A Finely Tailored Jacket

It’s not often that I am in the presence of a finely tailored garment.

It’s a rare commodity these days.

But recently, a customer brought this gem to me to have it altered:

Those of you who live in the U.K. will appreciate this label:

It reads: Catherine Walker…The Chelsea Design Company

Catherine Walker designed clothing worn by Princes Diana and others.

Her designs were beautiful.

So, to have one of these pieces in my hands was a rare treat.

My customer is from the U.K. and purchased this jacket there many years ago.

It is timeless in style. A real classic.

What you see on the outside is great, but the inside is what took my breath away!

Just look at the attention to detail.

These aren’t your store bought shoulder pads:

See the grey wool piece? That’s a sleeve head. You don’t see those very often.

Look…hand stitching!

When I pulled back the lining, I saw the hand stitching through the shoulder pads:

Why do I get so excited about these details?

Because I know the amount of time it takes to make a hand tailored garment like this.

I know how much better a garment like this fits.

Time equals quality.

In college, I took a tailoring class and the prof was all about these kinds of details.

I just pulled out my class book:

Aren’t you impressed I still have this puppy?

I kept it because I knew I’d reference the material now and then.

Having the book around has been invaluable.

I can look back through it when I need an overview on construction details like bound buttonholes.

Do they still make hair canvas interfacing?!

If you are in to construction of garments, you really should take a tailoring class.

You’d really enhance your sewing skills.

Check out the local college and see if they offer such a class.

Meanwhile, my next post will be on a shoulder/sleeve alteration.

Do you have a jacket where the sleeve sits off the shoulder?

This alteration will take care of that problem.

Stay posted and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


10 Responses

  1. I am SO glad I’m not the only “sewing nerd” who opens up a wonderful piece like this and just oozes with excitement. I love to see the construction details and how people “in-the-know” do it, and do it right!


  2. I took tailoring at Iowa State University in 1971. Is that where you did it? I loved it and still occasionally use the skills, tho not to much these days. I also get excited about good tailoring!

    • Hi Cathy, No, I didn’t go to Iowa State. I went to Colorado State, but I follow the Iowa State Fair, which is the best in the country, in my humble opinion. Have you been to it? Do you live in Iowa? It was great to take tailoring, wasn’t it? Yes, I find myself using those skills from time to time too! Thanks for writing in. I hope you are finding some fun projects to sew! Linda

      • Hi, Linda, Thanks for replying! I go to the Iowa State Fair (yes, the best in the country) every year without fail. My sister comes from Arvada, near Denver, to go, too. I did love the tailoring class, but I don’t know if they even offer it anymore. “Home Economics” is no longer an option; it’s “Family and Consumer Sciences” now. Not the same. The past few years my main sewing projects have been medieval costumes for my daughter’s Madrigal Dinner. She is the choir director at the local high school and they put on quite a show. I’ve made of gowns and doublets. This Christmas I got on a roll and started making all kinds of totes and bags from all the leftover fabric I’ve got laying around. I gave them to the daughters and daughters-in-law for gifts. Great fun!
        I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m sure I’ll be reading it often!

      • Oh, Cathy, those costumes are quite elaborate! I know you are very gifted to be able to do that! What a wonderful idea to make those bags and totes out of the leftover fabrics. I’d love to see a photo of the costumes and the bags if you have any.

        Have a great day and thanks again for your fun comments! Linda

  3. Oh, I’m so happy to have stumbled upon you. I too, am a sewing nerd. What a beautiful garment! I did not take tailoring, but would absolutely love to find a class. How I would love to learn true tailoring and alterations. Apparently, there is no demand for that in my area. (I’ve looked) The closest thing I took in college was Visual Merchandising and Textiles, but I was studying on the Interior Design end, not Fashion. But, that was so many years ago. 🙂 What a gem to have your Tailoring Book!

    • Hi Melanie, You might look for a tailoring class online, but you are right….there is not a market for a tailored garment. But, there is a big market for alterations. You could combine the two and work at a fine clothing store doing their alterations.

      Yes, I started this blog because there just weren’t very many books on the subject and it would have cost me way too much money to write one with all the photos I’d need to make it a success. I hope you enjoy searching around this blog. There are over 115 posts, I believe, so I hope it helps you expand your sewing experience. If you cant find what you’re looking for in the search box, feel free to write in with any questions you may have.

      Have fun with it! Linda

  4. Wow. You are so quick to reply. I’ve yet to leave your blog. The information you have is priceless. I agree that it would be way too expensive to try to fit all of this into a book. Besides, I believe you are reaching more people with this blog than you would by selling a book. I truly believe this is your God given gift to share your knowledge with others. Thank you for sharing.

    I was also happy to see that you do not agree with over charging for your services just because people will pay for it. Actually, I was searching for pricing guidelines when I found you. I learned to sew as a child, and made my dresses, formals etc… in High School and College. Suddenly, people are asking me for custom fit clothes because they simply can not find any that fit them in the stores. Actually, I have the same problem. My search for tailoring began several years ago with the desire to fit myself.

    You are so kind to suggest my working at a fine clothing store doing their alterations, but I stay at home. My love is sewing children’s clothing & the hope of sewing for myself again, but I do have occasional requests for alterations.

    I will continue to visit your blog. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. Melanie

    • Thank you for your kind words. Yes, God gets the credit for giving me this gift and I just want to share it with others, so I am glad you are a beneficiary of what I have learned.

      Wow, if you have made your own clothes including formals, you are an excellent seamstress! You will have no trouble with tailoring. Have you looked at any of your local colleges for a tailoring class? That might be another option.

      I stayed at home to sew too, but you could see if the local fine clothing store would let you bring their clothes to your home to alter. Many stores do that and some will even deliver and pick up from you.

      Thanks again. Melanie. It has been fun “talking” with you! Linda

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