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



Baste - Garment loosely assembled for first fitting


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.

Balance Tape - Used by a tailor to measure a customers stance, to fit to their posture.

Basting - Temporarily stitched layers of fabric. Layers can be loosely basted, helping the section of the suit stay flexible and soft.


Beeswax - Wax produced by bees. Often used to give added strength to thread when making bespoke clothing.

Belt Loop  - A loop of fabric used to keep a belt in position.


Bespoke - A custom–made garment 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”. Also know as "custom tailoring".

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 occasions.


Blazer - Casual jacket made from woollen cloth. Can be single or double breasted, originally navy in colour with gold buttons, a style borrowed from a naval uniform. They can now be brightly coloured or even striped.

Block - A dense block of wood used in pressing to set or seal a seam.

Body canvas - Pure wool, and sometimes linen, canvas used in the structure inside a gentlemen’s jacket, waistcoat or overcoat to give substance and assist in shaping.

Bow Tie - A short necktie fashioned into a bowknot close to the throat.

Braid - A strip of silk down the trouser leg of a tuxedo.

Breeches - Also known as riding pants.


Button down collar - A more casual collar that would button over a tie. Very rarely seen in a conservative workplace, however perfectly in place whilst enjoying the sun on a Weekend.


Button gimp - Used when making buttonholes for suits.


Button twist - Yarn used to make buttonholes.

Buffalo horn - Material used for buttons on suits and sports coats.


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


Canvas - The inner material used in a garment to give it shape. Canvasses include linen, horsehair, hemps, jutes, meltons and many more. A much better alternative to fusing the suit with glue that can cause damage over time.


Cashmere - Luxurious fibre from the under layer of a  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 primarily used for shirts.

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


Cloth - A term of generalisation for Fabrics.


Coat maker - A tailor that specialises in making Suit Jackets.

Collar - The collar, attached to the neck-line. It is the part of the jacket or coat hat covers the neck.


Cuff - Found at the bottom of a pair of trousers, or at the end of  s shirt-sleeve, a cuff is a turned up hem.


Cut-away collar - A type of shirt collar that is more cutaway, pointing towards the shoulder, the degree of which does vary. These are sometimes also referred to as the 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.



Dinner Suit - A suit worn for formal occasion, usually in an evening with a single/double-breasted jacket. Silk lapels and matching stripes along the trouser leg. Also know as a Tuxedo in the United States.


Dolly - A fabric covered wooden block used in tailoring for pressing.


Double-Breasted - A jacket that overlaps the buttoned side of the jacket, creating enough material for double the amount of buttons. Usually come with 6/8 buttons.


Double cuff - Also know as the French Cuff.


Drape - The wait the suit hangs off the body.


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



Fabric - Long lengths of yarns or fibres coming together.


Flannel - Flannel is made from a woollen yarn that is twisted, creating a more course, open texture. The name originates from the Welsh name for wool.


Floating - Misnomer used by the ready to wear industry to imply a certain canvas quality of make in their jacket construction


Foreman - The tailor who is in charge of production in the workshop.


Fusing - Something that we vow never to become a part of. Fusing is the use of chemicals to glue together the interlining to the outer fabric of a suit. Severely frowned upon by any bespoke tailor.


French cuff - A type of  cuff on a shirt that is folded back, and then closed with cufflinks as oppose to buttons. Also known as a double cuff.



Gabardine - Name given to a woven twill fabric, originally made from wool. Usually used for outerwear.


Gimp - A special thread used to support and raise buttonhole stitching.


Gorge - Where the collar is attached to the lapel forming a notch or peak.



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 - Jacketing lining made of a variety of fibres depending on usage and weight. Often Bemberg, pure silk, twill, satin, rayon or viscose



Jetted Pockets - A pocket that is incorporated into the garment and doesn’t have a flap. Standard for formal wear jackets



Keyhole buttonhole - A buttonhole with a round opening at one end for the shank of the button to come through.

Kissing Buttons - A Neapolitan style of sleeve buttons. Buttons that are so close to each other that they are touching.


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 - Natural vegetable-based fibre


Loom - Machine used to produce cloth by weaving


Lustre - Term used to describe the intensity with which light shines on a piece of fibre


Made to measure - Garment made from a standard pattern that is made to fit the customers precise measurements

Master tailor - Individual who employs tailors

Melton - Felt like cloth used to complete the under collar on a jacket or coat

Mercer - A merchant who deals in textiles, especially silks

Merino wool - Fine, silky and super soft it is the finest grade of commercial sheep’s wool available

Mohair - Luxurious lustrous and durable fibre produced by Angora goats

Morning Suit - A very formal man’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 - 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


Off the rack (peg) - Finished clothing item sold in standard sizes

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 suits and coats


Puckering - Tendency of cloth to gather in runs, often apparent on the lapel and trouser seams and most common in fused apparel (see fusing)


Rayon - Textile fibre or fabric made from regenerated cellulose (viscose)


Satin - Silk 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

Shirting - Fabric from which shirts are made. Can include cotton, twill, flannel, voile, silk, chambray and linen

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, which in turn 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


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


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


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


Tactile property - How a garment fits

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 single or double-breasted jacket for formal or semi formal evening occasions


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


Vicuna - Fibre sourced from the animal of the same name, a member of the camelid family from the Andes Mountains of South America . Vicuna 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 used in the making of shirts


Warp - Vertical threads of a woven fabric


Weft - Horizontal threads of a woven fabric

Windsor collar - Very cut away style of shirt collar, which also known as a cut away collar

Wool - Natural 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.

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


Yarns - Length of fibres and/or filaments with or without twist


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Contact Us:

38 Queen Victoria Road



S17 4HT

+44 (0)7954 128869

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© The House of Bourbon 2018

Made in England