Top 10 Tailoring Terms

31 March 2016
Top 10 Tailoring Terms

When it comes to having a tailor made suit created for you the world of tailoring can suddenly feel like it’s taken on a foreign language. With so many terms used amongst tailors which are then naturally used with clients, they can cause a degree of bemusement so knowing what certain terms mean can make life easier.

We’ve listed our top 10 tailoring related terms, which include terms you’re likely to come across at some point along with a couple of terms you’ll find interesting… hopefully. So sit back and get set to sharpen that tailoring tongue.

#1 Baste/ baste fit

The baste is the initial process of stitching a suit together which provides a rough idea of how it will shape up. The baste fitting derives from this and is designed to see how the initial construction of the suit fits the wearer. This is the first fitting and therefor the rough stitching allows for easy alterations to be made.

#2 Canvases

The purpose of the canvas is to help the suit jacket maintain its shape.  Since it’s not often seen by the eventual wearer of the suit it’s presence can go unnoticed, however it plays an important role in the construction process.

#3 Inlay

The inlay is an additional piece of cloth within the garment’s seam which allows for greater freedom for readjustments between fittings. It’s prevalence in bespoke clothing is necessary to ensure the garments longevity can be maintained for as long as possible. Not having an inlay can make it very difficult to adjust a garment post fitting.

#4 Lining

Lining material is fitted to the inside of the garment. It serves as a fashion detail (with many people choosing specific colours or patterned fabrics for their lining) and is usually made from a smooth fabric to help the garment flow over other clothing.

#5 Interlining

Interlining is usually added to clothing to help provide more thickness and in turn make the garment warmer. In some cases, interlining is designed so it can be removed, allowing a garment to be worn in various conditions.

#6 Lustre

The lustre of a fabric refers to the manner in which light shines off it with fabrics being graded as being bright, semi-bright, semi-dull and dull. Highly lustrous fabrics include satin and silk.

#7 Pleat

A pleat is a fold in a fabric which is created by doubling it onto itself and is used to allow for greater movement within a garment. You’ll often find pleats on various pieces of clothing which include shirts, jackets and trousers, however slim fitted garments aren’t recommended to have any.

#8 Sleeve pitch

The sleeve pitch is the angle in which the sleeve is attached to the body of the jacket. The posture of an individual affects the pitch of the sleeve, with the correct sleeve pitch helping to ensure minimum folding of the suit towards the front or back of the jacket.

#8 Thread Count

We’ve addressed the thread count in detail in a previous blog which you can find here. The thread count is the number of threads which are woven into a square inch of fabric. A higher thread count usually denotes a softer feeling fabric.

#9 Vicuna

Vicuna wool is regarded as one of the most expensive materials in the world. The vicuna is the national animal of Peru and stems from the llama family. They are scarce in their numbers (with only around 160,000 animals remaining) and can only be shaved once every 3 years making their wool incredibly rare and thus expensive.

#10 Warp & Weft

Warp and weft refer to the threads in a woven fabric. Woven fabrics are made of horizontal and vertical threads, with the horizontal called wefts and vertical known as warps (or woofs).

So there we have 10 tailoring related terms, many of which we’re sure will come in use during your tailoring experience.

Abbas Mahmood
Abbas Mahmood
As a lifelong purveyor of fashion, Abbas has been writing for Hemingway Tailors for 2 years, keeping readers up to date with style trends and delivering a regular insight into the world of tailoring.
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