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J.H. Cutler Bespoke Tailor & Shirt Maker Est. 1884

BESPOKE TAILORING GLOSSARY OF TERMS

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Alteration hand
Tailor who specialises in making alterations and adjustments to clothing in the final stages of preparation

Baste
A loose hand stitch using a soft white thread called “basting thread”. Used on basted fittings, it allows the tailor to see how the garment fits on the body without finishing the seams, allowing any necessary changes to be made easily & safely.

Balance
Adjustment of front and back lengths of a jacket to harmonise with the posture of a particular figure. This is very difficult to achieve in ready to wear clothing
Beeswax
Wax produced by bees. Often used to give added strength to thread when making bespoke clothing

Bemberg
Bemberg is a brand name for Cupro, which is a regenerated cellulosic fibre derived from cotton. It has excellent strength and smooth surface, making it perfect for the lining of outer garments.

Bespoke
A garment custom–made from scratch to a customers specific measurements and requirements. Its origin dates back to the days when a customer ordering a garment would select and reserve a cloth that was then “bespoken” or “spoken for”
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Bespoke Fabrics
Fabrics designed by and for the individual to feature any colour or combination of colours, any pattern and almost any weight.

Black Tie
Dress code for formal gatherings, usually in the evenings. Classic black tie is a black suit with satin lapels, satin covered buttons and satin side stripe on the trouser with no cuffs. The trouser waist is covered with either a waist coat or cummerbund. The shirt is white with a bib of either Marcella, pin tucks or plisse, with cuff links. Worn with a black bow tie, black socks & black patent leather shoes.

Blazer
A type of jacket resembling a suit jacket, but cut more casually. It is generally distinguished from a sportcoat as a more formal garment and tailored from solid color fabrics. Blazers often have naval-style metal buttons to reflect their origins as jackets worn by boating club members.
Block
Heavy, dense block of wood used in pressing to set or seal the steam

Body Canvas
Made from either wool, camel hair, linen or cotton in various weights, the body canvas is part of the structure inside a gentlemen’s jacket, waistcoat or overcoat. It is the part of the finished canvas that runs down the full length of the front assisting in substance & shaping.

Bow Tie
A short necktie fashioned into a bowknot close to the throat. Most often but not always worn with a dinner suit.

Button down collar
A shirt collar, usually with longer & straighter points, that are buttoned to the body of the shirt. Generally reserved for casual dress, it can also be made for smart casual & formal styles.
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Button Hole Gimp
A thick and robust thread that runs along the cut edge of the button hole, encased by the hand sewn button hole twist. It gives the finished hand made button hole a raised 3D finish and long lasting quality.

Button Hole Twist
Silk thread used to sew hand made buttonholes.

Cabbage
Term for material left over from astute cutting of a garment that is traditionally retained by the cutter for his own use.

Canvases

The inner material used in a garment to give it shape. Canvasses include wool, linen, horsehair, camel hair, hemps, jutes, meltons and many more.
Cashmere
Luxurious fibre from the undercoat or under layer of the Asiatic Falconeri goat.

Cavalry Twill
A firm warp faced twill, originally used for heavy weight fabrics but now used for a range of fabrics. Used for items such as raincoats.

Chambray
A plain weave lightweight cotton fabric with a white weft and a coloured warp, primarily used for shirts.

Classic Collar
Most popular style of shirt collar where the wings are cut straight and point downward.

Cloth
A general term applied to fabrics
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Coat Maker
Tailor who specialises in making jackets.

Cuff
A turned up hem, as found at the bottom of the leg of trousers or at end of the shirt sleeve.

Cummerbund
A broad waist sash, usually pleated, which is often worn with black tie.

Cut-Away collar
Style of shirt collar that is more cutaway towards the shoulder- the degree varies. Also referred to as Windsor collar
Cutter
Person who measures and fits the customer and then makes a pattern from the measurements and observations of the customer’s figure and posture

Cutting System
Method of pattern preparation using a particular process of measurement and figure evaluation. Scores have been devised since methods of working out the proportions of the figure were first explored in the late eighteenth century, but one of the finest books on the subject is The Sectional System of Gentlemen’s Garment Cutting by J. P. Thornton published in 1893

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Dinner Suit
Style of suit worn for formal gatherings, usually in the evenings with a single or double-breasted jacket with jetted pockets, silk facings on the lapels and matching stripes along the trouser seams. Reputed to have been first introduced by Queen Victoria’s son, the future Edward VII, in 1860. Called a tuxedo in the United States.

Dolly
Fabric covered wooden structure used in tailoring as base for pressing.

Double Breasted

A style of coat jacket fastened by lapping one edge of the front of the garment well over the other and usually featuring a double row of buttons.
Double Cuff
See French cuff.

Drape
The way a fabric hangs in folds.

Dye
The use of a substance to add colour to fabrics or fibres.

Dyeing
The process of applying colour to a textile product by soaking it in a coloured solution.

Fabric
Yarns or fibres coming together in long lengths.
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Fibres
Fine hair like structures, which can be natural or synthetic or regenerated, long (filament) or short (staple)

Flannel
Derived from the Welsh name for wool, flannel is made from carded wool or worsted yarn that are loosely spun & may be brushed to create extra softness or remain unbrushed. Brushing raises fine fibres from the yarns to form a nap.

Floating Canvas
A term used by tailors to describe the cloth-construction inside a jacket. It is where a completed jacket canvas is sewn into the front of a coat to give it structure & shape.

Four Cord
Term commonly used in the tailoring trade to describe four strands of thread that are twisted together and sealed with beeswax for sewing on buttons. Linen thread is sometimes used as a substitute
Foreman
Tailor who is in charge of production in a tailoring workshop.

French Cuff
Style of cuff on a dress or formal shirt, which is folded back and then closed with cufflinks rather than buttons. Also known as double cuff.

Gabardine
Name given to a tough, tightly woven twill fabric used to make various outerwear garments. The original fabric, invented in 1879 by Thomas Burberry, was waterproofed before weaving and was worsted wool or worsted wool and cotton, tightly woven and water-repellent but more comfortable than rubberised fabrics. Garments from gaberdine were used by famous explorers in the early 20th Century on expeditions to Antarctica & Mt Everest.

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Gimp
A thick and robust thread that runs along the cut edge of the button hole, encased by the hand sewn button hole stitch. It gives the finished hand made button hole a raised 3D finish and long lasting quality.

Gorge
The point where the collar is attached to the lapel forming the notch.

Haircloth
Cloth made from horsehair. Used as an inner material to give shape to the chest of jackets, waistcoats and overcoats.

Handle

The feel of textiles when handled.
Harris Tweed
Name given to a type of woven tweed fabric, woven on the Isle of Harris in Scotland . Key characteristics are its subtle colours and hard handle.

Hem
The fabric turned up at the bottom of a garment, such as the bottom of the trouser leg, or the bottom edge of a jacket.

Inlay
An extra piece of fabric in a bespoke garment’s seam, to allow for future alteration

Interlinings
Refers to all of the materials used between the outer fabric and the lining to provide structure and function to the garment.
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Jetted Pockets
A standard pocket style for tailored garments, with the top and bottom of the pocket opening having a narrow panel of fabric called jetts, each generally 6mm wide. They can be on their own (dinner jackets), with a hole & button (back trouser pockets), or with a flap (classic jacket).

Lapel
The upper part of the front of the jacket or coat front which folds back on to the forepart. The length of the lapel extends from the gorge seam (collar) to the position of the first button

Linen
Fabric made from the fibres of the flax plant. It is very absorbent and garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. Whilst prone to creasing, it works well for casual tailored garments as it develops beautiful worn in effect over time. The trouser crease also holds exceptionally well.
Loom
A machine used to produce woven cloth by holding the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads.

Lustre
Term used to describe the intensity with which light shines on a piece of fabric with respect to its reflective qualities.

Made to Measure
When a garment is custom made with alterations to the pattern of a pre-existing fit, according to someones basic measurements.

Master Tailor
A title that reflects the highest level of expertise, with knowledge of all areas of tailoring, and aspects of the trade. Usually reserved for tailors who are the head tailor in the business, entitled to train others and have the respect of other tailors.
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Melton
Felt like cloth used to complete the under collar on a jacket or coat.

Mercer
A merchant who deals in textiles, especially silks, velvets, and other fine materials.

Merino Wool
Wool from Merino sheep originating from Spain. Modern Merino sheep were domesticated in Australia, with characteristics of super fine, silky and super soft handle. It is the finest grade of sheep's wool available, used to make the finest quality wool yarn & cloth.

Mohair
Luxurious lustrous and durable fibre produced by Angora goats, prized for it's breathability, crease resistance & moisture wicking properties, Mohair is a great choice for travel & tropical tailored garments.
Morning Suit
A very formal men’s suit including a long black or grey coat, striped trousers, and a top hat that is worn at formal ceremonies during the day, especially weddings.

Notch lapel
The classic lapel. So called because of the notch where the collar piece meets the lower piece of the lapel.

Nylon
Synthetic fibre also known as polyamide. Developed during WWII by DuPont to replace Asian silk & hemp in parachutes. It has many uses & is characterised by its lustre, smoothness, light weight, high strength & low moisture absorbency.

Off the rack
Finished clothing item sold in standard sizes.
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Optima
Fabric, usually cotton, used in tailoring for pocketing, banding and inside sleeve cuffs. Also sometimes used in making of chest on jacket together with hair cloth and body canvas.

Pashmina
Fibre sourced from the pashmina goat raised by nomads on the wind swept, icy high plains of Ladakh in the Himalayas . In order to withstand the intense cold the goat grows a thick and extremely fine fleece, which is trimmed rather than sheared, to avoid damaging the delicate fibres that are eight times thinner than the human hair.

Pattern
Template used for the cutting out of pieces of fabric for a garment. A well-cut pattern is essential if the finished garment is to be of top quality (also see Cutter).
Peak Lapel
A peak instead of a notch where the collar and the lower piece of the lapel meet. Standard on double breasted suits, and occasionally used on single-breasted suits.

Pleat
Fold of fabric generally pressed flat to allow extra room in garment

Pocketing
Fabric used to make pockets for tailored garments.

Puckering
Tendency of cloth to gather into small wrinkles or folds, most commonly caused by a stitch tension that is too tight for the cloth that's been sewn.

Rayon

Textile fibre or fabric made from regenerated cellulose (viscose).
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Satin
Fabric with glossy surface on one side.

Savile Row
Street in the West End of London that is the home of bespoke tailoring.

Scye
Armhole of a jacket

Sea Island Cotton
Exceptionally fine long staple type of cotton grown in the West Indies

Shirting
Fabric from which shirts are made. The most common fibre used for shirting is cotton, however it's available in all fibres, blends, yarn counts, weaves & finishes for different uses. It is generally in reference to a particular weight of fabric that is suitable eg: shirting weight.


Shoulder Pads
Shaped layer of cotton wadding and muslin or felt used to define the shoulders of a jacket

Silk
Fabric spun from silk thread, a natural protein fibre which is sourced from silk worms.

Single Breasted
A style of coat or jacket with minimum overlap on the centre front fastening

Single Cuff
Cuff normally found on business and long sleeve casual shirts.

Sleeve

Part of a garment that covers the arms


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Sleeve Pitch
Angle at which the sleeve is pitched to the sleeve head. In a bespoke suit the sleeve is pitched to match the angle at which the arm hangs naturally from the shoulder.

Spinning
Process of making fibres into yarns.

Stretch
The extendibility of a fibre, yarn or fabric.

Suiting
Fabric of a suitable quality for making suits, trousers and jackets. The most common fibre used is Merino wool, however suiting is available in all blends, yarn counts, weaves & finishes for different uses. It is generally in reference to a weight of fabric that is suitable eg: suiting weight.


Tactile Property
The feel of a fabric perceived by touch.

Tailor
A person whose occupation is making fitted clothes for individual customers.

Tailor-Made
Made by a tailor. Perfectly fitted to a condition, preference, or purpose; made or as if made to order

Taper
To become narrower, as in a trouser leg that is narrower at the ankle than the knee

Tint
Light wash of colour, usually pale or delicate

Tuxedo
American term for a dinner suit worn for formal occasions & black tie dress codes.
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Trimmer
Individual who gathers and prepares various fabrics and items that go into the making of a bespoke garment.

Trimmings
The raw materials that in addition to cloth make up the suit.

Trouser Maker
Specialist tailor who makes trousers.

Tweed
Rough twilled woollen weaves and cloths used for suits, jackets and overcoats originally produced in Scotland.

Twill
Strong, woven fabric characterised by a diagonal weave
Vent
Slit in the back of a jacket or coat.

Vicuña
Fibre sourced from the animal of the same name, a member of the camelid family from the Andes Mountains of South America . Vicuña is reputed to be the world’s most expensive fabric and is finer, softer, lighter and warmer than any other wool. Primarily used for jackets and overcoats

Voile
Thin semi transparent cotton, woollen or silken material with a low density weave and light weight.

Warp
Vertical threads of a woven fabric.

Weft
Horizontal threads of a woven fabric.
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Windsor Collar
Very cut away style of shirt collar, which also known as a cut away collar.

Wool
Natural protein fibre coming from sheep, goats, alpacas, vicuna etc

Woollen
Cloth woven from both long and short-stapled fibres. Often seen in a flannel cloth.

Working Cuffs
Cuffs with real buttons that you can unbutton. Standard practise on all J. H. Cutler bespoke suits and jackets. Also called Open Cuffs.




Worsted
Lightweight cloth made of long staple combed woollen yarn, originally named after the village of Worsted near Norwich in England, a centre for worsted weaving.

Yarn count
Term used to denote the size/weight of yarn. Yarn is measured in terms of denier or tex

Yarn
Length of fibres and/or filaments with or without twist.