I've been asked about my buttonholes a few times, mainly by people wanting to know how to do them. There's a good set of printed instructions here but I have a few things to add to it.
The type of cloth will dictate how narrow a bite you can take- loose cloth requires a wider bite, tight cloth you can get away with a narrower bite. It makes a difference in the appearance. Consider the buttonholes at the top of the post- they have a raised appearance like the Milanese buttonhole. The buttonholes below appear much flatter.
What is the difference? They were all made with the same size silk twist, the same gimp, using the same stitch type, and by the same person (me). To get the flat buttonhole, I take a fairly wide stitch so that the gimp sits under the leg of the stitch and the knot sits to the side of it. For the raised buttonhole, I take a much narrower stitch and pull straight up when making the knot in order to place the knot directly on top of the gimp. This gives the volume. I filmed the making of the grey sleeve shown above; I'm not sure if anything will be visible in the internet-friendly version, but let's give it a shot.
EDIT- Apparently some browsers only display half the video screen, so by clicking on the title of the video (Hand Made Buttonholes) you can go to the vimeo site where you should be able to see it complete. In the meantime I will try to figure this thing out..... still more technical problems. If you get jagged lines, try clicking through the full res version on Vimeo- I think that works better.
Those who are interested in the materials used can check out this blog post where I discussed the various threads http://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/2009/12/hand-made-buttonholes.html
Unfortunately, I don't know where to get the Agreman gimp online. Richard James Weldon stocks it in London, Lafayette Saltiel Drapiers stocks it in Paris and sells the black by the meter rather than by the spool, you could try calling Bergen Tailor Supply, B. Black or Ely Yawitz- they may stock it even if it's not on their websites. Next time I see my Gutermann rep I will ask if he knows of anybody who stocks it, but I doubt he will know.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
If you missed the first Henry Poole dissection, check it out here There were a few curious details which raised several questions about the make which couldn't be answered since there was no customer label; we were therefore not sure if this were a bespoke garment or a sample or something.
To help clear the air a bit, StyleForum member Ohm was kind enough to donate a bespoke Henry Poole coat for dissection and comparison to the other coat. Thank you, Ohm.
It's a two-button in a heavy brown herringbone tweed with suede elbow patches.
The date and customer name have been crossed out on the label so we are not sure of when it was made, but the address stated of 15 Savile Row means it was made after they moved from their Cork Street premises into their current location in 1986.
One of the first things I noticed was that the lining of this garment has been sewn to the facing by machine, unlike the previous Poole coat which was done by hand, and the pockets were made directly on the lining, the same as the A&S suit that was recently dissected.
Some people maintain that the lining should be inserted by hand, for a number of reasons. These two coats show that, at least at some point in their history, both Henry Poole and Anderson & Sheppard, two of Savile Row's most prominent houses, disagreed.
Another interesting detail about this coat is that there is a pre-fab commercial shoulder pad. A thin one, but pre-fab nonetheless.
Again, many maintain that the shoulder pad should be made by hand, and I know of at least one reader who will be brandishing torch and pitchfork when he sees this, but in a tweed of this weight, not even the most experienced tailor would be able to tell the difference between a hand made pad and a pre-fab one without opening the lining.
As a company, Pooles have been known to be the most forward-thinking of all the Row houses and they have always been trying new things, and trying to stay abreast of new technologies. This is only to be commended. While I don't like their choice of haircloth in this garment, one which incorporates a synthetic core wrapped in hair and which is very common in modern, factory-produced garments, I also have the benefit of hindsight on that one. I have also tried it and decided that it wasn't for me, so I can't fault them for trying it, I just hope they have gone back to the real stuff.
The biggest surprise on the last Poole garment was the pad stitching of the lapel and collar- it was done by machine. While it is generally assumed that everybody on the Row still does this by hand, I have it from one of Gieves and Hawkes' clients that they have done this by machine for many years. Since we weren't sure whether the last Poole coat was bespoke or not, we reserved judgement about the padding. But here again, this time in a coat which we know to be bespoke, the lapel has been done by machine
and so has the collar
So it was not just a fluke.
I should add that this is not done with a regular flat-bed blindstitch machine, but one designed to allow the lapel to roll as it is being blindstitched. I'll see if I can find a photo somewhere. This is the industrial equivalent- the lapel gets rolled by orange bar as it is being stitched. A pair of these (one left, one right) is in the 60 to 80 thousand dollar range. Ouch!