I have recently found myself feeling what it must be like in Dino’s shoes, after spending a week testing my own knowledge as I taught Magdalena, a keen young lady who was recently on a work experience placement with us here at Denman and Goddard. Coming all the way from Bautzen in Germany, I was tasked with giving her a good understanding of what being a bespoke tailor is like. Having had limited previous sewing experience, she first began mastering how to sew using a thimble- something surprisingly difficult if you’re already accustomed to not using one. After beginning with some mark stitching, she soon learned how to control the needle and stitch tension, so I demonstrated how to do padding stitching. By making her own mini canvases to practise on, I could quickly establish where improvement was needed before moving on to some real ones that will be used in Dino’s new suit. As a slight variation to the same stitch, Magdalena also padded an under collar. Despite fundamentally being the same technique, the variation is in fact how much of the stitch is visible on the ‘right side’ of the under collar. It is necessary to ‘catch through’ as little as possible when doing this, ensuring that very tiny (if any) stitches can be seen if the collar is lifted. Whilst being very repetitive, it is essential that the very basics are fully mastered, as they provide the foundation on which one’s tailoring career is based upon.

It wasn’t all one-way teaching though. Magdalena described to me how she’d read through all of my previous blog posts, and was particularly interested to see the photo from our workshop in 1905. As she explained, in German the word for sitting cross-legged is ‘schneidersitz’, which roughly translates as ‘sitting like a tailor’ ie. cross-legged on the board. Fascinating.

Below you can see examples of Magdalena’s work, including just how miniature those practise canvases were!

magdelena collar

magdelena canvases

Sheep on the Row.


It has been an exciting time of year for us at Denman and Goddard, as we are pleased to announce that we have been proudly supporting The Campaign for Wool. Monday 5th October 2015 saw Savile Row remarkably transformed into a luscious green field, with Bowmont Merino and Exmoor Long Horn sheep grazing along the iconic street.

The ‘Sheep on the Row’ event saw 25 tailoring houses and woollen merchants pair up to produce an exciting display of outfits. We paired with Hield Brothers, who were founded in 1922 and have been at the forefront of British textile manufacturing ever since. Our work was being modelled throughout the day as part of the Bespoke Roll of Honour; in the form of a traditional grey double-breasted suit, inspired by the likes of Cary Grant and other true English gentlemen. We feel that it is not only of great importance for people to learn and understand more about our fine craft, but also the dedication of the sheep farmers and just how much the wool that they produce has to offer.


The very first sketch that was roughly drawn down during discussions about what we were to produce. Notice the full trousers with turn ups, and the classic silhouette of the outfit.


The jacket and trousers can be seen here baisted and ready to try on. The grey chalk-striped cloth lends itself perfectly to the double-breasted suit, and the classic Savile Row look we wanted to achieve.


Our model, James Hampson, being fitted. Only minor alteration was needed to go on and produce the finished outfit.



Here, the coat construction is finished and is ready for the button holes and linings to be hand sewn. Again, the strong upper body and hollow waist can be seen clearly.


The positioning of the cuff holes are marked ready to be hand sewn.


The same applies to the lapel holes. Being a traditional double-breasted suit, two are required.


After pressing and buttoning, the finished garments are ready to be worn.



This picture was taken just after the sheep were delivered to the event. Throughout the day they seemed perfectly at home on the Row, inquisitively assessing the people surrounding them taking photographs as they grazed and wandered around their pen.



This Exmoor Horn was perfectly happy posing for photographs. This breed originates from the high hills of the Exmoor National Park, one of the most beautiful and remote natural landscapes in England. For all its beauty, the Exmoor climate requires hardy sheep that can withstand harsh winters and thrive off of sparse upland hill pasture. They are ideal grazers of marginal wildlife-rich grassland and have an important conservational role to play in the changing agricultural environment. Their fine quality fleece has a micron count of 36.7 per fibre, making it ideally suited for coarser cloth for use in jackets, coats, carpets, interior fabrics and furnishings.


Also happy to be centre-stage were these Bowmont Merinos. Merino sheep produce the softest, finest wool that is used in Savile Row suits, luxurious knitwear and high tech, weather beating textiles. 200 years ago Merinos were a common sight in England. Together with Merinos from European countries, some were exported to Australia to form the backbone of the great industry there today. Australia now has 71 million sheep and a range of Merino genetics adapted to all conditions and all requirements of the wool industry. The ones brought to Savile Row were from Westcott Farm in Devon, which have been selectively bred over 11 years using the best Australian genetics. They produce wool between 14-18 microns thick per fibre, on a sheep suitable for conditions in northern Europe.


Model James Hampson wears a Denman and Goddard bespoke, double-breasted chalk stripe suit, cut and made on the premises at our 11 Saint George Street shop.


Alongside other exhibiting models, James poses for the press photographers. Unfortunately, being in central London in October meant that the rain was never far away!

Winning the Golden Shears.

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.

Golden Shears 2015 tailoring competition

Golden Shears 2015 tailoring competition

Golden Shears 2015 tailoring competition

winning shears 4

winning shears 5

winning shears 6    

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.

golden shears drawings 1 golden shears drawings 2golden shears cloth choosing golden shears 2 golden shears toillegolden shears 1 golden shears 3 golden shears trousersgolden shears 8 golden shears 7golden shears 4 golden shears 6 golden shears 5     golden shears final coat pleat closedgolden shears final coat pleat open golden shears final coat

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!
Blog, Watch Shears

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.
Miss Ellie, a White Welsh Ewe is shorn.
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.
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.

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