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guide to touching up your suit without wrecking it - Page 5

post #61 of 172
What should I expect to pay to have a tailor re-press a suit? Most of the seams look fine, but the front darts are a bit puckered as are the lower outside sleeve seams.
post #62 of 172
Thread Starter 
Best to ask the tailor what he thinks needs done and how much it will cost. If you don't like his answer you can always get a second opinion.
post #63 of 172
Bump

Great thread, thanks Jeffery
post #64 of 172
not sure if this was explained or not, but isnt pressing the same as steaming but with a hot metal plate included?

wouldnt the pressing (if it is equated to ironing) accelerate seam damage more so than steaming itself?
how do you explain? thanks.
post #65 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sho'nuff View Post
not sure if this was explained or not, but isnt pressing the same as steaming but with a hot metal plate included? wouldnt the pressing (if it is equated to ironing) accelerate seam damage more so than steaming itself? how do you explain? thanks.
It was explained, but maybe not clearly enough. Pressing= combination of heat, moisture, pressure & shape to create semi-permanent form. Steaming= relaxing fibers to remove wrinkles but also the shaping carefully created by the tailor, as well as pant creases and seam finishes. When you steam the creases of the pant, they go away, right? A seam is like to crease that are abutted- when you steam them, they are no longer flat and crisp. I can think of two seams which do not have some sort of fullness worked into them. By fullness I mean extra cloth, like the shoulder seam. This photos is taken from Mahon's blog The little wrinkles will get pressed out by the tailor, leaving a back area which is fuller to accommodate the shoulder blade. Most seams have some sort of fullness or shaping. If you steam these without applying pressure to keep them flat, the puckering is likely to show. Not good. A properly tailored suit has had the pieces stretched and shrunk to give them shape that they would otherwise not have. This is the before and after shot of a back panel which has been shaped using an iron and some steam. See my blog posting for more details on that. This is one reason very expensive suits look expensive and cheap ones look cheap- the shaping by the tailor is not the same. If you steam these parts without the appropriate shape underneath and without pressure on top, you lose this shaping. If you press the suit indiscriminately (flat) you will also wreck the shaping but at least you will not cause the seams to puff and pucker like steam alone will do. Steam alone (without the pressure of an iron) can also cause delamination of fused suits. The irons used by pro tailors (like the old one in my avatar) weigh around 18 pounds and they do not cause seam damage. Imagine using such a heavy weight when creasing your trousers- you would get a better result, no? Finally, technically speaking, ironing and pressing are not the same. Ironing is rubbing an iron over a garment to remove wrinkles and maybe crease a sleeve or trouser. Pressing is a controlled action to impart shape to a garment; you do not rub the iron all over, the preferred method is to lay a press cloth over the garment, put the iron in place, give a shot of steam, hold the iron in place for the area to dry a bit, lift the cloth and move on to the next spot. A tailor will use various forms (like a ham, a sleeve board, etc.) to maintain the shape of the garment while he is working. A line of finish pressing equipment in a factory costs in the millions of dollars and believe me, if the same job could be accomplished with a jiffy steamer, we would.
post #66 of 172
thanks for the explanation. it still is a bit over my head, but i always figured that suits and tailored clothing were in a particular shape and form, due simply to the cut of the fabrics.

i had no idea that they actually worked a certain shaping into the fabric, like let say, analogous to a leather shoe on its last.

im going to have to sit back a bit later and really go through this thread reading it carefully.
post #67 of 172
While this thread is ostensibly about touching up a tailored suit, it is, in fact, a mini-course on the potential three-dimensionality of tailored clothing.

I am struck once again by J.'s generosity as well as the amount of respect that he has for his readers.

- B
post #68 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sho'nuff View Post
i had no idea that they actually worked a certain shaping into the fabric, like let say, analogous to a leather shoe on its last.


Extremely good analogy, which i wish I had thought of because it may have been clearer to everyone. Yes, the cloth is shaped before it is even sewn, and the shaping continues through the process. The finish pressing alone takes between one and 3 hours to do.

Improper pressing or steaming a suit would be akin to storing your shoes with a big heavy weight on top of them. Lasts and shoe trees maintain the shape the same way the tools we use for pressing maintain the shape while we work. Good example.
post #69 of 172
I really want to try this, but it still scares the heck out of me.
post #70 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
While this thread is ostensibly about touching up a tailored suit, it is, in fact, a mini-course on the potential three-dimensionality of tailored clothing.

I am struck once again by J.'s generosity as well as the amount of respect that he has for his readers.

- B

Just so you know, I have absolutely no influence over Despos and how he awards his discounts.

But thanks anyway.
post #71 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
I really want to try this, but it still scares the heck out of me.

As it should. You spend lots of money on your clothes, let someone take good care of them for you. You wouldn't take an Aston Martin to the mechanical carwash at the gas station, would you?
post #72 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyd View Post
As it should. You spend lots of money on your clothes, let someone take good care of them for you. You wouldn't take an Aston Martin to the mechanical carwash at the gas station, would you?

He might have a couple of Buicks in the garage, though.

- B
post #73 of 172
jeffery, i have one last question.

would it suffice to take a suit to be pressed by any common but competent tailor or dry cleaners out there (who knows how to press a suit)
or
are the shapings of the cloth on a jacket or suit brand-specific enough that it is required to take them to the tailor that works for that particular brand?

for example, an rlpl suit jacket has to be pressed by a ralph lauren tailor who knows the subtle shapings of his jacket that gives the suit its brand-specific aesthetic and form? not to some tailor who works in the back of macy's mens who has only experience pressing perry ellis and alfani suits with their generic lines and aesthetics.
post #74 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by jefferyd View Post
Extremely good analogy.

Continuing on with this analogy, why not wear the garment while having someone else steam to "shape" it? Are there built in shaping by the iron that compensates for lesser than ideal and balanced anatomy (assuming that bespoke is a combination of fitting the wearer and idealizing shaping [i.e., the "polished marble clean chest."])?

- M
post #75 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sho'nuff View Post
jeffery, i have one last question.

would it suffice to take a suit to be pressed by any common but competent tailor or dry cleaners out there (who knows how to press a suit)
Unfortunately, most dry cleaners don't do a very good job of pressing. Some will really wreck it. I would rater have a suit cleaned but not pressed and then brought to a tailor to be pressed; the shaping is not brand-specific so any good presser can do any brand of suit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mmkn View Post
Continuing on with this analogy, why not wear the garment while having someone else steam to "shape" it? Are there built in shaping by the iron that compensates for lesser than ideal and balanced anatomy (assuming that bespoke is a combination of fitting the wearer and idealizing shaping [i.e., the "polished marble clean chest."])?

- M

Pressure is required while pressing (pressing=pressure) so steam alone while hanging the cloth is no good (besides, that's a bit too hot) Factory pressing equipment is made to specific shapes for each job- one machine for the shoulders, on for the top of the chest, one for the top of the back, one for creasing the armhole, etc. They replicate the shape of the body during pressing, which is a lot easier than doing it all with the aid of the ham and sleeve board. A skilled presser knows how to "read" the garment as they are working to maintain any asymmetries that were built into bespoke and MTM garments. FWIW, suit factory pressers are among the highest paid of all factory employees.
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