drpeter

Senior Member
Haha, speaking of liberating things with pen knives, I once foolishly used a pen knife to remove a monogram from a lovely Lands' End canvas attache bag that was on sale as a return, and cost very little. It took a while, and afterwards, I learned (from a woman, who else?) that there is a simple tool that tailors and seamstresses use for this and many other purposes -- a seam ripper! Some lessons are learned the hard way, LOL.
 

Peak and Pine

Connoisseur
I learned...that there is a simple tool that tailors and seamstresses use for this and many other purposes -- a seam ripper! Some lessons are learned the hard way, LOL.
If I may...

Unlearn that pretty quick. A seam ripper in the wrong, in the right, in any hands is a mighty harmful tool and can rip your stuff to shreds with the twitch of a finger. Maybe also forget about a pen knife. That's for gutting squirrels. Undoing a seam (let's trash the term rip) requires precision. And time. If you're looking for quick and easy in any tailoring endeavor that you yourself undertake, have you yourself reach quick and easy into your wallet and take it to someone who knows better.

An ideal tool for undoing a seam is a single edge blade, very sharp, not shoved in a holder, but directly in your hand. Strong light and the proper power reading glasses. And tee vee off because in a silent environment you should be able to hear each stitch snap. Each side of the seam should be held taut and apart as you go with great pressure using a single hand in a scissoring position, the blade in the other.

Safety is paramount. Not to you, to your clothes. You've got band-aids. Your clothes got nothin'.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
If I may...

Unlearn that pretty quick. A seam ripper in the wrong, in the right, in any hands is a mighty harmful tool and can rip your stuff to shreds with the twitch of a finger. Maybe also forget about a pen knife. That's for gutting squirrels. Undoing a seam (let's trash the term rip) requires precision. And time. If you're looking for quick and easy in any tailoring endeavor that you yourself undertake, have you yourself reach quick and easy into your wallet and take it to someone who knows better.

An ideal tool for undoing a seam is a single edge blade, very sharp, not shoved in a holder, but directly in your hand. Strong light and the proper power reading glasses. And tee vee off because in a silent environment you should be able to hear each stitch snap. Each side of the seam should be held taut and apart as you go with great pressure using a single hand in a scissoring position, the blade in the other.

Safety is paramount. Not to you, to your clothes. You've got band-aids. Your clothes got nothin'.
Thanks for the warning. The only time I tried to get a monogram off was the one situation I described. With the penknife, I managed to get everything off without damage to the canvas, although the many tiny holes did not quite disappear, even after I wet it with a bit of warm water and let it dry. After that I resolved to let my tailor, or someone skilled remove things like monograms. I agree with you that it is advisable for someone without tailoring skills (like myself) not to try using a seam ripper -- and I was not planning to. What's more, I would not have the patience to work with the single blade in the way you suggest. I have managed to take certain stitched in tags (the ones that are cut before the garment is put on sale) out with no damage to the cloth, but if at all complex, I am content to take such jobs to my tailor.

That said, I don't agree with you regarding the danger of using this tool, if it is used by someone with skill and experience. I have watched my tailor take apart seams quickly using a seam ripper, with zero damage to the garment. Granted he is a very skilled and experienced tailor, but women friends who do some sewing and repairs at home also use seam rippers without any damage being done.

Here's a video (one of dozens) on how to use a seam ripper, both the slow stitch by stiitch method and the fast method using the small red ball -- I think the latter is the method I've seen Mr Vang, my tailor, use. Yes, you have to work with care, but in the right hands, it is quite doable.


I can and do sew buttons on, by the way. That's safe, except for an occasional poke in the finger! However, absolutely no violence to squirrels or other animals! Horrors!

Thanks again for the cautionary note -- your point is well taken.
 
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Peak and Pine

Connoisseur
I didn't watch the videos. I gave you my warning. Let me restate. I'm not interested in quick and easy. I like safe and sure. I also like by-hand stuff. Anything. I once built a small house by hand (there are pics of it on here some place ). A quirk maybe. When it comes to tailoring. which I only do for myself, I do almost everything by hand, often unnecessarily so. Pick stitching on the exterior of pant cuffs for example. You've heard about people in their 70s who try to act 40. Since my 40s I've tried to act 70. Just to get prepared. Quick and easy, not the movie now playing.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Understood. We'll agree to differ a bit on this. I am not about to venture into ripping seams or tailoring at any level.

I like to do things by hand too, things like repairing books, for instance. I am more confident of my skills there because of practice and experience.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
The material looks nice.The lapels are a shade too thin for my taste, especially with the high gorge, but others may like this contemporary style. The jacket overall is a bit on the tight side and too short, for my liking, and that too is the style that is au courant. But I often wonder if body movements are constrained by these tight jackets, especially when buttoned. The scyes look to be too low, and if they actually are, that means the jacket will pull when you move your upper arms. So altogether, I am not sure I care for this style.

Is the model wearing a sleeveless cardigan? Or is it a waistcoat or vest of some sort?

A bit of a tangent, but the waistcoat is an item of clothing that should be as snug as possible: It sits very close to the torso and it is not easy to fit properly, even if one is being made for you. Ready-made waistcoats are hit or miss, in my opinion, precisely because they need to fit each person's torso, and adjustments can distort its lines. The other consideration is that, as we lose or gain weight, the waistcoat is thrown off balance because the initial fit won't be good any more. Sometimes you'll find a belt at the back that will permit some adjustments, but the effect this has is marginal, and it can distort some of the other parts of the garment. Dodgy stuff.

All that said, a well-fitting waistcoat, whether part of a suit in the same material, or a contrasting one (tattersalls, solids), can really add dash and style to the overall image. I have a small collection of odd waistcoats that are rich in variety and colour, but only a single one that is part of a suit -- a lovely old grey flannel suit from Britches of Georgetown, likely a defunct company now.
 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
The material looks nice.The lapels are a shade too thin for my taste, especially with the high gorge, but others may like this contemporary style. The jacket overall is a bit on the tight side and too short, for my liking, and that too is the style that is au courant. But I often wonder if body movements are constrained by these tight jackets, especially when buttoned. The scyes look to be too low, and if they actually are, that means the jacket will pull when you move your upper arms. So altogether, I am not sure I care for this style.

Is the model wearing a sleeveless cardigan? Or is it a waistcoat or vest of some sort?

A bit of a tangent, but the waistcoat is an item of clothing that should be as snug as possible: It sits very close to the torso and it is not easy to fit properly, even if one is being made for you. Ready-made waistcoats are hit or miss, in my opinion, precisely because they need to fit each person's torso, and adjustments can distort its lines. The other consideration is that, as we lose or gain weight, the waistcoat is thrown off balance because the initial fit won't be good any more. Sometimes you'll find a belt at the back that will permit some adjustments, but the effect this has is marginal, and it can distort some of the other parts of the garment. Dodgy stuff.

All that said, a well-fitting waistcoat, whether part of a suit in the same material, or a contrasting one (tattersalls, solids), can really add dash and style to the overall image. I have a small collection of odd vests that are rich in variety and colour, but only a single one that is part of a suit -- a lovely old grey flannel suit from Britches of Georgetown, likely a defunct company now.
Purely from memory (hence, subject to much error), the Black Label line sat between the Blue and Purple lines from a price perspective and was always a contemporary cut - as you note.

It was introduced in the early '00 before "skinny" was everywhere, but being a contemporary look, it was always slim to skinny in cut. It also tended to be more "European" or "International" in style versus Ralph's usual American / British lean.

So, it was not your typical Ralph offering. I remember, when it first came out, walking through the large Black Label section in the flagship and being impressed with the materials and quality, but the cut and style didn't work for me even though I like slim (not skinny) as slim works well for my frame.

Part of it was for the reasons you note. I distinctly remember trying on a sport coat in 40L (my usual size) that fit nicely in the shoulders, but was short and pulled funny when I moved. I can only emphasize how odd that was for me as most clothes don't pull funny on me as most clothes don't pull at all on my thin frame...ever. Also, the shoulders where "squared" off, which gave me a silhouette I didn't like.

That's it, just observations and experiences. Again, the workmanship, materials and overall quality were impressive and the "look" was "continental," so it was Ralph trying for another segment - nothing wrong with that IMO. I believe he stopped the line four or five years ago. I remember being surprised as I thought it was successful and fit nicely between the Blue and Purple lines, but as always, what do we on the outside really ever know.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
That tweed is pretty enough I would wear it despite the darts, but the badge is just wrong on it and the premature elbow patches are silly. Now if they tucked the patches into the pocket with the extra buttons that might be nice twenty years or more later. Of course there would be that issue of where to stow them. In the sewing basket, where they would obscure needles, thread, and darning egg? In the top dresser, atop the tangle of striped watch straps and the tin of collar stays (and if you are an RL devotee, your collar bars)?
LOL, in a pinch, those elbow patches could be detached and, with a bit of elastic and a couple of holes punched in them, be converted into a Covid Mask. Double duty!
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
I didn't watch the videos. I gave you my warning. Let me restate. I'm not interested in quick and easy. I like safe and sure. I also like by-hand stuff. Anything. I once built a small house by hand (there are pics of it on here some place ). A quirk maybe. When it comes to tailoring. which I only do for myself, I do almost everything by hand, often unnecessarily so. Pick stitching on the exterior of pant cuffs for example. You've heard about people in their 70s who try to act 40. Since my 40s I've tried to act 70. Just to get prepared. Quick and easy, not the movie now playing.
Didn't watch the videos, huh? Well that's ok, I watched both of them and now know more about using seam rippers than I ever knew there was to know. However, if you should find yourself plagued with a growing need to know how to use a seam ripper, watch the first video...it is twice as informative as is the second! LOL. ;)
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Purely from memory (hence, subject to much error), the Black Label line sat between the Blue and Purple lines from a price perspective and was always a contemporary cut - as you note.

It was introduced in the early '00 before "skinny" was everywhere, but being a contemporary look, it was always slim to skinny in cut. It also tended to be more "European" or "International" in style versus Ralph's usual American / British lean.

So, it was not your typical Ralph offering. I remember, when it first came out, walking through the large Black Label section in the flagship and being impressed with the materials and quality, but the cut and style didn't work for me even though I like slim (not skinny) as slim works well for my frame.

Part of it was for the reasons you note. I distinctly remember trying on a sport coat in 40L (my usual size) that fit nicely in the shoulders, but was short and pulled funny when I moved. I can only emphasize how odd that was for me as most clothes don't pull funny on me as most clothes don't pull at all on my thin frame...ever. Also, the shoulders where "squared" off, which gave me a silhouette I didn't like.

That's it, just observations and experiences. Again, the workmanship, materials and overall quality were impressive and the "look" was "continental," so it was Ralph trying for another segment - nothing wrong with that IMO. I believe he stopped the line four or five years ago. I remember being surprised as I thought it was successful and fit nicely between the Blue and Purple lines, but as always, what do we on the outside really ever know.
All good points. The term Black Label -- I wonder if it was lifted from a line of scotch whisky by Johnnie Walker that used to be my favourite blended whisky back in my drinking days. LOL, my current favourite is Red Label. It is Assam Tea from the Indian company called Brooke Bond and I blend it with a small amount of fine Darjeeling to create Dr Peter's Label, LOL. That's about as strong as it gets these days for me.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Didn't watch the videos, huh? Well that's ok, I watched both of them and now know more about using seam rippers than I ever knew there was to know. However, if you should find yourself plagued with a growing need to know how to use a seam ripper, watch the first video...it is twice as informative as is the second! LOL. ;)
I am glad you found them useful, Eagle.
 

TKI67

Super Member
All good points. The term Black Label -- I wonder if it was lifted from a line of scotch whisky by Johnnie Walker that used to be my favourite blended whisky back in my drinking days. LOL, my current favourite is Red Label. It is Assam Tea from the Indian company called Brooke Bond and I blend it with a small amount of fine Darjeeling to create Dr Peter's Label, LOL. That's about as strong as it gets these days for me.
Three unconnected thoughts: It is nice to see someone who has developed and named their tea blend. My great grandmother always got two-thirds oolong and one-third gunpowder at Goldberg Bowen in San Francisco. She brewed it very light. I still love "Granny's Tea."

In the mid-1930s my father picked up some Harris Tweed on a Midshipmen's Cruise and had it made into a sport coat. It was a sad day when that jacket needed elbow patches in the 1980s. Tough stuff indeed! Sadly it is no longer with me. Despite its belted bi-swing back it was a nifty jacket.

I have never tasted Johnny Walker Black and likely never will, despite being a Scotch drinker. We had a bottle of JW Red that came out of a drawer at the office after hours on Fridays for just a dram. I miss the experience.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Three unconnected thoughts: It is nice to see someone who has developed and named their tea blend. My great grandmother always got two-thirds oolong and one-third gunpowder at Goldberg Bowen in San Francisco. She brewed it very light. I still love "Granny's Tea."

In the mid-1930s my father picked up some Harris Tweed on a Midshipmen's Cruise and had it made into a sport coat. It was a sad day when that jacket needed elbow patches in the 1980s. Tough stuff indeed! Sadly it is no longer with me. Despite its belted bi-swing back it was a nifty jacket.

I have never tasted Johnny Walker Black and likely never will, despite being a Scotch drinker. We had a bottle of JW Red that came out of a drawer at the office after hours on Fridays for just a dram. I miss the experience.
Granny's Tea sounds like it could pack a punch! Most Assam tea is actually oolong. The British first brought tea from China and decided to plant it in the Assam hills because the soil and weather was right for tea cultivation. The huge tea estates have continued, and British owners have sold their companies and estates to Indians. Even some of the major outfits in England are owned by Indians now. Perhaps a small reversal of fortune?

Your Dad's jacket sounds like something to be treasured. I am sorry to hear it went to Harris Tweed Heaven. I take it you don't much care for the Norfolk style in sports jackets.

As for scotch, although it was more affordable to drink blended scotch, I eventually acquired a taste for the classic single malts -- Glenmorangie, Laphroaig, and all sorts of obscure names. They say the best scotch whisky is the one in a stone jar that the barkeep has in the back in those Scottish pubs. If he likes the cut of your jib, he'll probably pour you a wee dram, and it will be unlike any other whisky you have ever tasted. I have not had the pleasure, never having been to Scotland. But I once had some French Armagnac that came from a dusty bottle with no label on it (some private supply, I'm sure). It was heaven in a small glass. I had two, the chance having presented itself. And as Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favours the prepared mind."
 

TKI67

Super Member
Granny's Tea sounds like it could pack a punch! Most Assam tea is actually oolong. The British first brought tea from China and decided to plant it in the Assam hills because the soil and weather was right for tea cultivation. The huge tea estates have continued, and British owners have sold their companies and estates to Indians. Even some of the major outfits in England are owned by Indians now. Perhaps a small reversal of fortune?

Your Dad's jacket sounds like something to be treasured. I am sorry to hear it went to Harris Tweed Heaven. I take it you don't much care for the Norfolk style in sports jackets.

As for scotch, although it was more affordable to drink blended scotch, I eventually acquired a taste for the classic single malts -- Glenmorangie, Laphroaig, and all sorts of obscure names. They say the best scotch whisky is the one in a stone jar that the barkeep has in the back in those Scottish pubs. If he likes the cut of your jib, he'll probably pour you a wee dram, and it will be unlike any other whisky you have ever tasted. I have not had the pleasure, never having been to Scotland. But I once had some French Armagnac that came from a dusty bottle with no label on it (some private supply, I'm sure). It was heaven in a small glass. I had two, the chance having presented itself. And as Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favours the prepared mind."
I liked the look of the belted back fine. It seems fitting for a tweed. However, a big part of my love for the sack is its supreme comfort.

I have spent a fair amount of time in Scotland but like most of the Scots I had more of a beer budget. Back in the states I continue to love the Islays, noting that the basic Bowmore and Ardbeg are relatively affordable but still marvelous.

Your Armagnac experience sounds absolutely wonderful.
 
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