What is "tailoring"

Tailoring, a commonly miss-used word; "a tailored suit, a tailored fit, a tailored style;" tailoring is not the fit, the cut, or the style; it is the foundation of the garment as a basement is a foundation to a house. Care and thought go into the planning stage of both. 


So, where is this tailoring? If done right, invisible! It will also take the most time during the construction of a garment. Fine tailoring consists of a lot of hand stitching; these tiny stitches hold the fabric and interfacing together and, in the process, allows the sewer to mold the material like clay. Tailoring is sewn with a few goals in mind; to make the garment more durable and long-lasting, give the garment shape or smoothness, and reinforce stress and wear points. Fine tailoring is the secret of a professional and polished finish.

A tailored suit is a suit that was sewn with many layers of interfacings underneath the garment fabric to give it shape and smoothness. For example, the roll line of a lapel (front part of a jacket that folds over, part of the collar) has tape underneath that is pulled taut and then hand-stitched to facilitate the roll. The surface of the lapel is hand-stitched in diagonal rows to form the shape. The final step of tailoring a lapel; before attaching it to the collar, it is steamed over a seam roll to make the roll of the lapel permanent. The lapel will take a few hours. Step 32 of 84 is complete in the simple tailoring of a jacket.

Tailoring of a collar, I will spare you the details! I tailor every garment I make in one aspect or another. They all consist of interfacing. You will never see it. Sometimes it is just another layer of self-fabric, sometimes fused or hand-sewn with padding stitches for shape.

I spent ten years learning under a Master tailor and fibre teacher in Missoula, Montana. She brought a couture gown, being created for President Regan's Inaugural Ball, into the classroom in pieces. Each piece could almost stand on its own. As with fashion shows, the dress would not become three dimensional under final fitting. Many muslin copies of this dress were made and fitted before the final fabric was cut and sewn. This is tailoring, an abundance of pre-planning and pre-construction work before the actual sewing.

The above is just a start to explaining what "tailoring or a tailor" is. A simple definition of tailoring is a method to make a garment easier to wear, more comfortable, durable, long-lasting, and polished.

A tailor, the name is earned by hard work, dedication and years of experience. When I feel like calling myself a tailor, I think of the tailors' knowledge and skill level in Savile Road in London and knock my nameplate back down to seamstress where it belongs.

Tailoring is an art. One that I hope continues to be shared and gets passed on to future generations. Clothing should not be disposable.

P.S. I will settle for beginner tailor.