we learned basics.

As for guiding people through any process, i personally don't mind giving some advice, but fully teaching someone online is a job and as such should not be expected to be free.
If someone is serious about learning, offer to pay.
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#13 Terri

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 11:17 PM

I have trained two cutting apprentices.
The first sewed for me for five years. They learned tailoring (sewing) from both myself and a team of very experienced tailors.

The company then set up a formal training situation with the government apprenticeship program which required a huge amount of paperwork for what was to be taught and what the outcomes were expected to be, then we spent three years of cutting instruction, which included 160 hours of class instruction per year and then 6-7 months of on the job production per year and then they were expected to try to do work on their own if possible.

Granted, I am a theatrical tailor/cutter so I have to be able to construct a wider variety of styles than a modern suit maker has to contend with, but you get the picture........
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#14 tailleuse

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 09:32 AM

Quality not necessarily quantity. But some quantity is required.

Most people under 40 in North America did not receive any basic instruction for sewing cooking or drafting and woodworking in public school, as we did. When I went to school it was mandatory. 

 

Home Economics, which included sewing, was mandatory, but there were over 30 people in my class and the machines were old and often broken.  Our silver-haired teacher was hard of hearing, although unlike some sewing teachers I've since had, was very nice.  No one at home could manage anything more than than a hem or a button, and there was no machine.  I didn't finish my garment, which was very upsetting, and the experience left me with decades of sewing-related PTSD. :-)  In the cooking class, we made pancakes.  It's virtually impossible to screw up pancakes.


Edited by tailleuse, 10 December 2014 - 09:35 AM.

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#15 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 08:58 AM

You can screw up pancakes.


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#16 ThomD

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 08:12 AM

Coming from outside my take is that the restriction is unnecessary, but obviously appropriate to this space.  Apprenticeship has all but disappeared in most craft settings. Some crafts completely lost the plot, and had to be re-invented at places like Williamsburg. But there are other crafts, where the work never completely left, and the prior arrangement of transfer of information, even if largely gone is still felt.  Tailoring seems to be the latter.

 

Apprentices, where for the most part children.  These days, not even children get treated like children any more, in the West.  The apprenticeship model no longer really works.  And it verges on creepy when you add in the internet.  On the one extreme you have the Kahn Academy boldly going where education has never gone before.  At the other extreme what is the role-playing, digital, equivalent of putting a Bergen apprentice to sleep at night in a drawer.

 

As the saying goes, customer service is what the customer thinks it is.  If people want to blow their brains out designing aircraft, then they want to teach themselves to fly, that is their right.  Lots of people are doing it!  If you want to be part of that experience, as a leader, or business person, you have to accept that the student calls the shot.  It is like adventure tourism.  They aren't going to Nepal because they want to move there, they just want to visit.  Next year the grand canyon.  Everything is entertainment these days.  Not everyone seriously wants to become tailors, they just want a little side entertainment.  Of course it isn't fun if you admit that going in.  But this place was created for other reasons, and doesn't want to be the  Fine Woodworking of tailoring, I get it.  It sure does reduce the clutter in posts.


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#17 hutch48

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:56 AM

I think SG has a good point here, some tasks are so complicated to explain to a beginner that it is not possible to succeed but it is possible to waste a massive amount of time failing. I get to see this from time to time myself, a side hobby of mine is big snippers and it is a leftover from being a toolmaker by trade and I get questions from people who may have bought an antique pair of shears off eBay and want to restore them. Its impossible to connect the sheer volume of detail required, the metallurgy of 1900 era crucible steel and malleable iron, characteristics of brass used in the hinge pins and lock nuts, blade geometry and curvature, variable pitch cutting edges, metal finishing, sand blasting, painting the handles etc etc ....

 

Transfer this to an experienced tailor who can sew, cut, iron, design, modify, run a retail shop and you get the drift of trying to impart that much knowledge to a beginner. It is reasonable to expect that a person has developed sufficient skills in basic procedures like using a sewing machine properly, knowing how to accurately cut fabric and have at least some hand skills before they start to ask questions about more complex topics. I get this in the computer programming field where I am mainly involved in teaching x86 assembler which is a very advanced topic yet you get the occasional kid who does not even know how to type his name properly wanting to start learning programming at a very advanced level.

 

They have to be told to go and learn the basics first and come back to advanced topics when they know enough. Its the same problem in this forum, the experienced members put in what spare time they can manage and some have done a lot of work in their spare time with photos, patterns and techniques but it is unreasonable to expect them to spoon feed people who do not even know the basics of sewing and cutting.

 

Just as an aside, I have ambitions of making a jacket for next winter and while I have a good grasp of torso fitting, I don't know enough in terms of cutting and fitting sleeves to a jacket. One of the members was kind enough to find a basic pattern for me that was very useful but I also asked a tailor I know and he explained to me that the "old fellas" used to carefully stitch them on by hand to test the fit and he explained that it is always a difficult task to get sleeves to fit properly on a jacket.


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#18 Henry Hall

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 10:31 AM

Actually, and philosophising aside, I think the real frustration boils down to this:

 

In the basic apprentices forum there are no coatmaking topics allowed, just trousers and waistcoats. Fair enough, that's really a lot to be getting on with for anyone. But then members who are not professionals can read the other forums (including the trousers and waistcoat forum), but can't even ask a question or make a remark to any single discussion; not even about trousers/waistcoats.

 

Could be the reason the basic apprentice forum has more posts than any other: twice as many posts as the coatmaker forum and ten times as many as the trouser/waistcoat forum (call it "reduced clutter" or a ghost town, your choice). Some of the discussions in that last forum are not beyond some amateurs and could probably be beneficial to the learning process. I'm glad I get to read it at least...

 

Having said that, I also see the reason for having a basic apprentices section. Sort of a proving ground encouraging people to walk before they run.


Edited by Henry Hall, 27 January 2015 - 10:33 AM.

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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).





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