INSIDE OUR CUTTING ROOM
Inside our cutting room today is Managing Director Colin Heywood, Head Coat Cutter Danny Hall, Head Trouser Cutter John Malone, Coat Cutter Leslie Haynes, Trouser Cutter Oliver Spencer, Coat Cutter Ollie Trenchard, Trimmer Michael Bisson and Apprentice Coat Cutter Max Castano.
THE ‘FINISHED’ PRODUCT
A lesser explored aspect of bespoke tailoring is that of garment finishing. Once a customer has had his first fitting the garment is sent back to his coat maker. From this point onwards the garment is classed as a ‘finisher’.
Now the most basic method used is a felling stitch. This entails catching a very small section of both the cloth and the lining thus joining them together with discrete almost invisible stitches. This technique along with cross stitching and back stitching make the mainstay of a finisher’s task. A cross stich is used on the bottoms of the jacket to give some small degree of movement to the linings, as much tension here could lead to the individual stitches coming away; a back stitch is used to ‘stay in’ the collar which helps to prevent the collar from stretching over time.
Now once all linings are sewn in, the not so small task of the button holes becomes priority. At Anderson & Sheppard we use a standard of a 3+1 cuff which is 3 real holes along with one dummy hole. The standard measures here are 1/2” from the edge of the sleeve, with each button hole being 5/8” wide and 5/8” apart from one another; whilst the front button holes are 11/8” wide and depending on the gentlemen’s size are spaced between 4 inches and 4 ½ apart. The use of a dummy hole also doubles as a safety net in case sleeves need to be lengthened for one reason or another. Taking this hole out leaves no damage to the cloth and once alterations are made a new one can be placed above or below the existing holes.
Now this entire process for just a normal single breasted jacket can take between 5-6 hours, highlighting just how much concentration, skill and finesse it takes to fully finish a bespoke garment to the highest level.
An array of lightweight suiting’s, linen’s, frescos as well as cottons in a range of colours and shades have been a regular sight in our fitting rooms. If one’s not a Londoner and is used to hotter climates through the year instead of enduring rain and fog with splashes of sunshine in between, than an 8/9oz cloth in a tropical finish can be an ideal choice for all seasons. Let’s remember that our swatch books are filled with endless choices and therefore it is beneficial to have some background knowledge into our summer favourites.
Linen feels cold to the touch and it becomes softer the more you wash it (by no means do I suggest throwing your linen suits in the wash). When it comes to our favourite choice of linen at Anderson & Sheppard we recommend the W. Bill Irish Linen bunch; it slightly heavier than others and it makes up beautifully. The nature of the cloth makes linen crease easily which only adds to the character of the garment.
If linen is not your choice of cloth and you prefer something more refined when it comes to texture and finish than the cool wool is an ideal option. Wool is a good cloth for most seasons, merino helps give cool wool its natural spring and helps keeps the suit from creasing; certainly more so than any linen or cotton.
Fresco has a crisp texture and finish, it is a 100% wool fabric produced in order to allow the wearer to travel light and crease free. Hardy Minnis has a bunch called Fresco II which is indeed a favourite of ours, with a range of stylish strips, window panes and plains.
Cotton is a favourite summer choice for casual wear. Working in the trouser department I can say that cotton is certainly the most common choice for casual trousers. Like the linen this cloth also creases rather easily, adding character to the garment. Our favourite is the Cashmere Cotton & Pure Cotton bunch from Scabal.
FINISHING THE FLY
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
Firstly 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.
I then move onto checking the waist and chalking the seat line.
Checking Fly Length
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
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.
A VISIT TO OUR CUTTING ROOM
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.