How many hands does it take to make a bespoke coat?
Our friend Timothy Everest answers the question in this brief article with pictures to guide you along the way.
Best read with a spot of tea.
by Timothy Everest
So many people are curious about the art of Bespoke and the amount of time, patience and skill needed for this craft.
Visitors to the Bespoke House and clients alike are so curious to see how many different pairs of hands are involved in the production.
After a client is measured and has set their heart on a particular cloth for their Bespoke piece, the order is sent to our army of Bespoke elves who labour away day and night in our workhouses…actually, only joking, tailoring isn’t quite like that anymore.
The process is started by Lloyd, our cutter, who drafts an individual and unique pattern for the customer, which is then marked onto cloth and the pieces cut out by undercutter Rhiannon. Laura our trimmer then prepares the buttons, zips or other trims which are needed for the piece before it is handed over to one of our esteemed tailors who get to work adding shape to the flat cloth pieces (using hand work, steam, many many stitches, and many many hours – indeed, Will spent nearly 60 hours stitching one of the Bespoke Casual jackets).
The first stage that the customer sees is the basted jacket – whereby the pieces are tacked together and the shape can be properly adjusted to the customer before being handed back to the tailor, who makes any adjustments needed, before the lining, trims and pockets are attached. It is then passed to a finisher who will make any final adjustments.
I thought I’d show you the two stages that the customer sees when they order a Bespoke piece.
This overcoat is cut in a lovely heavyweight 22oz Harrisons Wool Overcoat cloth, and is a modernised interpretation of a military cavalry jacket – as such it has a snugly-fitting body, and a flared skirt that gives movement when riding a horse.
All the pewter-coloured dome buttons are functioning, so the lapel folds across to fit snugly near the neck. The yoke pieces on each shoulder act as reinforcements for the rider who would wear a gunstrap – of course this would now be the proverbial cityboy riding the bus from London Bridge carrying his laptop bag! The coat is lined in a sumptuous heavyweight satin, and the back is finished with an inverted pleat with sprats heads and a laid-on half belt.
So first up we have the baste garment. You can see it has no buttons or lining, and has stitch markings.
The original sketch :
And here is the finished garment (actually, it still needs a couple of adjustments to the collar, but it’s near enough there). Lovely, isn’t it?