Wednesday, March 11, 2015

National Tailoring Academy

After years of men's tailoring school programs being shut down for lack of interest, it's nice to see not only renewed interest, but also to know that there still are training programs around.

Located in Dublin, Ireland, the National Tailoring Academy runs an accredited post-graduate course in Bespoke Fashion Tailoring. An email from one of the instructors advises us that

"It's designed for students with fashion qualifications or industry professionals who want to go further into the garment manufacturing process, both hand and factory method. There is a limited amount of time but we can start the students off on the right path and some have gone on to paid apprenticeships, others to work with international manufacturers.

Our staff are qualified Master Tailors and we have frequent visits from Savile Row tailors for talks and master-classes, along with a few other short courses to make use of our facilities.

Our facilities are the best in Ireland..."

Certainly from the photos available they seem to be very well-equipped and while I can't speak to any of it fist-hand, those interested in advancing their studies in the craft might want to explore this option.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Balenciaga: The Master of us All

At the suggestion of a friend (or rather, his daughter) I just finished reading Mary Blume's The Master of us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, his World. I can't say for sure whether it was the quality of the writing, the subject matter itself, or merely nostalgia for a time when I had it in my head that I would some day move to Paris to work in one of the great couture houses, such as they still existed, but it was a book that I put down at the penultimate chapter (but just for a while) merely because I didn't want it to end.

"The master of us all" was the way in which Christian Dior referred to the reclusive Spanish couturier, details of whose life are so scant that a large portion of the book deals with the subject from the viewpoint of his primary vendeuse, though that doesn't much diminish the story itself. It may seem odd to our selfie-obsessed society that the namesake of one of the twentieth century's most important fashion houses should shun the spotlight, having granted a sum total of one interview over the course of his career and who preferred to hide behind the curtain at the end of each défilé rather than the customary appearance on what would eventually become a catwalk, but one does not have to read too deeply between the lines to understand his longing for privacy.

I had always admired his sculptural cutting and it had a profound influence on my own obsession with shape, and I was surprised to learn that we were similarly afflicted with a somewhat unhealthy fixation with sleeves, the story of one of his shipments being delayed when he decided to rip them all out and have them reset to his liking being somewhat close to my own experience...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Down with DXF!

A post for industry nerds.

I'm beta testing Accumark V10 which will be released to the public soon. We have been using V8 and a lot of the major interface changes were made in V9 so there are a lot of big changes for me. But I just came across the most exciting new feature.

In the past, in order to share files between systems like Lectra and Gerber one had to convert files to .dxf (drawing exchange format) first then reconverted to native format on the new platform. The process was long, somewhat painful, and buggy. Data like floating notches and internal lines and drills were usually lost.

A friend just texted me to ask if I could open a pattern for him. Not a problem, if it was Gerber. It's .MDL, he said. Groan. That's Lectra, which would normally have been the end of the conversation unless he went back to the originator and asked them to convert it to .dxf, then I would have to reconvert it to Gerber format in order to open it. I couldn't find the V10 conversion utility since the new interface is very different so I shot an email to my contact at Gerber.

"You can open a Lectra mdl directly in PDS or plx in EasyMarking. (File Type drop down, select the lectra file format). You can also use the Data Conversion utility to convert a group of data if you just wanted to convert a lot at once. DCU is found in the AM Explorer Ribbon on the Process Tab.

Hope this helps,"

Hope this helps? It would be bloody miraculous, if true. I had my doubts. So I opened PDS, navigated to the folder and found the Lectra model. Then opened it directly, with grading intact. No more conversion, no more .dxf! Finally!