Suits with cloth swatch/ button bags

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by The_Foxx, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. The_Foxx

    The_Foxx Senior member

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    i've noticed several of my suits come with a bag containing a roll of thread, buttons (for the sleeves, obviously), and 2 swatches of the cloth.

    what is the cloth for? my guess is that it is somehow used to make surgeon's cuffs/ working buttonholes, but why does the tailor often tell me if he shortens the sleeves too much, he can't cut buttonholes??
     
  2. Ranjeev

    Ranjeev Senior member

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    I can't say that I know for sure what the extra cloth is for but I use it to help chose coordinating shirts and ties.  It's certainly easier to carry the little piece of cloth to a store and pick out corresponding ties and shirts then it is to carry the whole suit with you.
     
  3. gker

    gker Member

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    Wierd how you're always supplied with two swatches instead of just one. Maybe one to give to your significant other to help in a search? heh
     
  4. naturlaut

    naturlaut Senior member

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    The cloth swatches have multiple uses.  One of the uses is for repairing small rips and tears.  As it's almost impossible to find the same threads that would match your suit's fabric, your tailor could pull from that swatch to do the repair.

    Another use of it came from an old practice from Savile Row.  At the end of making your suit, a small swatch of your fabric is cut from the bolt and is either given to you to keep for your record, or kept in books by the tailor, so you could use it to make comparisons for your next fabric purchase.  I suggest you get a notebook (with thicker papers preferably) and paste those swatches in to make a similar record book.  In modern days, though chances are slim, you could order an extra pair of pants (or jacket) from the maker using the same fabric by sending them that swatch.  That is more widely done nowadays, especially an order for second pair of pants.  

    As top makers seldom use fabrics from more than two or three mills, a quick search of, say, brown plaid in ~10oz will turn up from either of those mills easily.  Therefore, for makers who don't use exclusive fabrics or orders made from a dozen mills, it'd be impossible for them to look up your fabric and thus they would not include an extra swatch for you in your suit purchase.  

    Regarding opening buttonholes when doing sleeve shortening, I can't provide you with an answer as your tailor is not telling you enough to explain why.  I see no reason why a buttonhole can't be opened, unless, of course, when he does the shortening he folds too much of the sleeve fabric into the lining.  


    Naturlaut
     
  5. davei

    davei Senior member

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    It depends on the suit, but usually there's very little "play" in shortening/lengthening sleeves. Only the bottom hem of the sleeve should be shortened, which means you can run into a button if the button is placed too close to the existing hem. If you need to shorten a large amount, this usually means removing a button if it's a 4 button sleeve.

    The two halves of the sleeve are patterned in an "L" shape, with the bottom extensions of the "L" forming the placket/vent (overlapping area for the buttons.) There is usually no seam allowance to cut into the placket/vent to make it longer (i.e. move all the buttons further up the sleeve.)

    So if the buttonholes themselves do not need to be moved, it's usually trivial to cut holes/gimp the edge for "real" working buttonholes.
     

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