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    Welcome to Show and Tell!
    Show and Tell is our story-telling series about the wonders that friends of Double Double have acquired over the years.

    This instalment of Show and Tell is courtesy of our friend, Troy O’Shea. Troy makes an array of ball caps, work caps, and outdoor caps from luxe Japanese cotton, where no two designs turn out the same. He runs his small biz from the comfort of his own home studio, where he can stay close to his two young boys.

    Troy started making caps in 2015 after a trip to the US with his wife. He was really into road cycling at the time and purchased a handmade cycling cap from a store in San Francisco. The cap was unfortunately too big, so it was in that moment that he decided to have a go at making one himself. On his return to Australia he took two sewing classes and bought his first machine, and the rest was history.

    Welcome, Troy! Can you tell us a bit about what inspires your work?

    I’m inspired by a lot of things, and what inspires me seems to always change the longer I do this: from early to mid 1900’s baseball wear to 90’s/early 2000’s outdoor hiking brands. I find inspiration in a wide variety of things.

    I’m really inspired by manufacturing from the bygone days, specifically the early to mid 1900’s. Manufacturing was very different back then. Clothing was essentially all handmade and there was a high level of skill involved in operating the machinery used to make it. I also believe that people took a lot of pride in their work, and this is evident in the garments that were made. I have a number of caps from the 1930’s and 1940’s, and the craftsmanship needed to produce these, alongside the machinery that they had was quite amazing in my eyes. I’ve always wanted to recreate this in my work. Sourcing period-correct machinery was probably the biggest part of this and is the backbone of my business. I’m seven years in and I’m still learning how to use some of my machines.

    What’s something that people wouldn’t know about the item just by looking at it?
    It’s an early-mid 70’s Fender Mustang Electric Guitar. The Fender Mustang was the choice of guitar for some of my favourite musicians, including Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and David Byrne (Talking Heads).

    Why is it special to you? Is it a sentimental item?
    It’s special to me for a number of reasons. It was the guitar that I took with me around Australia and also Japan when I was touring with a band I once played in. Finding this guitar made me fall in love with playing music again. It’s something that I will pass down to my children.

    What’s your favourite detail about it?
    I love that it’s black with a black scratch plate — something I’ve rarely seen. But, it’s the feeling I get when I play it that makes it special. I feel like I was meant to find this guitar.

    When did you acquire it, and what else was happening in your life at the time?
    I found this guitar back in 2007 through a vintage guitar seller in Sydney. I had recently joined a band as a touring guitarist, after not playing music for a number of years. I was working for an accounting software company at the time and remember feeling completely out of place in what I was doing with my life. I think joining that band changed the trajectory of my life in a very positive way and I’m forever grateful for being given the opportunity. I found this guitar a couple of weeks before we headed to Japan to tour the record the guys had recently recorded.

    What’s something that people wouldn’t know about the item just by looking at it?
    That it’s a 1927 Singer Industrial straight stitch sewing machine…it’s almost 100 years old and my main sewing machine in the workshop. Everything I make is mostly stitched on this machine.

    Why is it special to you? Is it a sentimental item?
    This was my first industrial machine and the one that made me fall in love with vintage machines. It’s sentimental in that it’s been with me since 2017 when I started making caps more seriously.

    What’s your favourite detail about it?
    It’s a workhorse of a machine. It’s been able to stitch through everything I’ve ever run under the needle and I’ve never had any problems with it. It’s the backbone of my business and I’m unsure of what I would do if I didn’t have it. I also love that it was repainted at some stage of its life and that the original paint is beginning to reveal itself as it ages.

    When did you acquire it, and what else was happening in your life at the time?
    I acquired this machine in early 2017 from an elderly Italian man, whose wife had recently passed and was a local seamstress her entire working life. The machine had been in their family for many years and before that, in a local factory. The gentleman only wanted $100 for it and even delivered it for me after hearing that I was going to rent a van to pick it up. I feel very fortunate to have this machine and it’s one that will stay in my family. At the time, I had recently rented a small space in a shared warehouse/studio with Tara from Provider Store. I had decided to dedicate more time to cap making and having my own little space out of the apartment was a relatively big step for me. Being in that space with Tara and the other beautiful creative people who came through was a game changer. There was so much positive energy in that space and it really inspired me to keep pushing and creating.

    What’s something that people wouldn’t know about the item just by looking at it?
    These were some of the first caps I ever made. They are cycling caps made from Vintage Japanese Yukata cotton and organic cotton.

    Why is it special to you? Is it a sentimental item?
    These three caps are special to me because they remind me how far I’ve come. I remember how I felt the day I finished these caps. I had only recently learned how to sew and was spending endless hours practicing after work. I was determined to make these and became totally consumed in the process. I remember visualising how the finished caps were going to look without even considering my level of ability 😂. In the end, they turned out exactly how I had imagined and this visualisation technique is something that’s stuck with me, even now.

    What’s your favourite detail about it?
    They’re pretty rough, to be honest. The stitching is pretty wonky and you can tell I had no idea what I was doing. But, I love everything about them — from the fabrics I used to the mediocre stitching.

    When did you acquire it, and what else was happening in your life at the time?
    I made these three caps in January 2015 after my trip to the US. I’d only started sewing in November the previous year and had recently completed a beginners course at Sew Make Create with the lovely owner, Melissa. Meeting Melissa and learning to sew was such an important part of my story and I’m so thankful that I found her (and her store) when I did.

    What’s something that people wouldn’t know about the item just by looking at it?
    Each cap in this collection has played a major role in the development of the caps that I offer today. These caps date from the 1930’s through to the 60’s and have been sourced over several years.

    Why is it special to you? Is it a sentimental item?
    Each cap in this small collection has a story that comes with it. The navy ‘42’ ball cap is a squadron cap from the 1950’s which still has the owner’s name and address details listed on the inside of the visor. Another is a work cap from the 1960’s from the Kellogg’s factory in the US. It features some beautiful chainstitch embroidery across the front on a very rare herringbone twill cotton fabric. Although these caps aren’t my only originals, they’re the most important to me.

    What’s your favourite detail about it?
    There are so many small details in each cap that I have taken and incorporated into my own designs. For example, the felt skull with chainstitch detailed eyes & mouth were used in collaboration with my good friend Papanui on our Frat cap. In my opinion, the small chainstitch embroidered player number on the inside leather sweatband of the early 1940’s Goldsmith ball cap is another minute detail which is so subtle yet beautiful. I love the thought and craftsmanship that went into designing and making each of these caps.

    When did you acquire it, and what else was happening in your life at the time?
    I acquired these caps over the past six years. One was a gift from a very loyal customer and now close friend. Some were lucky Etsy or eBay finds, and others have been passed on from other very generous collectors. Each of these caps greatly inspired me when they came into my possession, and I feel very fortunate to have them. I can’t really single out one cap, as each has played such an important part in my development as a cap maker.

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