The best way to get into the tailoring trade.

I get people contacting me most weeks, wishing to learn and become a bespoke tailor. Unfortunately I do not have the space or time to teach them. So until I do I would recommend that you look at one of the bigger firms i.e., Anderson and Sheppard, Huntsman, Henry Pooles, ECT. Start early don’t leave it too late, try and get an apprenticeship when you leave school, because it may take some time to learn. I believe that learning from an older experienced tailor is so much better than learning through a college scheme. You will be trained in their house style and also have a fair idea of how a tailoring firm is run. You should be prepared to start on low wages for a while when you are learning, but this should not be too bad if you have just left school. The pay will get better when you start making garments on your own.

I would suggest you ask as many questions as possible before your boss gets the hump! Keep your head down, learn as much from him as you can. I would also suggest that you invest in a note pad! There’s a hell of a lot to take in.

You will start by learning how to use a thimble properly. Working on scrap pieces of cloth to get your hand stitching just right, then you will use the electric sewing machine. (Some have been converted from the very old treadle machines.) Trying to keep the stitch straight and not tight, feeding the cloth through with ease. So, at the end of the week you should have made a great coat. (I think not.) This should take at least three years.

I had great times learning tailoring under the watchful eye of my boss Patrick Davey, and with the other young guys there at that time. I also enjoyed working under the cutters Mr Harvey, Mr Hallbury, Mr Russell, Mr Pitt and my Father Mr John Hitchcock also the Managing Director at the time Mr Halsey. The difference clientele coming and going was just fantastic, and still is today, you do not know who is coming in next from a film star to Royalty. If you are thinking of getting in to the tailoring business I do hope you get your chance and enjoy it as much as I have and still do today.

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