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Spectacular thread on canvassing/coat construction at AA

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
I know some of you expatriates don't visit AA these days, but this is well worth a look for anyone with questions about coat construction. Best thread I've seen there in a long time.

http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/f...ad.php?t=86160
post #2 of 76
this man Jeffrey D. We should headhunt him.
post #3 of 76
incredible info in that thread
post #4 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T View Post
this man Jeffrey D. We should headhunt him.

If my memory serves me correctly, jefferyd is already a member of this board. Some moderator you are.
post #5 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaga View Post
If my memory serves me correctly, jefferyd is already a member of this board. Some moderator you are.
Right, and he posted some interesting info here but this one about not steaming a jacket is confusing. http://www.styleforum.net/showpost.p...4&postcount=19
post #6 of 76
Thanks Doc!
post #7 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaga View Post
If my memory serves me correctly, jefferyd is already a member of this board. Some moderator you are.
it's amazing how easy it is to mod this place if you never actually...you know...read anything.
post #8 of 76
very clear and well illustrated. i am going to pass it along to a couple of my pals who have bugged me about this. much better explaination than mine. great find!
post #9 of 76
That's a damn good read.

It should be kept easily accessible to newbies and oldtimers alike.
post #10 of 76
Thanks for the link. Posts like this are what keep me coming back to the forums.
post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomerJ View Post
Right, and he posted some interesting info here but this one about not steaming a jacket is confusing. http://www.styleforum.net/showpost.p...4&postcount=19

Um, sorry about being confusing. Let me try again.

Wool is the material of choice for tailoring partly because, like any hair, it can be molded; think of a woman using a curling iron or putting her hair in curlers. A combination of heat and moisture will "set" the hair in a particular shape, and once it has that shape it tends to want to keep it (think about trying to flatten a cow-lick).

A suit factory has many different presing machines in very specific shapes to press and mold the garment. Though they can come with standard shapes, usually the designer will have the shapes made specially depending on the desired shape of the garment- if an extreme chest or waist or natural shoulder or rope etc. A ton of pressure, steam, and then vaccuum to dry and cool the garment set the shape, shrinking some areas and stretching others. First the shoulder is pressed on a buck the shape of the shoulder, then the collar is pressed on one machine to "break" it, then another machine to shrink the break line further. Then it goes on a machine shaped like the back, to press the back, shrinking a little at center back and the side in order to give a little length over the shoulderblade, then it goes on the front machine, and so on until all the parts of the jacket have been pressed (the sequence may vary but the process is basically the same in all factories).

Then the jacket is turned inside out and the lining, which has been messed up during pressing, is pressed. HOWEVER in every other case, the surface on which the presser works has vaccuum drawing the steam down to dry it, if we were to use vaccuum here to clean the lining, the steam would undo some of the shaping and the finish that the big machines created. So we use blower tables- they blow air up so that the steam used to clean up the lining does not penetrate the jacket and does not affect the cloth.

The jacket is then repressed (touched up) by hand on the outside of the garment- only the little impressions which need to be removed by laying a pressing cloth over the spot, dabbing it with a damp finger or little sponge so that the resulting steam is VERY isolated. The whole process takes a little over an hour and a lot of skill and experience is required.

This is why we often hear people cautioning about not pressing a lapel or chest flat, though really no part of the garment should be pressed completely flat. A dry-cleaner or small tailor shop will have only a few general use utility presses which is why your suit never looks as good when it comes back from the cleaners, and why most tailors send their work out to be pressed, if such facilities exist.

The steam used in pressing is used only in specific areas, and only as the garment lays on a specific shape; it is not removed until it is dry and cool. Taking a steamer to a suit would undo all of this, and may cause certain seams to pucker. Think back to the elaborate hairstyle created with the curlers and curling iron, then take a steamer to it- all the shape falls out.

Dry clean your suit once a season- have it spot-cleaned if it gets stains. Find a cleaner who has good pressing facilities (ask local tailors). Hang the suit in a well-aired spot and many little creases will fall out, and stubborn ones can be removed with an iron, being very careful with the steam and heat so you don't create any shine. But please, don't steam it.
post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyd View Post
. . . .

Dry clean your suit once a season- have it spot-cleaned if it gets stains. Find a cleaner who has good pressing facilities (ask local tailors). Hang the suit in a well-aired spot and many little creases will fall out, and stubborn ones can be removed with an iron, being very careful with the steam and heat so you don't create any shine. But please, don't steam it.

what about steaming only the back of a coat to remove the pesky wrinkles that can develop from, for example, being stuck in some annoying restaurant banquette for a multi-hour dinner in a less-than-adequately climate controlled room? Is there all that much in the way of pressing/shaping to disrupt with a quick shot of the steamer? likewise, what about steaming wrinkles out of the elbows of one's coat sleeves?
post #13 of 76
Fascinating, and your thread on AAAC about canvass constructions is very interesting.

Since you are a bespoke tailor yourself as well as a clothing designer, can you compare and contrast how a bespoke tailor uses hand pressing to accomplish the shaping that machines accomplish for larger manufacturies?

My tailor is English, and I have not seen his workshops, but the alterations tailor that I use locally who also has a bespoke business uses an early 20th century hand press with a heavy iron connected to a foot press on which he stands to add pressure. There's heat, but no steam.

How will you be pressing the suit that you are documenting on your blog?

- B
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyd View Post
Wool.

What about linen? Cotton?

- M
post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by gherrmann View Post
what about steaming only the back of a coat to remove the pesky wrinkles that can develop from, for example, being stuck in some annoying restaurant banquette for a multi-hour dinner in a less-than-adequately climate controlled room? Is there all that much in the way of pressing/shaping to disrupt with a quick shot of the steamer? likewise, what about steaming wrinkles out of the elbows of one's coat sleeves?

Whenever you steam a seam without applying direct pressure, you will "blow it up" meaning it will lose its crisp, flat appearance. The side seams at the back have about 1/8" of fullness which will likly pucker. Other than that, the back is fair game. It's already a mess. But still, an iron would do a much better job.

A sleeve, on the other hand, is a different story. To get that graceful curve is a minor artform in itself, involving easing, stretching, shrinking, and is one of the areas most prone to nastiness. The inseam will blow and pucker, and you will likely get a break about 4 inches above the cuff. The creases are on the inside of the sleeve- place a rolled-up towel (or sleeveboard if you have one) inside the sleeve, press out the creases; then to re-block the sleeve you need to press it back flat again, with the inseam tucked about 3/4" inside. OK, as I am typing this I realise you are going to need another photo but it's late so I'll get to that tomorrow.

What about linen? Cotton?

Ever notice that after wearing a linen or cotton suit for about an hour, even if it's not creased it just doesn't look so fresh anymore? They just don't hold their shape like wool does. They're comfortable and stylish (well, when worn by the Milanese) but wool is still king where suits are concerned.

>>Since you are a bespoke tailor yourself as well as a clothing designer, can you compare and contrast how a bespoke tailor uses hand pressing to accomplish the shaping that machines accomplish for larger manufacturies?
How will you be pressing the suit that you are documenting on your blog?<<

I am sticking my neck out here and fully anticipate a flurry of protest, but one simply cannot press a garment to the same degree of quality with simpmly a hand iron and a tailor's ham. The ham, sausage, sleeve board, and other pressing tools approximate the shapes required at best, the steam and pressure will be uneven from one area of the garment to the next, and the garment should really be fully dried and cool before it is removed from the shape (ham), which would require many hours if done without the aid of vaccuum. The suits that I make for myself, in which I hand pad everything and hand fell everything and if there were the slightest advantage to hand-pressing I would do so, I will absolutely send to a pressing facility to be pressed; I am fortunate, however, to have one at hand.
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