Jump to content


Photo

Resources for gaining an understanding of quality clothing construction


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 DavidHugh

DavidHugh

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 18 April 2015 - 09:37 AM

Hello All,

 

I hope this is the right forum; can anyone recommend resources for learning about quality clothing construction?

 

So much of what has been constructed - especially ready-to-wear - is of poor quality in the last 30 years or so.  This is especially the case with designers licensing out their name, and clothing being made in such places as China, Bangladesh, etc.

 

The various "fashion" fora yap endlessly about "style," and "fit," but seem to to have no concept of quality construction.

 

Thank you all for any help!


Edited by DavidHugh, 18 April 2015 - 09:38 AM.


#2 hutch48

hutch48

    Pro

  • Professional
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 749 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney Australia
  • Interests:Big snippers, practical garments, computer programming and engineering. New website at signature link.

Posted 18 April 2015 - 10:15 AM

David,

 

Your starting point is the very basics of sewing machines. If you get yourself a reasonable sewing machine (and this does not have to be an expensive industrial) and a 4 thread overlocker with differential feed and then learn how to use them properly you are part of the way along to making good quality clothing. Scissors and shears for cutting various types of fabrics are worth accumulating over time and a knowledge of fabric types and their characteristics is invaluable.

 

For the high end of garment making, knowing how to manually sew with a needle and thread are very useful and in particular, if you want buttons to stay on, do them by hand, not a machine. There is much to learn and you will keep learning over a lifetime but in a rough order, pattern making, cutting, machining and finishing are the types of skills you need to master.



#3 SPOOKIETOO

SPOOKIETOO

    Apprentice

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 18 April 2015 - 12:34 PM

David, I'm confused as to whether you are wanting to learn about good construction in order to construct your own clothing or just to be able to make better decisions with regards to purchasing clothing. While your questions and statements bring up good, valid points - their intent is a bit ambiguous.

Please clarify.

#4 DavidHugh

DavidHugh

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 18 April 2015 - 01:05 PM

David, I'm confused as to whether you are wanting to learn about good construction in order to construct your own clothing or just to be able to make better decisions with regards to purchasing clothing. While your questions and statements bring up good, valid points - their intent is a bit ambiguous.

Please clarify.

Thank you,Hutch!

 

Sorry for the confusion, Spookie (a veiled reference to Spooky Tooth, by any chance?).  

 

At some point, yes, I would very much like to be able to construct clothing, but on the path to this eventual goal, I'd like to be able to evaluate and recognize quality vs shoddy construction.



#5 J. Maclochlainn

J. Maclochlainn

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,127 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 April 2015 - 03:24 PM

The only way to learn for certain is to see the level of garments you wish to produce or have a qualified tailor of that level show you.
  • Kimberly likes this
Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#6 Schneiderfrei

Schneiderfrei

    Pro

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

Posted 18 April 2015 - 05:51 PM

If it seems too expensive or difficult to approach a good tailor, it is perfectly possible to find old and well made clothing in charity shops.  

 

You can take them apart, study their construction details and get an idea of the kind of quality for which you wish to aim .  

 

Then, within these fora are plenty of reference points for garment construction.  Check out the Trouser forum in the professional section. Anything that has the name Whife will have excellent construction details for starters.  As you read the many threads you will pick up an incredible amount of information.

 

You might not be able to post there but you sure can read it all.


Edited by Schneiderfrei, 18 April 2015 - 08:00 PM.

  • tailleuse and Kimberly like this

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


#7 SPOOKIETOO

SPOOKIETOO

    Apprentice

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 19 April 2015 - 12:10 AM

David - I could be cool and say "yes! Huge Spooky Tooth fan here!" But alas, I was listening to Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond at the time. The name is nothing more than an internet unique variance of my cat's name.

As for beginning to learn fabric quality and clothing construction on your own - assuming you do not have access to even auditing any appropriate college courses, I would strongly recommend books by both David Page Coffin and Claire Shaeffer. Both are members here and both write with the goal of "upping" a home sewist's skills. Quite frankly, they are advanced enough to befuddle the "less gifted" sewist, and each author has spent years meeting with and studying the works of highly respected professionals. DPC's books, "Shirtmaking" and "Trousers" are definitely both geared to the study of construction of mostly mens garments. There is also Jeffery Diduch's blog, "Tuttofattoamano" that has an amazing wealth of deconstructed or "disected/autopsied" items. His site is very well organized and his buttonhole "porn" will give you an excellent start on identifying quality buttonholes.

I know that these suggestions are contradictory to what many of the professionals here would suggest as there is an overall concern of one learning a "bad habit". Fact is, from reading this forum, one tailor's bad habit may indeed be another tailor's daily practice, as there are so many different approaches.

I think its important to remember that increasing the knowledge of the general public with regards to thecraft of tailoring is a good thing. Throwing everyone immediately into the deep end of the pool on this forum can be more than a bit overwhelming for someone that's never done anything more than sew on a button (if that). A couple of "bad habits" learned as an adult, are much easier to change in an adult as compared to a habit learned in childhood. Any learning as an adult is a good thing - even learning the "mistakes" can make understanding the proper route easier.
  • Schneiderfrei likes this

#8 shirtmaven

shirtmaven

    Umsie

  • Professional
  • Pip
  • 52 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:nyc
  • Interests:instagram cegonyc

Posted 19 April 2015 - 01:41 AM

David

 

Mass market clothing is made for profit.

high tech sewing machines can turn out a clean well fitting garment.

It will be a soules garment without nuance, but it will make 98% of the consumers happy.

 

Very few consumers turn a garment inside out.

customers  who buy Armani suits, purchase for fabric, style details and fit.

they do not care if the garmment is full or half canvassed. they would not know a hand picked edge from an AMF machine.

 

Tom Ford clothing is very well made. But the Tom Ford Customer is also buying for fabric, style details and fit.

 

there is a growing consumer base that is interested in quality construction.

they are interested in know that their clothing is made by skilled tailors and sewers.

this trend is good for the members of this forum


  • tailleuse, cperry and Schneiderfrei like this

#9 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

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

Posted 19 April 2015 - 06:25 AM


...can anyone recommend resources for learning about quality clothing construction?

 

I'm a non-professional who's been taking high-end tailoring classes on and off for a few years.  When I've asked teachers and full-time students, they've suggested going to stores that stock the best-made men's clothing.  Brioni has been suggested more than once.  But even more fashion-forward, high-quality RTW or RTW with some hand work will teach you a lot. I like Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, John Varvatos, and the offerings at Barney's Co-op.

 

I don't go very often because I feel guilty just browsing (probably shouldn't), but there is no substitute for looking at the clothes. The photos never give you all the detail.


Edited by tailleuse, 19 April 2015 - 06:27 AM.

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


#10 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

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

Posted 19 April 2015 - 06:30 AM

The only way to learn for certain is to see the level of garments you wish to produce or have a qualified tailor of that level show you.

 

I wouldn't say it's the only way, but certainly one should never pass up an opportunity to examine garments with a knowledgeable tailor.  :-)


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


#11 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

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

Posted 19 April 2015 - 06:40 AM

 

... I'd like to be able to evaluate and recognize quality vs shoddy construction.

 

That's important.  A hand made garment looks very different from one that's RTW.  The latter may look "perfect" in a way a hand made garment never will and yet the hand made garment (assuming a talented cutter and tailor) will be better in that it is made to flatter a particular body. People with experience often can tell whether a garment has been made drafted from an individual's measurements or cut from a standard block pattern.


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


#12 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

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

Posted 19 April 2015 - 06:49 AM

 

 

 There is much to learn and you will keep learning over a lifetime but in a rough order, pattern making, cutting, machining and finishing are the types of skills you need to master.

 

The order I'd recommend (and I believe it's suggested in the forum's guide for beginners) is first learning to make up (sew, using a machine and hand work where necessary) commercial or other people's patterns -- there's no point in learning to draft things you can't sew properly.  Then you learn to draft patterns, fit, and at any time after the basics learn things like hand buttonholes.  In fashion design programs, students often learn to sew and draft patterns concurrently.


  • cperry and Schneiderfrei like this

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


#13 Claire Shaeffer

Claire Shaeffer

    Apprentice

  • Professional
  • PipPip
  • 189 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Palm Springs, CA USA
  • Interests:haute couture

Posted 29 April 2015 - 01:39 AM

I agree with a couple of Hutch48's remarks. 

A sewing machine doesn't have to be expensive to be used successfully in tailoring. Two homesewing machines I like are the Singer 301 and the Singer Featherweight. No, they don't have the speed or knee lifts of the industrial machines but them make nice straight stitches and are useful when learning. 

 

Tailleuse, I learned the basics at a Trade-technical school in N. CA. This provided a foundation which I can use when evaluating garment construction. I have a nice collection of vintage garments--some couture and some rtw--which I use when teaching. Examining these garments is similar to reading a new book. Frequently, I see a technique which I know used in a totally different way. The good news is that most techniques are not difficult--ok, there are exceptions. The bad news is that access to vintage garments is limited. I began collecting because I couldn't see under the linings in museum collections.

 

Since you are in NY, visit the vintage shops or Karen Augusta's auctions there. At the shops, take them into the fitting room, but instead of trying them on, examine them carefully.I love garments in poor condition: 1. they're cheap and 2. my conscience allows me to remove the linings. 

Claire


  • dpcoffin, tailleuse, cperry and 1 other like this

Claire Shaeffer

Author, Couture Sewing Techniques

claire.shaeffer@gmail.com

www.sewfari.org


#14 tailleuse

tailleuse

    Master

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

Posted 30 April 2015 - 01:31 AM

 

Tailleuse, I learned the basics at a Trade-technical school in N. CA. 

 

I have a feeling that even the basic course you took many years ago was more detailed than many of the private classes I see offered today. Some years ago, I took a brief, privately offered class. An older woman who had learned how to sew in junior high school and was returning to sewing remarked on how "boring" her first classes were; the students were made to learn about textiles, etc.  Suck "boring" information is important.


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





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users