He’s got the Blues….

A blue jacket is born

By Charlie. Tuesday 21st May 2019.

It has been a busy few weeks at Henry Herbert Tailors. One of our Apprentices, Lucy, is studying at Newham College. She spends three days a week with us, shadowing one of our Master Tailors and taking guidance from him for works that he asks her to complete. She wanted to buy her first pair of cutting shears and she asked us which would be most suitable for her. With shears, the sky is the limit when it comes to how much you want to spend and so we advised her to spend little and try a 12″ pair and see how she goes. In fact, we treated her to a new pair and hopefully, one day she will come along and tell us what her experience of the shears are and how they might be improved. Our main advice, from Francesco, one of our Master Tailors – was “go heavy!” And from Abdul, our other Master Tailor, “go easy” – i.e. ones that won’t ruin your thumb when holding them. We will see.

AMONGST all of this, we have been making a full bespoke blue herringbone wool jacket for a customer. The customer in fact lives in China and comes back occasionally when he can for the fittings. This is the story of his jacket, over a few weeks.

It is always handy to have a French curve and a few other tools at hand when starting out.

And the trimmings required – in the picture below the collar canvass and the body canvass from Bernstein & Banleys.

Once everything was prepared, a paper pattern was made – this is called ‘striking’.


Once the pattern was made, the pattern could be cut – below is a front body panel and a sleeve.

We then use some old fashioned weights to put the pattern on top of the fabric, to keep everything in place.

And you can see things taking shape….

The different parts of the jacket can then be cut.


Once the pattern has been transferred to the fabric, it can then be ‘basted’ together using basting cotton.

Thereby begins the very first pressing stage. We used a 5kg pressing iron. We would love to find something a bit heavier, but they are hard to find.

And below is the first part of the jacket coming together.

Several weeks later, we had the forward and last fitting below. I will make another post about these stages at a later date as it is a story in itself.

And straight away, we were on to starting the process all over again – this time with a blue cotton fabric from Loro Piana.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, just mention them below or email them to me at charlie@henryherbert.com.