Score: Tapper … Updated Photos

Sitting in my office today I spent the morning with my sewing machine mechanic Henry.  Henry is a tinkering genius. He immigrated from Poland to South Africa, and then to Canada.  Henry is one of the last of of his kind here in Toronto; he can fix a Reece button hole machine!.  As Henry puts it “you are very luck to find such a good machine, Dave…a bit older and maybe it will not make nice holes on leather”.

My machine is difficult to operate.  I spent the last week practicing on scrap leather.  I must have made 400 holes, adjusting tension, threading …re-threading.  I downloaded a manual for my old machine and decided to learn from my mechanic.  Henry told me he learned to fix these machines in South Africa.  His first big job was repair and maintenance in a Schmata shop with 1000 sewers. He lied to get the job and when put in front of his first Reece he told the owner to lock him in the factory and he spent the entire night stripping down the machine and rebuilding it till it worked.  That is how he learned to fix them.  He has the scars to prove it…he is missing one third of a finger.  Almost everybody I have met in the leather business is missing some part of a finger  You only have to chop one small bit off once and you never do it again!  Oh..back to Henry…I spent the week learning to work the machine.  Of course I messed it up in the process.  Actually we are not sure if I messed it up or not but it is a very delicate baby.  I really really wanted to finish my prototype 1910 jacket  “The Tapper” in order to do so I needed to be able to make nice button holes through the thick horsehide and wool.  As Henry explained “This machine does not sew button holes…it is very complex, it knits with a pearl stitch. “.  So I fired up my knitting machine and finally after a 3 hour lesson in service I have a finely tuned working button holer again.  So these are more photos of two of my next 6 jackets.  I am changing the Score jacket a little more.  I will explain the design principals of these jackets in a later post..for now I want to put up some nice pics of the jackets until I cant make a couple more final versions.


Score Sportswear and The Tapper: Developing New Models

Part of the fun of starting this “heritage” project is developing new ideas for leather jackets.  I am very committed to having a solid concept behind every single design that I do.A huge part of that philosophy is applying the knowledge and history that I have accumulated into the creation of a jacket.  Each jacket requires a different process and some of the designs come from my head and some of the designs come from real existent jackets.

When I saw my first Score jacket it was in Rin Tanaka’s History of Motorcycle Jackets book.  It was unidentified by manufacturer.  I researched that jacket.  It was so cool.  As it turns out it should have been in the Canadian jacket section.  That jacket was developed and designed by Score Sportswear of Toronto.  Open since 1930 Score was one of the many jacket manufacturers down on Spadina (now Chinatown)  where I live and work.  I knew one of my first jackets would be a Score!

When I start working on a design I try and assess what my goals are in recreating or creating a jacket.  In this case I have tried to imagine what the diagonal zipped Score racing shirt would have looked like if Score had made one in 1935. I should say I own 4 versions of this jacket from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and then of course the company disappeared.

I sat down with the pattern and imagined a slightly more primitive version.  The leather was thicker, the seams top stitched, the lines hand drawn and the zippers typical of that period.  After justifying ever design change I now have my first prototype, which I will preview fully once I build prototype number two.

I am working on 6 new designs.  The second one I am calling the Tapper.  It is more of a heritage project.  I found this workers jacket from around 1910.  It immediately struck me as absolutely beautiful and primitive.  I was blown away by the simplicity of this jacket and its refined utilitarian lines.  The 1910 jacket looks essentially like a WW 1 era jerkin vest with extra large arm holes for mobility, and then the designers sewed circular gussets and external corduroy arms on to the leather vest.  It is so simple!  A protective wool lined horsehide vest with external twill lined cord arms that continue into the body component of the jacket.  This sort of design is ridiculously primitive and avant garde .  Sometimes the genius and simplicity of the past reflects the cutting edge of the future.  I have not completed this jacket yet but I have a prototype sans button holes that I have completed and am looking for test wearers!