Much of what I need to get rid of is stuff I’ve collected for the purposes of demonstration. This post will detail a set of leather dies I have for sale. My critique of the pattern follows. Why I’d ever think anyone would ever consider buying this is beyond even me. Still, I got the dies for the purposes of demonstration which follows.
A bit of history first. I’m a qualified leather die pattern maker specializing in outerwear and sportcoats (mostly men’s tailored suits). This type of manufacturing is described as single needle since very little (beyond welt pockets) can be automated. Single needle is considered to be the highest level of construction quality. This leather die set comes from a company I used to work for. The company is now defunct. This particular style -21206- was made from a block I’d made when I worked for this company but I didn’t make this particular style. Also, the company hit the skids after the owner died. People who subscribed to the Designer’s Network Newsletter know all about this company’s owner who was named John Sullivan. John was a personal hero of mine which is why I’ve said that sweatshop comments made to people who work in factories can be offensive. Anyway, after John died, the new owner approved some problematic changes (among other problematic choices hence the firm’s demise).
The selection of a fit model was the biggest problem of this style -actually every woman’s style this company produced after hiring her. This model (shown in the opening photo) was a very poor choice. The designer picked her because he had the hots for her -an attraction none of us could figure out. She’s the only model I’ve ever measured who’s bust was smaller than her waist. Her bust measured 29″ and her waist measure was 29-1/2″. While she may have been a good model for photography (personally, I didn’t think so but whatever) she was a horrible choice for a medium size fit model for a western wear company. A medium for women’s western apparel should minimally be a 36″ bust with at least a B cup.
Anyway, here are photos of the dies. Dies work just like cookie-cutters. Small shops will use a machine called a clicker to cut the leather. Below appears a photo of a clicker, courtesy of The Shoe School.
Here are the back dies of style 21206
Here are the front dies of style 21206
And, I have all the miscellaneous pieces such as facings, collars and trims in 4 sizes, S M L & XL.
Now onto the pattern from which the dies were made. The most critical element of your production pattern is the direction card, also sometimes known as a “cutter’s must”. You should know that even on the direction card, the itemizing of the pattern pieces is also color coded (to review color coding of production patterns use the search box).
Below are the front pattern pieces:
And below you’ll see the back pattern pieces, make note of the proper labeling of pieces.
And below here, you’ll see the front pieces put together and here is my beef with this pattern.
This pattern doesn’t have a bust! While the front is definitely pieced, there’s no dart or shaping to the front. The pattern maker doesn’t have much of a choice if they’ve been instructed to cut to fit the fit model. Still, examine the armhole shaping of the above photo; that is something the pattern maker could have corrected. It would appear that the pattern maker just trimmed away the boob portion of that side front panel. Below, I’ve laid out the pattern as it would have been or should have been or was. You’ll note the armhole shape has changed significantly.
To further describe the disparity, below you’ll see a photo of the back and front side panels. The back side panel is on the left and is subtantively larger than the front side panel (right).
Anyway, this die set is for sale which I doubt anyone will buy but like I said, I bought these dies for the purpose of demonstration. If someone does happen to be interested, I wouldn’t recommend it be used as is; I think you need a better side front panel which could be cut by hand if you didn’t want to have a die made until you knew if this would sell for you. Also, I’m not sure I have lining patterns for this but that could be contracted for separately if someone were interested. I have this style in S-M-L-XL with a 2″ grade. I also have yet another style in dies but it’s even uglier. Please ask questions about any of the features that you see on the dies and patterns and I’ll explain them here. I don’t know what people don’t know so let me know.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting some sewn but unturned lined jackets. I have about twenty of those to unload. The people who have sent me donations will be getting a free jacket for the cost of shipping as a gift from me if they want it.