Bah! I just spent an hour translating it! Oh well.
Your own English version is quite different than the Dutch original.
Here it is if you don't mind:
By Ruben Bakker
Another question often raised, and the ensuing discussion, is the use or not of handwork. One may portray handwork as the alpha and omega of clothing, the other may dismiss it as an unnecessary, old-fashioned (obsolete) principle which ought to be forgotten.
The difference between the two is, however, a little more nuanced. Whether handwork adds value to wearing comfort as well as finishing cannot so easily declared and is heavily dependent upon the type of garment and the placing of the handwork, as well as personal taste.
This has arisen because modern machines can exactly replicate what the tailor previously did by hand. Today there are ever more machines being developed which hold to this principle: the philosophy of handwork, transformed into an automated process. Thus we have the chain-stitch which, traditionally, would be used to stay (strengthen) the armscye of a suit so that it doesn't stretch during both construction and wearing. There is now a machine that makes exactly the same stitch; which is even more flexible (or supple) and can of course be made more quickly (a minute as against an hour). In addition there is the well-known blind-stitch machine, which is also an exact copy of the handwork (5 seconds versus 5-10 minutes for a trouser hem). There are now even machines which mimic the irregularity and obvious charm of handwork. Today, no single part of a suit has any longer to be manufactured only by hand; for everything there are machines that can do it equally well.
Even though I have been trained to manufacture suits and shirts entirely by hand, I'm now more than ever convinced that machines can do it better and faster. Is handwork essential for the wearing comfort of a suit? No. For the quality then? No. Is it a seal of the artisan that you can and must pay for? Absolutely, if you have the money for it. Does it bring wearing comfort to a shirt? I think so. Does it afford beauty which offers surplus value? Absolutely.
There are, however, a number of selective 'sacred cows'. Handwork that can't be replaced by machine. These, however, are mainly the cosmetic variants of handwork, namely the buttonholes and setting of buttons, and the seams of a shirt.
A hand-made buttonhole can be made in several ways. The fundamental difference is that the buttonhole is first cut and then made. By machine is reversed and up to now no machine has been devised to replicate this. A hand-made buttonhole is a sign of hand-craft and, provided it is made by the right person, can be many times more beautiful than a machine-made buttonhole. Nor do the buttons escape handwork. Traditionally considered, a button has four holes. The tailors discovered that if the button is fastened from one point to all the other holes, the attachment of the button is stronger and less likely to drop off the garment. This is affectionately refferred to as the 'hen's foot stitch', because it does indeed resemble a hen's foot. In English they call it a crow's foot stitch, stitch of lily, in reference to the three petals of the lily.
The seams of a shirt are, in my opinion, also important. In a suit, or jacket, the seams are not finished because they are not visible; there is a lining covering the inner workings. On a shirt these seams are visible and therefore must be finished. On a handmade shirt we make a flat-felled seam at this point. This is a seam where the seam allowance is folded twice inside, to prevent the cloth ravelling and, of course, because it looks better.
Again this can be be stitched by machine, but here is precisely where handwork makes a difference. You need to see a machine seam as a stapling machine. Staple two A4 sheets of paper together in a straight line and you'll see that there's little flexibility there. Do this a second time alongside and you'll find that there's no more flexibility at all. Though cloth is a little softer, the principle remains the same. We carefully sew, by hand, the seam allowance to the cloth with a blind-stitch. Since this stitch isn't pulled tight, and only a single thread of the weave is picked up, this seam merely fastens and thus does not make the seam more rigid. The result is a flat seam many times more supple than it's machine-stitched opposite. In addition, by taking up only a single thread in the weave, it gives a subtle effect that looks elegant and is also a sign of artisanwork.
On a shirt there are flat-felled seams all over the garment and I seam all of these, on the entire garment, carefully by hand. This gives a shirt that, in combination with the floating interlining, offers a level of comfort that differs noticeably from the machine-made shirt. The shirt is almost imperceptible and the subtle indentations left on the cloth by the hand-stitched seams give a subtle detail showing both the work that has gone into the shirt as well as the very elegant detail.
Edited by Henry Hall, 21 April 2015 - 02:28 AM.