I learned a new technique just now. Well, not exactly. It’s just a different way of doing something I do already but I never thought of doing it that way. Chris Despos, a Chicago tailor, posted some photos of his work on Styleforum, showing how he balances patterns down the center back seam.
But I’m not excited about learning a new way to balance checks. I am excited because it was another reminder to me of how we get boxed in by our own dogma. The line at center back is the very first line you draw when drafting a suit pattern. You square down and out from a point which is the neck. I then shape my center back seam, 1/2″ to 3/4″ in from that line at the waist, down, depending on the shape of the back. I have always done it this way. It is almost sacred to me, being the first few lines in a draft. It has never occurred to me to do it any other way because to do so would require some shaping which I already know how to do anyway for a different style of back- his is a brilliant combination of the two methods. So why did I never think of doing it Chris’ way?
Because I always did it my way. That’s all.
How many other techniques or interesting ideas am I not open to just because I am still tied up by my understanding of the “rules” of tailoring? Chris just reminded me to open my eyes and my mind a little. He reminded me that when we think we know something or understand something we close our minds to learning new things.