Visit London Blog » tailoring Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sewing in London: A Guide to Sewing Classes, Shops and Museums Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:48:45 +0000 Are you a fan of the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee? Here are some ideas for sewing themed fun in London:

Geffrye Museum

The first series of The Great British Sewing Bee was filmed in Dalston; you can plan your next sewing project with tea and cake at The Other Café and Gallery where the contestants had lunch. From there it’s easy to hop on a bus down to the Geffrye Museum to see the vintage interiors, and then visit the area around Spitalfields market, where you’ll find a hive of independent designers/makers selling beautiful things.

Don’t miss the Sunday Upmarket near Brick Lane, which homes 140 stalls selling crafts, interiors and accessories. Cavernous fabric shop Crescent Trading in Shoreditch also merits exploration.

London Sewing Machine Museum

One episode of the second series included a short film made at the London Sewing Machine Museum. The Tooting-based museum is open on the first Sunday of the month and includes three rooms of gorgeous antique sewing machines and sewing memorabilia. It’s sited above a huge sewing machine shop where you can get your machine repaired or buy a reconditioned one. You’ll also find a big craft shop next door selling fabric, patterns and haberdashery.

One of the finest collection of fashion and textiles in the world can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as the fashion galleries, there are regular fashion exhibitions and you’ll discover beautiful textile items displayed throughout the museum.

If you were inspired by the patternless draping in the second series semi-finals, the V&A has some Vionnet dresses in its collection, but none are currently on display. If you want to see them, you might want to consider a visit to the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles where you can make an appointment to study items from the national collection of textiles and fashion.

London’s amazing Fashion and Textile Museum has also been featured on the show and has a full schedule of classes and exhibitions devoted to sewing, design and creativity.

Savile Row

Find out more about London’s history of traditional tailoring at Savile Row. Dishy Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant is the creative director of Norton & Sons (established 1821) at Number 16 Savile Row.

You’ll find many sewing classes in London. Some of the best places to take a class include Liberty, Fabrications, Ray Stitch, Sew Over It and The Thrifty Stitcher (where you can take masterclasses run by the Great British Sewing Bee’s sewing producer!).

A shop in Southall

If the modification challenge is more your thing, head to Sew Good in Kilburn. Run by the charity Traid, you can learn to mend and upcycle your valued clothes. If vintage techniques inspire you, check out the classes at The School of Historical Dress. If you’re looking for amazing embroidered trims, have a hunt around the shops in Southall.

Learn how to decorate your projects with goldwork embroidery with a weekend class at Hand & Lock or The Royal School of Embroidery at Hampton Court Palace.

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How to Shop on London’s Savile Row Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:00:46 +0000 Savile Row

Nowhere on earth is more synonymous with male fashion than London’s Savile Row. For two centuries, it’s served as shorthand for the suit,

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and the measuring books of the tailors that line both sides of this short Mayfair street contain the intimate details of figures ranging from Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill to Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, and even the King of Bahrain.

For a long time Savile Row’s association with British aristocracy and the political classes made heading into its slightly fusty tailors – with their mock fireplaces and walls covered with taxidermy – an intimidating prospect. But since the 90s, the Row has undergone a transformation, originally with tailors like Richard James and Ozwald Boateng, and more recently the likes of Nick Tentis and Spencer Hart, bringing fashion to traditional suitmaking. Cast an eye over any of the midnight blue suits walking up the red carpet at the Oscars or Golden Globes, and chances are they were made by Spencer Hart.

Savile Row is reaping the benefits of a movement spearheaded by designers like Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen – both of whom launched bespoke tailoring arms in London this year – which has seen the suit shake off its stuffy associations to become hugely fashionable. And while a bespoke suit is undoubtedly expensive – a two-piece Savile Row suit will set you back upwards of £3,000, depending on its complexity and construction – unless you opt for something particularly outré, it will stay in style for years.

Those who don’t bow to the winds of fashion, and who simply want something beautifully made that flatters their shape, are catered for by Savile Row tailors like Gieves and Hawkes and Huntsman, whose traditions and craftsmanship stretch back more than a century. But the real beauty of Savile Row is that you can commission someone to make whatever you like, whether that’s a simple single-breasted business suit or a diamante tuxedo with crocodile skin pockets. If the latter takes your fancy, then head to Stowers, whose tailors pride themselves on meeting any request, no matter how radical.

The Bespoke Process

1. Commission
The first visit to a bespoke tailor is where you’ll discuss exactly what kind of suit you’re looking for, and for what purpose. This is when you’ll be taken through cloth options, linings, different styles and you’ll meet with your cutter – the person who takes your measurements, and cuts your suit to fit.

2. Construction
The cutter creates a paper pattern, which is passed to a master tailor to handmake a draft of the suit – known as the “baste” stage – which gives a loosely stitched version without pockets or finished details.

3. First fitting
The baste version is adjusted on the client’s body to ensure a perfect fit. At this point, you can still choose to change details like lapel width, buttonhole height or even shoulder length.

4. Second fitting
A more complete version of the suit is measured against the client’s body, and any minor adjustments are marked and sent back to the tailor for changes.

5. Final fitting
The suit is finished and, barring any last minute adjustments that need making, is ready to be taken home.

Tom BanhamTom Banham is a freelance journalist who’s written for GQ, Wired, and the Guardian. He divides his time between Hackney’s warehouse clubs and Kentish Town’s ale pubs.

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Tommy Nutter: Rebel on the Row at the Fashion & Textile Museum Fri, 20 May 2011 11:00:55 +0000 The latest exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum celebrates the work of Tommy Nutter (1943-1992), Savile Row’s rebel tailor.

During the swinging 60s, the understated traditional suits of Savile Row were considered boring and the fashionable flocked to menswear boutiques on Carnaby Street for brightly coloured suits and shirts. When Nutters of Savile Row opened in 1969, the two worlds collided. Rock stars, artists and the stylish embraced Nutter’s bespoke suits because they were fashionable as well as beautifully crafted.

The exhibition includes suits, jackets, sketches and a couple of pieces of knitwear. Some of the suits are very much of their time, made from velvet or satin, with flares and flouncy trim. They are the sort of outfits worn by celebs on those old episodes of Morecombe and Wise. But the Fashion & Textile Museum understands the zeitgeist and these suits feel unexpectedly fresh and exciting.

As well as fans of fashion, tailoring and style, this exhibition is also perfect for music fans as suits have been loaned by stars like Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Cilla Black and Elton John. Nutter made astonishing jumpsuits for Elton’s 80s tours, as well as a coral flared jumpsuit for Neil Sedaka which is amusingly 70s. It says a lot about Nutter’s star-attracting style that one of The Beatles turned up at the exhibition’s private view last night. (Ringo! Very exciting.)

Admission also includes entry to a small photography exhibition of work by Justin De Villeneuve featuring Twiggy at the legendary London department store Biba.

Tommy Nutter is on at the Fashion and Textile Museum from 20 May to 22 October 2011. Adult £8, concessions £5.

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British Wool Week: Sheep on Savile Row Mon, 11 Oct 2010 15:10:04 +0000 Sheep in Savile Row outside Hardy Amies Exmoor Horns sheep in Savile Row Savile Row field day Suits you sir, ooh, suits you. Bespoke tailoring in wool It might look bright, but when this fleece is spun, it will be a more muted heathery toned yarn. Roving Cones of yarn Gary Cooper's Measurements in a customer book at Anderson & Sheppard

To celebrate British Wool Week, the Campaign for Wool have filled Savile Row with grass and sheep! If you’re fanatical about fashion, you’ll probably be aware that wool tailoring is enjoying a massive resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to Matt “The Doctor” Smith‘s Harris Tweed jacket and Benedict Cumberbatch dashing about as Sherlock Holmes in an Inverness Cape. Savile Row is the perfect place to check out the latest menswear trends and indulge in a little bit of luxury.

The Exmoor Horns and Bowmont sheep were happily grazing in the sunshine in central London this morning and will be there all day. Next to the sheep is an exhibition by R Gledhill, who card and spin British wool into yarn which then gets spun into cloth which is then used by Savile Row tailors to make bespoke suits.

All those big boxes of unspun fleece were so soft, colourful and tempting it made me wish I’d popped my spindle in my bag this morning so I could spin a few meters!

If you’re popping along to see the sheep, you might also be excited to know that many of Mayfair’s most distinguished tailors, including Hardy Amies and H.Huntsman & Sons have opened their studios and archives to the public today so you can find out what goes on behind the scenes.

I took a tour of Anderson & Sheppard with Managing Director John Hitchcock who guided me round the shop, office, changing rooms and workshops and showed us (some London College of Fashion students joined in) the details on some funky purple and yellow plus fours suit which won the 2009 Golden Shears competition. John also told us about Alexander McQueen‘s time at Anderson & Sheppard.

You can pop along to see the sheep and enjoy the open day till 6pm tonight. If you can’t make it there are events happening all week, including wool themed windows in many shops across London including Selfridges, Jaeger and Jigsaw. You can follow the design trail at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour to find out more about wool for your home.

Find out more about The Campaign for Wool, British Wool Week and why wool is the ultimate in sustainable, biodegradable and luxurious fashion at

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