I have noticed a particular absence of men’s tailor’s in my region. It might have something to do with supply and demand. 😉 This is, after all, the Northwoods area, right? However, there is still a need in the community. People still wear suits to weddings, and some professionals still need suits. We also have our Coast Guard service men and women in the region. Suits have been brought to me from time to time, but I noticed that sometimes the construction involves products and techniques that are different from those used in gowns. Much hand stitching can hide inside those lovely men’s fabrics and I have felt certain that it served a purpose, whose nature remained a mystery to me. In altering it, I have been careful to leave it in tact or find a way to make sure the ends of such hand stitching are secured if I should have to cut into them to resize a garment, though hopefully not. At such times, I had determined that there would come a day that I would undertake the study of tailoring. That time has come.
I have a secret to tell you: Tailoring. Tailoring IS the secret. It is so secret, that until recent years, you had to apprentice to a tailor in person if you wanted to learn the techniques used. Even during the advent of the internet age and beyond, this was the case. In fact, even five years ago, I was hard pressed to find information about tailoring online in an attempt to learn. Additionally, it was considered quite uncouth for a lady to be a tailor. The result? The tailoring industry had begun a plummet towards certain death. However, some wise people in its ranks began to not only see that plummet and but also to take a different tack. Classes are now being offered online for tailoring, and women can become tailoring students, even on Savile Row. The outcome of said changes has been that the plummet has just become low altitude. Slowly and steadily the tailoring business has leveled out and the immanent threat of losing the industry altogether has become a bit less alarming.
Happily, for me, that means that I can now take my sewing knowledge and apply it to learning specific techniques used in tailoring. There is a decided difference between the techniques used by a tailor and those of a seamstress. There is a lot for this seamstress to learn in order to have a basic understanding of the tailored suit. For example, I recently learned that the absolute best quality in men’s suit’s are 98% hand stitched!
Is it worth it? I personally think so. I am not concerned that there will be a sudden intense demand for tailored suits, since suits are not in high demand in this region. My primary concern is understanding what mysteries lay within the jacket and how to properly care for them when altering a suit. I want to know HOW to know when altering a suit will offset the proper balance of the garment. This is not all I am learning, however. I feel that the best way for me to learn, is to make one myself. I am no stranger to making garments from a bolt of cloth. I have been doing it for decades. Suits, of course, are more complicated than most garments. First I will practice the techniques of tailoring, and then, when I feel that this skill set is ready, I plan to put the new skills to use in making a suit. The ultimate end is to improve my skill in altering men’s dress wear. This process has begun and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can!