Andrew Yamato follows master tailor Rory Duffy as he takes him through step by step in the making of a handcraft jacket. This is how garments used to be made, time honour techniques that have changed little during the evolution of a bespoke garment. Using old world techniques synonymous with Savile row, Duffy gives a brief insight into the how handcraft coats are made.
Since training at Henry Poole on Savile row Duffy dreamed of making such a series so that the secrets of Savile row tailoring could be made available for the world to see.
Before mastering the skills of coat making demonstrated in these videos the novice or apprentice must first master the needle & thimble. No tailor worth their salt sews without a thimble, indeed it is a true sign of a novice when asked on which digit the thimble is worn, common response “the thumb”.
The thimble is worn on the middle finger and is used in harmony with the needle clasped between thumb and forefinger. As the needle enters the cloth the thimble follows close behind driving the needle through. The little finger hooks the thread and prevents it from slipping out of the eye. A twist of the hand or flick of the wrist sets the tension in each stitch, consistently.
The silk skein is an example how tailoring supplies have changed over the years. A knot of silk like this one is enough to sew the finishing stitches on a handcrafted coat. The knot is untied to a loop which is then cut to create individual strands of silk, each when Coates with bees wax forms a sewing thread of ideal length and strength.
Today silk skeins come in cardboard covers and are pre-waxed. The loop is cut once the cover is removed and the thread is fished out of a hole in the box.
Not as romantic as the traditional version.
Rory Duffy is an award-winning bespoke tailor based in New York City.