Sunday, 22 January 2017
Fred Astaire and the Anderson & Sheppard Cut
Suits Made for Dancing
At Anderson & Sheppard of Savile Row, as Managing Director John Hitchcock kindly explains in this video, eighteen measurements are taken to cut a pattern. The measurements are marked in freehand on paper, like a drawing —with templates for single and double-breasted suits.
Fred Astaire was insistent that his jacket didn't budge from his neck when dancing, so the key, says John, is to incorporate a small armhole with bigger sleeve in the cut; and to sew the sleeves by hand so they have sufficient give and movement.
Fancy the idea of becoming a tailor's cutter? Well it can take as long as ten years to master, which is longer than training to be a GP or a dentist. I have utmost respect for the tailoring profession — or any master craftsmen for that matter — but even more so when considering the level of commitment undertaken.
Pursuing such a lifelong vocation is akin to entering a monastery. You need to think long and hard about whether it is the life for you. (For a postulant of the English Benedictine tradition, it might be four years plus before making the solemn vows and becoming a fully-fledged monk.)
If it is your calling, then patience is the greatest of all virtues.