Well here we are again. Santa’s preparing his rounds and all of us here at English Cut have recovered from our Christmas party, that was quite a party. Now well have a few days rest with loved ones before we start back in the new year. So may we take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and healthy, happy and prosperous new year. We’ve so valued everyones support and interest into our world of Savile Row tailoring.
As you know we were the first to write a bespoke tailoring blog and Im so delighted that every other tailors cottoned on to the idea also. However, we go back a bit and I thought you may like to read this little piece I wrote way back in 2005. It just shows what the outcome can be if we get a little too excited at our works Christmas party.
I hope you enjoy….
As fate would have it, and with my teacher,Dennis Hallbery’s instruction I fell in love with this soft, natural approach to tailoring. So I’m always getting asked by people, “What exactly is soft style?”
This is something you can’t explain so easily. There are a hundred and one things that go into the cutting and making of this type of coat that makes them so special. And even with the best technology at your disposal, no one, however hard they try, has ever truly managed to copy it successfully.
But I’m going to let you into a little secret. I can always spot an A&S coat, or an A&S influence at twenty paces. But here’s a little detail that lets me know that the tailor was truly Anderson & Sheppard trained:
Nearly all coat manufactures, ready-made and bespoke alike, cut and make their pocket jettings “vertically along” the piece of cloth. In other words, the opposite way to how the rest of the coat is cut. This makes for a strong pocket, but it’s also a far easier job for the tailor, because it doesn’t matched perfectly with the stripe or check etc.
However, the legend goes that at a Christmas party held in A&S years and years ago, all the tailors (the actual people who sew the coats together, as opposed to the “cutter”, which is my job) turned up in their finery, eager to impress the “governors” with their tailoring skills. And as it was their own clothes, they took the extra time and tricky effort to make sure everything matched perfectly on the stripes or checks. That meant, even down to the tiny strip of cloth that hinges on the pocket flap i.e. the “jetting”.
This extra display of skill certainly impressed their governors, as intended. However it slightly backfired on them, as the cutters were all so impressed with the extra effort, that they decided they wanted all their customers coats to be made that way. Voila, a new piece of the puzzle was created. In those days Anderson’s always had their parties in-house, where their secrets could be maintained and alcohol-loosened tongues could be controlled. OK, it would have been nice to mix with other tailors from the other firms, but the plus side was that management supplied all the alcohol gratis, no beer, just wine and whisky. I think the tailors needed it that evening, as they had just impressed their way into having to do even more work for their meagre pay.
It’s also interesting that this method of of cutting a jetting also makes a slightly weaker pocket mouth. However, this doesn’t mean that the pocket will give way in time, but more that it will eventually loosen and bow down slightly. This inadvertently adds to the soft, draped look of this type of coat. So yes, like a fine wine, it really does get better with age.
As I’ve said, there are many things that make a coat, but I promise anyone who’s wearing and Anderson & Sheppard coat, or one of mine, look at the pockets and that’s what you’ll see: properly matched jettings.
Yes, it’s a tiny, tiny little detail, one that the vast majority of sartorial aficionados won’t know about. But it’s these tiny details that make the difference, that make our tailors some of the the most respected in the world.
So now you know this litte secret; keep a look out for it. Just don’t tell anyone I told you so.
I hope you enjoyed this piece of vintage English Cut. We did our very best to educate our readers about what really matters in bespoke tailoring. So we hope to post some further useful reading from the archives for the new generation.