Getting your stripes in order.

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Matt Deckard, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

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    Stripes meet stripes (best case scenario).

    I’ve argued with a lot of tailors. Thinking it through when it comes to this subject, I’m right. Don’t let them tell you otherwise because what I’m about to expound is common sense. See my previous blog, You should know better and so should your tailor! Studying cut and anatomy of why and how has not hushed me on the topic of the details. You can see in Ralph’s collar how the tailor worked to make it work. I see in my suits how focused my cutter had to be to just sync up the stripes as best could be done. It’s a skill… it’s not impossible.

    It comes at a cost… it at times requires a bit more cloth, but saying it can’t happen is untrue. Now, saying it can happen, that comes with explanation and cost.

    It is quite hard, and takes away a lot of allowance of error. It should not be mandatory, but it should be praised. Something not trivial at all as it comes to detail and what really comes from knowing and cutting of cloth.

    Clark in his gray suit… stripes on the lapels meeting with those on the collar —

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    I had a good talk about the subject when I was with Michael Anton (AKA Nicholas Antongiavanni, the author of The Suit) a few years back who disagreed at the time. Yet with me having a few suits that fit the stripe matching bill I was befuddled so investigated how and why I was the exception. Turns out that it’s because I thought it through and so do the tailors I love! It’s hard yes… but if you are as into the details as one that loves details like me… well, you get this.

    One of my clients with stripes meeting stripes collar and lapel.

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    Me in one of my earlier suits. Again, stripes meeting stripes.

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    Speaking with skilled tailors in depth helped me get past my previous experiences of the stripes that trailed off to nowhere. I knew could be done having seen it in photo after photo of classic film stars. It just took finding the right people.

    Anywho…

    Lapels can match pretty well depending on the stripe width… shoulders can rarely match.

    Lapels are easier to work with than shoulders. There are three pieces that are visible with the lapels (collar and right and left lapel) and if they are cut correctly and the stripes are at a workable distance apart you’ll get a good match, often you see stripes just all over the place, I like them even on both sides and if possible, perfectly meeting at the seams. So even if the angle of the seam on the lapel makes it hard for certain types of stripes to meet, I want the stripes to at least be mirrored on both sides… and that is also not easy.

    For the shoulders it depends on the separation of the stripes. It’s a bigger distance to cover over a curved shoulder, this means a curved seam and two pieces of fabric meeting not head on, but at angles. I’ve had this talk with tailor after tailor… Asked Andrew Ramroop and Angus Cundy on Savile Row, talked to a few New York tailors and tailors out here in California as well.

    Matching shoulder stripes? I don’t do that, though I am getting my cutters to match the leading stripes at the end near the sleavehead when they can, and that is a cutting feet in itself to mirror the front and back panels… like on my gray suit in the pic above.

    There are examples of vintage suits with the stripes matched on the shoulders and it took some skill on the tailors part and a heavier fabric to pull it off… The match often required stretching (manipulating) part of the fabric. It didn’t harm the fit or the wear, but it is rarely done nowadays. My opinion is that it’s just another skill that isn’t trained or learned and fabrics today being thinner on average don’t take well to being stretched out.

    I’m okay with just the lapels since it’s easy and doesn’t require special manipulation. It just ads that little touch to showcase that you’re wearing something that was laid out and cut by hand.

    My double breasted navy chalkstripe I designed for Mytailor.com Kinda 1940s and I was going for a bit of that Indiana Jones on the capital steps look.

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    My three button navy rope stripe suit. You should see it with the vest… and I think it would just lose so much of it’s power if the lapel stripes weren’t meeting.

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    And for good measure, Gotham’s own Max Shreck in amazing wide black and gray stripe.

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    deckardsguide
     
  2. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

    Messages:
    541
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Matt, my English tailor (an Anderson's/Hitchcock alum) delivered a suit to me recently where the stripes don't match at the gorge, but they DO match up across the back. It's a pretty wide striped, heavy-but-modern gray worsted. Their intimation was that matching across the back was a pattern-matching necessity, and seemingly to do one meant not being able to do the other. Do you think it comes down to the fabric being too flimsy to take the ironing and stretching? Photo (of the front) below. I was pretty impressed by the matching in general. Of course they got the pockets which you'd expect, but also where the body of the coat meets the sleeve.

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    PeterB, Michael A and Mean Eyed Matt like this.
  3. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    London, UK
    Looking at jackets where the stripes do and do not match up between the lapels and the collar... I don't feel I could accept a jacket where they don't match up. To me that seems like a minimum to expect (especially if the jacket has peaked lapels). The shoulders I would not expect to match up at all because of the curvature and angle, so I would not instinctively expect it of my tailors. Having said all that, I'm not into striped jackets, so thankfully should never be an issue for me (the closest would be a herringbone).
     
  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,955
    Location:
    New Forest
    It's never occurred to me that there's any other way of working with striped material other than to match the stripes to an aesthetically pleasing standard. Even when I was measured up for my suits, the tailor didn't make any mention of it and I never gave it a second thought. I just can't think of how a striped suit shouldn't be presented, perhaps you could show some examples.
    The strongest of my striped suits has to be my zoot suit. Seen here you can see how the front panels meet the back, across the shoulder seem, exactly in line, all the pockets and pocket flaps are also correct and the lapel is angled to great effect to the horizontal. How else would a tailor do it?
    zsr.jpg
     
    Zoukatron likes this.
  5. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Over the hills and far way
    Nooooooooooooooooo, it doesn't match on my 2 flannel double breasted chalkstripe suits... I never realised it until now. I should have kept far from this forum, now it starts to annoy me ;-)
     
  6. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Over the hills and far way
    IMG_1145.JPG IMG_1144.JPG Here is the horror picture show !

    Arghhhhhhhhhh, as the Monty Python's would say.
     
    Michael A likes this.
  7. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    London, UK
    At least they were fairly consistent with how those jackets didn't match up.
     

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