I am proud to say that I am the winner of the Golden Shears Award 2015! The evening of Monday 16th March saw all of the 25 finalists’ work modelled on a catwalk at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall being judged by a panel of celebrities. These included; fashion designer Betty Jackson, model Jodie Kidd, Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Piers Linney, actress Jennifer Saunders and Lord Grade, former BBC Chairman. It was a fantastic event, filled with all the drama and suspense that you could wish for. The outfits were modelled on the runway, before being remodelled with their makers alongside while the marks were totalled and short bios were read out about each of the finalists. Below you can see a few photographs from the night, including me receiving the trophy before proudly accompanying my outfit down the catwalk and having photographs with the Master of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors’ and celebrity judging panel.
I decided to enter the Golden Shears competition, and put my skills to the test in what has been described as ‘the Oscars of the tailoring world’. In order to do so I had to design, cut and make an outfit that would be scrutinised in two separate judging stages. The first was of industry professionals, who marked my outfit based on the quality of the design, cut and make overall. Every stitch was to be meticulously inspected, so I had to make sure that everything was to the very highest standard that I could achieve. Should I get through to the final 25 competitors, the second stage of judging would be done by a panel of celebrities that would be mainly looking for style. Below you can see images of my entry right the way through from the initial design drawings, up until it was handed in to the competition.
I found it difficult at first to come up with a design, as I prefer the more traditional Savile Row clothes as opposed to what people would usually expect to go on a catwalk. By incorporating a few features from various garments, I came up with a half shooting jacket with contrasting facings and extras, and trousers to match. I am very proud of my design, as I feel that I have managed to fully display some kind of ‘best-of’ selection of what Savile Row tailoring can offer, whilst leaving it to the cloth and quality of making to stand out and get noticed on the catwalk.
After the alterations had been made, the individual components of the jacket could be put together for the final time. Once pressed and buttoned, the time came for Clive to come in and collect it. Naturally, he was keen to try it on, and as you can see in the picture below it fitted him very well. After a few moments of admiration in the fitting room, he turned to us and described how remarkable it felt to be wearing the wool of two sheep that he sees on his farm on a daily basis. This was a truly unique project, and one that everybody here at Denman and Goddard is pleased to have been a part of. Enjoy your new jacket, Clive.
Once Clive’s measurements were expertly turned into his own paper pattern, it was ‘struck out’ (marked) onto the cloth and cut, ready to be trimmed and given to the tailor. Clive chose himself a maroon lining with a slight paisley pattern, which complimented the cloth quite nicely. It turned out to be myself and Dino that were to make the coat, so I have first hand experience of the making process from hereon in. Below you can see the jacket once a ‘baist’ (fitting) was produced, and myself and Peter in the fitting room with Clive, who was trying his jacket on for the first time. Only minor alteration was required, including ‘picking up’ the shoulders in the back, drawing in the back scyes and shortening the sleeves. Once this was marked onto the garment and the pattern adjusted accordingly, it was ready to be ‘ripped and smoothed’ (taken apart) and remade into the finished garment.
Below you can see a close-up of Clive’s cloth. The coarse texture of the yarns and weave meant that as soon as a chalk mark was made, it was at risk of coming out as soon as the cloth was handled. Unsurprisingly, the making process alone used up eight pieces of chalk!
Finally the weather has started to change, and with Autumn well and truly here it’s getting cooler- which some people seem to have found quite upsetting! Personally, I have been longing for a cooler spell to give me a chance to wear my new suit. Being a 16/17 oz cloth it was simply too warm for me to wear as soon as I’d finished making it, so I’ve had to hang on in there and wait for Summer to end. As you can see in the photo it fits me perfectly, so I am understandably very happy with it. I’m looking forward to making the next one!
I have recently been privileged enough to complete some work on the Lord Mayor’s Chain of Office. It is made of pure gold, and features engravings of the previous Lord Mayors’ Crests, Names, and Dates of Office. Whilst wearing the chain, the fastenings and small edges on the back of it often became entangled in the current Lady Mayoress’ clothing. This potentially could have resulted in damage to the garments being worn, or the chain itself- so something needed to be done to prevent it. After various experiments to find the best way to do so, I eventually decided to cover the back in a silk trouser braid as it was the perfect width and would prove a strong, yet comfortable backing when being worn. As you can see in the images below, I secured the new silk backing with individual bar-tacks to each fastening. This ensures that it will stay permanently fixed to the chain, whilst still allowing the flexibility and ease of movement needed as it is worn. I also think that the choice of black braid helps to bring out the colours of the chain, and is the most versatile backing colour to be worn with various outfits.
….or at least it felt like it, but Headmasters are notoriously difficult to read. He came in to collect his new waistcoat and as you can see, it fitted him very well. After a quick once over to make sure there was no further alteration required, he left with a smile on his face. There is definitely more pressure when making for people I know, but I consider it to be good experience. I am now working on The Lord Mayors Chain of Office, but that is for another blog entry! Below is the picture of my Headmaster modelling his new waistcoat.