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Custom shirts

post #1 of 58
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post #2 of 58
I think there's a storm a brewing.  I personally love the cut of Attolini and Barba shirts, and I think that the fabrics they use are terrific, and that the exclusivity of the patterns in part justify their cost.  However, I agree with you that, especially in the case of shirts, that the value of handiwork is overrated.  It does add somewhat to the "clothing as art" aesthetic appeal that I'm sure is attractive to a lot of guys on this forum, myself included.  However, there is also something to be said for the regularity of machine work.  I know that your opinion was reserved solely for shirts; but I've actually gone so far as to say in some previous posts that on some modern suits (such as Helmut Lang suits, for eample) the regularity of machine work is a little more suitable than the interesting but distracting irregularity of work done by hand.   \t I'm going to need riot gear, aren't I?
post #3 of 58
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I'm going to need riot gear, aren't I?
Maybe - but we need different opinions or else we wouldn't have these great debates. On the shirts I sort of agree. Most of the reasons I prefer handsewn shirts have to do with aesthetics. A handsewn shirt fits better in the shoulder and armhole though. With suits I do not agree at all. Maybe it's just my build but I have yet to try on a machine-made suit that didn't fit horribly in comparison with a properly cut handsewn suit.
post #4 of 58
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post #5 of 58
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post #6 of 58
Personally, I can't justify the cost of handsewn shirt. I have my shirts professionally laundered, and they are not always treated as well as I would like. I simply don't have time to do my own washing and ironing.(I do launder and iron my formal shirt myself, and I have a couple of linen shirts I don't trust to the cleaners, but all the rest go to the laundry.) The two handsewn shirts I've owned were very nice, but didn't hold up well in the laundry. I currently buy custom made shirts. They are sewn almost entirely by machine, but the buttons are sewn on by hand. They fit perfectly, I have an insanely large selection of the very nicest shirting fabrics, and I can specify all of the details such as collar and cuff styles. Cost is about $105 per shirt. I will choose handstitching on a suit every time, but to me, shirts just aren't worth it. Kai
post #7 of 58
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It seems that high-end stores try to sell "handmade" shirts using hand-detailing as a selling point.  Kiton's shirts have extensive handwork and are very expensive, but are not in my opinion not particularly nice.  Hand-attached collars, handrolled and handsewn bottom hem, and handsewn side seams are not necessarily superior to the same machinestitched features on other shirts.  The hand insertion of certain shirt parts is probably nothing more than a clever advertsing gimmick.  Why stitch the collar and/or sleeves by hand?  If the thread is cut or snagged in just one place the entire attachment could come out within a few washings since hand stitches do not lock like a single needle machine stitch.  I have a Kiton shirt, and even though I wash my shirt in the delicate cycle a few of the stitches used to attach the sleeve have come out.  Some friends of mine seem to have the same problem with their Kiton shirts. Gussets also seem to be a gimmick.  If a shirt won't stay in one piece without the help of a fold of fabric at the bottom of each side seam, it may not be worth buying in the first place.  A bar tack would do the same job as a gusset. Hopefully the side seams and bottom hem are sewn such that their staying intact would not depend on having a gusset. The look of handsewn buttonholes is quite nice, but a well-sewn machine buttonhole is acceptable on a shirt(not the same, though, on suits). A hand rolled standard size shirt hem, just like the hem of a hand-rolled handkerchief, will be somewhat bulky.  A hand folded machine-sewn hem will lay perfectly flat. Does the shirtmaker fit you until the fit is perfect(using muslin try-ons) and then make the shirts, or do you have to absorb the cost of the trial shirt(s)? Realistically, the cost of the fabric is no more than ~$80 per shirt, which is in the case of 200s cotton in 36" width, where a 3-yard length is necessary, but more realistically $25(100s cotton) - $35(170s cotton) per shirt.  Buttons do not contribute significantly to the cost of the shirt.  There is, of course, the matter of interfacing and thread.  Whatever the case, if the materials cost is $35 for fabric, maybe $5 for buttons, $3 for interfacing, and very little for thread.  This total is $43.  The shirtmaker has to invest in a sewing machine, supplies such as pattern paper and cutting tools, and pay trained seamsters?/seamstresses to assemble the shirt.  So why pay $495 for an off-the-rack Kiton shirt?  Or $345 for a Borrelli, or when ordered made-to-measure, a minimum of 6 without a trial shirt? Brioni's shirts have no handstitching.  Borrelli shirts have hand-attached collars, handsewn buttonholes, buttons sewn on by hand, sleeves closed by hand, and handsewn bartacks on the sleeve plackets.  Fray has sleeves closed by hand and, I think, buttons attached by hand.  Marol has handsewn buttonholes.  Barba is virtually identical to Borrelli.  Charvet, Lorenzini and Turnbull and Asser have virtually no handsewn features, but are very nice shirts.   It seems that handmade is a term to distinguish an item as cut and sewn by a person as opposed to cutting en masse by a machine. A number of salespeople in high-end stores like Neiman Marcus advocate having shirts laundered.  Doing the laundry at home is not a very difficult task, and would ensure that they are being treated properly and therefore last longer.  Here is some information from Alex Kabbaz on how shirts should be washed and why they should not be dry-cleaned:
I think I'm going to choose to not ruin naturlaut's vacation in the south of France by NOT forwarding this post to him.
post #8 of 58
Oh, c'mon Thracozaag, don't be so solemn. One of the best things about this forum, apart from our being about to share our enthusiasm for style and fashion, is the fun we have dissecting sacred cows, to mangle a few metaphors. I don't see the offence in tearing into fictions perpetrated by Kiton and Borelli and Barba, just as I don't see the harm in tearing into the preening of the Prada/Yamamoto/Helmut Lang crowd or the exceedingly pretentious "Hipster nation" in their ridiculous distressed jeans and vintage tees (seriously, I just spent $139 on a pair of von Dutch "engineer jeans"; how sad is that?) Just because we like something doesn't mean that we can't have a bit of a laugh at our own expense. This is not world politics or religion. This is a bunch of grown men (I assume we all are) talking about 4-ply cashmere sweaters and whether low or natural-waisted jeans are better.
post #9 of 58
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but I've actually gone so far as to say in some previous posts that on some modern suits (such as Helmut Lang suits, for eample) the regularity of machine work is a little more suitable than the interesting but distracting irregularity of work done by hand.
LA Guy - I misread your post before didn't I?? You are saying that the precise, regular look of machine sewing complements some designer suits better than handsewing would, correct?
post #10 of 58
my two cents: machine or hand stitched, either way, i ain't paying more than a hundred bucks for a shirt that isn't made for my exact measurements. i've seen guys in $20 shirts that actually look very stylish and professional because the shirt fits them so well. add to that the fact that one can choose collar style, cuffs, etc... and i think the choice should be clear.
post #11 of 58
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Oh, c'mon Thracozaag, don't be so solemn.  One of the best things about this forum, apart from our being about to share  our enthusiasm for style and fashion, is the fun we have dissecting sacred cows, to mangle a few metaphors.  I don't see the offence in tearing into fictions perpetrated by Kiton and Borelli and Barba, just as I don't see the harm in tearing into the preening of the Prada/Yamamoto/Helmut Lang crowd or the exceedingly pretentious "Hipster nation" in their ridiculous distressed jeans and vintage tees (seriously, I just spent $139 on a pair of von Dutch "engineer jeans"; how sad is that?) Just because we like something doesn't mean that we can't have a bit of a laugh at our own expense.  This is not world politics or religion.  This is a bunch of grown men (I assume we all are) talking about 4-ply cashmere sweaters and whether low or natural-waisted jeans are better.
I'm in a foul mood...and this post didn't help.
post #12 of 58
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LA Guy - I misread your post before didn't I?? You are saying that the precise, regular look of machine sewing complements some designer suits better than handsewing would, correct?
Correct. I actually had some unlined jackets I'd seen with lazer cut "raw" edges in mind when I wrote that (really, the jacket might more accurately have been described as a sheath.) Hand-picking in that case would have been purely a distraction. Also, on some Helmut Lang suits distinguished by the austere cut monastic lack of details, I think that details like the slight crimping of the Neapolitan shoulder would just not look quite right. I'm just saying that tailoring techniques should match the tone and style of the garment, and need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, is all.
post #13 of 58
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Correct.  I actually had some unlined jackets I'd seen with lazer cut "raw" edges in mind when I wrote that (really, the jacket might more accurately have been described as a sheath.)  Hand-picking in that case would have been purely a distraction.  Also, on some Helmut Lang suits distinguished by the austere cut monastic lack of details, I think that details like the slight crimping of the Neapolitan shoulder would just not look quite right.   I'm just saying that tailoring techniques should match the tone and style of the garment, and need to be considered on a case-by-case basis, is all.
Excellent point.
post #14 of 58
On a totally different tangent... Thracozaag, I usually ignore the little pictures underneath IDs, however, I suddenly realized that your photo was a snapshot of Julliard.  I remember reading somewhere that you and naturalat were musicians.  Just out of curiosity, are you guys affiliated with Julliard or playing with one of the NYC fine arts groups (the Met, NYC ballet, etc.)? Oh, and can you suggest any rising talent that might be playing in the future?  I spend all my money on clothes and can't afford two decent tickets to the opera norcal
post #15 of 58
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On a totally different tangent... Thracozaag, I usually ignore the little pictures underneath IDs, however, I suddenly realized that your photo was a snapshot of Julliard.  I remember reading somewhere that you and naturalat were musicians.  Just out of curiosity, are you guys affiliated with Julliard or playing with one of the NYC fine arts groups (the Met, NYC ballet, etc.)? Oh, and can you suggest any rising talent that might be playing in the future?  I spend all my money on clothes and can't afford two decent tickets to the opera norcal
Yes, indeedy, it's the Junkyard. Hopefully by this time next year I will have been deemed worthy of receiving my doctorate from the Jailyard. Pity about not getting decent opera tickets, I was able to sneak into a rehearsal for Tristan last week, and it should be amazing...I wish I could get tickets myself, now. A friend of mine, Mei-Ting Sun, is giving a piano recital in Tully in early November. He's a fabulous talent, well worth hearing. More info. can be found at www.meiting.com I (along with four other pianists), will be playing in Merkin in late November in an all transcription program which should be pretty interesting.
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