Right off the bat, I should mention that I really wanted to call this post “Just how many ways can you do this wrong?” To refresh your memory, this post is regarding how to do that lower inside front portion of a tailored suit or sportcoat -where the facing, hem and lining all come together. The past posts of the nameless tutorial that pertain to this particular entry are #1, #2 and #3. To get you up to speed, below is a photo of the sample -now pressed- that I sewed before (from #2).
I think we all agree that the photo above illustrates how these seams should be sewn. However, how can we know this is really true if none of us have actually seen this in actual practice? If you go through your wardrobe or that of a male member of your household, you’ll find a myriad of work-arounds that were done unlike the sample above. How is it that in spite of having evidence at hand, we can know that the above method is correct, rather than the way we’ve all been used to seeing it done? These are not rhetorical questions. After you examine the evidence I’ve provided, I’d like to hear your ideas on the topic.
To collect this “evidence”, I went scouting/shopping with my significant other. We shopped at two very well respected retailers -who will remain nameless- but I believe these workarounds are to be found in every retail establishment of men’s tailored clothing. The labels we selected shall also remain unidentified but I’ll summarize them as Italian, French and US made. Two lines were house lines. The other lines were from well known and highly regarded menswear designers. Regarding price points, the least expensive product was $250 (clearance) and the most expensive was $650. Anyway, here are a series of photos we took whilst in the fitting room.
1. Now, the sample above looks similar to mine but if you notice, the facing has not been completely stitched to the hem that it faces. Naughty Designer! No more silk swatches for you!
2. In the photo above, you can see the same old trick. I have one thing to say for this label tho and that is at least all of his workarounds were uniform. Surprisingly, one label (designed by a French designer but constructed in Italy) had ten different workarounds, depending on the style! Incredible! If you have to use a workaround, be consistent.
3. I found the sample above to be problematic on several levels. First of all, the hand stitching of the lining to the facing is just a bogus waste of time. It’s not adding any value to the customer. Second, you can see that the troublesome part was hand stitched separately from the lining/facing hand sewing which means that little trick took two different passes with hand stitchers. Third, the last tad of the vertical facing seam -where the facing joins the hem- should be aligned perfectly vertical with the lining-facing seam but it’s not. Several of the samples looked like this one.
4. Above, you’ll see another variation of #3 but in another color way. You can see two different passes at hand stitching and the vertical facing-hem seam is not aligned with the facing-lining seam. These should match up perfectly. Also, in this photo you may be able to see that the last portion of that facing seam that’s joined to the hem is also tacked by hand, making for hand sewn seam #3. By the way, I have nothing against hand sewing. In fact, I like it. However, hand sewing should be reserved for those effects that create value. You should not elevate a workaround into a purportedly “couture” technique by using hand stitching. It’s not honest and has no integrity. Really.
5. The photo above isn’t well focused but you should be able to see the hand stitching on both the inside juncture of lining to facing and facing to hem. Also note that the entire facing seam is not vertically aligned. These seemed to be a common theme.
6. The photo above shows the lining flush with the hem. Further along the hem edge, the lining has been pressed upward. This coat was 100% cashmere so it wasn’t cheap.
7.The photo above illustrates a herringbone that was made in a similar fashion to the photo preceding this one. Of all the jackets with the workarounds, this house label was the best value. I mean, if you’re gonna pay for a workaround, you should pay the lowest possible price, no?
8. I describe the sample above as a slick attempt to get your iron to do your work for you. Again, the lining edge is flush with the hem and the lining has been pressed up and out of the way of the hem once it departs from the facing juncture.
Now, to refresh your memory, below is a photo sampling what this joining juncture should look like. It’s clean, all seams are even and match. All seams were sewn in one pass. There is no hand stitching required. It looks cleaner and more professional than the above samples.
Again I ask you, how do we intuitively know that the above sample is the correct way to do it when few of us have actually seen this treatment in actual products?
If you have any ideas or comments, please leave them so we can sort this thing out.