Dissertations: Hand Sewing




It was a loose-fitting silhouette with a naturally rounded shape. Soft lines that fall along a wearer's body. The childhood memory of seeing my father and grandfather wear their jackets was my initial inspiration for wanting to make a tailored jacket.

I observed and thought how nice it was that this jacket was truly only for this individual.

As I started designing clothing on my own, I researched the construction of the tailored jackets from that time and discovered the rounded shape of the shoulders was achieved by hand sewing. When sewn by machine though, even jackets that were made to order by a tailor would differ greatly in its appearance.

This natural shape becomes possible when carefully sewing the jacket to complement the wearer's body by employing the soft touch of the hand while avoiding any unnecessary strain on the fabric. I felt an urge to make my own special tailored jacket, one made only for a sole individual.

Jacket: 0121105013025 KIVA BLAZER ARTISAN, Pant: 0121105008018 ANTON SUSPENDER PANTS ARTISAN, Cut&Sew: 0121105010022 JUMBO TEE S/S T.I.T.L., Shoes: 0121101001002 SKAGWAY LO G.PATTEN

The style I imagined was a pairing of the broad-shouldered jacket seen during the 1950's with a high-waisted suspender pant from the 1930's and 1940's. The fabric would be a wool blended with linen, so it wouldn't feel too luxurious. It should have just the right amount of sheen along with a dry, withered hand feel.

In order to create what I had in mind; the first thing I did was to seek out a craftsman who could sew a jacket by hand. I ended up finding a long-established tailor shop that had been around for over 70 years. The shop is currently run by brothers who are the third generation of the founder and his grandsons. Since the company's inception, they have prided themselves on the comfort of hand-sewn garments, and to this day, do not make any form of ready-to-wear but continue to operate as a so-called "custom" clothing store.

The most amazing thing is that not only are the major parts like the collar, shoulders and sleeves hand-sewn, but even the finer decorative details are finished by hand, like the buttonholes, belt loops and the edge of the seam allowances. Until now, I have come to see many tailors from around the world along with their work, but never have I heard of anyone doing everything by hand to this extent.

This unmatched comfort is born from the fact that nothing unnecessary is used.
It is common to add tape to secure the fabric when using a sewing machine which makes the work easier. However, this can prevent movement of the fabric and result in stiffness. Another characteristic is the softness of the seams. The amount of strength used when carefully stitching one stitch at a time by hand ensures durability while avoiding overtightened seams, giving the garment an elegant softness, both in comfort and appearance.

We asked the craftsman who typically did not accept work that uses a pre-existing pattern to create a drop shoulder jacket reminiscent of a Kimono where the shoulder line runs lower (dropped to the backside), certainly unthinkable in the eyes of a traditional tailor.

Of course, there was hesitation to accept such work in the beginning, but they somehow understood and helped make this jacket while becoming fond of its soft lines that fall naturally along the shape of the shoulders.

"I'm always looking for the best fit and look. It's not about the comfort of the latest fabric, such as stretch wool, but more about improving something through cutting, shaping and sewing. That kind of technique is really interesting. I make things with particular attention to slight differences that customers may not see or understand. At this point it's really a hobby. I keep doing it because simply it's fun."

When asked, "Why do you insist on hand sewing?" It makes me happy to know that there are still craftsmen whose response is simply that, "it's fun" and not about something technical. I sincerely hope to keep connecting with these types of craftsmen.

Photo: Keisuke Fukamizu(Tailor)