One of the first things I had to learn was cutting and arranging all the extra parts of the coat that aren’t cut upstairs – the pockets, the lining and the flaps. It’s called fixing a coat. It’s a lot harder with a checked cloth, because all the patterns have to match exactly and you might not necessarily have enough cloth to get the exact match. You have to make it work somehow.
Each of these parts of the coat has precise measurements that you just have to remember – they’re not written down anywhere. Derek, who was training me, knew them all and would tell me but it was hard to memorise them.
I know now – it’s 3 ¾ inches wide, when finished. And I know the width of the side pocket – 6 ¾. Most companies have pockets that are slightly narrower than us. If I had anything just an eighth of an inch out, Derek would be able to see instantly. With that kind of experience it just looks wrong to him.
The ticket pocket is 1 7/8 finished in height, the side pocket 2 3/16. A lot of people wouldn’t notice any difference in the height of the two, but the ticket pocket is always a little bit shorter. Oh, and the outer breast pocket is 4 3/8. That’s another one I can instantly recall now.
The measurements have to change slightly for a much larger or smaller customer. You know as soon as you get the bunch and unroll it whether that’s going to be needed or not. There’s no official guidance – you just do it by eye and see whether the proportions work. It’s one area where I thankfully don’t have to remember any more numbers.