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Responding to "the suit died for good reasons"

Professor Χάος

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Definitely advise reading through Jeffery D's blog.



Attolini is my favorite maker, and I do not view it as deceptive marketing that they use "made entirely by hand", and I think what is missing from this discussion is a distinction between hand (machine sewn), and hand stitched.

I have a number of Attolini RTW shirts, and it looks to me like the side seams may be hand machine sewn, but back yoke, sleeve attachments, cuffs, and buttonholes are all hand stitched. It makes sense to me for the larger main body panels of a shirt to be machine sewn as those seams need to be very durable and for proper drape, I would think highly even and consistent seams is a plus.

My sense is their sportcoats and suits is where they put in the highest levels of true hand work/stitching.
I like Attolini as well. In terms of RTW silhouette, only Kiton can compete, although I own an older Orazio Luciano which is great, and seems to contain more hand-work than my most recent Attolini. I also bought a Sartoria Partenopea long ago, which looked like it was entirely hand-made. I would like to acquire more SP suits to compare them.

However, as far as: hand-guided through a sewing machine vs hand-made, I was wondering what would count as "machine made"? Can Canali also claim to be "entirely made by hand" if its tailors use sewing machines to make them? How about Jos A Banks (I'm not really sure how they're made)? My question is: if hand-guided sewing machines can be described as "hand made" in some sense, then what would constitute "machine made"? Robots?

I'm also under no illusion that hand-made is necessarily superior to sewing-machine made, but I don't like being told that my suit is completely hand-made, with pictures of tailors sewing suits by hand, only to discover that my suit is made otherwise.
 

Professor Χάος

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I'm sure you gentlemen follow Simon Crompton's blog, and have read about his visits to Solito and Sarotria Ciardi. Do his fully hand-made suits and sports jackets fit better than our Attolinis?
:
That's not obvious to me, although I would like to experience the same adventure one day:

 

breakaway01

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However, as far as: hand-guided through a sewing machine vs hand-made, I was wondering what would count as "machine made"? Can Canali also claim to be "entirely made by hand" if its tailors use sewing machines to make them? How about Jos A Banks (I'm not really sure how they're made)? My question is: if hand-guided sewing machines can be described as "hand made" in some sense, then what would constitute "machine made"? Robots?
Yes there are machines to automate specific steps in making tailored clothing. I’m hardly an expert here but for example here is a machine that can make a pocket (welted and/or flapped)

And another that will set a sleeve into an armhole automatically

Jefferyd’s blog mentions that while one can use a machine to sew a lapel pad, the hand guided machines take a fair bit of skill to use well.
 

breakaway01

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I'm sure you gentlemen follow Simon Crompton's blog, and have read about his visits to Solito and Sarotria Ciardi. Do his fully hand-made suits and sports jackets fit better than our Attolinis?
Surely you don’t believe that an RTW Attolini will fit every person equally well?
 

Professor Χάος

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Surely you don’t believe that an RTW Attolini will fit every person equally well?
No, of course not, but we all seem happy with our Attolinis, so I was addressing the small sample in this discussion. Bespoke at a revered Neapolitan tailoring house is not available to most people. I would like to try it one day; perhaps commission a MTM suit at Attolini, and full bespoke suits at Solito and Ciardi, and then a more systematic comparison would be possible. But even that would be for one person, and not statistically significant. Nevertheless, it would be a great adventure, and worthy of its own SF thread.
 

Professor Χάος

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Yes there are machines to automate specific steps in making tailored clothing. I’m hardly an expert here but for example here is a machine that can make a pocket (welted and/or flapped)

And another that will set a sleeve into an armhole automatically

Jefferyd’s blog mentions that while one can use a machine to sew a lapel pad, the hand guided machines take a fair bit of skill to use well.
Ok. I accept your distinction, but if Canali suits are made mostly by hand-guided sewing machines, I suppose you would also consider their suits "hand-made". Correct?
 

breakaway01

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Ok. I accept your distinction, but if Canali suits are made mostly by hand-guided sewing machines, I suppose you would also consider their suits "hand-made". Correct?
As I think I mentioned earlier, I really don't think about these considerations when I purchase a suit. I buy RTW or MTO tailoring. Whether the cut fits and flatters my build matters 100x more than a marketer's definition of "hand-made." But I think we attach very different weights to craftsmanship based on this discussion and your shoe purchases.

I can tell when a sleeve has been set by hand stitching by looking but I honestly couldn't tell you whether that makes a difference in how the jacket fits on me. I think there are many more variables involved.
 

breakaway01

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No, of course not, but we all seem happy with our Attolinis, so I was addressing the small sample in this discussion.
But it's very odd to compare how your Attolini fits on you to how Simon Crompton's bespoke commissions fit on him to draw any conclusions on the relative merits of RTW vs bespoke fit. Some people are lucky to have very 'standard' builds that match closely to a maker's block pattern, others are not.
 

Professor Χάος

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As I think I mentioned earlier, I really don't think about these considerations when I purchase a suit. I buy RTW or MTO tailoring. Whether the cut fits and flatters my build matters 100x more than a marketer's definition of "hand-made." But I think we attach very different weights to craftsmanship based on this discussion and your shoe purchases.

I can tell when a sleeve has been set by hand stitching by looking but I honestly couldn't tell you whether that makes a difference in how the jacket fits on me. I think there are many more variables involved.
Neither do I, but we're discussing the issue and if we're members of this forum, we're likely obsessed with every aspect of men's clothing and fashion.
 
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Professor Χάος

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But it's very odd to compare how your Attolini fits on you to how Simon Crompton's bespoke commissions fit on him to draw any conclusions on the relative merits of RTW vs bespoke fit. Some people are lucky to have very 'standard' builds that match closely to a maker's block pattern, others are not.
Hmm...good point. I suppose bespoke provides a value premium for those whose body types do not conform to the tailoring houses' population mean. However, are you suggesting the converse; that there's less of a difference between bespoke and high quality RTW for those of us whose body type tends towards the tailoring mean? If so, that makes sense.
 
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imatlas

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...

However, as far as: hand-guided through a sewing machine vs hand-made, I was wondering what would count as "machine made"? Can Canali also claim to be "entirely made by hand" if its tailors use sewing machines to make them? How about Jos A Banks (I'm not really sure how they're made)? My question is: if hand-guided sewing machines can be described as "hand made" in some sense, then what would constitute "machine made"? Robots?

I'm also under no illusion that hand-made is necessarily superior to sewing-machine made, but I don't like being told that my suit is completely hand-made, with pictures of tailors sewing suits by hand, only to discover that my suit is made otherwise.

This is a debate that has raged on SF for a decade or more, and goes back to William Morris and Ruskin in the 19th century.

David Pye, in his book "The Nature and Art of Craftsmanship", attempted to create a definition of craftsmanship that clarified this distinction.

‘ … simply any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship “The workmanship of risk”: an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive.’

He contrasts this with "the workmanship of certainty", which is any process of manufacturing in which the outcome is fixed once the process as begun. Creating a suit via CAD and a fully robotic process would be "the workmanship of certainty" (as it the process of building the sewing machines etc), but a human operating a sewing machine is more likely to fall into the "workmanship of risk" category.

Pye's book is a bit dated but still worth a read. I'd particulary like to hear what @dieworkwear would say about it.
 
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imatlas

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Note that "diversity" as used by Pye refers to something like, "the range of of textures and finishes, such as from smooth to rough, that are created by hand work" vs the smooth uniformness of machined surfaces.
 

Professor Χάος

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This is a debate that has raged on SF for a decade or more, and goes back to William Morris and Ruskin in the 19th century.
David Pye, in his work "The Nature and Art of Craftsmanship", attempted to create a definition of craftsmanship that clarified this distinction.



He contrasts this with "the workmanship of certainty", which is any process of manufacturing in which the outcome is fixed once the process as begun. Creating a suit via CAD and a fully robotic process would be "the workmanship of certainty" (as it the process of building the sewing machines etc), but a human operating a sewing machine is more likely to fall into the "workmanship of risk" category.

Pye's book is a bit dated but still worth a read. I'd particulary like to hear what @dieworkwear would say about it.
Thanks for the valuable reference, and the relevant distinction. I heard that @dieworkwear has left the forum. I hope that's a false rumor.
 

breakaway01

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This is a debate that has raged on SF for a decade or more, and goes back to William Morris and Ruskin in the 19th century.

David Pye, in his book "The Nature and Art of Craftsmanship", attempted to create a definition of craftsmanship that clarified this distinction.



He contrasts this with "the workmanship of certainty", which is any process of manufacturing in which the outcome is fixed once the process as begun. Creating a suit via CAD and a fully robotic process would be "the workmanship of certainty" (as it the process of building the sewing machines etc), but a human operating a sewing machine is more likely to fall into the "workmanship of risk" category.

Pye's book is a bit dated but still worth a read. I'd particulary like to hear what @dieworkwear would say about it.
Thank you—this distinction makes a lot of sense to me.
 

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