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 13 – Is this a tailor? (A4, B1, C2)

Weekend! Yes! But of course I’m still at work, trying to wrap things up allthough I’ve got so much to do. Customers assignments to attend. New ideas to get systemized. Visions to put on paper (well… pixels). And a working day that sometimes can present itself a bit scattered – all over the place. How to do it all simultaneously?

So I’m thinking – what did I actually sign up for, when I choosed this very specific path of work-life? And what did I imagine it would be like, to embark into a tailoring career?

I think the absolute truth is, that I never really got the vision. It was more of a slow search of tools that I could use to solve the problems I encountered while trying to create a version of myself, that I felt was the very true one. It kind of evolved naturally step by step.

I most certainly felt I needed some specific things to compleat me, which I couldn’t get. And I probably felt I needed to know some certain knowledges in order to make those very things things, I couldn’t get. And then, suddenly, there I was titulated as a tailor. But… what is a tailor really? Can a tailor have opinions on existential topics? Can a tailor maybe design things? Could a tailor possible have ideas on the future? And, is there a certain way a tailor should act, be and look like?

I think most people destinctevly separates tailors as producing and altering suits. But really, there’s so much more! Clothes can be almost anything! Anything you need, to be the true you.

Anyway… today I totally made a belt to be serged in to this project. It’s called X2. It reminds me of the late 1970’s. And together with that, I’m wearing A4, B1 and C2.

987 days to go!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 10 – Fresh ‘n’ fade. (A5, B2, C1)

Some things are fresh ‘n’ white, others fade slowly. The keeping of some things tidy, and the letting-go of other items while enjoying its roughness, has always been fascinating to me. Why do we treasure that some things look older, when we at the same time want other things to look brand new?

These jeans for instance, is already starting to get wrinkles where I bend and turn! And I only used them for six days. Knees is also quit wisible in its shape. I like that! Becase it’s my wearing that’s starting to show. Not an artificial ready-made added thingy – but instead my own history together with the garment. It’s starting to shape itself after my body.

This t-shirt on the other hand is clean-cut and all new. Not even with logos or branding (since I did it myself). I like the neat freshness! But, a little life in it would also be ok. I’m actually looking forward to its first wash, after which most garments gets softer and more breathable – and even more comfortable!

So let’s study the garnets’ changing nature alongside the project’s ongoing wash ‘n’ wear! After all, I’m going to wear each garment 100 times so some change is expected, right? Maybe even in me!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 8 – Where to go? (A4, B2, C1)

One week! One full week +1 day! The project is rolling, starting to have a life of it’s own! But what for? What’s the point of trying harder? And is this project good for anyone anyway?

Who knows? Everyone has their own opinion. But the one basic thing is, that tailoring makes me happy. I love analyzing what clothes do for us, and what garments actually are. The ability to create exactly what you want, and then wear it with comfort, is such a joy! I feel truly blessed to be able to do that. Just a simple fact.

Then again, true, there is hardships involved, of course. But where is that not? We all suffer of incomprehensible situations from time to time, right? But I really do like the journey it is, to overcome difficulties. I like solving problems! Also for others. To evolve together with others. To listen and learn. To be inspired!

So, is that reasons enough? Or should there be a larger political take on it? Or environmental? Well, I’ll let that be up to each and everyone. I’m just doing the thing. And, I probably won’t go anywhere soon! I’ll most certain stick with this project for 992 days more.

But… what to do next? On a more practical level? Go totally classic blue denim? Add a dash of dandyism? Punk it up? Or go classic bespoke suit-up-ish? What do you think? Because… anything is possible! As they say – the sky is the limit!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Day 6 – Doing denim. (A1, B2, C1)

I always wanted to make things kind of right. You know, the proper way – effective, resilient and good – even starting from an early age. But back then, it could be difficult to find proper info on how to make things that was just slightly out of the ordinary, growing up in a small Swedish village back in the good old 1970’s. Today, you’d think that finding such information would have become much easier with all the info floating around. But no. Not really.

Most of what you can find – as you could already back then – are lot’s of well crafted but often a bit homey how-to-do and don’ts. And that’s just fine! But what about all those professional tweaks and turns? Where are they? Still hard to find, I’d say. Especially regarding making “real” garments, including jeans.

You often end up with the feeling of wanting to know a person who you could turn to and ask, how in the world to get just that specific odd thing right! I didn’t have that, someone to get that information from that is, so I needed to practice year out and year in, day after day, for roughly about 40 years to end up where I wanted to be. You should be spared of that journey if possible! We need people to go faster through the system, right?

Well, enough of my personal struggles and inner evolvement for now! I did promise some process info, on how I made those relaxed blue jeans yesterday! And I will of course keep that promise. So here are some highlights. Enjoy!

I think one of the most important things in tailoring is, to make all your work witin a good-order routine. So that’s what we focus on here. One has to start somewhere, right? Details can be added later on.

And here we go! The first thing I make, after cutting out the parts from the fabric, are those famous back pockets. Fold and stitch the top edge, decorate if you want to, and then pin them down to the back parts.

Stitch in place.

So far, so good!

And add a bit of reinforcement at the top corners of those pockets. Rivets can also do the trick! It all depends on the look you want. Then quickly over to adding on the yokes to the top of the back parts. Use a “denim seam” – also called a counter seam. Actually here, a four-layer counter seam.

How to do that? Well, with a special machine used nowadays. But for us other mortals, we use a much older technique. The same technique used at center back of these jeans. First, mark a distance in from the raw edge on one side (of the seam to be) only. Use a tailor’s chalk for this. Then you overlap the other raw edge on top of the first one, up to the marked line. Stitch a help-stitch, just to keep the parts together. Then turn the joined area over itself and pres thoroughly. Stitch again, one seam on each “side” to catch the intire folding within itself.

There! Four-layer counter seams made, first at each yoke, both left and right separately, and then at center back. There will of course be a tremendous pile of fabric layers at the yoke- and back seam intersection, which can be hard to pass by with your machine. But giving it some pressure with a (leather) hammer can make it all much flatter and smoother.

After finishing the back parts, it’s high time for the front pockets! Add facings and smaller pocket on pocket bags first. Then turn the pocket edges, top-stitch, and close the pocket bag at the bottom. All done! Moving on to the zipper!

Add top side facing, turn and top stitch, and on the other side, zip and under lap. When done, pin the front edge in place.

Turn the zipper inside-out and attach it to the facing.

Then top stitch the facing in place. Finish the zip area with the center front lower seam.

The inside of the zip looks like this when finished. I do like that the inside of the garments look neat too, so I always try to give that side equal attention.

After the front and back parts are assembled, it’s time to make all raw edges neat, covered with cotton bias strips.

Stitching the inside leg seam together.

Remember to flatten the seam allowance pile-up at the seam intersection with a soft leather hammer before stitching. Otherwise your machine will probably get caught there.

This is how the inside leg seam looks from the reversed side. We like to keep it neat, right?

The trousers how they looked just before the side seams were stitched together.

Side seam made, and here the allowance are pressed flat.

Hemming the trousers. Flatten the fabric pile-up at the inside leg seams before stitching!

The trousers so far. Stitch the pocket bag side seam allowance in place with a top stitch.

Add the waistband, and then the belt loops.

Buttonhole time! Stitching away around the cut and prepped opening.

Raising the stitches around the edge.

And finishing off with a bar tack.

The reversed side. You can always recognize a hand-stitched (worked) buttonhole on the rugged inside, and of corse the completely covered edges.

There! Finished jeans!

With turned up hem.

Oh, and here’s how they look together with the A1 turtleneck and the C1 denim jacket! Today’s combination! The 6th combination. 994 to go! Let’s do this! And see you tomorrow! Have a splendid day!

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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