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Lack of Shortcuts

The whole concept of my blog is to write about the successes and the failures or struggles of the process and transition from apprenticeship to business owner and head tailor of my own brand. I have written a lot about the accomplishments and successes of different stages within my start up, so I thought I would switch gears for a bit and talk a little bit about the frustrations and "setbacks" of this world of bespoke and handmade garments.

For the last year I have been picking away at sourcing the materials needed to run and operate my business. I want to get  an idea of what I need and will need to run my business for the first six months as well as the first year. I am continually online sourcing fabrics, linings, and notions for my own business and what I am quickly learning and quickly coming to the conclusion of is that in order to run a great business I will have to do things quite differently. I am slowly learning exactly why the art of bespoke clothing has become almost non-excitant. If you have been through my website you will probably have read about bespoke clothing and why it is different than that of ready to wear. It is often hard to explain to someone the inner workings of the construction of a garment because typically a person’s willingness to really understand the process is not there.

This week I can put another tally on the board for learning life lessons. The concept goes back to the idea of your grandmothers cooking. Nothing tastes as good as grandmas cooking, and this is because it is all made from scratch, nothing is premade and it usually takes all day to do. The art of bespoke is no different and as I have learned there are no shortcut to making bespoke clothing.

In this industry you can get many things that are premade to make life easier, both for small tailors and large manufacturers and the canvasing or chest piece happens to be one of those things.

{The chest piece for the general public is the canvasing and construction in the front of the suit. The canvasing is there to give structure and shape to the garment. Often made from three or four layers of canvasing and cotton.}

As bespoke tailors we work with the chest piece to pad stitch it, this creates form and shape within the chest allowing the garment to keep its shape for many years. Most places will use a machine that just stitches the canvas to the cloth, however bespoke tailors will hand stitch the canvasing. Working by hand with the cloth and canvas allows you to add shape and ease easier than that of a machine.

I am currently working on a black sport jacket right now (for myself) and I took an evening last week to work on the pad stitching with one of these canvases. Unfortunately the materials in the canvasing turned out to be absolute rubbish. By the time I was finished stitching the chest piece the entire thing looked more like corrugated cardboard than a well-rounded piece of art.

I think the thing that makes me the angriest is why companies do not use the right materials to start off with. An idea that is supposed to make work easier now makes it more difficult. Going forward I will have to source all the materials independently and construct them as I need them, instead of having chest pieces on hand they will all have to be made on a per-suit basis. This is one of the reasons why I work on my independent projects, to learn what does and does not work.  This way my customers get the best possible product. Maybe I will get a student once I open and teach them how to do it. That way the student can come in once a week to work on canvasing and pad stitching while I focus on other projects.

I will have to add that to my project board along with sourcing materials for the canvasing, although I am happy that I am learning all of this now and not when my shop is open. It will be less stress on me when all the little details are ironed out. :)

Follow my work on Instagram for an inside look at projects and work that the public normally does not get to see.

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