The Making of a Pinstriped Leather Suit
This leather suit was ordered by an client overseas, who happens to be a real dresser! Since everything was done long distance, this suit had a bit of an extended creation time. The client had to travel on work quite a bit and was not able to complete fittings right away. Doing the fittings via email and photographs adds time as well. Additionally, It’s important that the client either has a good way to set up full body selfies or can get someone to help!
We’d all prefer projects not to get too drawn out, but sometimes it is just unavoidable. If this were commissioned In-Person, a reasonable estimate on a project comparable to this one would be about around 3 – 4 months, when all scheduling goes smoothly.
This takes up the project from the 2nd Muslin – shown before it was sent out to client.
The fit on the first muslin was quite good, mainly it was a little too snug all around. So I adjusted the pattern and created the second muslin. Once my client received the 2nd muslin, he tried it on and took a (second) copious set of photos that he emailed back to me. This way, I was able to see clearly places where I added a little too much room. Plus, I was able to catch a couple of other small fit improvements I wanted to do.
Photos are super important! Especially when I am working with someone long distance. The more the merrier as far as I am concerned. (The heavy lines you can see on on the muslin make my reference levels and points very clear in photos.) In this particular case the first muslin was so close to correct that I did need that initial muslin returned to me for checking any changes. I did not need the second back either. This is not always the case. It really depends on the individual project.
Once I got the photos back, I corrected the pattern, and tested it one more time before cleaning it up and drafting the final pattern. The final pattern has all the linings, facings and interior construction pieces. In leather you really don’t want to leave anything to chance – basically, my freehand cutting is limited to hem and seam stabilization pieces and parts of pockets interiors.
I spent some time approximating matching points across all the pattern pieces, when I created the pinstripes. Nothing is left to chance. Generally, when something is all hand-done like this it’s not going to be minutely perfect. (Though, If I were charging $50,000+ for a couture garment – it would be minutely perfect!)
All the stitching is hand-guided with some very low tech help. Basically, I use a very nice specialty guide on my machine! So, while I’ve done this technique before, completely hand guided in smaller amounts, this is a very nice improvement all around.
I created a hybrid tailoring technique for leather.
Because, leather does not take well to feather stitching. I’ve seen feather stitching done by some classic European tailoring houses and frankly, I think the finish is just awful. In leather, with the exception of cordovan lacing work or other visible hand-work techniques, machine stitching is best all around. Working the garment and linings together while flat, however, is a classical tailoring technique. But again, because this is leather- the flat construction has it limitations – it really depends on the project and the leather choice – that’s what dictates the techniques that I use. The shape of this pinstriped leather suit is helped along by the decorative stitching which adds a little weight to the skins and anchors down much of the interior construction. As a result it’s crisper and not as soft as this jacket– which is made in the exact same leather btw.