From Mrs. Ellis, his needlework teacher, to Eddie Fosbrook, master tailor, then Sig. Stucci, one of Milan’s most famous tailoring cutters, and finally Tom Slatter, back on Savile Row, Simon has indeed been lucky with the people who taught him his trade.
His cutting technique is based, like most of London’s best bespoke tailors, on the F.R. Morris Tailor and Cutter system. This was recently revised, in the 1940’s! Although figures and styles changed this is still the best basis for cutting bespoke patterns.
The construction, canvassing and sewing is also based upon the London tradition. In Italy Simon learned the lighter construction for summer weights and the finer style of finishing preferred on the continent.
After a new customer has been measured and style details discussed the first pattern is drafted. A fit up is prepared and tried, then all necessary modifications are applied to the paper pattern. Following this a first baste with the customers chosen fabric is prepared. The trouser by the trouser maker, the coat by the coat maker. This is fitted again, modifications noted and the pattern again adjusted. The second, or pocket baste, is then prepared. The lower and inside pockets are made and linings basted in. Trousers also have their pockets made and long seams machined. If, at the final fitting all is well the trouser is finished: zip or button fly, belt loops or side adjusters, and then passed to the finisher for buttonholing, felling the waistband etc.
The coat is stripped back and trimmed. The lapels are padded, edge tape applied, outer breast pocket made and then the facings are attached and set; the fronts are completed. The body is finished with the back and it’s lining, followed by the shoulders, collar and sleeves. All these processes are done by the senior tailor and his assistant working together. This ensures all the carefully calculated shape modifications are correctly applied. Collar and sleeve setting is done only by the senior tailor.
The completed jacket then goes to the hand finisher for lining felling, prick stitching, buttonholing and collar finishing. Pressing follows, up to two hours of careful work and finally the buttons can be attached.
Five highly skilled craftspeople work more than eighty hours on each suit. All the production is carried out in house with machines being used only for the main seams.
“Making a suit is just like preparing a dinner party. Who are the guests? What, for them, is a scrumptious menu? Find the best ingredients. Prepare and cook perfectly. Serve on a beautifully laid table: pristine linen, shiny silver and glittering glassware. Nothing can be just okay.”