• Natalia Quinteros-Guevara: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

    Photo: Natalia Quinteros-Guevara

    Posted on December 2, 2012 nu Natalia Quinteros-Guevara

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    ……….Meet Pascuale Scioli. He’s a tailor in South Philadelphia’s East Passyunk neighborhood where he has been operating his own store for over 20 years. Pascuale, or “Pat”, as he has people call him, is a petite powerhouse of energy. He was outside of his shop when I first met him, talking to a neighborhood woman about the dying art of hand stitching. He continued to tell me how he uses the methods his grandfather used as a tailor. Pat is a very proud and extremely friendly guy who was more than willing to pose for a series of photos. This series aims to highlight the importance of artisans.

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    When I went to photograph Pat, he was helping a customer who drove all the way from New Jersey to see him. “Shirts are made in a generic size nowadays,” he explained to us as he proceeded with his work. “The most important part of a shirt and suit is a good fit and attention to details”. We were all having a great time listening to Pat tell it like it is.

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    Photo: Natalia Quinteros-Guevera

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    Pat measures everything twice on the person before making some quick reference hand stitches for the alterations he will make. The entire fitting and alteration took 15 minutes at most. His hands are extremely fast and agile. An impressive site.

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    The master craftsman shows me how he must iron out all pleats and folds made from a stitch in between each alteration to see how the pants fit. His iron was an amazing old school iron that had valves connecting to a continual feed of steam.

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    Photo: Natalia Quinteros-Guevera

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    One of the many things that fascinated me about Pat was his simple use of tools and how he had everything set up. Stools double as tables. Soap doubles as fabric markers. The dish has a sponge with water to make hand threading the needles happen in a second. The thread only in two colors to show up on their contrasting fabric. A simple and streamlined method from decades of experience showing that the more you know, the less you need.

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    Photo: Natalia Quinteros-Guevera

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    The pants from the proceeding shot are now at the worktable where he finalizes the alterations. His work space houses all essential items only. I imagine the ashtray as a harken back to times when people puffed away on cigarettes while being sized for a suit. Now the ashtray is being re-purposed for thimbles and needles, but it’s still on his table.

    About The Author: Natalia Quinteros-Guevara is enrolled as a candidate for Master of Fine Arts in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.


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