Author Topic: Interview with Savile Row cutter Malcolm Plews  (Read 401 times)

Henry Hall

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Interview with Savile Row cutter Malcolm Plews
« on: December 08, 2018, 11:45:51 AM »
An interesting discussion with Malcolm Plews, Savile Row cutter. Regarding what he says about handwork vs machine work, what is your own methodology? Plews talks about how the better accuracy of modern cutting has allowed shoulder seams, sleeves and other areas to be sewn by machine, with (I assume) no corresponding loss in quality.

If only the interviewer could stop saying 'yes' every two seconds...

‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Greger

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Re: Interview with Savile Row cutter Malcolm Plews
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2018, 02:04:20 PM »
Think there are a lot of variables to consider. Some mass-produced sewn in sleeves are beautiful. How the coat fits in movements is/can be a game changer. Better pattern systems can be beneficial. But like everything else, limited. It depends on what you/customer wants to do with the garment, which is really about art. A good question to ask for making garments is "what is art"? Designers are artist. That is what they are trying to produce. Cloth is like paints. What are you going to do with them on the canvas? Paint the same picture over and over? Someone says that's the way to do it? Fitting says the pattern system is wrong for 95% of the customers. Shrinking and stretching effects how the seam works. A shaped cloth is different in movements on curved parts of the body than flat cloth, which is kinda forced. You really notice this with metal and hard plastic. A hand sewn seam (not to tight) has more diagonal flexability than most machines. To escape the apprenticeship he had to do something like 30 stitches per minute. A 30 inch trousers seam is only 4 minutes. Two inseams are done in 8 minutes. We're not talking about the drudgery here of hours. 30 stitches per minute is a slow tailor. Being payed by the inch is how it went for many tailors. Even the thread was cut exact lengths and put in the bundles the tailors received, so there is no waste. Business is about two things, satisfied customers and profit. Government says, "and taxes".  Factory is designed and shaped for machine work. Tailors skills are between terrible to beyond excellent. Why pay attention to terrible? That's not what I want to compare with. Always keep ones eye open for excellence. That means you'll only see few. These are the ones, that! Can they be machine sewn? And, still have that quality? Some top quality machine work probably can be equal. It's the image that matters sometimes.

Davide Taub some interesting work.

A rambled answer.

TTailor

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Re: Interview with Savile Row cutter Malcolm Plews
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 03:21:17 AM »
I thought he was an interesting fellow talking about the craft he obviously is immersed in and has thought a lot about over the years. He is totally spot on about everything.
Too bad the interviewer was so meh. Almost better to just edit out the interviewer responses since he only asked a couple of questions.

Greger

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Re: Interview with Savile Row cutter Malcolm Plews
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 12:16:15 PM »
Thought his sleeves were terrible for bespoke. T'was looking at his coat while he was talking.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Interview with Savile Row cutter Malcolm Plews
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2018, 01:12:09 PM »
I agree with Terri, though I was also focused on his poor sleeves.  Even given an uncomfortable sitting position.