Show me your "Battle Horse"
Posted: Feb 26 2016
" Mostrami il tuo cavallo di battaglia". In Italian, this means "show me your battle horse".
What does that really mean? It means show me all that you have. Show me your best.
When I am in Italy, "Mostrami il tuo di battaglia" is my go to phrase when I meet with new factories. I don't want to waste my time or theirs.
Pictured below is one of my "Battle Horses". This particular shirt is missing two key components to making it my end all of be- all and end-all "battle horse" but to some the missing components are subjective. I don't want to get into that quite yet.
I made this particular shirt for me with the features I wanted. The first notable difference is the after the fourth button, there is a "flap" of extra fabric. I did this because I have a little gut. I am 43. I don't give a shit how much you work out you will get one too.
The flap or cut out allows me to have a fitted shirt but in the event I am sitting down and the shirt pulls, you can't see skin or an under shirt. Really , you can't even tell the shirt is pulling.
It's a cool little trick not often see by most shirt makers.
The "Jacket Sleeve". This is another big deal that very few shirt makers offer. The term " jacket sleeve" is mine. It's not the technical term. The few factories in Italy that offer this service all call it something different. I call it " Jacket sleeve" because the bulk in the seam is reduced and the shifted seam gives you complete arm rotation. This not only makes the shirt comfortable, it also allows a person wearing a jacket a lot extra movement, thus making it more comfortable to take on and off the layering piece.
The "jacket sleeve" is the most expensive way to sew a sleeve. "Jacket Sleeves" as of March 2016 are standard on all "Made in Italy" shirts from WvG.
In this picture you will also notice the sleeve head is sewn by hand. Hand sewing is subjective in terms of quality. It's more expensive but it doesn't mean the shirt is stronger of weaker. The only exception to that rule is the sleeve head. A hand sewn sleeve head gives a better fit. It makes the shirt more comfortable to wear. When we are talking about "battle horses" this can't be left out.
Hand sewn shoulder are a great option for those interested. It's a good option for people who like the hand sewn look. The pick stitching gives a real "luxurious" look. Hand sewn shoulders don't mean the shirt is higher or lesser quality. It's just a "battle horse" option.
The picture above, to me, is a necessity. Button holes. Normally, button holes are sewn first and then punched open. However, with hand sewn button holes or a descent "Made to Measure" shirt, your button holes are opened and then sewn. This results in a cleaner tighter button hole. My shirt has been machined and the bar tacking has been reinforced. A hand sewn button hole should have the process but it all depends on who is doing the sewing. Hand sewn button holes are very expensive and can sometimes look like total shit.
When showing my "battle horse" I want the cleanest product possible. Also pictured, for those with the eagle eyes are hand sewn cuffs.
A split back yoke is another tail tail sign of a nice dress shirt. The maker is saying " we care about your build and your comfort." A normal straight back yoke works 99% of the time. It's not as comfortable as a split back yoke and doesn't allow for the range of motion but with today's technology, there really is nothing wrong with a straight back yoke, unless you are showing your "battle horse".
In this picture you will also see that the collar band is hand sewn to the shirt. I will show a better picture of that next.
There are a couple ways to make and attach a hand sewn collar. The method shown is the easier of the two. I will do a separate blog post on just the collar soon.
Here, we have the bottom of the collar band attached to the shirt. The rest of the collar is machined. This is still "battle horse" worthy and an option we give to our clients.
Hand sewn gussets and bar tacking are not a must unless you want the best. Hand sewn gussets and bar tacks look incredibly attractive and are very strong. We offer both to all of our clients.
Here, you can see the hand sewn bar tack in upper right side of the dog house.
You can all see the hand sewn cuffs. The buttons holes are crisp.
My Italian is a work in progress. I didn't articulate properly, that I wanted shanked buttons, instead I received the standard "crow's foot", which is still a great way to sew on a button, but if you want a " battle horse ", below is how the button should be attached to the shirt.
Finally, not shown is 3.5mm Mother of pearl buttons. Again, this is subjective. I believe a nice thick MoP button really completes a dress shirt. Here is a picture to see the thickness ratios. First is 3.5mm.
Next is a stand 2mm mother of pearl button.
It's a huge difference between the two buttons. Luckily, I can just switch out the buttons.
My "Battle Horse" was made from 140's 2ply fabric by Alumo. Makers of some of the finest shirt fabrics in the world.
My " Battle Horse" shirt covers just a few of the options we offer to our clients. We also offer full Napoletana service.
Anyone interested in a shirt like this or something similar give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.