Terms And Meanings In The Tailors World

November 28th, 2005

Here are some Jargons of the Tailoring World

  • Cork - The Boss.
  • Doctor - Alteration tailor.
  • Kill - A spoiled job that has to be thrown away.
  • Kipper - A tailoress. So called because they sought work in pairs to avoid unwelcome advances.
  • Pig - An unclaimed garment.
  • Pigman - Person who buys pigs and pork usually at a minimal cost.
  • Pork - A misfit rejected by a customer, but which might be sold elsewhere.
  • Skiffle - A job needed in a hurry.
  • Tab - Fussy, difficult customer.
  • Trotter - Fetcher and carrier - messenger.
  • Tweed Merchant - Tailor who does the easy work- a poor workman.

    Who are These Guys?
  • Finisher : The person (normally female) who sews the button holes, fells the lining and stitches the edges of the garment once it is complete. These are the last processes in finishing a jacket and do not usually take place until the customer and cutter are satisfied with the suit.
  • Alterations Tailor: Most tailoring firms operate piece-work (q.v.) payment systems with their tailors . Consequently a coatmaker’s work is finished sometime before the garment is actually ready for delivery to the customer. Apart from the finishing stage, it is usually the case that minor adjustments to the fit of the garment will be needed to achieve perfection. For these final touches the cutter will use an alteration tailor. Alteration tailors are highly skilled since they alter the work of other tailors. Because of this they are normally housed separately from their colleagues.
  • The Cutter : The person (usually male) who measures and fits the customer. The cutter makes a pattern from the measurements he takes and observations of the customers figuration and posture. The cloth is cut using the pattern. The pattern is altered after each fitting dependent on changes made to the garment. Once the suit is delivered the pattern should, in theory, be perfect.
  • Coatmaker : The tailor responsible for making the jacket. Each garment is made by different craftsmen. Thus trouser makers only tailor trousers. Specialist garments such as smoking jackets, overcoats and morning suits are also made by specialist craftsmen.

    What do you mean???
  • Balance : Adjustment of back and front lengths of a jacket to harmonise with the posture of a particular figure. Balance is very difficult to achieve in ready to wear clothing. Poor balance is often reflected in the jacket collar standing off the customers neck.
  • Baste : Garment loosely assembled for first fitting.
  • Bespoke : Made to a customers specific requirements. Nowadays also taken to mean made by hand.
  • Canvases : The inner materials used in the garment to give it shape. Much of the coat makers work goes into shaping the canvases so that the coat becomes three dimensional reflecting the customers figure. Canvases include linen, horse hair, hemps, jutes, meltons and many more. The weight of cloth from which the jacket is being made determines the particular canvases to be used.
  • Floating : A misnomer used by the ready to wear industry to imply a certain Canvas quality of make in their jacket construction. The chest canvas in a Savile Row suit is an integral part of the coats construction attached at certain strategic points to ensure the front of the garment is unmarked. In a ready to wear garment a floating canvas is likely to be affixed firmly to the collar and glued in other places (see "fusing").
  • Fusing : Use of chemicals and heat to weld the interlinings (including canvas) to the outer fabric, as distinct from stitching. Fusing cloth helps the appearance of the garment to look clean (i.e. flat) and is particularly popular with light weight fabrics which are difficult to sew. It is however difficult to impart shape using fusing and many fusible materials tend to perish during cleaning and with constant usage. Fusing is regarded as something of a cheats charter by traditional tailors since superficially a garment can be made to appear well made with little actual craft used in its manufacture. A useful analogy would be a building without foundation. Nevertheless, these days fusing material quality has improved exponentially such that even top ready to wear garment manufacturers use this method in the coats and suits.
  • Gorge : The point where the collar is attached to the lapel forming the Notch (either Double Breasted or single Breasted). Savile Row suits tend to have a high gorge, Italian designer suits low.
  • Made To Measure : Garment adjusted to a customers measurement from a standard Measure block, usually by machine. A very limited number of adjustments can be incorporated into made to measure suits. (i.e. to sleeve length, chest, and trouser length). Savile Row suits are not made to measure. A Savile Row tailor will take up to 30 different measurement, plus notes of figuration and posture, and starts from a blank sheet of paper.
  • Piece Work : Most of the tailors in Savile Row are self employed and are paid a fixed rate per garment according to their skill, the quality of the work, and the difficulty and time involved in making the garment. The monetary rate for a particular tailor is known as the Piece-rate.
  • Puckering : The tendency of cloth to gather in runs, often apparent on the lapel or trouser seams. In hand made garments this can result from too much tension applied in the thread when sewing. It is more common in fused apparel and results from different levels of shrinking in the fused material and the cloth or distress in the fused material.
  • Scye : The armhole: from arm’s eye. A tailor will take several measurements to divine the scye. A correct fit of the scye will hold the collar and shoulder of a jacket in place when a customer is seated ensuring that the back of the jacket does not rise. Many people trying a Bespoke suit for the first time feel the jacket is tight around he arm hole for this reason.
  • Sleeve Pitch : The angle at which the sleeve is pitched to the sleeve head. In a Bespoke suit the sleeve should be pitched to match the angle at which the arm hangs naturally from the shoulder.
  • Trimmings : Canvases, interlinings, silk threads, linings, buttons, hooks, felts and meltons. The raw materials that in addition to cloth make up the suit.


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