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Oct 13, 2010

All Quiet on the Jacket Front



Readers, the cranberry corduroy suit saga continues.  Slowly.  And look, I'm tailoring -- by hand!  Do you believe it?

This is painstaking work, punctuated by frequent intrusive thoughts along the lines of, "I'm hand basting hair cloth to a cotton corduroy jacket?"  It was a tough call.  I want the jacket to have body but I didn't want to fuse interfacing to my corduroy -- although there apparently are some modern fusibles you can use with corduroy.  I decided to do it the old fashioned way.

I'm almost done with my right front side; still have to pad stitch the lapel, among other things.  Even with all the tailoring books I have (and I have too many) I've found Gertie's tailoring videos tremendously helpful and encouraging.  She has such a sweet presence and I love those tender little moments when Jeff enters the room off camera or the cat jumps up on the table. I find myself watching them again and again and again, don't you?

On Monday I bought matching cranberry silk Gutermann thread, and have been using some of the tailoring supplies I bought to make Michael's today a dream, tomorrow still a dream suit.  I even started by waxing my thread strands and then ironing them between pieces of fabric to remove the excess wax.   Then I tried the silk thread without the wax and it worked just as well.

I mean, come on!



I've mainly been following Simplicity's Sewing For Men and Boys, but have also been consulting Kenneth King's Cool Couture, Cabrera's Classic Tailoring Techniques (for menswear), and Tailoring: The Classic Guild to Sewing the Perfect Jacket.  As you might guess, they all do things a little differently so I'm just trying to pick out the techniques that seem best suited (ha ha) to this project.

From the front, the eensy-weensy handstitches are nearly invisible.  That's about as good as it's going to get, I'm afraid.  This is not wool tweed.



So that's how my week is developing and I hope yours is proving a little less tedious.  I can't do more than a few hours of hand stitching per day or my eyes start to cross and my fingers go numb.  But that's me.

In other news, I found a fantastic, working, Luceplan Berenice task lamp in the trash while walking the dogs this morning.  People are strange.



We've been feeding the dogs free-range raw chicken parts and they're loving them.  Eww, right?







And my vintage Gillette 1961 Super-Speed razor -- a recent eBay purchase -- has arrived, so I can now begin my new double-edge razor morning shaving ritual.  Cross your fingers there's not too much blood.  Wouldn't you like to read more about vintage-style men's grooming?  Of course you would!



Friends, we've come to the end of our show.  I hope you'll tune in tomorrow for Pad Stitching On Parade and maybe a few rousing show tunes.  I hope your day is full of great garbage finds and lots of sewing -- by hand or that other way.

Happy Wednesday everybody!

P.S.  Before I forget, if you'd like to see how I store my sewing patterns and maintain poor home hygiene, pop on over to The Blue Gardenia.   I don't know why I agreed to expose the chaos that is my sewing space to the public at large but let's face it: I am loathe to turn down free publicity.

29 comments:

  1. eek! I learned to shave my legs with one of those razors and still have the scars to prove it. Who knew one could lose so much blood and still live?

    Hope

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  2. I'm looking at those chicken parts and thinking..."you sure he's in NYC and not someplace like...Maine?"

    And, yes, you are a publicity whore - that's why we love you!

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  3. Please don't feed your dogs raw chicken bones. They are dangerous! I don't want to be mean here, but I hope you will check with your vet. The bones can splinter and puncture the dogs' intestines, leading to a painful death. This applies to turkey bones, too. Please, please, please!

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  4. You will love the double edged razor. I use it every morning. One blade lasts me a month-how much better does it get than that.

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  5. BTW, I am a vet and the raw chicken bones are not that dangerous-whatever you do, don't cook them-that is much worse. Just be careful with any raw chicken-it could have Salmonella.

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  6. How do I say this.... could you please, please not post pictures of chicken parts?

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  7. Chicken feet...on the carpet? I'm a cat person, so I can't speak to the safety of chicken bones, and it looks like you've got professional advice above. But raw chicken...on the carpet...?

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  8. So... you're feeding vintage (to the dogs) and you're sewing vintage. LOL over the chicken leg looking bigger than the dog. I love that photo. We feed raw, too. (to the dog, of course) Raw chicken bones Those feet should be quite safe, as are necks.

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  9. As I understand it (and I'm no vet) the problem with chicken bones is the cooked ones, not the raw. My mom used to feed her dogs raw food, but it was, ah, rather more processed... it looked rather like raw hamburger, although I gather they pretty much ground up the whole animal ;). Definitely made for improved digestion, health, and less poop.

    Your jacket is looking awesome, Peter!

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  10. Who would post the snarky comment on Blue Gardenia?!? I believe that a certain degree of clutter is essential for the artistic soul.

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  11. Eww, chicken feet! Interesting that a vet said it was ok, I thought that was definitely a no-no.

    You have the best trash picking anywhere. I love that lamp!

    Anyway, enjoyed seeing your mess on Blue Gardenia. Your home has become a tailoring shop.

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  12. Weird about the razor. My husband's grandfather, who died this summer at the age of 95, kept all of his old razors and they ended up at my house. My husband decided he was going to try one of those old straight razors out, to see if they worked better than the Gillet 5 blade thing-a-ma-jigs they sell now. Nope. He's decided that although many things are better in vintage, shaving is not.

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  13. Excellent information about RAW bones and dogs at RawFed.com, for those interested in this topic.

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  14. Please tell me where you can buy blades for those vintage double edged razors !! I've heard they last longer and are much less costly than current blades.

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  15. ...and lots of excellent information about shaving with double-edged safety razors at BadgerandBlade.com

    I found my Wilkinson blades at a local pharmacy. Amazon is a good source if you can't find them in your neck of the woods.

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  16. Yay, it's almost like you're doing the sew-along with us! I'm so glad you're finding the videos helpful. Today I'm wearing a cotton pique jacket that I tailored. The cotton took pad stitching surprisingly well!

    I have to get that Cabrera book. Oh my gosh, I think I could talk about tailoring all day!

    Okay, you all go back to discussing chicken bones and razors . . . :)

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  17. Actual sewing?? No way!

    Looks like the jacket is coming along nicely. You have far more patience than I. Hand-sewing is a dirty word around here.

    And FWIW - I love the chicken feet pics. Dogs can handle salmonella no problem. As I'm sure you know, their systems are built for raw diets. And if you're wearing your NYC shoes on that carpet, I'm sure there are far ickier no-see-ums lurking. A little dirt and bacteria is good for the soul. ;-)

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  18. The things you find in the rubbish! Brill - like ebay, without waiting for the post.

    My Dad uses a razor which looks very much like the one in your photo - just don't hurry!

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  19. I love it all! I just hope your dogs realize that if they met a real live chicken, it would kick their little doggie asses.

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  20. My, it was like Poor Peter's Almanac today, what with info on padstitching, razors, raw-food canine diets and dumpster treasures. Excited about your jacket progress. I find thread waxing always helps immensely with the annoying twisting and knotting, but if the Gutermann is behaving without it, why bother? Keep those happy canine shots coming . . . love the pooches!

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  21. Oh, I loooove that lamp! I'm always amazed at what people toss.

    As for the razor, it looks like what my grandfather used to use. He had several; the older, the heavier. I used to watch him shave when I was little, all hot water, shaving brush and steam. Even after so many years of shaving, he'd nick himself once in a while if the blade wasn't sharp enough. My dad swore by a straight razor and had bottles of men's hair tonic and other strange stuff you only see in vintage gangster movies. I think it's the hot water that softens the beard enough so you don't cut yourself. If you do, alcohol is the best thing to stop the bleeding even though it hurts a lot.
    Heather

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  22. funny to see the chicken foot....did you shop in Chinatown for that?

    I recently heard about the difference between raw/cooked poultry bones. For all my life, I also thought poultry bones of any kind were verboten. But it's the cooked ones....well, good to know!

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  23. Instead of using the stiffer hair canvas you could have probably used a couple of layers of non-fusible interfacing or cotton muslin that maybe could have provided a less rigid inner support but a softer overall finished hand.

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  24. As someone who is standing on the edge of the diving board, peering down into the deep end of the pool that is tailoring, I have to ask you... What tailoring book do you think is best? You mentioned that you have several, and no doubt they are all good! But what has the best/most useful/most approachable/most understandable information?
    Thanks! I'm looking forward to the completion of the cranberry jacket!

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  25. Kara, I'd say of all of them, Tailoring, published by Creative Publishing International, is the most accessible and comprehensive and has loads of full-color photos. You can find it on Amazon for about $12. It's more for women than men but I'm finding it very useful.

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  26. Consider your corduroy tailoring good practice for future projects.

    Do you read the blog "Made by Hand- the great Sartorial Debate"? - he's a tailor who posts about his work. It's really inspiring (of course, not more than your blog).

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  27. I don't know if I like this pad stitching craze sweeping the land of sewing bloggers so much. You're all getting all haughty- culture on us!

    What about us regular slobs? Oh for the day when the average home sewer could admit just using whatever colour thread was in the machine at the time?

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  28. Great progress so far! I have yet to start cutting out my coat much less start padstitching for Gertie's sewalong. I better get on that....

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