Monday, 12 March 2012

SINGER 114w103 - Chainstitch Embroidery Machine

The love affair with chain stitching is somewhat eclipsed if you have one of these. The Singer 114w103 is the first chainstitch machine Singer made, starting around 1911. It was 1st used in a treadle table and often called a “Cornely Type”, modeled after Cornely of France’s design that went into production in 1865.

These single needle chain-stitch machines were used to stitch names onto garments, workshirts, handkerchiefs etc...  Now most embroideries are done on modern computerised machines, but there something quite amazing using the freehand crank below the machine, while directing your embroidery above, and controlling the speed with your feet.

Roy Slaper of "ROY" has one of these machines, which he, by hand chain stitches the shop / or often his own name in the jean on the pocket bag. check out a video of him using this amazing machine on his selvage duck pants for Self Edge...

Pocket Highway © Roy Slaper

1st 2 images © Grain & Gram - Roy Slaper on his Singer 114w103 
 © Roy Slaper / SELF EDGE
© Roy Slaper

Finding one has been tricky, they sometimes pop up on ebay, and sell for 300-500USD but theres a guy in japan who re-conditions them, stripes them down, re paints them... and even makes custom boxes for them, ( so you can have the hand crank on top of the main table) and so they can fit on any modern table, with out much modification.. I personally like them with the paint coming off.  This will be the next machine i invest in for sure.

Below are some more images of this special machine.....
Above image © The West is Dead - (much respect !)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Miniature "mini" Denim

Early Levi's - mini denim - photograph (c) mohsin sajid

The fascination of producing miniature versions of things has always been embedded in us. It first of all shows us skill, craft, and knowledge to be able to produce things in mini form. Countless art movements, paintings, books have all been produced in miniature. It only seems natural, when you Master something, Miniaturisation is the way to go...  

I first came across my 1st a miniature levi's pant in a vintage denim shop in Tokyo back in 2004. i was blown away. I wanted one.. but was told "not for sale, only one..." but i was also told, back in the day, sales teams would make miniature versions of the collection to sale against, and this way would not break their backs lugging the collections around the country - Everything would be made in the correct fabric - so it would be a true representation of the garment - Not quite sure if its true, but its a nice story. 

Above 4 images (c) Levi's - Big E era mini Levi's

Theres been a trend on mini denim for a little while now, its seems like every cool brand is taking this, old concept, and spinning it with a little help from marketing. Plus its fun and hard / pain in the ass to do. Quite funny, our good friends at levi's did re-invent this very same concept and showed us all how it should be done, check out the image below from there bread and butter show for ss12.
Above LEVI'S(R) LVC SS12 collection - all Miniature - pretty cool is an understatement !.

Even in the Levis meat packing LVC shop in NYC,  you can see some mini denim representations next to there fits... - super cool : 

Above 2 images from LEVI'S(R) LVC Meat packing store on 414 W14th

Given the excitement of mini denim, about a year ago, i decided to make my own mini from my DKNY JEANS slim block i designed. I even got the global visual merchandising in on it, to pitch an idea for a Xmas store concept... The sad thing is, it was never picked up, but my mini denim was produced - Below are some prototypes of my selvage version, and images of the ones we got made with one of our factories...

Above my crude selvage attempt at mini denim - (c) MOHSIN SAJID / DKNY JEANS 

Above are the factory versions of the mini jeans we made for DKNY JEANS - of course not selvage like my mock up - but nice attempt never the less, using correct fabric and washing treatments from SS12...

Below are two great designers, Jason Denham and Julian Dash who have both dabbled in mini denim- I very much like how Jasons mini denim has pencils in it.

The Great Japanese brand Momotaro Jeans, also very recently made a mini denim version of their pant, esp nice is the hand scraping  / whisker marks and washing treatment.. super nice....
Above Image (c) Momotaro Jeans

Long Live Mini Denim !