Looking the Part

The Tailor of Gloucester at Work circa 1902 by Helen Beatrix Potter 1866-1943Some people just look like tailors. I tell you they do. They absolutely do. And from day 1 at Newham, there has been a cluster of boys (yes, I’m sad to say, not a single girl!) whose look has simply screamed, collectively, ‘WE BELONG ON SAVILE ROW!’.  These boys are every inch the dapper stereotype. They are discreet dandies – bedecked with tiny sartorial flourishes: bow ties, sleeve garters, round, tortoiseshell spectacles…. they have the lot.   Read more…


The Day I was Put in my Place

So. Two weeks in and things are starting to pick up. The interminable literacy and numeracy tests (!) are all over with and the learning is starting in earnest. With my tailor’s thimble ready and rearing to go on the end of my (blue-tacked) finger, I started the week with a determination to keep up with the class’s high-flyers and, also, with the absolute belief that this week, I would get noticed by the tutors. A ‘careful what you wish for’ moment if ever I had one. Read more…

And so it begins….

I am going to be a tailor. And I plan on being a jolly good one, too.

Kick-off starts in earnest in September when I’ll begin the Bespoke Tailoring Pre Apprentice Course at Newham College (bit of a mouthful, I know… ). Come February 2015, I hope to have secured an apprenticeship with a master craftsman… where and who depends upon my tenacity and skill although I expect a fair sprinkling of luck would come in handy, too. I’m not one to settle for second-rate though, so rest-assured, I will be aiming high…

So the new chapter has begun. The road ahead is a long one, and I’m sure there’ll be a fair few obstacles to navigate along the way. And I have an awful lot to learn. An awful lot. However, I am a fiercely determined, insatiably curious, relentlessly experimenting lover of fabric, style, and making … and that’s not a bad place to start.

And just in case you’re wondering…  I don’t want to be a high flung fashion designer. Oh, no no no – that frantic, fickle world is definitely not for me. I want to be a craftsman. I want to learn old skills and keep them relevant. I want a sustainable career that I can work hard at but that doesn’t steal every hour of my day. I want to master something that I can do without the aid of a computer screen, an espresso and the latest copy of Vogue.

But whilst fashion isn’t my priority, I do love clothes. And I do have a strong interest in design. My penchant for vintage style has rendered my wardrobe a veritable musty time-capsule –  most of it, fragile, unwearable pieces that would really be better off in a museum (moths are my worst enemy). I’m constantly studying patterns from the 1930s and 40s and working on making my own vintage inspired clothing. There’ll be a lot of that on here, I should imagine.

This blog is a way of charting my tailoring progress and recording all the interesting things I come across along the way. The formal courses may not have started yet, but my mind has been whirring and my hands have been crafting for the past 25 years. And it’s high time I got some of it down on (virtual) paper.