When I was a little girl, Hazel, my Mother taught me how to use her sewing machine at a very early age. We would usually take time generally on rainy days, listening to BBC Radio 2, when she would make Cottage Pie and together we would create something fabulous for the wardrobe or the house. It gave hours of fun and practical pleasure to amuse a young mind. From shift dresses to curtains, we sewed away making these wonderful pieces from beginning to end. So I guess my interest was ignited at very a young age and from there it remained something I understood, yet back then little did I know I would have a such long and fond relationship with tailoring. The history of tailoring goes way back beyond the time I was a little girl, and the term dates back to the 13th century, interestingly the same time that the house that I was born in, was built.
One of my earliest creations and one I am delighted to be able to share with you today, is an item that I have still not been able to part with after moving from Norfolk to the bright lights of New York and then making home in London are these rather fabulous sloppy pantaloon/trousers. Although I don’t admit to ever wearing them unless I need cheering up or just feeling nostalgic and missing my Mum terribly, they are kept in the cupboard but I always make me smile when I come across them when finding clothes to wear and just enjoy the feeling of being close to her when I see them.
I made them for my Mum when I was 7; the design, a one size fits all but please do note the pocket to accommodate her Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes. Which even back I hope you agree, showed my eye for detail and design!. These trousers, were made with a lightweight colourful Summer fabric, very 70’s in pattern that I had brought at the Haberdashery with saved up pocket money. Although Hazel was actually one of the most fashionable Ladies in Norfolk, having had a successful modelling career with Liberty and then onto television in London. She wore these pantaloons with glee whilst gardening as if it was a Parisian or Milan catwalk. I rolled out a few pairs of these and soon all my aunts had them too; this pair are particularly special to me, as the day we spent together making these is one of my favourite childhood memories.
From there I was off and running. Understanding the difference in our shapes, wants and needs is something that transcends across all aspect of our lives not just the wardrobe. A tailor is a confidante, and as I have learnt, clients often feel happy to tell me about personal dilemmas, concerns and or successes, on many occasions before they are shared with someone closer.
Keeping a secret and being discrete goes a long way to building healthy relationships. Its not nice to brag or take someone else’s news and share as if it’s your own, it certainly doesn’t make for gossip. Also the wish to make sure my clients look their best, for that interview, date or whatever the occasion that they have shared is ‘oh so’ important to them. The position of tailor is a trusted one.
Feeling and looking good allows one’s confidence to peak and in many ways outfits are the only true expression of our personalities we can really show to the world. Albeit much of my business is around dressing clients for their work environment, many are truly dapper at heart and express that through their casual wardrobe and in their downtime and playtime outfits.
A female perspective is something my clients tell me they really appreciate, both for Men and Women as I usually choose colours and ideas for them they would not pick for themselves and that they love, perhaps taking them from being safe to being slightly more adventurous with colour, cloth and ideas. Working with traditional pattern cutters in the heart of Soho has meant I have continued to learn more skills and knowledge over the years. It is said tailoring is an ‘Art not a Science’, and the joy of tailoring to me, is the satisfaction of seeing someone really enjoy their clothes and the people closest around them noticing the difference in them. Plus the compliments and referrals I receive as a result, is rather nice too.
Many of my clients are as interested in the construction, choice of fabric of their garments and the creation process as I am. Others just enjoy the end product and are simply too busy to discuss any finer details, and on those occasions I, the tailor is trusted to make their decisions.
Having worked with some of my favourite sports people and media stars, I often just feel really blessed, and reflect on those happy days with Hazel cutting patterns, sewing by hand and machine and making things; a start middle and an end, is a great life lesson to seeing things through. You may be interested to learn, that 4th June 2015 is Tailor’s Day; it’s a day where one celebrates sartorial elegance and the person who provides it. Clothes are such an important part of our make-up and it is rather nice that we give credit to those in the background especially when one is on their own life’s stage enjoying all the compliments each and everyday.
A good tailor not only creates the perfect outfit, they interpret the thoughts and the ideas of the client for any event, and make the most casual dresser appear dapper, and elegant and more attractive. It iss only appropriate that they should be properly celebrated.
Perhaps you would enjoy watching the following famous fictional tailors such as The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Valiant Little Tailor, or more recently John le Carre’s The Tailor of Panama or indeed the Documentary ‘Men of the Cloth’. Great films and ones that allow you to glean an insight into the extraordinary world of dressing and life.
To show our gratitude, we are encouraging you to is to wear a suit or outfit they have created for you and send them a picture of you in it and simply say ‘thanks’, trust me it will make their day.
Lets celebrate each cut, stitch, and hours of effort it takes to make something truly unique. None of us are the same and the beauty of tailoring is that it allows us to express just that…