Tailoring, Speed or Traditional?

Tailoring, Speed or Traditional? Is a question I’m always being asked about. To start with what is the difference?

Speed tailoring is a form of tailoring using fusible interfacing’s.

Traditional Tailoring is as the name suggests a form of tailoring using traditional canvases.

Which one should I use?

My answer to this question is to ask what sort of cloth are you using for the project. If you are using a medium to heavy weight cloth, I would use the traditional form. Although you could also use speed tailoring.

If you are using one of the lighter weight tailoring cloths then I would plump for speed tailoring.


If you try to put a traditional canvas into a light weight cloth you will get what I call the cardboard effect. The canvas turns the cloth into a stiff finish so the fabric no longer drapes as it did on it’s own. Any form of tailoring will add body to the jacket which is what we need to get a jacket effect but you don’t want to over do the stiffness, aim to enhance the cloth rather than stiffen it.

In the next few weeks I’m going to be teaching both forms of tailoring here in my studio in Leicestershire. To help demonstrate to my students I’m going to make two jackets one in each tailoring form. I will try to keep up with blogging about them so you can see the differences as the making goes along. I’m using the same base pattern for the jackets but they will have different details on them & look totally different when they are finished.

I selected the cloth from my stash. ( I have plenty of choice there). The one for the speed tailoring is  super 120’s wool & pure cashmere.  It looks plain black but has a self coloured pattern all over it. I’m hoping you will be able to see it on the photo’s. You may wonder about the super 120’s label on this fabric. When the wool is shorn from the animal the fibre is put under a microscope to measure it. It is measured in microns, graded & given a number. The higher the number is the finer the cloth will be when woven.  Some of the heavier cloths are graded at 60 to 80, the finest ones are between 150 & 200. The lightest weight are very rare. I’ve seen super 150’s & it is very fine for a jacket. Of course the finer it is the least wear it will take.

Super 120's Speed tailoring cloth

The Traditional tailoring version is made from a pure wool cloth which is much heavier than the speed tailored one. I had a bit of a surprise when I unrolled this cloth as the label on it had a note saying that there was a fault in it. As I unrolled it I discovered that one end had three fault lines running across it. A bit further along there was a printed label on it.

Label for exporting abroad Traditional Tailoring cloth

This cloth was obviously intended for the middle eastern market & all the marks are for exporting to different countries. I had to do a bit of moving around to accommodate this but I think I’ve managed to sort it out.

So Tailoring, Speed or Traditional? the choice is yours.

Keep popping back to see the latest installment of the jacket making sessions. If you would like to join us on the courses give me a call on 0116 2606767.