This week brings Seaplane’s first foray into our passion for vintage cars. In our travels we often spot examples of iconic automobiles, cars that marked their day, good examples whose values are on the rise. Our idea is, correctly bought, these appreciating drivers can be enjoyed, given what little they need, then sold for your investment or more.
Our first example is this 1988 BMW 325is, a handsome E30 coupe. Tough critics, we give it an 8/10 for paint — but a 9.5 for interior and mechanicals. A Southern car, it’s had every issue addressed as it’s arisen. Everything works, every light in the dash, the AC, the electric antenna. Watch the video.
“How’d you get into shirts?” we’re often asked at shows. The answer is they’re expressive, more forgiving than pants, and not too complicated to make.
So, by popular demand, here’s a crash course on the shirt production process.
In 2011 we started with a collection of vintage shirts. Our shoulder pleats and side curve, adapted from a bespoke English piece, give space for motion while remaining trim of line. Similarly, collar, cuffs, sleeve shape and hem are purloined from favorites.
If there’s a perfect wheel out there, why reinvent it?
Although it can be hard to spot differences, our dress shirt production process evolves with almost every cut, based on customer feedback and our experience on the road. Our patternmaker, Eng Gloninger, translates our instructions (i.e., “higher shoulder”) to seek the best compromise across the hundreds of different materials we use. When we make a change, Eng corrects pattern elements (i.e., collar stand or total sleeve length) that she knows will be impacted. Then she passes those elements to her husband, Andrew, to be digitized, graded and marked.
Starting with our sample, size large, Andrew uses computer aided design to expand or contract the pattern to 6 additional sizes, creating subtle shape changes in each element of the shirt.
At Seaplane’s start, for simplicity we made only small, medium and large.
Later, as we observed our fit on clients at shows, we added 4 more sizes.
Because our remnants come in different widths, HQ’s first step is to group similar widths to cut together in eventual order for marketing.
Then HQ requests markers based on the width of the narrowest fabric in each lot, because you can cut materials wider than the marker (using waste for bow ties), but not narrower.
The cutting ticket is our best guess at size demand for each print.
After the pattern has been graded, Andrew creates a marker for each size by laying elements in the most efficient manner possible (while observing constraints like print alignment across front panels).
Andrew has made markers for our longsleeve at 54”, 48” and 44”; our shortsleeve at 54”, 48”, 42”, and 40”; and our tunic at 54” and 48”. Consider that each of 3 styles in 7 sizes has 13 elements — you’ll feel for the cutter!
In narrower cuts, some elements of the larger sizes (such as front panels) may not fit side-by-side, so elements reshuffle. The result is longer markers for the larger sizes — at 44”, our XXL longsleeve consumes 58% more material than the XXS.
The cutter’s first step is to mark, usually with masking tape on the cutting table, the length of each size’s marker. Then he lays one layer of fabric between those marks for each unit ordered in each size, staples on the marker for stability, and uses an electric saw to cut right through the pile.
In the shirt production process, although sewers get a bit more efficient, sewing costs as much for the thousandth unit as for the twentieth. Economy of scale, which benefits us all, happens on the cutting table.
OK, I have to say that I am only on Facebook once in a blue moon. Like maybe really only once a year when it comes time to invite former students of my partner to our annual holiday party for alumna (so if you are reading this, drop a line). Well, I had to 'Like' Seaplane Shirts since it was a 'challenge', and since I've gotten lots of great comments from people about the shirts I wear from Seaplane. I discovered Seaplane way back when, in April 2013, when I got my first two shirts from the shopping site FAB. Sorry for the plug there for them, but they did get me started. But since then, I have shopped on the Seaplane site and have acquired more to my arsenal of fabulous shirts. In fact, when Schuyler posted a request for help at DC pride in 2014, I jumped at the chance to help out, and get a shirt or two, well actually three it turned out. And I had a friend come down who got four. Well, at least one was for me eventually. Who wouldn't ask for more shirts from Seaplane?!!! Just yesterday as I was wrapping presents for the coming holiday, I decided I should see how many Seaplane shirts I currently owned. It turns out that it is now at 13 (I think, provided some aren't in the laundry). And I've bought several more as gifts over the years, not sure how many, but I'm giving away more this season. And I know that I am getting at least another one or two from others. And truth be told, I bought myself another three on sale. I just can't stop. So, now I own 16 with at least two more coming! YEAH!!! And the new Cruise line is so great, I'm going to have to spend my spare (haha) funds on a couple of them if there are any left once the full line is revealed. Curses to you Schuyler for making the funnest shirts on the planet ! You have me as a customer, for myself and friends, for LIFE !!! Keep them coming and I'll keep on buying. So for the rest of you, GO TO SEAPLANE SHIRTS AND GET YOURSELF SOMETHING FABULOUS !!! THAT'S AN ORDER !!!
Cheers, and for everyone out there...
(Happy Kwanzaa Hanukkah Ramadan)
Harry Kwa wali Hanu mas adan stice !
(Merry Diwali Christmas Solstice)
Note from Seaplane: And one more shirt makes 14!