Day 18 – Do you have time enough? (A2, B2, C2)

Timing your work can be extremely stressful. Do you add some extra time to make it perfect, do you just stop and accept the result, or do you distribute the time at hand for a more even process?

Chapter 1 – The Project’s dilemma.

Mathematical projects can be so unemotional. You make a plan. You follow the rules. Success is then within reach. How hard can it be? Enter, feelings.

Thoughts. Contemplations. Worries. Questions. Have I time enough? Will it work? Should I opt for something more advanced? It’s like a roller-coaster! And you are right there in the front-seat!

The list above was much needed, and very helpful indeed after the initial few easy days. Now it helps me keeping track on all the garments and combinations. Today it showed me I had exactly three choises left before running out of options. So I just picked the first free one, and marked it D18* (Day 18).

What I also could see is that I only have two days left for making another garment. Do I have time enough to make something extraordinary? Or Should I go for something practical, that I just can wear comfortably for 100 days? The dilemma of wanting more hours, but at the same time maybe having enough of them, if used right. To plan far ahead and make great decisions that actually work vs. freefloating creativity! Time to make a choise.

Chapter 2 – Investing in a collection! Time well spent?

Continued the day with the production of our menswear Bespoke Era summer collection for next year. It should be ready soon. I’m making the shorts, chinos and t-shirts at the moment in wonderfully vibrant colors. I like it!

But as usual it takes a lot of time. Time which is noted, checked and filed. I always tend to imagine that items would (or could) be swiftly assembled – an optimist! The reality though, is that it takes exactly the amount of time I invest to get the level of quality I want to achieve. In other words – if I upgrade the garment for aesthetic or resilience reasons, or both, it will take longer to make. Something I’m very aware of.

So how much time should be invested in samples of creative visions? Well… it depends how much time you have to invest. A decision you have to make, if you’re self-employed. But if you ask me, the answer is that I like to present visions clear and precise. Because, then the next garment, in the same style, for a customer, will go just a little bit faster, and will look slightly more coherent.

So I would say, don’t go overboard! Don’t try to achieve all at once! Instead, make your projects in a scale you can comprehend, and do it well. That’s time we’ll spent!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 17 – Color and choises. (A1, B1, C2)

In summer season, when you go for strong silhouettes and good quality garments, you also want the colors to shine bright!

Chapter 1 – Adding colors!

When planning your collection it’s important that your colors gives a strong message of coherence. The fabrics should not represent everything – they should tell your story!

When choosing, don’t look at them separately. Try to pick up two or three of them and see if they go together. Then shift one of them, and see if you’re still okay.

The idea is that they all should go together within different combinations – then you could use (or buy, or sell) all the garments made with confidence. And that’s our point here! Do not be random. Do your “homework” properly before embarking into your production. That will save both time and money!

Chapter 2 – Make a choise.

When embarking into your production, you should in beforehand have made some quality choises. Do you want a over-the-top handstitched collection? Do you want to focus on a great fit and smooth silhouettes? Is overlook just not your thing? Have you planned your fittings?

To make all these decisions can be hard. Especially if you’re not trained in tailoring and/or collection technique. If your only reference is your own bought wardrobe, or images from the internet, you should invest in some guidance. Get a collaboration assistant! Someone with great experience.

The important thing is not to know it all. The important thing is to plan as much as possible, technically, to not “paint yourself into a corner”, wasting precious time and money.

So make a list on topics as overall look, focus, stitching, thread, buttons, finishing, and so on. And your results will be so much better!

Chapter 3 – The Project.

We arrived to day no. 17! Yes! I’m actually feeling quite proud. It all starting to make sense now, feeling just like a natural thing, to only be wearing these few garments in different new combinations. I don’t even miss my old pre-project clothes!

My list actually did all the difference! Now I can just go through it, and see what combinations I have to choose between. Easy! And now I can also calculate that I have only three days left, before I have to add a new garment. And if I then add another jacket – boom! – then I suddenly have 10 new combinations! (Going from 20 to 30.) And if I then add a pair of trousers on top of that, then I’ve got additional 15 more combinations! This is so much fun!

See you tomorrow for a new project combination, and much more sewing and planning! Have a wonderful day!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 16 – Teach. Make. Be. (A3, B1, C2)

Chapter 1 – Teach.

Got these images refreshed for me this weekend. It’s from one of my former student’s work – actually it’s a part of his exam project at my academy. His name is Torbjörn Bergström. I think the garments are so beautiful and a perfect example of well cut and crafted tailoring. The inspiration was Art Deco and the model’s name is Mille. The pictures are from around the turn of the century.

Chapter 2 – Make.

Today I was making shirts for the Bespoke Era project. Matching shape and stripes.

I think it’s important to know how to give a garment a certain calmness. And that is often the case when the stripes (or other patterns) match.

It’s not always as easy as it looks, and must be taken into concidiration throughout the whole process, from fabric chosen, while cutting and shaping, and all the way through to the fitting with the customer.

In this case I even mirrored the pattern at the center back to get the pattern to be the same at both left and right.

I think a neat look given to the garment gives lager focus on the owner of the garment, while wearing it. And that’s our trade mark, to give room to personalities! There should not be a battle between owner and garment.

Chapter 3 – Be.

Had my sixteenth combination on today. A3, B1 and C2. Now there’s only 984 to go. The garments gets more and more comfortable for each day worn. Such a great feeling!

I  really do like the idea of teaching, making and wearing (or being!) kept combined. Because then everything you teach will be tested. And the things you learn from producing, can be shared. That’s the way it should be, in my opinion.

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 15 – Can mathematics be creative? (A5, B1, C1)

5-1-1…? Or should I take 3-2-2…? How many times did I really wear that favorite ice-wash jacket? Will I really wear each garment exactly 100 times?

So many questions! I suddenly felt things was getting a bit confusing and difficult this morning, trying to keep track on both garments and combinations in the Thousand Days Of Hope And Glory project. Not to wear the same combination more than once for 1.000 days wasn’t all that easy-breezy after all. It was high time to make a list!

So I started to write down the info on the garments I had, first.

Five t-shirts. That was easy. And since garments I was wearing over the waist was categorized as A (for A top), I noted those as A1-5. So far so good.

Then I had made two trousers which I called B (for Bottom), so that was noted as B1-2. And the same with jackets (or Covers as I called them), two of them. So that was noted as C1-2.

Then the mathematics for my combination possibilities. With the garments I had, it would calculate as 5 x 2 x 2 = 20. That was 20 days of different combinations! And I was only on day 15. Apparently it was lot’s to choose between then!

Next up I noted all the possible combinations in a list, and also checked the ones I had already used. D was the letter I gave each project day, combined with a ordered number. The result felt really strange! Like… Haven’t I really had that on yet? Or… Didn’t I have that on just last week…?

The list seemed to show that after the first couple of days, when everything was new, it started to become rather random what I choosed to wear. Not systematically at all! (Which I thought it would be!) I also started to have the feeling, that some specific combinations I just wanted to wear every day! But then again, that was not allowed by the project.

So I just picked a free combination, and took it on. Easy!

The combination picked, was 5-1-1. And I was actually amazed over the fact that I hadn’t been used that before – becase I was almost certain that I had! But after consulting my everyday photo documentation, it showed me my list was correct.

But still, I find it rather mind boggling how fast the combination possibilities speed up for every new garment I make! I realized quite clearly, that even very few garments can be combined in noumerous new ways.

The question now is, can I call this creativity when I create and combine these relativity few garments? Or is it just plain mathematics? And, can creativity be of the practical sort, bringing comfortable solutions to the table? Or is it only unpractical and attention-grabbing ideas that can be labeled as creative? What is really “designing a garment” to you?

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 14 – Worked. (A2, B1, C2)

There are a lot of different techniques to master while tailoring and creating clothes, and also many decisions to make. A lot of them centers around quality. Do you want a quick fix, or do you want to reach a higher standard.

Usually the higher standard adds on an enormous amount of extra time that has to be acounted for. But it’s also about signals to send – what you stand for and what your preferences are. Right?

Today I will show you how I made the A2 Denim Jacket’s hand-stitched buttonholes – also often called worked buttonholes – just to give you a glimpse of how much work that’s actually invested into them. And also, to show you how thoroughly they’re made, even though I went for a somewhat rougher look.

Here we go!

First we calculate all placements. Mark top and bottom and then devide with the amount of in-between distances.

Mark each buttonhole’s placement.

Measure the diameter – width – of your buttons, and just add a tiny bit for extra room.

Measure the distance from front edge in, and then the width of the buttonhole.

Mark the placement. (Here done a bit rough with a pencil since I know it will be covered later on. Otherwise you should use basting thread or a tailor’s chalk.)

Marked cuff.

Marked front.

Stitch around each buttonhole either by hand or machine. This is just to keep the layers together while cutting and overcasting. This stitch will be fully covered later on.

Punch a hole within the stitched area, at the outer end of the buttonhole (to be).

Cut the buttonhole open. Try to avoide fraying as much as possible, so do take care. (Denim is actually the worst – it frays enormously! But that’s just another challenge, right?)

Overcast all raw edges with a thinner sewing thread. Be sure to lock in all layers compleatly. I usually go around three times – one from the right side, one from the reversed side, and then again an extra check-up one the right side.

There! A secured and overcasted buttonhole. Actually the buttonholes are already working now, but we do want to add resiliness, and that’s up next.

Start with adding a stay thread. It will prevent the buttonhole from stretching while being used. Pass it in between the fabric layers and place it along the secured edge.

You can use a specially made gimp here – a stiff cord – but I usually just take what I have, and therefore use the same waxed buttonhole twist as I will use for the stitching itself later on. And here doubled to two strings to make it more stable.

Then start the actual buttonhole stitching with a waxed buttonhole twist (thread). You can see that I pass the thread under the needle twice, counter-clockwise, for each stitch, before pulling the thread through.

The knots are pulled sideways to the center of the hole, except at the rounded edge where they are pulled upwards to make enough room for all the crowded knots there.

Continue all the way around.

Make a resilient bar-tack at the end, and the cut off the “starting knots”, and the stay threads.

There! A finished worked buttonhole!

Mark where to place all the buttons.

Make sure that design seams and edges match up perfectly.

Macke holes – but do not cut them – where the buttons are placed, if denim buttons are used.

Press the denim buttons in place.

Finished button placement.

There you go! Worked buttonholes all done! I hoped you enjoyed the process. And now you know the difference between a machine-made buttonhole and one made by hand. You also know what’s hidden beneath the stitching seen, which is a lot.

Thank you for following the process!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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