- Nov 22, 2015
- Reaction score
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A friend and I went to Sultan's Fine Fabrics one day in December so that he could pick out some fabrics for future commissions and he wanted my help narrowing some choices down and to provide my honest opinion. Sometimes this can be difficult because we all have our own different tastes and interests, the challenge is not necessarily telling a person 'yes' or 'no', but rather providing insight into its versatility. In the documentary O'Mast, one of the tailors was talking about how specific fabrics work for specific people, and when one of his bigger clients had selected a check, he admittedly told the client why it would not work for him. However, personally, my approach is different, because if I'm trying to let the customer choose his own fabrics, I'd want the fabric to call out to him, and not vise versa.
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As easy as it is to get distracted looking for fabrics for someone else, it's almost obvious you'll be easily driven into finding something for yourself. Piles of fabrics on shelves screaming Vicuña and baby cashmere, to silk/linen, to Loro Piana S170's; as boring as most of the patterns were, there were some more fun and playful fabrics laying around as you dig for them. And I dug pretty hard for some of them. I finalized on three rolls, a pink, blue, purple soft-like-flannel-esque tweed; a green, pink, purple silk/linen and a purple-based cashmere/wool check from Loro Piana (I have no purple currently, is purple my secret colour?). In all honesty, due to the stories and witnessing I had heard of and seen regarding the apparent Sultan-rip-offs, I decided I should stick to one so that see firsthand what I would gain from my own experience. Due to the current climate, being December, I decided to go with a winter fabric; and due to it being my first purchase from Sultan's, I decided to scrap the Loro Piana Cashmere. When I asked Sultan what mill it was from and what the composition was of the fabric, he replied "I don't know." Which to be honest, is more respectful than just making something up. So I bought it.
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The three fabrics I had chosen, hard to narrow down.
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The fabric I decided on.
Trying to decide what to do with my fabric, seeing that there are so many possible CMT options, I wanted to brainstorm a way to get it taken care of as soon as possible. The first thing that came to my mind was to get it made locally to save on the time that it would take shipping it overseas, and barely reminding myself that my friends Brenton & Co. were now a running business, I thought it wouldn't hurt to inquire if they could make it up for me before I could even consider them an option. I sent a message to my good friend James, the co-founder. James and I had worked together in the past and had a good on-and-off friendship that depended mostly on how busy our separate lives dictated us. The reply was that it should be something they could do and they asked me to swing by to drop it off.
Once the busyness of Pitti Uomo and returning to work settled down, I found time to finally stop by Brenton & Co. to drop off my jacket and so that I could get measured. Wanting to stay as true to their house-cut as possible, I wanted to only demand the specifications that truly mattered to me; a three button single breasted jacket, non-padded shoulder, jacket length, sleeve length, pocket style and lapel width (which can always be finalized during the first fitting). For the pockets I chose triple patch-pockets with the two on bottom having reversed box pleats, and the chest pocket without. They asked me if I wanted the shirring at the shoulder and because the fabric is a little on the heavier side, we mutually agreed that some would be nice but may not be too visible. They called the tailor who would draw up my pattern and cut it down to take my measurements. Having a background in Made-to-Measure, I am used to taking at least 20 different measurements for jackets for my clients, but with Brenton I counted maybe six, which was a bit surprising at first, but seeing as there are further fittings required, it made sense. Once the measurements were taken and my specifications were noted, I gave Brenton my money and we exchanged schedule availability to have me come back to document the cutting process in their workshop.
Over the weekend, it so happened to work out that they'd be cutting my jacket a little after the time I would get off work at Spier & Mackay, so I ran up to Yorkville to meet with Ira and James before walking over to their workshop. Once we reached the workshop, the tailor was waiting for us with his sheers in hand; before him, on a table, was my fabric sprawled out and folded in half, marked up with chalk-outlines of what I could tell was the right-half of my jacket; (you could easily tell my right sleeve outline, and my front-panel chest piece with the darting marked into it). Once the cutter cut out each individual piece, he would take his time to pattern match each panel to the folded-over fabric beneath it by holding the two pieces together with pins, once the checks all lined up he would cut the mirrored pattern out accordingly. It was a pretty exciting experience to see the cutting process in person.
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The pins, in the above image, are holding the two layers of fabric together so the pattern-matching remains perfect.
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I now await the assembly of the basted fit so I can see the next step of the construction of my jacket so that I can document the remainder of the process. In total, Ira told me that the turn-around is four to six weeks and working in Made-to-Measure at Spier and Mackay, with our promised turn-around time of 6-8 weeks, it's more common that the customer gets their finished garment in 8-10, and if it's a personal order for me, I usually don't expect to see it for maybe three to four months. So, 4-6 weeks sounds like a pretty quick turn-around from my biased perspective. Once the assembly and fitting follow through, I'll have further information to report back.