Entering the Golden Shears 2015.

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.

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From Field to Fitting Room; A Jacket’s Journey, Part Three.

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.

blog- clive finished jacket

 

From Field to Fitting Room; A Jacket’s Journey, Part Two.

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.      

clive fitting 2 clive fitting 1

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!

clive cloth close up

Finishing Touches.

When wearing your bespoke suit, it is always nice to add a few extra details to really complete the Savile Row look. Having recently purchased a fob watch, I was looking for a charm to adorn the end of the chain, that would be very personal and relate to the trade. After spending time looking in various jewellers, I happened to come across this antique pair of gold tailor’s shears. After completing my purchase, I was amazed to find that despite their size, they actually work! In the picture below you can see how it looks when worn through the lapel hole of my jacket, not forgetting my gold tie pin in the famous Denman and Goddard house tie!
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Fit for the Window.

Dino and I were tasked with making a baist (fitting) that was destined to be displayed in the shop window, showcasing the artisanal coat making that we strive to uphold at Denman and Goddard. It is double-breasted, and made from a black chalk stripe worsted. Through the skills of both the cutters and tailors in house, we have been able to match all of the stripes where possible and ensure that the eye can effortlessly flow over the jacket, with no lines being broken and the cut clearly defined. If you look at the photo below, you can easily see how all of this attention to detail really makes the bespoke suit a true piece of beautiful craftsmanship.

Blog, Window Baist

From Field to Fitting Room; A Jacket’s Journey, Part One.

We were recently approached by sheep farmer and friend of the shop; Clive Todman, who gave us the opportunity to embark on a unique project that would truly encapture the very essence that makes Savile Row tailoring so personal. He was to commission a jacket that would be made of wool from sheep that he had hand reared on his farm in Wales. In the images below, you can quite literally see the grass roots of where his jacket began, and get a rare insight into the beginnings of the whole lifecycle of a jacket, from the field to the fitting room.
Rob shears Jessie, a Black Welsh Mountain Ewe.
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Miss Ellie, a White Welsh Ewe is shorn.
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The fleece is delivered to Curlew Weavers, Troedyraur, Rhydlewis, Ceredigion, SA44 5RL, to be turned into cloth.
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The wool is then washed in the mill’s scouring room, ready for blending.
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It is then blended, ready for the carding machine.
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It then passes on to the carding machine, which disentangles, cleans and intermixes the fibres to produce a continuous finish in the yarns.
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The yarns are then spun.
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They are then wound, ready to be woven.
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Weaving begins, and the cloth finally starts to take form.
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Clive collects one of three bails of cloth from the mill. Four different designs of cloth are woven, so that Clive can choose his favourite during a consultation with Peter Day.
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Clive meets in London with Peter Day and presents him with the cloth.
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After having his measurements taken Clive chooses his cloth, lining, and style of jacket. As the lengths of cloth were to hand, they could be draped over him in the most traditional way, giving an authentic impression of what the cloth would look like against his skin complexion should it be a finished garment.
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Preparing for Colder Weather.

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!

Joe 1st Suit

Chained to My Board.

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.

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I Think I Passed..

….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.

finished waistcoat

I Received a Letter from My Old Headmaster..

…and luckily it did not relate to my performance at school, but to my tailoring career. He asked me to make a bespoke waistcoat for him which reflected the school colours, and I was of course thrilled and terrified at the same time. I had never made a pattern for a waistcoat, but with the help of a couple of masters of the art, I produced the pattern from his measurements. There was to be only one fitting so I was absolutely determined to get it right for him. The fitting went so well that it went straight to finish, and the photographs below show the various stages. It is made from a green Doeskin cloth and has a purple lining, to match colour of the school blazers. He is coming in next month to pick it up, and I am hoping that I have passed this test with flying colours.

 

 

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