The Vintage Tailoring Thread

Discussion in 'Suits' started by herringbonekid, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    this new thread is to discuss the finer points of tailoring techniques, details and construction of vintage suits and other garments.


    .....

    Qirrel posted this image of an action back jacket pattern-draft over on the 'Gentlemen show us what you've made!' thread:


    [​IMG]


    here is a mid 30s American jacket which shows the same sort of construction, with slight differences:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    here is one made by myself:


    [​IMG]


    this part is the bit that does the 'action':


    [​IMG]


    it's basically a pleat or 'hinge' which opens out when the arm moves forward. i think mine and the jacket above differ from the illustration in that the piece nearest the body is cut as a seperate and attached to the rest with a bound edge. the American one also curves into the side seam rather than going straight down into the belt.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
    Mr. Nantus and PeterB like this.
  2. Methuselah

    Methuselah One of the Regulars

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    Great idea for a thread.

    I have 2 questions related to irons:

    1. Can anybody provide me with any information about how the ironwork to shape fabric is done? I'm capable of sewing basic trousers, but I know that quality ones have the fabric shaped during construction (before or after sewing?). I imagine this can get complex, is there a book that covers it?

    2. Does anybody know what type of iron I should get for this? I currently only have a normal domestic steam iron - it doesn't seem heavy enough, and the steam holes leave dimples when pressing.

    Sorry I can't contribute much to this, I'm very much a novice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  3. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    Methuselah, if you're doing wide trousers which have very straight side seams you don't really need any shaping with the iron. just a pressing as you make them up. its really for trousers that are very tapered.

    Jeffery D's blog explains it here:

    http://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/trousers

    i also have a domestic steam iron, but i'm quite happy with it. my girlfriend who is a tailor raves about the professional ones - they have a teflon guard which keeps the iron just off the surface of the fabric.
    buy the best one you can afford, and don't hold it in one place too long if you're getting dimples.
     
  4. Mario

    Mario I'll Lock Up

    Great thread! Can't wait to see more.
     
  5. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

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    I'll second Mario, thank you for this.

    I'll post some photos of my action back suits soon.
     
  6. Red Leader

    Red Leader One of the Regulars

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    This is a great thread idea. As someone who is very new to vintage clothes, designs, styles, and construction, it will be very educational and perhaps one day I might be able to contribute something of significance.

    I have noticed in a lot of the tailoring threads I've read on here that when someone is trying to get any tailor to either completely replicate a vintage suit, or add elements of a vintage suit like an action back, higher armholes, higher button stance, etc, there is usually always strong resistance met. Baron Kurtz was just remarking in the Hong Kong tailor thread about how the tailors tried to talk him out of getting a replication of a vintage dress shirt for 15 minutes.

    From a non-educated standpoint, this baffles me for a couple reasons. First, why not just make what the customer really wants, especially if they are willing to pay for it? Secondly, in other industries or trades there is usually always someone out there who is making vintage reproduction stuff, whether it is cars, dining room tables, photographs, lightbulbs, or hinges for your door. Granted, there are some folks doing the classic reproduction thing (Matt Deckard comes to mind) but from the threads I've seen here, I have sensed an overall opposition from the tailoring industry to many of the finer points of vintage tailoring that helped to make the clothes so great, even if they could charge more for it and have people pay for it.

    Regarding the jackets shown above, WOW! I just went back and realized they were 2 different jackets. Silly me. The jacket you made looks absolutely fantastic. Are you a tailor and do you make these for others? It has a very fitted look and I really like that, but also with the addition of that back makes for a very flexible and 'working' jacket. Seems like the best of both worlds!

    By the way, I'm a size 39R :D
     
  7. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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  8. nihil

    nihil One of the Regulars

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    Superb workmanship! And a very cleaver choice of jacket and detailing.
     
  9. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

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    Really nicely done on your jacket! I'm still working on getting it right, I'll put up some in-progress shots of my current project.

    I like the idea of cutting the whole pleat in one with the back, but I can see how that would make layout difficult. Since the pleat would probably be top-stitched on the inside anyway to keep everything in place, it's probably just more economical to add the pleat section.
     
  10. Fly Boy

    Fly Boy One of the Regulars

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    Good lord! That's marvellous! Would you do commission work?
     
  11. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    thanks ! please see this thread:

    http://www.thefedoralounge.com/show...you-ve-made!&p=1437048&viewfull=1#post1437048


    gents, thanks for the compliments, but can i be clear that the idea for starting this thread is to discuss the geeky stuff; how suits are made, the details, the construction, the working methods etc. i want to see discussions about buttonhole angles, waistband lining, collar canvas... the geekier the better, as long as it's about tailoring techniques ! :cool:
     
  12. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    Nick, i found that using the whole pleat method, the section near the body (the hidden piece) ended up leaning outward (i.e. no longer on the straight grain).
    therefore it was necessary to cut it separately in order to realign it to match the pattern.
     
  13. Mario

    Mario I'll Lock Up

    Thank you so much for the photos. I'm almost at a loss for words at the moment - and deeply impressed by your workmanship. This looks extremely well done. :eusa_clap
     
  14. dakotanorth

    dakotanorth Practically Family

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    I'm still debating this trick of the trade, but I was told that when you want to permanently set a crease in wool, you soak a string/floss/wire (as in, fishing wire) in rubbing alcohol, place it inside the fabric, then fold the fabric over it. When you press the fabric, it pushes the alcohol into the fold line and sets it.
    Can anyone confirm or deny this? Vinegar does NOT work, despite what everyone says.

    Herringbone Kid: Nice! Do you use an attachment to feed the binding, or do you place/baste it by hand?
     
  15. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

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    Could cutting it in two pieces also allow the tailor to include a bit of curve, to follow the shoulder and back? They usually look straight in photos, but being set at the right angle might do it. I've only seen a couple drafts with action shoulders and both have them cut-on, so I can't speak for drafts with them sewn on.
     
  16. Qirrel

    Qirrel Practically Family

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    The main motivation for a sewn on/two piece pleat would be to conserve fabric. And, as you say, if you want it to curve into the sideseam rather than have it go straight down to the belt, it would be better to have it in two pieces. It would waste fabric if it is grown on.
     
  17. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    i'm not sure if curving the outer fold would impair the 'action' but it might.
    by the way i also think that the cut piece functions better as the stiffer bias-bound edge snaps the whole thing back into place more firmly when it's been expanded out.

    this jacket had the simpler folded method, no top stitching at all, and it didn't function so well:

    [​IMG]

    mind you, fabric is also important. i wouldn't attempt it on any fabric that didn't have quite a bit of body to it. the sort of firm fabric that remembers its shape.
    anything puddly such as super 120s and up wouldn't work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  18. Qirrel

    Qirrel Practically Family

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    It was common to put in elastic tape to keep the pleats neat when the fabric was unruly. With elastic, a 120s ++ would work just fine; without you would need to press the pleat quite often.
     
  19. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    do you have any diagrams or photos of that ?
     
  20. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    i've tried one but found it didn't help that much, and sometimes pieces of a raw edge were too thick to go through it, such as where the belt joins the side seam.
     

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