Tag Archives: Bespoke Tailoring

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.




Watches to Watch out For

Just in case you don’t always want to hear about the tailoring!

By Charlie. Tuesday 14th May 2019.

We are always busy at Henry Herbert – there is always something to do to keep us on our toes. A last minute customer request, organising fabrics and trimmings, serving customers both in our workshops or at their hotels and offices with our special Vespa scooter service, working with our two apprentices…and of course the making, tailoring and altering! But sometimes you might not always want to hear what I have to say! So, here to save the day every so often is Rupert Watkins and his thoughts around the rest of the luxury world – a kind of Gentleman Explorer! These are his thoughts on watches….

Watch collecting is a passion and for those bitten by the bug, tracking down the rarest of limited run editions and obtaining one off examples with impeccable and rare provenance becomes all consuming.

For many though, that realm of collecting is slightly beyond our reach. In a world that is dominated by high end Swiss watch brands, those seeking equally remarkable and slightly more under the radar watch firms should look to the German watch makers.

Germany has a long tradition of watch making stretching back to the beginning of the 19th Century. Many of the finest manufacturers are clustered in Glashütte in east Germany and there you will find illustrious brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Mühle Glashütte and Nomos. At this rarefied end of the market, the prices can equal those of the top Swiss horology firms. So, for those seeking interesting and outstanding value we could first head to the German banking city of Frankfurt and Sinn watches.

The firm was founded by Helmut Sinn, a Luftwaffe pilot who was shot down in Russia, lost both his little fingers and saw out the war as an instructor. Sinn went on to have a 50-year long career in the watch industry. Though originally made in Switzerland, the success of the company soon meant production was moved to Germany and in 1979, Sinn had the means to procure a substantial amount of industrial assets being sold off by a then insolvent Breitling – which also explains the stylistic similarities between the brands. Sinn was an early exponent of selling direct to the customer cutting out the watch dealerships in order to keep costs reasonable.

Sinn produces a range of pilot’s chronographs, diving and dress watches. The pilot’s watches are indeed very similar to Breitling’s Navitimer and Cosmonaute models though a fair bit more reasonable and those seeking an elegant, dressier chronograph to wear with a suit could do far worse than look at Sinn’s 356 Flieger model. At £1,850 for a fully mechanical chronograph it is excellent value. Sinn’s ranges in recent years have slowly become more expensive but for the £4 – 6,000 price category this firm offers a lot of watch bang for your buck. Perhaps among the Swiss manufacturers only Oris offers similarly good value.

However, Sinn – known to be a forthright personality – was not done with the watch world yet. Having sold Sinn in 1994, after a break he acquired Guinard – a then defunct Swiss brand – in 1995 and continued to stay true to his roots producing excellent value, high quality watches with an aviation and military edge.

Again, there is a similar feel to Breitling in the company’s pilot chronographs but with a Serie 40 fully mechanical chronograph starting at under £1,500 this is another brand the budding watch connoisseur should be aware of. It also continues to operate a direct to consumer web-based business model.

Guinard itself traces its history back to 1865. Since the early 60s, it had been one of the manufacturers Sinn used before production was moved to Germany. Though Guinard continued to manufacture in Switzerland – often for other labels – until the 90s, in the early 2000s it moved to Frankfurt. Though Helmut Sinn died at 102 early in 2018, both Sinn and Guinard still bear his indelible stamp. At both firms Sinn’s motto was, “as perfect as possible, but only as expensive as necessary.” If you’re looking for two more unusual watches to discreetly protrude from under the cuff of your Henry Herbert jacket – firms with long and interesting backstories – these are two brands to know about.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Scotch Whisky

BESPOKE tailoring and Scotch whisky are considered to be true partners in style. The sophisticated refinement of a handmade suit is perfectly matched by the provenance of the daringly flavoursome, grain-based amber liquid. Both deliver premium quality with a heritage stamp attached.


Substance and Style

The Scotch Whisky Association was set up in order to protect the whisky trade from imitation. It fights producers seeking to pass off their product as authentic Scotch. In terms of heritage, class and fashion Scotch whisky is the premium product. Bespoke tailoring also has standards that reflect the same level of craftsmanship, refinement and quality, and the Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA) is made up of member tailors with an agreed code of practice. The Association was founded in 2004 to protect and develop the art of authentic bespoke Savile Row tailoring.

Deluxe style is appreciated by the discerning palette and admired from afar. It is created by craftsmanship that shares values and skills that are centuries old. David Beckman’s Haig Club single grain whisky TV advert may have elevated the amber liquid, for new audience awareness, but the style and image still ooze the sophisticated bespoke charm of centuries.

Modern Interpretations

Blended whisky is the biggest selling variant of Scotch, although the popularity of single malts has continued to increase over the years. In comparison, Savile Row tailors have altered and tweaked their services to deliver all of your sartorial expectations. Whether you want to invest in a classic handmade suit, with complementary bespoke shirt and accessories, or simply long to wear a tailored suit that makes you look your very best the heritage tailoring establishments are ready to meet your needs.

Personal taste is reflective in the style of clothing you wear and the lifestyle you choose. According to drink experts and uber cool style influencers drinking wood-spiced whisky is currently ultra hip. Sipping your tipple, whilst wearing an elegant handmade suit is obviously a few notches higher up the style gauge.

Bespoke Tailoring and Scotch Whisky

Whisky is the hot hipster drink that is fast attracting new connoisseurs. Whether you appreciate the elegance of vintage malt, triple distilled single malt or a voluptuous spicy finish character blend, whisky is always fragrant and mysterious.

  • A full-bodied artisan Scotch whisky is rather like a bespoke three-piece tweed suit. The highest quality and finest craftsmanship is echoed in the finished product and garment.
  • Masculine style is epitomised by sophisticated bespoke dressing and mirrored by rich and distinctive amber blends.
  • Bespoke tailoring inspires appreciation of the finer things in life, like vintage malt whisky and James Bond cars.
  • Blended whisky impressively complements signature tailoring – which includes bespoke, made-to-measure and ready-to-wear garments that smartly bridge the gap between traditional individually crafted wear and off-the-peg suits.
  • The discerning modern gentleman appreciates craftsmanship, authenticity and value. This is why he chooses bespoke tailoring and opts for premium brands of Scotch whisky as his off duty tipple.
  • Prime marketing investment has focused awareness of whisky brands, particularly around seasonal gifting periods. In much the same way, bespoke tailoring enjoys renewed interest whenever fashion and film trends highlight sophisticated style and glamour. You only have to think James Bond, Mad Men or Kingsman: The Secret Service to identify the influential fashion trend.

One For The Road: Cycling & Suits



WITH an increase in the number of businessmen taking to the road on two wheels, bespoke tailoring has adapted to suit. This time, we are not talking about scooters (on which Henry Herbert tailors can often be found!), but the rise and rise of the bicycle commute.  However, looking fashionable without appearing flustered on a bike requires some sharp tailoring and clever details. The modern businessman can now opt for a suave and sophisticated handmade suit that can be tweaked to take them straight from home to the boardroom, via the cycle path.

Bespoke tailoring is all about the details. To travel in style fabric, function, fit need to be considered, and it is possible look like a cool cyclist without layering on the lycra. Cutting a dash in a smart bespoke suit that has been made with cycling in mind is the practical, sensible and logical (not to mention time-saving) choice for power dressing professionals and elegant executives.

What to look for:

The perfect cycling business suit provides comfort and flexible dressing without any compromise on classic bespoke tailoring or style. An active lifestyle requires a suit that incorporates practical features like visibility and shape retention for wear and tear on the road.

  • Choose a stain resistant fabric that is breathable and suitable for extreme weather conditions, and a cut that allows for freedom of movement and minimal creasing.
  • Make a few adjustments by lowering the jacket armhole to enable extra arm reach and additional shoulder support for riding comfort.
  • Pick a contemporary narrow trouser fit for safe cycling. A little extra padded support in the seat and crotch ensures a comfortable ride in the saddle. For additional comfort wear the trousers over padded shorts (get your lycra fix underneath!).
  • Select high visibility lining in a striking colour. Vibrant yellow reflects the Tour de France style influence and gives the bespoke suit a sharp, modern designer edge. For ease of physical movement and comfort opt for a jacket that is half lined, and keep your undercollar melton in sync with lining – so that when you flip up your collar to protect against windchill, the bright lining will show and allow for extra visibility to other road users.

Pay attention to the details:


The ultimate cycle friendly bespoke suit takes you from A to B without any major dressing (or undressing) adjustments along the way. You will arrive at the office ready to do business.

  • Keep your cool by adding a sailor’s tab collar (see an example here) that can be adjusted according to temperature and weather conditions. This also provides wind protection around the neck and chest.
  • Add detachable fluorescent pocket flaps to increase visibility on the road.
  • Choose smart high-vis trouser turn ups to complement and finish the elegant cut of the bespoke suit.

Rather like the compact, quick-change folding bike, the bespoke suit offers a practical solution to dressing the part ready for work and play.  Choose durable and versatile fabric and distinctive details to create the perfect bespoke suit for business and leisure. Team with a complementary cycle helmet and leave the spare set of clothes at home. Say goodbye to lycra and hello to the modern fitness wardrobe for the busy executive.


Glorious Seersucker and All That Jazz

Seersucker Wedding Suit Seersucker The Coolest Cloth

Seersucker Wedding Suit by Henry HerbertTailors

Henry Herbert was extremely privileged to make the above suit: privileged on two counts in fact. The first, because the suit was created for the wedding of Ray Goold (above), a wonderful and talented musician. Ray plays with the Solent City Jazzmen in Southampton. The second, because Ray asked for an extremely rare, but special, fabric for his suit – Seersucker. We chose a seersucker fabric from Holland & Sherry. Unfortunately, the photograph may not do it justice, looking at it on a computer, as seersucker fabric is woven in such a way that it gives a glorious texture and is great, either as as suit or stand alone trousers or jacket. Richard Green for The Big Black Book (Illustration)

Time for a Three-Piece Suit

Three Piece Suit WaistcoatBespoke Wedding Waistcoat

An example of an excellent and very fine cloth from Taylor & Lodge of Huddersfield, England, in a recent Henry Herbert three-piece suit. The customer chose a simple and elegant style to the suit – a two button single breasted jacket, with a straight pocket either side. The suit is enhanced hugely by:

1. Excellent choice of cloth,

2. Savile Row tapering to the sides of the jacket, and

3. A very simple coat style complemented by a waistcoat.

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.

Spectacular Scottish Linen Jacket

Bespoke Linen Jacket Bespoke Linen Jacket Lining

This is a great example of how linen can work wonderfully well as weekend and casual sports jackets. This is a linen jacket that Henry Herbert made for a gentleman in the military – hence, the reason he is camera shy and wearing the dark glasses. The linen is spectacularly complemented by the lining – great looking Bengal stripe. Both the linen and the lining are from Harrisions of Edinburgh.

Wow – what a suit!

Special Bespoke SuitBespoek Suit with Bespoke Trim

An extremely rare breed of suit – brown. It is made even more rare by the special velvet trim collar and made even more special by the very difficult sewing surround of the last cuff button! (The colour matches the lining). This was an incredibly difficult three-piece suit, which took Henry Herbert 37.5 hours of tailoring to complete, but well worth the toil. The fabric is a splendid Super 100’s wool from Holland & Sherry.

Wow – what a waistcoat!

Bespoke Waistcoat

Bespoke Waistcoat with Bespoke Buttonhole

A special brown waistcoat, made even more special by the very difficult sewing surround of the last button! (The colour matches the lining). This was part of an incredibly difficult three-piece suit that took Henry Herbert 37.5 hours of tailoring to complete, but well worth the toil. The fabric is a splendid Super 100’s wool from Holland & Sherry.

An Electric Blue Suit for a Henry Herbert Customer

Bespoke Baste Suit Fitting

A Henry Herbert Tailors work in progress: a brave and very striking fabric for a suit we are making for the Managing Director of a large media firm. The fabric is from Bateman Ogden, a Yorkshire based mill who are so old-school they don’t even have a website. The colour looks fabulous and will serve as a great suit for all occasions, professional and special.

Henry Herbert Suit in Holland & Sherry Fabric

Suit 3Suit2

A great looking Holland & Sherry fabric in a tailored suit Henry Herbert has just made for a young man from J.P. Morgan. The pictured suit is at its first fitting stage, or what is also known as a baste fitting. This is followed, a few weeks later, by a second fitting , or what is sometimes called a forward fitting. And a little while after that, depending on any necessary alterations, the suit will be completed after a third fitting, or what is known as a finish-bar-finish. This is all part of the bespoke suit making process. Henry Herbert Tailors cuts, makes and finishes every single suit in England.