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The 2021 Summer School

Are you looking to learn how to hand tailor a bespoke jacket from A to Z (that is to say including the drafting of the cutting pattern)? We have put together a summer school do deliver this entire programme to a small group of students who already have some garment making experience.

The course will take place in-person at our dedicated workshop in Macclesfield, available exclusively to participants at the time. The number of students is limited to four only, to allow us to fully focus on each student individually. The studio provides ample light, safe space as well as individual tool kits that will be made available to each student. Each participant will have the exclusive use of a state-of-the-art industrial sewing machine (induction provided).

Course Dates, Training Times & Fee

Monday 19th July to Friday 13th August, 10am to 5pm, with an hour lunch break in between
(120 total hours) =  £1,795 incl VAT
The schedule allows for ample time to learn, to ask questions and to receive answers that make sense. We strive to create a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the outside world – a time to forget about being efficient, for once.

Curriculum:

Under the guidance of an experienced tutor, you learn to draft, cut and tailor a fully bespoke jacket to individual measurements.

You will…

  • construct a cutting pattern for yourself or your chosen model from scratch
  • cut and mark the cloth
  • cut and assemble the canvass, including pad stitching
  • learn to join the canvass to the cloth, shape and press
  • assemble the garment ready for the first (baste) fitting
  • fit and ‘rip down’ the jacket for adjustments
  • make pockets, face and line the jacket
  • re-assemble for second (forward) fitting and final adjustments
  • hand finish and press
  • make hand button holes

Materials:

Tailoring trimmings, including body canvas, horse hair and collar melton are included in the fee. Drafting literature is also included for your future reference. Outer fabrics, linings, closures (buttons) and decorative threads (button hole silk) must be purchased by students prior to the course. We are happy to advise on suitable materials and sources during the preparation day.

Please get in touch to learn more – we are here to answer your questions!


    Live Online Classes

    Many of you have asked about online tuition – and we listened:

    A series of online classes, dedicated to the art of drafting of bespoke cutting patterns from scratch, is now live on Eventbrite, Based on actual body measurements, rather than using pre-fabricated blocks, the course teaches the art of cutting for the individual – yourself or a customer.

    The methodology is repeatable with individual measurements and participants will be able to create their own patterns using the literature we provide with the class. Measurements are in the metric system.

    Please note some classes are organised in two or more parts – you can find dates here. The first date of each class has a clickable link to Eventbrite. Get in touch for more information:


      Applications are Open

      … and so is our workshop! Completely remodelled, it is home to only eight students on our current Level 5 programme, scheduled to run through to July next year. Keeping student numbers low allows everyone ample space and with state of the art equipment and tools being available exclusively to each of our students, we minimise sharing whilst being able to maximise the focus on each individual’s learning. People have long referred to our attic space as a refuge: feeling safe whilst being able to get on with an education is more important than ever.

      Only weeks into the programme, students have both the male and female jacket pattern draft under their belt and embark on their respective projects: carrying out first fittings of their bespoke jackets, they are learning to implement the changes derived from trying on those hand made garments, marking the start of a more individual phase of learning for each student. The strength of the course lies exactly with this: no two projects are ever the same – they are bespoke in true sense of the word. Students learn to work as independent craftsmen early on.
      It is the nature of our job, after all: each commission comes with its own, individual challenges.

      We are blown away by the interest we are already receiving for our next course starting in September 2021 – learning a tangible skill is in more demand than ever before. We have some exciting news to share early in the new year, and applications remain open – drop us a line using the contact form below for more information!

      Safe, yet inviting: the Covid-safe attic workshop. Image by fionabaileyphotography.com


        Keeping Everyone Safe

        Getting Ready for a New Age

        Practical skills delivery is face-to-face by nature and heritage tailoring skills are what our students are joining us for. That’s why the closure of our workshop facilities as a consequence of the crisis surrounding coronavirus came as a real blow. Having to rapidly re-imagine the way we deliver our training, the fact that, so far, we had spent most of our time tailoring – rather than with the more conceptual parts of the qualification – turned out to be a blessing.

        When the reality of the impending lockdown hit home around mid March, we wrapped up the few remaining tasks in a matter of days. Then everyone grabbed a number of indispensable tools and headed home; for some of our students that meant catching a last minute flight to a different country.

        Setting up their own workshops and attending distance learning sessions to cover both, further practical and also the more conceptual parts of the  Level 5 qualification, learners were able to continue their training. As one of only a handful of training providers in the country, we are delighted to say our students will complete their training as planned, by mid July.

        I am pleased to have been invited, through our industry body, the UK Fashion and Textiles Association (UKFT), to advise, together with esteemed colleagues, the UK Government on measures to safeguard the wellbeing of students, customers and staff in our sector. This means we have our finger directly on the pulse, working with the people who know best how to overcome adversity – the UK textile industry is famous for its resilience for a reason.

        We will return to the workshop in September, when our new cohort starts their tailoring journey. If you have been to our studio, you know the unique atmosphere of the place: the quality of the light, the quiet vibe high up in the attic and the inspiration that comes with the textile heritage of the building. All of this utterly conducive, and crucial, to the deep, complete immersion in the delightful occupation that is our craft.

        Part of our setup are our gorgeous, mobile work benches, custom-made for us by local craftsmen TLJ Welding. To make sure everyone learning with us can feel at ease, we have limited numbers for the upcoming academic year, so each student will have the use of their own work station and tools, with ample space for safe distancing.

        We are blessed with space anyway, but are taking on additional room to allow for a one-way access system and relocation of all not training-related areas. Working with TLJ again, we are developing solutions to equip the academy to be as safe a learning environment as it possibly can be: using stainless steel, the company is building prototypes for foot operated dispensers, screen stands and clever contraptions hands-free opening of doors.

        Knowing the quality but also the aesthetics of their work, the result will not only be reassuring from a safety point of view, but also immensely pleasing to the eye. Which kind of fits with what we are doing here.

        Case study shows dual tailoring qualification opens up progression routes for fashion and costume designers

        Glyndebourne beckons for John!

        Our dual qualification has just been confirmed as a pathway to a fulfilling career – the ABC Level 5 Diploma in Bespoke Tailoring opens up veritable progression routes for those with previous experience in garment making:

        John joined our very first cohort studying for the newly launched qualification in September 2018, as a recent fashion design graduate from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. During his admission interview, he explained he was looking for solid traditional tailoring skills, as well as training in pattern construction – both areas the more conceptual BA fashion design courses do not generally deliver. His admiration for meticulous hand craft was immediately evident and he knew that adding this specialist expertise to his existing skill set would enable him to follow a more ambitious career path than the fashion degree alone would have afforded him.

        His previous experience in design and garment making helped him to hit the ground running. His diligence and inquisitive mind played a significant role in maximising the learning opportunities the qualification has on offer. He was particularly appreciative of the fact that the academy delivers both pathways of the qualification – the cutting and tailoring route – to all students.

        From the second term onwards, John began working on customer commissions within the academy’s ‘Community Tailoring’ scheme. He engaged in bespoke selling, advised customers on style options, material choices and technical detail concerning individual figure and posture. He carried out cost calculations, provided quotations and placed orders for materials with suppliers. He then moved on to tailor, fit and supply the bespoke garments.  John worked hard and achieved extremely positive outcomes on each occasion, which was evidenced in the feedback he received from customers – valuable experience he will be able to build on in the future. He passed the final assessments with flying colours in July 2019. His practical work is of professional standard and his exemplary portfolio received particular praise: meticulous and beautifully accomplished, it will serve him as reference throughout his future career.

        The Level 5 curriculum is an intensive programme, hands-on and within the real environment of a working bespoke house, with all the challenges this entails. It is designed to equip graduates for a career role with considerable responsibility, including setting up their own bespoke business, if they so wish. John made full use of this opportunity and I was delighted to learn that, following his graduation from the academy, he accepted the offer of a tailoring position within the men’s costume department at the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The application process at Glyndebourne involved two interview stages, both entailing a practical exam. John was able to demonstrate his proficiency on both occasions owing to the practical skills training he received as part of the qualification.

        John was generously supported by a student grant made available by the CapitB Trust, in recognition of the fact that the qualification, designed by the Savile Row Bespoke Association as an alternative to the traditional apprenticeship, is becoming available outside of London.

        The Academy at #GNCCF2019

        We are VERY proud to have been selected to show at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester from 10th to 13th October. Now in its 12th year, the exhibition is the North’s largest and most established annual celebration of contemporary craft. This is a curated show and the Tailoring Academy has been selected to participate as the only UK training provider offering the highest level of tailoring training outside of Savile Row, London.

        There is a craft renaissance underway, and it’s not limited to our sector: people are getting tired of cheap, disposable goods that are manufactured at the other end of the globe, because they hold no real value.

        The concern for our planet plays a massive role in this, of course, and it is first and foremost young people who are now actively taking a role in halting the destruction relentless consumerism has caused. Knowing how to make things that last is a powerful antidote to the unsettling feeling of losing control. Human hands are our most capable tool.

        Sustainability is at the forefront of our work, and we respond directly to our students’ desire for a more resourceful way of production by sourcing our materials locally, or even producing our own cloth to use in our tailoring.

        The Academy offers the highest level in UK tailoring training: the ABC Level 5 Diploma, an alternative to the traditional apprenticeship. Designed by the Savile Row Bespoke Association and approved by the UK Fashion and Textiles Association (UKFT), the double qualification opens up a route to those looking to learn traditional tailoring skills in a life changing course, delivered in real-life work environment.

        Our state-of-the-art workshop is housed on the top floor of a majestic former silk mill and is flooded with light. The textile heritage is tangible and hugely stimulating in our work.

        Textile Society Award

        Officially Award Winning

        The concept of delivering the ABC Level 5 Diploma as a stand-alone alternative to the traditional apprenticeship is officially award-winning! I am delighted to have received the Textile Society’s Professional Development Award, for offering this Ofqual regulated programme, the highest standard in UK Tailoring training, outside of London. 

        The Society states in their announcement: “The selection panel were particularly interested in bringing an ABC qualification of tailoring to the North” and continues: “the application shows initiative and enterprise, specialist knowledge and strong professional experience. The strength of this application is its potential to disseminate knowledge through vocational education”.

        As part of ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme, I spoke about the skills shortage in the UK and how emphasis is now being laid on increasing the provision of practical skills training in response to that shortage. 

        Filming took place at the Tailoring Academy, which I founded in response to what I know is an enormous demand for traditional tailoring skills: young people up and down the country – not just in our field but across all disciplines – want to learn to make things by hand again, a powerful antidote in an era of relentless consumerism.

        Much of my work focuses on developing skills in those older than school age. Typically, applicants are self-taught, have a segmented background of different roles in the industry or are fashion design graduates with a degree under their belt. These candidates are aware they don’t have the technical skills, pattern and garment construction in particular, they need to progress in their chosen career.

        At the Academy, which shares premises with my bespoke tailoring house, students receive the entire bespoke skill set, giving them control over the process from start to finish. Once they have completed the one-year course, they are in a position to deliver the highest quality in garment making, enabling them to set up their own business or seek employment equipped with an acknowledged qualification.