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My tailoring adventure Part 2

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well last night was definitely an interesting evening. Chuong (my tailor) came around returning an alteration job, and to measure me up. I made two decisions based on the previous thread - one to add a third button underneath to somewhat avoid the "my tie sticks out the bottom" thing by buttoning what would have essentially been the top button only on a high-point 2 button. The other was that I switched cloths. I had two other cloths arrive from the same eBay seller yesterday, and I decided that the H&S cloth was a very traditional piece better served to be used on a very traditional looking cut. The shapely Hackett style that I showed earlier I decided to match with this piece of 97% Super 130s, 3% Cashmere. Very delicate I know, but a gorgeous piece of cloth with a subtle sheen and a lilac pinstripe. Here it is: Chuong looked over the pic I showed and recommended being less pronounced with the shape. He correctly noted that my weight jumps a lot and that this heavy waist suppression would pull and stretch and basically not look right. Option A give up beer. Option B reduce waist suppression. No contest. So he measured me up - I counted 22 measurements give or take around my entire body. Sat down and talked through the options, and he agreed with my selection of the cloths. I asked if I could come and watch him cut it and he said "sure, we do right now" - not exactly what i had in mind, but what the hell. Jumped on the back of his motorscooter and winding through the back streets of Saigon until we found the 12 square meter room that is both his home and his workshop. One of those neighbourhoods where I may be the only white person ever sighted not on TV, so the neighbourhood kids kept peeking in on me to see if it was really true, and another asked me to autograph a picture of Brad Pitt - yup, seriously. Moving right along...these are Chuong's shears. They were a gift to him from his uncle, under whom he apprenticed. Chuong is only 30 years old, however moved down from his hometown of Hue when he was only 12 or 13 as his parents basically couldnt afford to keep him there. He started his apprenticeship immediately, sewing for his uncle, so at age 30 he has almost 20 years tailoring experience. His uncle emigrated to Canada in 2001 and gave Chuong these shears as a gift. He has managed to teach himself quite functional English, and now runs a tailoring business that employs 8 full time staff. Impressive. The first thing to note was that he did not make a pattern at all. I asked him and he said no point, he never does it. I shrugged and moved on. He knows what he is doing I guess (read: hope). He just measured and drew directly on the cloth. I remember reading on Tom Mahon's blog, in answer to a question from Manton I believe, that there is nothing wrong with this method other than the fact that you cant keep it on record for future, so be it. And then to the cutting. First pants, then jacket back, then jacket front, then sleeves. And so...as it stands....here is my suit: There are a few more pics here, click on tailoring. Was a truly great night, and I really appreciate Chuong letting me peek into his world and share it with everyone here. Basted fitting in 7-10 days. Matt
post #2 of 5
Wow, that must have been quite an experience. I would love to watch over a tailor's shoulder as he works, just as you did. Keep us posted, Matt. Good luck
post #3 of 5
Matt, the picture of the "Temple" looks exactly like where a scene in the movie "Hero" was filmed. Perhaps it is not the place and there are many places with temples in the middle of a lake. Do you know why they are built like that?
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
you mean the one called "112804 temple" in the "5 perfume pagoda and rural hanoi 12/04" folder? if so, thats a pretty standard design, and i think they stick em in lakes for feng shui reasons - Vietnam religiously is very similar to Chinese Buddhism, and the temple architecture reflects that. Nowhere near as spectacular as what you see in other parts of Indochina (Cambodia's Siem Reap area is incredible) Never saw Hero, so cant confirm, but virtually no one films in Vietnam (talent pool is tiny, you get around that and you still have the government licensing issues to contend with), so unlikely to be the same.
post #5 of 5
very interesting, thanks. I would like very much to visit someday, it is a place with a lot of significance to me.
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