TOPIT advice?

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Postby Guest » 03/04/03 12:05 PM

I am looking to have a Topit sewn into a suit to be worn exclusively for performing magic. I know it's going to be a costly endeavor and, having never done it before, I would like to get it right the first time.

Here are my basic questions. Any advice (Pros & Cons, whatever) from experienced Topit-meisters would be welcomed greatly.

1) There are so many designs out there -- Ammar, Cloutier, Fitch, et al. I've practiced with the topit made by James Scott Berry and own a rather old Ammar pattern (I believe Michael has made further improvements in recent years). What are the differences -- pro and con!

2) Are there additional customizations to the basic Topit concept I should be considering? (For example, the ability to retrieve stuff from the outer side jacket).

2) Are there OTHER Utility gimmicks that I should consider putting in NOW, while the jacket is apart? (For example, Tommy Wonder's Pendulum Hold-Out/Pull. Sleeve pockets?)

3) Last, but certainly not least, I will need a terrific tailor who also has experience with Topits and other magical gimmickry. Any recommendations in the greater Los Angeles area?

Thanks!
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Postby Bob Klase » 03/04/03 02:30 PM

It shouldn't be that costly. My ex-wife used to sew one in all my jackets. Now I can usually get my sister to do it when I buy a coat, but if you have to pay it shouldn't cost more than about $25.

If you can't find someone local to sew for you, try Seams Like Magic at http://www.seamslikemagic.net/

As far as which design, use whatever works for you. I've used Ammars original pattern for about 20 years. I've seen Cloutiers and Berry's- they all work and I think it's mostly a matter of personal preference (although Jay Scott's is the only one I've seen that you can use in waist-length jackets.

> 2) Are there additional customizations to the basic Topit concept I should be considering? (For example, the ability to retrieve stuff from the outer side jacket).

Depends. Do you plan to do any routines where you need to retrieve stuff from the outer jacket pocket?
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/04/03 05:59 PM

When I was into the Topit scene (Lewis Davenport used to vanish his cat in one--but mostly a deck of cards)... I made one up with a magnetic latch that you could open under the edge of the coat and retrieve without going into a pocket.

Fred Lowe, in England, had a wire in his that made it "lean" toward his body that you could close via a small magnet as well...

Put one on both sides then you can go either way.
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Postby Russell Davis » 03/04/03 10:47 PM

Jim Cellini has altered his jacket and topit so he can pull his jacket all the way back without showing his two topits.

He also makes use of multiple pockets in his vest and pants.

These ideas are part of his lecture, at which he offers a simple but sufficient topit pattern and other clothing alterations.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/05/03 11:02 AM

Cellini shows the setup in his book, and I believe on his DVD.

Thin guys (wish I was) should get a "sub" --- a device that fits in your trousers, some call it a "belly servante" -- if you want a killer.

It is mechanical and opens and closes when needed. Norm Nielsen sells 'em.

It is right in front between your shirt and trousers.
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Postby Kendrix » 03/05/03 08:12 PM

I would contact Lynetta Welch for any Topit placements. Her work is superb. She put one in a very expensive Halston Tux for me and matched the lining perfectly. Her prices are very reasonable. She has been mentioned here on numerous threads before. She, also, sews a great egg bag.
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Postby Guest » 03/05/03 09:51 PM

When Jay Scott Berry was in town a few monts ago I had a brand new Bill Blass coat customised, with slits for the pockets. It was well worth the investment. I also had some shirts modified with velcro so there is no possibility of over shooting.
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