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guide to touching up your suit without wrecking it

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jefferyd, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    Jeffry, I understand what you are saying about seams, but to me it is a theoretical danger, as I have used steam on my jackets (sparingly, I'll admit) and I have not done any noticeable damage to the seams. Maybe it's there on the inside and I can't see it, but if so, what's the real harm?
     
  2. jefferyd

    jefferyd Well-Known Member

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    Jeffry, I understand what you are saying about seams, but to me it is a theoretical danger, as I have used steam on my jackets (sparingly, I'll admit) and I have not done any noticeable damage to the seams. Maybe it's there on the inside and I can't see it, but if so, what's the real harm?

    You may not notice it now but if I showed you, you would. Like once you didn't know the difference between fused and canvas and then someone showed you.
     
  3. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    You may not notice it now but if I showed you, you would. Like once you didn't know the difference between fused and canvas and then someone showed you.

    No, I can clearly see from your pics what happened to your coat. I am saying that I do not see that happening to mine. The seams still look flat on the outside.
     
  4. jefferyd

    jefferyd Well-Known Member

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    No, I can clearly see from your pics what happened to your coat. I am saying that I do not see that happening to mine. The seams still look flat on the outside.

    What I showed was the only thing that could easily be shown in a photo and hopefully is much worse than anything you might encounter at home; the video of the woman with the iron was another good example. Mostly, though, they are things that would be very hard to demonstrate using photos and a message board. I am hoping that people will take it on faith that all the tailors on here all cringe at the mention of steamers and that it is not a good thing, since we can't demonstrate in person.

    Aside from the seam puckering, the loss of shaping is not something I can easily demonstrate with photos but is nonetheless real. The shoemaking analogy is very valid- the cloth has been shaped in the same way but wool is much more sensitive than leather and by steaming you undo the shaping that you would made by stretching the skin over the last, or however you would call it; there is limited space in my brain and most of it is occupied by tailoring, no room for shoemaking.
     
  5. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    You are trying to make me feel guilty. It is working. [​IMG]
     
  6. Mark from Plano

    Mark from Plano Well-Known Member

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    Are there areas of the jacket where it's OK to use a little steam, say with a travel steamer?

    For example, let's say I pack a suit and when it comes out of the luggage it looks OK, but has wrinkles around the "skirt" area, or the lower part of a sleeve (other than on a seam) which isn't highly shaped. Is it OK to use some steam there if you avoid areas like shoulders, chest, all seams, etc.?

    If not, how do you deal with travel wrinkles?
     
  7. jefferyd

    jefferyd Well-Known Member

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    You are trying to make me feel guilty. It is working. [​IMG]

    You, of all people, should have an appreciation for what goes into a good suit, especially since the drape and soft tailoring are the most reliant on shaping and manipulation. Drape + Steam = Droop.
     
  8. jefferyd

    jefferyd Well-Known Member

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    If not, how do you deal with travel wrinkles?


    With the iron and ironing board that they hang in the hotel room closet. I travel a lot, too. And when I do, I am usually seeing clients; imagine my horror at seeing my clothes come out of my luggage and I have to get dressed to meet the buyers for X department store and I, of all people, am expected to look right. I travel with a press cloth, then I set the ironing board up next to the desk so the bulk of the jacket can rest on it while I press the rest, as if using a sleeve board. It's not ideal, but I would never dream of steaming or hanging it in the bathroom while I ran the shower.
     
  9. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    The only pressers I trust are the tailor who made the coat, and one or two very expensive cleaners in Manhattan. I just can't bring myself to bring the coat back to the tailor just for a pressing. It's inconvenient if nothing else, and I assume he would not want to do it.

    Nor have I ever sent a coat to the cleaners just for a pressing.

    So steam is a shortcut, I guess, but it seems to get rid of some very unsightly wrinkles.

    For the most part, however, wrinkles don't bother me that much, so I just live with them.
     
  10. jefferyd

    jefferyd Well-Known Member

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    The only pressers I trust are the tailor who made the coat, and one or two very expensive cleaners in Manhattan. I just can't bring myself to bring the coat back to the tailor just for a pressing. It's inconvenient if nothing else, and I assume he would not want to do it.

    Inconvenient. You spent how many thousands of dollars on it and you want a convenient solution to its maintenance? And not only will he want to do it, he will thank you for it. Try it. If he doesn't, I will personally pay for it to be sent to Madame Paulette.

    But wait. You like drape. You pay extra for unsightly wrinkles.
     
  11. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    Vertical wriklines: good. Horizontal: bad. Latter gets the steam.
     
  12. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Well-Known Member

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    Amazing. Now I know what to do with blown seams. Thank you, sir.
     
  13. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    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.



    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.


    Cleaners will generally steam/press the body and sleeves but won't press the collars or sleeve caps. Pressing does more than rid the garment of wrinkles, it reshapes areas that get stretched from wear.
    Collars, armholes, trouser knees, etc.

    I was never scrutinized more during my apprenticeships than when it came to touching a garment with an iron. My last 3 years of 9 years of apprenticing I was not allowed to completely press a finished jacket for a client.
    Watching a talented presser is a thing of beauty. They can really bring life to a garment.
     
  14. dopey

    dopey Well-Known Member

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    Funny how this thread popped up. I brought a 20+ year old tweed jacket to Winston Tailors to be relined and for minor alterations. I don't think it had been pressed in 10 years. When i picked it up, I was shocked out how beautiful it looked. Then I realized it was the pressing - it was like it had been given a shot of youth serum and brought back to life.
     
  15. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Funny how this thread popped up. I brought a 20+ year old tweed jacket to Winston Tailors to be relined and for minor alterations. I don't think it had been pressed in 10 years. When i picked it up, I was shocked out how beautiful it looked. Then I realized it was the pressing - it was like it had been given a shot of youth serum and brought back to life.

    I think can explain some skepticism about pressing. The before pressing view can be deceiving about the need to press. The after pressing can be amazing regarding the transformation.
     
  16. Wes Bourne

    Wes Bourne Well-Known Member

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    Ah, but the question is: can a good pressing give life to a nondescript rtw jacket that was dead from the start?
     
  17. Mark from Plano

    Mark from Plano Well-Known Member

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    I think can explain some skepticism about pressing. The before pressing view can be deceiving about the need to press. The after pressing can be amazing regarding the transformation.

    Chris,

    Is there a cleaners in Dallas (preferably Plano or near downtown) that you recommend for this?
     
  18. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Some, but it may not last because the internal integrity is not there.
     
  19. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Chris,

    Is there a cleaners in Dallas (preferably Plano or near downtown) that you recommend for this?


    I only use Cox Drycleaners and Laundry. Northwest corner of Southwestern and Greenville Ave. The cleaning is excellent and they press better than most but not the same as a tailor would do. I've used them since 1978.
     
  20. mmkn

    mmkn Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, suit factory pressers are among the highest paid of all factory employees.

    I have learned from my maker how laborious this whole process is.

    Is there a way to send the suits to the pressing line of a factory to get them done? I am suprised that these factories do not offer this service, or do they? Get your suit cleaned by a local cleaner just for cleaning, then send them to the factory for pressing.

    - M
     

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