30 Aug 2014

Altering a bespoke tweed suit

This weekend I am quite engrossed with altering a vintage three piece tweed suit I bought in the Spring. The suit was originally bespoke made by Liverpool tailors Thos. Dowell  & Son.
I took a chance when acquiring the suit as the jacket was closer to a size 40; while I am a regular size 37. But the lovely fabric - a  heavy Cheviot in Dark Olive with warm orange/red overchecks - and the fact that the trousers fits perfectly convinced me that I would overcome the needed fitting of the jacket.
For a while I have been considering to do some alterations of a jacket myself as I would like to try making a perfect fit; I gained some sartorial experience and interest when I a few years ago made some Medieval 14th century clothing (jackets, hoses, trousers, waist coats and hats) entirely by hand. 
So this weekend's experiment is driven by pure curiosity and endeavour to splendor; more than trying to avoid my alterations tailor and his fee. Even though such costs would equal a lovely new Stenström's shirt...

Working concentrated on the right sleeve. The left sleeve is already attached with crude stitches.

I detached both sleeves as the jacket needed to be narrowed in shoulders, chest and shortened in sleeve lenght. 
Then I narrowed the shoulders by 1"1/4 each; I also removed excess fabric under the arms narrowing the chest and cutting the armholes higher.
Next step is to attach the sleeves; at the same time making sure that the sleeve lenght will be perfect.

Slightly terrifying appearance
The jacket has now been narrowed on each side and the armholes cut higher 

Fitting of the jacket

The waistcoat not yet altered; I will need to narrow the chest and armholes

I am rather pleased with the result so far - sleeve crudely stitched to the jacket

25 Aug 2014

The Cheaney "Edinburgh" revisited

When I purchased my Cheaney "Edinburgh" longwing brogues a little more than a year ago I took a few photos to be able to follow the development in the condition and colour of the upper leather and general wear to the soles.
The shoes are very versatile - I use them for worsted suits, for tweeds and for flannels. They have become one of my favourites and as such used in average twice per week.

A brandnew pair of Cheaneys fresh arrived

Today after 14 month's of regular use I will make a status; I am very satisfied with the overall condition. The rubber tip at the heels are not yet up for replacement; the leather soles are in a quite good condition - even though a bit worn at the toe. I think that the creases in the upper leather are at an acceptable level.
And of course I love the deep rich colour obtained over time by applying a darker Havana brown shoe polish.
I apply vax or shoe cream in between each use; I use shoe trees; I let the shoes rest at least a day after each use and finally I occasionally apply leather oil to the sole.
Oh.. and I use galoshes to protect soles from heavy rain or salt during Winter.

You might also be interested in these blog posts from last year:

The hue has been altered over time due to several layers of Saphir Medaille D'Or glacage #34 Havana-Brown

The stiches in the sole are not yet fretted

When I need new heels or a full refurbishment I will bring the shoes to the renowned Fifth Avenue Shoe Repairers in Goodge Street, London. They have the skills and experience to handle such tasks. And as a non-UK resident with no nearby Cheaney stockists I cannot utilise the Cheaney Refurbishment Service.

18 Aug 2014

Attire for the racecourse - and the new Chepstow from Christys

I have actually at present never been at a racecourse, but much inspired by the colourful pictures from events like Ascot, Derby, and the lovely descriptions of Drones visiting various racecourses in P.G. Wodehouse's novels I bought tickets for the Trotting Masters Final in Charlottenlund Racecourse; north of Copenhagen, Sunday 14th of September.
I am looking very much forward to unequivalent excitement, dashing horses and cheering crowds.

At the racecourse I suggest one should wear proper attire for a bit of everything; like slight rain, some amounts of dust and wind, cold weather, sun and the like...

I therefore expect to be wearing my vintage 1973 thornproof tweed suit, co-respondent shoes and my new hat from Christys hats: "the Chepstow" - named after the thoroughbred Welsh racecourse in Monmouthshire. I opted for a grey wool felt hat; already having black and brown hats in my stables.
I had, though, initial doubts if I should go to the expense of a fur felt version of the hat, but chose to start with the affordable wool felt.
As savings grow I can replace my wool felt fedoras and trilbys; that said: I find them very good looking (especially at a distance) and comfortable.

I had some photos taken of the most likely attire I will bring for my day at the racecourse:

Thornproof tweed in grey/green hues, white shirt (double cuff, detachable double round collar), Cheaney "Edwin" co-respondent shoes and a vintage set of binoculars

I should most likely also bring my Barbour if rain prevails

The Chepstow in light grey wool felt - available e.g. at the Dapper Gentleman outfitter Fogeyunlimited.co.uk

I have also collected a few pins at Pinterest to inspire for Gentlemanly attire at the racecourses

Gentleman at the racecourse
and of course last but not least the dashing Bertie Wooster enjoying a splendid day at the races

Dinner suit and Boater straw hat

Today is me and my wife's 2nd wedding anniversary and a welcome opportunity to air the new black grosgrain band for my Boater hat.
I bought a 38mm black grosgrain band, detached the blue/red guards band and mounted the black band.
The two bands are easily interchangeable depending on occasion and are stored in box together with my bow ties.

I am wearing my 1951 vintage Dinner suit with a soft Marcella fronted vintage 1920s Dress shirt
When is she coming home from work?


I hope the weather allows me to wear this hat with my Dinner suit Saturday in Copenhagen 13th of September for the WW1 Variety Show 

9 Aug 2014

The Straw Boater

I ordered my straw boater from Tails and the Unexpected; A beautiful crafted straw hat made in England by Olney hats. I went for the guards band version over the black grosgrain version; a versatile hat during summer. For many different combinations of suitings and jackets.
The boater or skimmer is a choice of some dispute nowadays whereas being the naural choice replacing the Fedora, the Homburg etc. during summer some 90 years ago. But even so I find it versatile. And I hope my surroundings agree; at least my wife uttered that the hat looked better than the Fedoras.
I have ordered a black grosgrain ribbon to replace this band on special occasions;to be able to use the hat for more formal purposes - like wearing it with a Dinner Suit. I thought it too much to have two straw boaters: better to replace the band when necessary.

Straw boater with guards band.
I used the (Tails and the Unexpected) guide to measure my Skimmer size and  I went for a size 7 - being a regular size 7 1/8.

The finish from Olney was not quite up to expectations: the poor effort of applying a velcro closing  was not OK. I had to remove this and replace with proper sewing. I also had to trim the grosgrain band for lose threads.

Leather sweatband; the interior is very appealing
I chose the straw boater today for my niece's 11th birthday party. Together with my Cambridge blue and white flannels.

My wife and kids - prior to leaving for the birthday party
The straw boater is the official Summer hat for the black tie Dinner suit - and so I intend to use it for when going to Copenhagen on the 13th of September (if weather permits - temperature must decide whether to go for for straw or fur felt)

1920s black tie
I collected a few inspirational skimmer pictures at Pinterest:

6 Aug 2014

Holiday in the Harz, Germany

My family and I (fifteen in total) enjoyed some days in the Harz - the highest mountain range in Northern Germany. 

Me and the offspring, Kaiser Pfalz, City of Goslar

Deciding for the proper attire I took into calculation the weather forecast (max temperatures of 20-24 degrees Celcius, likelyhood of rain every day), the altitude of the "Berg Hotel" (mountain hotel), the walking tracks and the small size of the nearby urban areas.

The area surrounding the Berg Hotel in the village Hahnenklee

So I went for 3 generic ensembles: breeches and Fair Isle knit for walking in the country side; a town & country suit in thorn proof tweed for visiting local urban areas and a Dinner Suit (we dined at the "Berg Hotel" every evening). 
Furthermore a Bond style flat cap and a brown wool felt Fedora; A pair of tan Oxford full brogues, a pair of dark brown Derby brogues and of course a pair of patent leather Oxfords; Shirtings and ties in plenty. 
Only regret is the wool felt Fedora which proved too warm - a straw hat would have been the better choice.

Visiting the Wernigerode Castle
Wernigerode Castle - original a Medieval stronghold was rebuild to present looks in the 1890s

As the hotel settings offered a private withdrawing room for our family I also brought my dressing gown, which is just right for taking of the suit jacket and relaxing with the family after a heavy German evening meal. 

On the way to the withdrawing room at the hotel for a restorative drink after Dinner.
As a little kuriosum I always use my Red Ensign as top layer in the suitcase when abroad.
This wooden church from 1908 is the main attraction in Hahnenklee