We all made garments for the Golden Shears last month – in order to go along and support Sunna – with Finnan and myself finishing off our first Anderson & Sheppard suits. I had started cutting mine, and learning how to make it with Sunna’s help, a while ago – as I wrote about in a previous post here on The Notebook.
I was really pleased with how it came out. It was a very classic, navy double-breasted, flannel suit in the A&S style (that’s me, third from the left). It was touch and go to get it ready in time – I buttoned it the Friday before, so it was just ready for Monday.
In terms of the making, I did everything up to the forward fitting. I had guidance from Sunna, but I did do it all myself which I was pleased with. Then I did some aspects of the finishing: I machined up all the side seams myself, I basted in all the linings, tacked in all the pockets and basted in the sleeves. That was all to make sure things were in the right place.
I didn’t put the sleeves in finally, but that’s quite a difficult skill. The difficult thing is working in all the fullness of the sleeve into the armhole. You don’t put any in from the pitch point (where the inside seam of the sleeve meets the armhole) for one-and-a-half to two inches or so up the front of the sleeve. Then nearly all of it gets worked in from that point around the top of the sleeve.
The difficulty varies by cloth. A flannel, for instance, responds to heat and steam – it will shrink more and so can be worked in more easily. With a lightweight mohair you can’t do any of that. It’s all about the skill and getting just the right balance.
Getting the collar on correctly is hard too, because if you don’t get just the right amount of tension the lapel will roll to a different place. Too tight and it will roll low; too loose and it will roll high.