Friday, 8 May 2015

Tailor tips when in Hoi An

If you're in Hoi An you'll no doubt come across some of the many tailors, some in shops, some in the main market. And you may be tempted to purchase a few things. Here are a few facts and tips if you plan on doing so...

  1. You most likely won't get a high quality garment like you may find in the stores back at home. It'll possibly be made fairly well but it may not last long or wash very well and won't have any care instructions.
  2. High quality means many things such as: material, thread, stitching, seams, hems, pattern alignment and of course the fit and how well it hangs.
  3. The people doing the selling aren't always the tailors. They're middlemen (or usually women). So ensure everything is communicated clearly.

Things to think about

  • If you can negotiate, don't pay the full fee up front. Negotiate as best you can, maybe half up front, half on completion as a starting point.
  • If buying pure silk ask them to do the burn test on a cut of the material. Silk will burn. Man-made material will melt.
  • You should be going for multiple fittings, especially for suits or jackets. If you've only go for the one fitting don't expect a perfect garment.
  • Stick to simple patterns, plain if possible. Complicated patterns are harder to work with and align when tailoring and if well done is a sign of a true pro. Don't always expect a perfectly aligned pattern if buying from some of the tailors in Hoi An.
  • Stick to easy to work with material. Stretchy materials, leather and silk can be difficult to tailor. Cotton is a good option.
  • Stick to a simple design/garment. Summer dresses or a pair of shorts etc... The more complicated, the more it'll cost and the more that can go wrong with it.
  • If buying multiple garments and you have time, get one made and assess the quality to see if you'd be happy with having more made by that seller/tailor.

Checking your garment

  • Once made don't just check the fit of the garment. Ensure no shortcuts have been taken.
  • Inspect all material for any snags or pulls.
  • Inspect all the stitching. If you know your stitches, are the correct ones used? Are they cleanly done and straight. Especially check hems at the bottom of skirts, shirts etc...
  • If you notice an imperfection don't be afraid to ask them to correct it.
  • Enjoy the experience, and enjoy your purchase but don't be fooled into thinking it's something it's not.

Soma Double Cross...Warranty Claim and Retro Styling

Soma Double Cross DC modified

Earlier in the year I noticed a fault on my Soma Double Cross DC. On one of the rear brake bosses the boss was separating from the seat stay and the seat stay was dented slightly. I went back to some earlier flickr photos I took of the frame when I first received it and could just about make out the fault. Something I'd not initially noticed and probably occurred during manufacture or transit (most likely). I contacted Soma UK and after about 7 weeks via warranty process (very quick turnaround, awesome work Soma!) I was presented with a new frame! For the most part I just transferred the components across from my damaged bike to the new frame, but I did of course indulge in a couple of new additions during the rebuild.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Backpacking in Japan - a few tips

I recently visited Japan for the 4th time, and spent another three weeks there moving around Honshu and Kyushu seeing new places, but also returning to previously visited ones. In the past I've been a bit slack in giving travels tips on Japan, but here are some of the gems we found while we were there.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The ultimate Croix De Fer touring modifications

Genesis Croix De Fer modified

I previously made a number of modifications to my (now my brother's Croix De Fer) which I detailed in two articles (touring modifications, further modifications). I've since made even more changes to the Croix De Fer but in doing so have perfected the set up and found some better suited components. Most notable changes to the mudguards, chainset and lots more leather!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Travelling light and trendy

In my more recent travel adventures I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to look like a traveller. When I say traveller, I mean Berghaus hiking shoes, zip of trousers and a top-fill rucksack, looking like I was going on a camping expedition. Here are my reasons:

  • I don't like to stand out. I may not look like I'm from that part of the world but there's no reason people can't assume I live there.
  • It looks awful. If I wouldn't wear it at home why wear it when travelling.
  • I have to buy yet more clothes when I have plenty of good clothing already to choose from.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Switching to blogger

I've finally decided to leave my self-hosted Wordpress and move to Blogger. While I like Wordpress, it is a little bloated for my needs and has hosting costs. I'm also responsible for monitoring and maintaining it. Hence I've decided to move to Blogger to easy those responsibilities. While Blogger isn't as flexible as Wordpress, it does all I need and it's pretty quick!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

More lessons learnt building a steel touring bike

Since last building my Soma I've had the chance to build up another steel tourer and in doing so learnt some lessons in spec'ing a touring bike. I've since made a few changes to my Soma and learnt a little more about it. The changes are a mix of functional and aesthetic mixed in with value. Not all of them wholly necessary but given my bike is my hobby, I couldn't resist.