I am beginning to wonder if the 1980's were just dark years for West-End tailors.
The latest dissection candidate, (donated by mack11211, thank you) is a piece by London's Fallan and Harvey, dating to 1984 and it is, at best, underwhelming, coming from one of a group of tailors who are supposed to be the finest in the world. Let's assume, however, that the garment fit and the customer was pleased and that the nit-picking we are about to do would never have bothered him. (On the other hand, when you are being charged for the best, one can reasonably assume that one will receive the best.)
The finishing is sloppy and rather amateurish, but to their credit, the lining has been inserted by hand which is a step that few houses do anymore.
The buttonholes aren't much better.
It is interesting to note that the vent has been fused which will be a sign of either forward-thinking or corner-cutting, depending on which side of the traditionalism fence you sit. Personally, on this weight of tweed, I don't think a bit of fusible will hurt the garment, other than if it were to eventually fail.
The edge tape is also fusible, but as on the Welsh and Jeffries garment we looked at, it has also been sewn on by hand. So I am leaning toward "forward-thinking".
Interestingly, the lapel has three different types of tape. The bridle has been stayed with linen holland, the top edge has been stayed with fusible, and the lapel edge has a non-woven which may at one point have been fusible but if it was, the resin has failed. In any case, it was sewn on by hand so it doesn't matter.
The undercollar has been machined. This is another instance where I don't think hand-padding adds anything of value but traditionalists will squawk.
The back of the scye has been padded, likely to help with some very prominent blades.
Under the padding we find a linen holland stay tape which shows that the sleeves have been set by machine. Though they see no value in hand-setting the sleeves, the shoulder seam has been sewn by hand.
The chest has been made with one large piece of haircloth and one bias-cut piece of wrapped hair.
Malwae was asking about canvas qualities and here is an example of a bad quality haircloth. The weave is such that the hair slips right through- I was able to easily pull a strand right through-
This kind of thing is trouble for migration as the hair will start poking right through and bother the wearer. When selecting haircloth you want to pinch the edge and give it a good tug. If the weave grins, as it has in the photo below, avoid it. The hair should be crimped so that the weave is stable and the hair won't move.
This is not the first garment from that time period which was a little dodgy-looking; maybe in the boom that was the 1980s, Savile Row had to pump garments out at such high volume that quality slipped for a while. Maybe this was just a fluke. Who knows. In any case, I am hoping that the quality level has improved in the nearly 30 years that have passed since this garment was made and I will keep my eye out for a more recent example that would show it.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Posted by Jeffery Diduch at 8:20 AM