It has been almost a year since I started my training as a trouser maker, and I can definitely say it has been a fast, fun year.  I have learnt so much from Keith and it has been great working with him and the other coat and trouser makers in our workroom at St George Street.

I was finishing the fly and thought I would give a quick outline of how it is done.

Sewing the Fork Linen

Fork liningFirstly I sew the fork linen onto the trousers, this is the section between the inside leg seam and the bottom of the fly. I sew the linen in with polyfil thread and then I sew the triangle tack at the bottom of the fly to strengthen it.


Checking the Waist and Chalking the seat line.

Finnan (2)

I then move onto checking the waist and chalking the seat line.


Checking Fly Length

Finnan (1)

This is where I line up both notches at the bottom of fly to check that the levels of the bands match at the top.


Baisting the Zip

Finnan (3)

We sew the zip in place with baisting thread, but this is only temporary to hold the zip before I sew it.

Sewing the Zip

Once I have used the baisting thread to sew in the zip, I then use hand silk to make it secure. You can see this is the video above.


Finished Fly







Inside the cutting room today is Head Coat Cutter Danny Hall, Head Trouser Cutter John Malone, Coat Cutter Leon Powell, Coat Cutter Ollie Trenchard, Trouser Cutter Oliver Spencer, Trimmer Michael Bison and Apprentice Coat Cutter Max Castano.



I am currently canvasing a Seersucker cloth for a standard single breasted jacket. The thin all cotton furrowed fabric is woven in such a way that causes the threads to bunch up, giving it its wrinkled look. Seersucker is lightweight and airy making it a perfect summer cloth and now is the time we get most of our orders.

I really enjoy using Seersucker; you have to treat it differently to other fabrics like wool; any pressing or ironing if needed should be done lightly. When you are canvassing cloth you have to keep the jacket straight; for me I find it easier with a stripe or checked cloth as you can use the lines as a guide.

Liberty SeerSucker (2)

Seersucker is common in light colours like pink, blue, green, orange and yellow which look great in the summer. I am using a light blue cloth but I also have dark navy seersucker cloth which I love, it works really well.

Liberty SeerSucker (4)

Anderson and Sheppard are known for having a soft canvas which creates a relaxed fit. For the majority of jackets I use a linen flax body canvas, this creates a softer jacket but for these particular jackets I am using a thicker, heavier wool canvas. When canvassing the jacket, it will be made up of four layers, the cloth, body canvas, hair cloth and domette cloth. The domette is put on top of the hair cloth to prevent it from poking through the jacket. We soak and dry the canvas to shrink it before working with it.

Once I have completed the canvassing, the jacket is shaped and I begin the next stage of facing the jacket.


Ashleigh and Phillip Parker

This past Friday at the Merchants Tailors Hall the annual BTBA Summer Ball was held. I have attended two previous Summer Balls, but this one was very important to me as I was receiving my coat making diploma. It was such a relief to pass, so my excitement for the event this year was really high.

The presentation was great, Phillip Parker from Henry Poole read out our names and we collected our certificates and took pictures; once it was over I could relax a bit more and soak up the great atmosphere. Unlike the Winter Ball, the Summer Ball is far more casual occasion. It is also a chance for everyone to show off their individual summer style, with colourful linen jackets and panama hats on display.

I had some amazing support from the guys at Anderson & Sheppard who were all in attendance, and they all looked great. Oliver Spencer wore a navy Mount Arden two piece suit; Max wore a grey Lamlana Jacket, navy cords and brown suede Cleverly loafers; and Matthew looked dapper in a grey two piece sharkskin suit.

The beauty of the building and courtyard, the gorgeous weather and the wonderful music from the live band all went towards creating a very enjoyable evening.




Ashleigh SRB diploma

On Thursday I will be displaying my work to qualify for my Savile Row Bespoke diploma; in order to gain my SRB diploma I will have to prove that I can make a jacket from start to finish.

Two Savile Row tailors will looking at examples of my work throughout my time as an apprentice. I have to bring a finished jacket and a fitted jacket I have made; and I will also show them samples of my work like pockets samples, sleeve samples and collar samples.

They will also look through my portfolio, sample notes and whatever else it has taken me to learn how to make jackets. I have already made the finished jacket and I am currently working on the fitted jacket to present. The judges will be looking to see I can do all the parts involved in  making a jacket; from the basics like cutting correctly with scissors and stitching, to more advanced skills like putting on finished sleeves.

It was a really nice opportunity to go through all the work I have done other the past three years as an apprentice, it was surprisingly nostalgic. Going through my old samples notes, I was able to tidy a lot of it up and also refresh my memory at the same time.

On Thursday I will take all my pieces, portfolio and samples over to Henry Poole, and I will be judged along with four other Savile Row apprentices. I have always worked my hardest during my apprenticeship, and I have been given good feedback about my work so I am optimistic I will pass and gain my diploma. My fingers are crossed.

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