Tailoring is not Rocket Science

Tailoring is not Rocket Science, if it was, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I have recently had some discussions with my students about how difficult tailoring is. Now it is more complicated than ordinary dressmaking, but it’s not out of the question for a dressmaker to learn.

I like to make things as simple as possible. If you break down the stages of Tailoring a jacket it becomes easier. Tailoring is about fitting, accuracy & practice more than anything.

If you get your jacket pattern to fit you before you start to make it, that’s the first battle won. It is worth making a few toiles (if necessary). There is no point in cutting into fabric if the jacket doesn’t fit. It doesn’t matter how expensive the fabric is, it still won’t look right unless you have done the fitting process first.

When I’m making a jacket from a commercial pattern, I only use the main body pieces the collar & the sleeves. The rest of the pattern can be cut from these pieces once the fitting is done. How many times have you made up the lining for instance only to find that it doesn’t fit! The toile is made from these pieces & if you find that you need to do an alteration to the front, books would suggest that you would have to do the same alteration to the facing. In theory this is true, but if you lay the facing on to the altered front & just cut through the pattern & adjust it to match the original pattern, it’s done. Quick & simple no need to go through the entire alteration twice. This is a more accurate way of doing it too.

Patterns also like to cut lots of pieces for pockets. I just cut out rectangles as needed. You don’t have to stick to the pattern either. Just because the pattern had two patch pockets on the front doesn’t mean your jacket needs the same. Once you learn how to do a basic pocket, the sky’s the limited. Have a look at my Perfect Pocket Course.

Another thing which puts people off tailoring is when a pattern has lots of stages. I had a customer recently who had started to make a jacket & gave up because there were so many instructions & pattern pieces. I have simplified both & she is now wearing the jacket. I’m not sure why they do this?

Some of you will know that my background is in tailoring. I spent 7 years working in a small bespoke workroom making individual suits for gentlemen. I’m a very inquisitive person. (some would say nosey)! So, I got to do lots of techniques an apprentice wouldn’t normally get to do. My main job was machining & this meant putting in 30 + pockets per week. If you can’t put a pocket in with that much practice, you are in the wrong job!

Don’t expect the first jacket you make to be perfect. I can assure you that whatever you make it will be far better than anything you buy in the shops.

If you fancy having a go at tailoring without making a complete jacket, have a look at my tailoring sample courses. I do two versions of tailoring, Traditional Tailoring & Speed Tailoring. I do both versions as two- day courses where you make half a jacket, this becomes your reference book when you make your jacket at home. If you haven’t tried tailoring before the Speed Tailoring is a bit easier with less hand stitching. Although, I have had ladies who don’t like hand stitching really fall in love with the traditional version.