"I'm a fabric. I do not know what I’m going to become, but these eyes and hands seem skilled enough to know what to do: I'll be a Smoking Shirt. "
On the large wooden table there is a test rack, surrounded by meters, wrap-around fabric, cotton everywhere. The model has been tailored on the features of the customer who will wear me. On that base the tailor cuts with huge scissors with a black handle. On the table there are also pencil, meter and ruler: there are attention and maximum and absolute precision of the cut. Pieces of me fall from the table. Several 'ntacchi . Now on me there is a weight, just "to keep the fabric fixed." The tailor makes other 'ntacchi, everyone with his own direction: shoulder, wrist, neck. But I'm still fabric and I still move under these good and expert hands. Look! those eyes and hands and those huge black scissors gave me an initial shape.
A box full of pins. The fabric needs to be chosen: medium, rigid, stiffer. The collar is being kept stiff. A new change just came in : neck size 38, with non-deformable fabric. A small pencil comes to me. Fabric canvas. “Ntacch” of 1 cm. The tailor now applies “na burstell” to complete my closure. Collar stay on the neck : 4 mm, stitch made at 1 mm. Than the strap, hand ironing, sewing. Here is my favorite part: the embroidery. A very thin hand picks up the needle and thread and resumes all the previous stitches. So, stitch after stitch, the embroidery takes place, this gives the customer a greater comfort. Now, I have a neck that, sewn and hand-finished, with extreme fit and elegance, gently rests on the shirt I'm becoming.
The Front Placket
I lay on an ironing board. The Tailor bends vertically this piece of me that he calls "o finton". he checks it, he bends it , then he irons it. He checks the whole front placket, from the top to the bottom, from right to left. Needle and thread, wand to stop it, all hand sewn. The embroiderer just came in to make the joists.
I have no idea how many different threads a shirt needs in order to be manufactured. Now on there is silk on me. For my joists, the yarn is the same as the one used for the eyelets, and it is made of silk. The Tailor reinforces my critical points, especially the flap on the sleeve, then it is the frontal joists turn. It takes 14 stitches to make a reinforcement joist. The spinning needle is fixed and a further 3, 4 points, make the reinforcement firm and well sewn. With hand-made trunks, I feel much safer when the customer will wear me.
I'm still fabric in the manufacturing phase. Here's my shoulder. A woman with tapered hands connects the two sides of the fabric, she joins together the front and the back part. Then she sews, calmly, stitch after stitch . She is now joining all the threads of the carrè. The crafts between the fabric and the carriage, strengthens the shoulder. The embroiderer will come in shortly, she will embroider ½ stitch, so the shoulder could have the best fit. Here she is. With a robust yarn she embroiders just behind the cotton, in a kind of reverse seam. Half stitch, calmly, to embroider all my shoulder, she sews 70 stitches.
I would have never realized how many hours are needed only for me. After the shoulder, there is the production of the sleeve. They are made as a funnel: the tailor sews, always by hand, stitch after stitch starting with a small stitch and that slowly extends, sott o bracc, to provide the maximum comfort for the movements of the shoulder and the arm of the customers who will buy me. Now someone embroidered the inside of the sleeve, with the same strong and sturdy yarn used for the quartospalla (shoulder) and the collar.
I think the tailor is working on some holes. he calls them eyelets and I look at them. I see that there are so many little nods, according to the "scallop” stitch . On me now there are a needle and some silk thread. It's a sort of weave to sew the eyelets. The embroiderer sews 23 stitches per side. To make one of my eyelet, there are 46 embroidery stitches.
The tailor puts his hand in a box and grabs some beautiful buttons. They are for me and they are mother-of-pearl buttons from Australia. Optical white, first choice. The buttons, perfect in the shape, are chosen one by one. No imperfections escape the quality control, which ends only when the buttons are applied on me. For sewing them, the tailor uses a cotton that is stronger than silk. The “Lily “ stitching is unusual, the movements of hand, needle and cotton that create "a lily" is for me charm and poetry.
Step by step, I start to realize I’m important. What a great touch of class, the tailor is now applying the mouche on me . They are Fabric triangles used to strengthen the hips, that are critical points. On my hand-sewn mouche, I see the initials embroidered. Maybe they are the initials of my name.
As for the collar , the wrists are also on demand: twisted, round, twin. I was said that each of them corresponds to a method of working. Needle and thread, the same eyes on me as before. I lay extremely gently on a table and my wrists are sewed I will wear twin’wrists, what a touch of class ...
I'm living the last of my nine handmade finishes: the label. On this piece of cloth my name is engraved, simple and highfalutin, unique and important: my name is Saint Gregory.
“I was a precious fabric, now I'm a Smoking Shirt, the result of so many hours of work and passion, please take care of me.”