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A little about a project like this:
Fitting: Three Muslins (one more than usual, we did some lapel comparison and as always really want to get fit perfect) Pattern corrections happen each time and then the FINAL pattern is drafted – completely clean with all reference markings finalized and correct.
Pattern Pieces: (in the end) approx. 22
Pieces Cut (approx.):
Body – 27,
Interior construction pieces – approx. 23
Misc. Finishing pieces – 4
Total of 65 Pieces cut (My initial count came to 72 while pattern was still out, so I am probably missing some here!)
This is a clean lined jacket, no exterior pockets, letting fine quality of the leather be the highlight – simple in basic theory, but – No, not really!
Garment Cutting – takes a day plus. Many interior construction pieces are cut as work proceeds.
Construction is a process that we start with the lining. On tailored jackets like this the body is basically constructed and the lining goes in while the body panels are still flat. Tailored jackets are not bagged out. This allows for very precise finishing on vents, facings and lapels. Leather has a great propensity to give and stretch while working, no matter how much interfacing etc. is used and we don’t like to use too much interior stay tape, for an opposite reason- because it prevents the slight natural give that you DO need!
So working flat provides much greater control, while it makes for much trickier finishing.
One thing you cannot do with leather is use traditional tailoring techniques! Feather stitching etc. Hand-stitching is kept to utmost minimum, buttons, some interior tacking. Unless a garment calls for a decorative (sometimes functional)hand-stitch like a cordovan lacing – we stay away from it.
Along the course of construction in a piece like this, that has no topstitching, there is lots (and Lots) of very careful pressing and glueing. Leather cannot be pressed like fabric, and some leathers cannot be pressed at all – the other thing that is missing is steam – which is used constantly in traditional tailoring. Steam cannot come near the vast majority of leathers. It will ruin them! So Every leather is tested first with regards to what treatment it can take – that is also part of the process.
Glueing, it goes without saying is done really carefully – since with the lining halfway in throughout most of the construction, any errant glue will be a disaster if it gets on the silk. We also avoid as much as possible any “permanent” glue – reserving just touches for hem areas. Mostly we leave the permanents to the accessory makers where it is pretty vital. Basically There is a great deal of handling going on during the construction of a leather jacket and the last thing you want it to do is show!
Overall – Final construction (after the pattern is complete and pieces cut) on a piece like this takes roughly 35-40 hours. All told, an outwardly “simple” piece like can average between 60 and 75 hours. Usually over 4-6 weeks – (Fitting Scheduling is vital to final time frame). It all depends on the project. But that’s a good rough outline to go by.