Tailoring Terms

As you get to know us a bit better, you may hear some of the tailoring slang we occasionally use. And to help you get to grips with it, these are some of the words you may come across.


Baste – Suit foundations roughly swen together (often with large white running stitches) assembled for first fitting.
Board – a tailor’s worktable.
Chuck a dummy – to faint. Allusion is to a tailor’s dummy tumbling over.
Clapham Junction – a paper design draft with numerous alterations or additions.
Codger – tailor who does up old suits.
Cork – the boss.
Crib – large scrap of cloth left over from a job, usually enough to make a pair of trousers or a skirt.
Doctor – alteration tailor.
Drummer – trouser-maker.
Kipper – a tailoress. So called because they sought work in pairs to avoid unwelcome advances.
Pig – an unclaimed garment.
Skiffle – a job needed in a hurry.
Soft sew – an easily worked cloth.
Trotter – fetcher and carrier: messenger.