Monday, 9 April 2012

My Old Apprentice-Tailoring Pocket Notebook, 2001


  1. This notebook deserves to be published! Seriously.

  2. Thanks, if only I had the time to completely redo it though, because I can see now that it is riddled with mistakes and does not represent how I would approach cutting and making a suit today.

    Nevertheless, it was great fun to come across it again, blow the dust off and remember my initial years in the trade, the long hours in the workshop... the piles of coats that I had to baste for fittings and all the pad stitching collars, canvases, buttonholes and the waistcoats I made, trying to find ways to sew faster but maintaining accuracy, gradually working my way up to the tailors table. Also the craziness of the workrooms: the joking, the fighting, the panicking when shit when wrong, the pride when we'd achieved something good...

    Then getting home late to continue on my kitchen table, cutting and making for my friends and my brother. I loved the calm solitude of working through the night, all quiet outside (apart from the odd Hackney fox scratching around in the alleyway or a police siren) and me listening to John Peel on the radio, only stopping when the Blackbirds started to sing, round 3 or 4 in the morning, an alarm for me to put the needle down cause I'd have to be back at work a few hours later...

    What ever happened? Happy Days!

    1. I've been fascinated by Savile Row and the tailoring tradition there since I was a fashion school student, that's what inspires me the most instead of which designer was popular at the moment. because of various reasons that I was not able to learn the trade properly as an apprentice, I only did my best to learn from what I could find on the internet, old text books and countless experiments to try to achieve what a properly tailored garment should look like.

      That said, when you finally have the time to put out the newest edition tailoring book, with your reputation, I'm sure it'd certainly appeal to all the enthusiasts around the world (extra pocket money perhaps?).

      Allow me to shamelessly introduce myself. I'm a menswear designer, and just launched my first collection which was entirely hand-made by myself. I've been following your blog since I first came across it. I was wondering if I could have the honour to send you my lookbook for you to see. please be assured i'm not seeking any favours, but only your thoughts, good-or-bad. it'd mean a lot to me.


  3. Hi Yen,
    Congratulations on launching your first collection, I'm sure you put a lot of hard work and equal passion into it, I look forward to seeing what you have produced.
    Kind regards,

  4. I'm quite jealous, I remember my notebook not being as pretty. I've recently purchases a large sketch journal and sitting down and systematising everything starting with trousers. Giving notes on narrow trousers, fuller trousers and a complete a-z of how i prefer them made up. Adding a lot of that oral knowledge one typically does not find in books. I figured in the long run this will not only help me focus on what I already have but also where i am lacking as a tailor and cutter. I also figure future students could benefit as well.

  5. I am currently an apprentice and my notebook is no way near as neat as the one on this page, well done :)

  6. Neat or otherwise, lets face it, a notebook for tailors is kind of redundant the moment it is written down... other than for sentimental reasons. As it happens, my original notes and drawings, that this was taken from, were pinched. Luckily, this was just a cute idea that I did at the same time, to copy them nicely in a pocket sized notebook, just because I liked drawing.
    As shocking as my memory can be, I can't say I have ever looked up to find out or remind myself how to make anything. Chances are, I would never do anything entirely the same way as I did 10 years ago!