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Sartorial mythbusting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by apropos, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    Something a little cool I found on teh interwebz, by one of our more valued members: Sartorial mythbusting, episode 1 'Common wisdom' examined in this episode 1. hand-sewn shoulder seams give more elasticity than machine-sewn ones 2. backward swept shoulder seams give more elasticity than regular ones [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     


  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Jeffery, if you read this thread: which sprang back more readily though? It seems to me that would not be the maximal degree of stretch that would distinguish the two modes of construction, but the degree of force needed to stretch and spring back that would be the issue.


    - B
     


  3. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    ...and perhaps, as I pointed out to jd in his blog comments section, the degree of stretch in each 'side' of fabric abutting the shoulder seam relative to the 'other side' of fabric might be important, if not more important than any stretch the actual shoulder seam provides. EDIT: clarification
     


  4. jefferyd

    jefferyd Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Jeffery, if you read this thread: which sprang back more readily though? It seems to me that would not be the maximal degree of stretch that would distinguish the two modes of construction, but the degree of force needed to stretch and spring back that would be the issue.


    - B


    Good questions. I'll have to update my blog post with this too.

    The thing about the hand stitch is not that it is elastic per se- it's not, really, it's only a looping stitch. What made it superior to a lockstitch in certain seams was that a lockstitch can only stretch so much before it breaks whereas a backstitch can stretch a lot more, and is usually done with a very thick thread which is also hard to break. So in the case of the seat seam, a hand stitch was preferable to a lockstitch until chainstitch machines came along.

    In the case of the shoulder seam, I would need a very sensitive fish-scale type thing to measure the force when pulling, but I didn't notice any difference in the force needed. I would still measure in order to be accurate, but it could be said that if I don't feel it when pulling with my hands, are you going to feel any difference when wearing it?

    Next, the silesia strip in the SA seam is firmly woven and semi-bias and thus stays the seam but also acts as a recovery agent- the seam bounces back after stretching whereas the A&S does not. It's like putting elastic in a seam- you stretch, and it bounces back. So in that respect, the SA seam performs better than the A&S.

    The next question which remains to be asked is whether any elasticity is even REQUIRED in the shoulder seam? We are taught that it is, but think about it logically- the seam is stretching from neck to shoulder point. What movement does the body do that could expand the distance from the neck to the acromion? I can't think of any, but now that I am getting the hang of the video camera I am gong to test that too.
     


  5. jefferyd

    jefferyd Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    ...and perhaps importantly, as I pointed out to jd in his blog comments section, the degree of stretch relative in each 'side' of fabric abutting the shoulder seam relative to the other 'side' of fabric.
    Yes- angling the seam back puts the back panel on the bias, which has more give, but straightens the front seam, which negates the extra stretch. Oh. Misunderstood your comment. Even if the cloth stretches along the side of the seam, if the seam does not stretch, you're no better off because it's still restrictive. In any case, even though both seams stretch a lot when loose, when they are tacked into the canvas structure, they loose most of their flexibility. The A&S coat in question has canvas cut on the straight (strangely) but which has the benefit of leaving the canvas shoulder area on the bias, which should stretch more- if it had been cut on the bias like they usually do, this puts the shoulder are on the straight grain and it would be even less flexible.........
     


  6. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that its really tough to compare two different fabrics.

    To compare one change, you must keep everything else constant.
     


  7. jefferyd

    jefferyd Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that its really tough to compare to different fabrics.

    To compare one change, you must keep everything else constant.


    Absolutely. We do a LOT of this kind of testing in factories and we keep all variables constant and test one thing at a time. And we usually do a minimum of a half-dozen garments per variable to be tested. We would also set up more precise measuring equipment. But for the purpose of this experiment, which tested the hypothesis that a hand-sewn seam is elastic and a machine-sewn is not, I think it was sufficient to show that this is not demonstrably true, and is just more of the "received wisdom" that we have a tendency to repeat without testing it.
     


  8. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Absolutely. We do a LOT of this kind of testing in factories and we keep all variables constant and test one thing at a time. And we usually do a minimum of a half-dozen garments per variable to be tested. We would also set up more precise measuring equipment. But for the purpose of this experiment, which tested the hypothesis that a hand-sewn seam is elastic and a machine-sewn is not, I think it was sufficient to show that this is not demonstrably true, and is just more of the "received wisdom" that we have a tendency to repeat without testing it.
    I agree, It does show that a machine sewn stitch will stretch. You guys probably extend this sort of testing into "how much" and "how often" something can be stretched before the stitch breaks.
     


  9. jefferyd

    jefferyd Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I agree, It does show that a machine sewn stitch will stretch. You guys probably extend this sort of testing into "how much" and "how often" something can be stretched before the stitch breaks.

    It's one of the luxuries of working in the RTW industry. Not only is it necessary to do thorough testing, it's also possible. If I want to change a type of canvas or tape or make a pattern change, I run thorough testing. I will look at 100 garments before making a decision; bespoke tailors can't afford to do that. If I am not equipped to test something in-house, there are technical services which can do a lot of it for me.

    But since I am curious, I like to try stuff out myself.
     


  10. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    Yes- angling the seam back puts the back panel on the bias, which has more give, but straightens the front seam, which negates the extra stretch. Oh. Misunderstood your comment. Even if the cloth stretches along the side of the seam, if the seam does not stretch, you're no better off because it's still restrictive. In any case, even though both seams stretch a lot when loose, when they are tacked into the canvas structure, they loose most of their flexibility. The A&S coat in question has canvas cut on the straight (strangely) but which has the benefit of leaving the canvas shoulder area on the bias, which should stretch more- if it had been cut on the bias like they usually do, this puts the shoulder are on the straight grain and it would be even less flexible.........
    Thanks jeffery.
    But since I am curious, I like to try stuff out myself.
    This is the second time I have heard this exact sentence. The first time heralded a significantly better... experience.
     


  11. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    It's one of the luxuries of working in the RTW industry. Not only is it necessary to do thorough testing, it's also possible. If I want to change a type of canvas or tape or make a pattern change, I run thorough testing. I will look at 100 garments before making a decision; bespoke tailors can't afford to do that. If I am not equipped to test something in-house, there are technical services which can do a lot of it for me.

    But since I am curious, I like to try stuff out myself.


    Very cool!
     


  12. jefferyd

    jefferyd Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks jeffery. This is the second time I have heard this exact sentence. The first time heralded a significantly better... experience.
    Care to expand? Edit: oh.........
     


  13. RJman

    RJman Posse Member Dubiously Honored

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    Care to expand?

    I think apropos was referring to autoerotic practices.

    Jefferyd, does this mean that we A&S customers are all going to be wearing the Emperor's New Clothes? I tried reading the Satan forum thread and it seemed to be an example of A&S's dictum that "some swear by 'em, swear at them"...
     


  14. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

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    I think apropos was referring to autoerotic practices.

    Jefferyd, does this mean that we A&S customers are all going to be wearing the Emperor's New Clothes? I tried reading the Satan forum thread and it seemed to be an example of A&S's dictum that "some swear by 'em, swear at them"...


    when did this become a meme?[​IMG] Other than his insistance on ridiculously heavy weight cloths, I find Sator to be even handed and owe him a debt of gratitude for his RM Williams work.
     


  15. jefferyd

    jefferyd Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Jefferyd, does this mean that we A&S customers are all going to be wearing the Emperor's New Clothes? I tried reading the Satan forum thread and it seemed to be an example of A&S's dictum that "some swear by 'em, swear at them"...


    This could just as easily be about Huntsman or any tailor that sews the shoulder seam by hand. It might well have been, but my Huntsman was already apart. Perhaps they have never tested it out, or maybe they have done but their customers insist that it be done by hand because they read on the internet that it's better that way.

    I think the tone of that thread is unfortunate and anything positive that may have come from such an exercise was lost in the snark.
     


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