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20 December 2014

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Well, 19 pairs. There are just 19 pairs of our 100 Perfect Socks left – the collaboration with William Abraham that led to the racing-green, silk/merino, unique-fibre lovelies you see above. Very expensive at $88, but then they are perfect. 

More details on the project and the socks themselves, here. Remember that these socks are sized as well, so there are actually only a handful left in every size. 

We’re also offering free, 2-day express shipping up until 4pm EST on Monday. Order by then, and you’ll have them by the 24th.  

19 December 2014

 
This is a milling machine. An old one. 

Part of the finishing process for woven cloth, milling involves pummelling the material in order to break up the fibres and pull them together.

The cloth shrinks slightly, becoming denser and acquiring a spongier handle. It is a mild version of what you do if you accidentally shrink a sweater in the washing machine. It is creative destruction.

Milling is one of the many processes that a weaver can use to control the finish on its cloth – from smooth to hairy, heavy to light. Begg recently refurbished this old, wooden machine because it is one of the ways it achieves its distinctive ripple finish on its scarves.

Unlike many old machines, this one seems to produce a genuinely different effect to modern equivalents, largely because of the room the cloth has to move, and its particular ‘punching’ action.

I love old machines when they have a reason to be. It’s pretty too, right?

More on Begg – perhaps the best maker of scarves in the world – here.

Graham Browne

 
As is by now traditional, tailor Graham Browne will be having an end-of-year offer for customers around between Christmas and New Year. 

On December 29, 30 and 31, between 9am and 4pm, they will be offering: 

  • An exclusive piece of Lumbs Golden Bale in navy 11oz from H.Lesser. Normal price for a 2 piece in the fabric would be £1900, but it is £1050 in the sale. Only enough cloth to make 20 suits
  • Two-piece suits in stock cloths, which include Lesser, Dugdale’s and Smith’s, for £800.00
  • Wool-and-cashmere blend jacketings for £650.00.
  • Ahead of the relaunch of W.Bill, an exclusive viewing of patterns from their latest collection.

To book an appointment or find out more email info@grahambrowne.co.uk. For more on my experience with Graham Browne over the years, see the dedicated page here

Tim Little bespoke boot chelsea elasticated

 
As mentioned back in October, I recently had a pair of bespoke Chelsea boots made by Tim Little – the owner of Grenson shoes, who also runs a smaller label under his own name.

I was interested in Tim’s bespoke offering primarily for the cost. At £1950 (and £900 for every subsequent pair), it is much cheaper than the other, better-known makers in London. This is partly due to the small, occasional nature of the bespoke business, and partly to the quality of the materials and finish.

The hope, therefore, was that this could be a bespoke option for anyone looking for a bespoke fit without all of the aesthetic details.

That hope, I’m pleased to say, has been largely fulfilled.
 

Tim Little bespoke boot chelsea fit  

The boots are tan Chelseas with an extra-wide elasticated section. During the fitting process, it became quickly clear that I needed this addition to deal with the proportions of my feet: relatively wide, with narrow ankles.

The fitting (we only needed one, but there can be two) was good in many ways. The front of the shoe was perfect: nice chiselled shape, with just enough room for my toes to move comfortably. The shape through the back seam was beautiful: given my narrow ankle, that line up the heel and into the ankle had an exaggerated curve. And the instep was fine: it needed some excess taking out of the arch, but only a little.

There was one problem though. I couldn’t get them on.

The boot fitted perfectly for the foot and ankle, but didn’t allow enough space to get the former through the space for the latter. 
 

Tim Little bespoke boot chelsea sole

 
We cut the elastic in order to get the boot on and assess the rest of the fit. Then we calculated how much the elastic would have to be enlarged.

When I picked up the boots, it was, frankly, still a struggle getting them on. But in the weeks since the leather has softened up, and they are now perfect. Tight enough to make sure the foot is held and doesn’t slip forward, but loose enough around the joints and toes.

As to the look of the shoes, you can see from the images here the lovely colour of the leather and the solid make, including a nice, trim welt. While both the welt and sole are hand sewn, however, the waist is simple and square. There is no bevelling or tight cut to the upper as you would get with Cleverley, Gaziano and so on (although not with John Lobb).
 

Tim Little bespoke boot chelsea

 
The fit through the ankle has already been mentioned, but it is also nice how the fit through the arch was improved after the first fitting. You can see that attractive curve along the inside of the shoe in the image above. This level of fit was particularly interesting given that Tony Botteril (the measurer) uses Springline to make the bespoke last, rather than an internal lastmaker.

Elsewhere on the quality, the leather of the upper is good, but not quite as fine as other bespoke makers or high-end RTW such as Edward Green. (This is most obvious in how it polishes.) And the three-piece shoe trees that we made were rather too big; but we can correct that later.

Overall, the boots were great value and I’d highly recommend to someone looking for a bespoke fit at a more affordable price.
 

Tim Little bespoke boot chelsea3

Photos: Jack Lawson

Colin Firth bespoke shoe trees

 
Kingsman: The Secret Service launches in the UK in February. There are several nice things about this. Sections of it are set in Huntsman, on Savile Row. The clothing is all supplied by British brands (and nearly all made in the UK): George Cleverley shoes, Turnbull & Asser shirts, Drake’s ties, Swaine Adeney cases, Cutler & Gross glasses.

And it brings spy thrillers back to the kind of sharp, serious clothing we love. In fact, if there’s one thing I like about it most, it is that the lead actors all had bespoke shoes (and largely suits) made. Film doesn’t normally work to the timescales or budgets of bespoke clothing, but this time it did. 
 

Taron Egerton bespoke shoes2 Michael Caine bespoke shoes

 
Pictured, some of the shoes made by Cleverley for the stars. And in the trailer below, you can see Colin Firth’s in a moment a knife pops out of the toe. Apparently it is ‘sick’.  [If the trailer doesn’t appear, try refreshing this page.]

 

 
There will be a branded ‘Kingsman’ range of clothing on Mr Porter from January, including designs from all those makers mentioned above. Look out for a Cleverley competition on its instagram account (@gjcleverley) that month too, to win tickets to the premier.