Tailor's Notebook

Tips, tricks, and ramblings on the trade.

Ladies Single-Breasted Frock Pattern

While making over two dozen frock coats for Connecticut Valley Field Music, I inevitably came across the issue of having to fit women into a man's coat. For the first couple of women's coats, I used the same Devere's pattern as the men. This worked somewhat with...

Another Frock Coat

It seems these Enlisted Frock Coats have become my specialty. My latest is number twenty five. Here are some photos with brief descriptions for your enjoyment. First we have a coat in one of the early stages of production, the skeleton baste. In preparation for the...

Federal Enlisted Trousers

These trousers were custom made for a gentleman in the New England Brigade, a local reenactment group. One of the customizations I made was to put the watch pocket on the left side of the trousers, as he is left-handed. They are half lined with polished cotton,...

Staying the Fork

Most of you have experienced a pair of trousers developing holes and tears in the crotch, probably at the least convenient time. Tailors have developed a way to help prevent these issues, called staying the fork. Since this area of the trousers takes the most stress,...

Remembrance Day

I will be attending Remembrance Day in Gettysburg, PA this coming weekend. If you are interested in commissioning any clothing, I'll be available for measurements and consultation, or fittings, on Friday, Nov. 20, Saturday, Nov. 21, and Sunday morning on the 22nd. You...

New Design

I've switched to a new layout. It's a simpler design, and more of my style. While I'll never be 100% satisfied with a design, this should enable me to do things more easily on the site. For instance, I now have a featured article on the top of the home page. My more...

Coat Measurements

Before the first stitch is made, and before the drafting pencil ever touches the paper, measurements must be taken. When measuring, the goal is to obtain as much information about the client’s figure as possible. Since most of my work involves Devere’s Handbook of Practical Cutting, 1866, I’m using his methods of measuring.

Ladies’ Skirt Cutting

Learning to draft clothing patterns can be very intimidating at first. There are pages and pages of instructions to read, such as with Devere’s manual, or it can be full of points to draft out, such as with a coat pattern. It might be a good idea to start learning to draft by creating a woman’s skirt draft. They have fewer points to draft, and fewer things can go wrong. I came across an article featuring three different methods of drafting a skirt by A. H. Scriven, from the Sartorial Gazette, August 1915. I like the part where the author states, “A school child, with a little knowledge of geometry, can both draft them and understand how the result is arrived at.”

The Modern Tailor, Clothier and Outfitter

Tailoring knowledge has traditionally passed down from master to apprentice, with little written down. Tailors had their own secret methods of construction, and were not keen on other tailors gaining this knowledge. Sadly, this has led to there being very little...

Enlisted Frock Coats

Since September of last year, I’ve been working on a major project. Outfitting my fife and drum corps, Connecticut Valley Field Music, with completely new uniforms.

Devere’s Graduated Rulers

I've been drafting patterns using a copy of Louis Devere's The Handbook of Practical Cutting on the Centre Point System (1866) for almost two years now. Of the available drafting manuals from the Civil War period, this seems to be the most complete and easiest to...