Behind the Seams: Inside a Tailor’s Workshop Part I

This is the first of our “Behind the Seams” series – looking to give you a glimpse as to what goes on inside a tailor’s workshop.  Each of the photographs has a little story to tell. It is a working environment, but we still try our hardest to make it comfortable for customers….and ourselves!

This photograph is of our Henry Herbert mannequin  – hand made for us in South West England, in the same pattern as the dust protectors in which we place every suit we send out.

Tailors Workshop London


Not the most thrilling photo at first, but there is more to it than meets the eye!  This vintage clock was given to us by a retired tailor – it keeps us on time for our customers.  And the folders….all the cloth was cut from spare suiting fabric and the folders subsequently covered. By the way, Pat is our book keeper!

London Tailor Workshop

 Mannequin in action:  bespoke suit work-in-progress, awaiting its owner for a first fitting.

Savile Row Bespoke Suit - First Fitting

See also: .

Keeping it British: London Tailor Henry Herbert Tailors

Savile Row by Scooter

Keeping the top of our workshop in tune with the top of our website; we added British bunting. All the artwork is hand drawn, in keeping with the traditions of true British bespoke. Note, in the foreground of the picture is Unit 3: “Griffin“. Like all of our scooters, she is named after a Royal Navy battleship. You can just see her name on the top of the arch above her wheel.

See also: .

Join the Campaign to Wear Double Breasted Suits

Double Breasted Day - the campaign to wear double breasted suits, Dec 3rd

The V-shaped man in the double-breasted suit is making a comeback, adding stylish swagger to city streets and cool tailoring to corporate offices. The double-breasted silhouettes and swooping lapels, broadened shoulders and extra chest, are once again making a resurgence. And Henry Herbert Tailors have started the campaign to start the comeback.

Each year we hold a DB-Day. The next one will be in December 2013.

HHSuits_0913-5010 HHSuits_0913-5034 HHSuits_0913-5205 Henry-Herbert-Double-Breasted-Suit


See also: .

Just when is bespoke, well, bespoke?…..


Just what does bespoke mean?

It is a term that our industry is constantly challenged by. To many people it can mean many different things. It can range from the absurd arguments – something being made in the Far East versus in the United Kingdom, to a battle between theorists about the number of hand stitches that go into every garment. Very respected tailors have offered their thoughts before, suggesting the word bespoke comes from the word bespoken (to be-speak your cloth).

However, a qualified tailor in China can be just as good as a tailor on Savile Row. And what if the tailor on Savile Row is Chinese? And the tailor in China is British? As strange as it may seem, it happens. Where does the argument about garments being made overseas conclude in those circumstances?

Similarly, there are tailors who insist on a minimum of five, six or even seven fittings for every suit they make. But what if the customer doesn’t need it? Surely the process is there to serve the customer, not the tailor. Similarly, what if a tailoring house has only one house style….is that really a bespoke service for the customer? There are some fabulous tailors, but they may only offer one house style cut, albeit in any size and figuration you may wish. But is that truly bespoke?

Cutting the cloth and who cuts the cloth is often the crucible of many arguments.  And what if a machine cuts the cloth from measurements the cutter has decided?  A laser machine cuts much more finely than garments which are hand cut. Hand cutting leaves lots of loose threads and room for many complaints from a customer, but some prefer it. So why not let the customer – with guidance – cut some of his own cloth. Surely a customer cutting his own cloth would be truly bespoke?

Additionally, but just as importantly, I firmly believe that a bespoke garment is not just about providing a unique pattern and size to each and every customer. It is about providing a truly bespoke service. Is  bespoke when a customer is expected to meet a tailor between 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday and at just one location: the tailor’s shop? Is it a truly bespoke service when a garment is being sent to a customer, that the customer cannot choose the exact hour and even minute they want it delivered? Should a customer not have the mobile telephone number of their tailor, so that when something does go wrong – a split hem or a loose thread – that the tailor can have it fixed in an instant for that all important meeting or cocktail party?

A truly bespoke suit or shirt can only so called, I believe, when it is complemented by a truly bespoke service.

Please do email me your thoughts at cc@henryherbert.com

Written by Charlie Baker-Collingwood, Proprietor of Henry Herbert Tailors

The Brown Herringbone – New York, New Suit

Images & Video

Bespoke Brown Herringbone Wedding Suit

Tailor’s Notes
A wedding suit should leave no one in any doubt as to whether you have come straight from the office. A peak lapel is snazzier than a notch and a one-button or two-button jacket is less corporate than three. If it’s a daytime wedding and morning dress is not on the agenda then navy and grey are, as ever, the safest and most versatile suit colours. In both cases, opt for a shade less dark than you would for work. It’s a party, right? Lighten up. Maybe even choose brown!

The Construction
Made with a canvass, the suit is made and cut in England. As much of the suit as possible is hand tailored. As with every suit we make, unless you choose our Express service, the suit will take 8-9 weeks to make – we have a half way baste fitting and then a forward baste fitting before the suit is finished and delivered.

This cloth was from Holland & Sherry and the lining from Dugdales in Huddersfield. The cloth is 100% wool with working buttons and silk lapels.

Find out how to order a suit

Harris Tweed & Plus 4’s by Henry Herbert Tailors

Images & Video

Harris Tweed Shooting Suit

Tailor’s Notes
Henry Herbert Tailors were privileged to make this Harris Tweed shooting suit for a gentleman in the south west of England. The fabric is heavy, but magnificent, and we were delighted to make a tailored waistcoat and sailor’s tab collar on the jacket for those cold shooting days.

The Construction
The customer bought the cloth directly from the weaver in the Outer Hebrides. He returned to London and presented us with the cloth and asked us to make a three piece shooting suit for him, with matching trousers too. After eight weeks and various fittings, the ensemble was finished.

A heavy and waterproof tweed, robust enough to endure cold days of stalking and keep his master warm.

Find out how to order a suit

Just what’s inside a Henry Herbert shirt box?

Every shirt we make is handmade to the highest Savile Row standards. We use the finest cottons, Mother of Pearl buttons and brass collar bones. The packaging, shows the care and attention we take when delivering every shirt.  This is a bengal stripe shirt on its way to a customer.

Photography credit: Petra Exton

Bespoke Waistcoat for a Bespoke Band!

Bespoke Savile Row Tailored Waistcoat

Freddie2 Freddie1

A great looking waistcoat we made, using a rare fishtail lining for Freddie Smith who, with Phil O’Farrell, is part of the band Freddie Smith & Phil O’Farrell. (We made Phil a great looking shirt too, which you can see under our shirts section). They play uplifting Irish inspired tunes and you can listen to some of their music on their MySpace account here.

Henry Herbert creates a ‘seven course’ Italian gala

Henry Herbert was privileged to make a wedding suit for Tim Boyce (pictured), a broker at ICAP and the six suits for his six best men. The wedding took place in Italy and we chose a lightweight pure blue, English wool from Dugdale to cope with the higher Italian temperatures. Each man was measured individually and each pattern was cut individually, allowing us to cater for the variety of heights, shapes and sizes. They all looked terrific.

Henry Herbert Shirts

Every Henry Herbert shirt comes with removable brass collar bones and each one is finished with the finest single stitching. We were lucky enough to recently have some of our shirts photographed by the excellent fashion and reportage photographer, Greg Funnell. Greg is a graduate of King’s College (London) and patiently photographed some of the features of a Henry Herbert shirt.

Shirt 1

Collar Bones


Shirt 2