Evaluating the construction of bespoke garments: Hand vs. machine work
By: Stu Bloom
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At RAVE FabriCARE, we specialize in cleaning, restoring and hand ironing fine garments.
A growing part of our business is caring for bespoke suits, sport coats, trousers and shirts.
Because we serve clients located throughout the USA and Canada, we’re exposed to a wide array of bespoke garments crafted in England, Italy, Hong Kong and the USA.
During the course of serving these clients, I’m frequently asked to critique these garments. Typically, the conversation — either in person or on the phone — turns specific: What do you think of the construction of this garment?
Although I’ve improved my knowledge of construction techniques over the years, I’d be the first to admit that my ability to answer that question is relatively primitive.
There are individuals who are, today, far more knowledgeable than I’ll ever be.
These individuals include Will Boehlke (www.asuitablewardrobe.com), “F. Corbera” (www.voxsartoria.com), Simon Crompton (www.permanentstyle.com), Jeffery Diduch (tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com) and Derek Guy (www.dieworkwear.com).
So I was delighted to read Derek Guy’s blog post titled What’s the point of hand work?
Finally, here was a post that clarified, at least in my mind, why talking about the “construction” of a bespoke garment is often so confusing:
- The terms hand work and machine work are often used interchangeably.
- The degree of hand work vs. machine work offered by the same tailor can vary significantly depending on the client
- The degree of hand work vs. machine work offered by the same tailor can vary significantly depending on the price point
- The degree of hand work vs. machine work offered by different tailors can vary significantly — even at the same price point.
Furthermore, hand work is often confused with embellishments. As Derek points out, this confusion is aggravated by the fact that even ready to wear brands add embellishments to their garments to foster the illusion of hand work. Such details include pick stitching on the lapels of a Hugo Boss jacket or a hand sewn placket, collar and hem on a Kiton shirt.[ctt template=”3″ link=”1_Zyf” via=”no” ]When discussing the relative merits of a bespoke garment, it is critical to distinguish between hand work versus machine work @ravefabricare[/ctt]
This post is a must read for anyone interested in fine bespoke garments and their construction.
In my mind, Derek Guy is emerging as one of the most interesting bloggers in the arena of fine men’s clothing and accessories. The breadth of his knowledge and range of his coverage is truly impressive. You can read his posts on dieworkwear.com and putthison.com.
Photo credit: anderson-sheppard.co.uk
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