The latest sample I purchased on ebay thanks to a tip from RJMan.
Maurice Sedwell enjoys an excellent reputation and its proprietor, Andrew Ramroop, is very keen on explaining the many reasons why. Of course, one of the first things I look at when examining a garment are the buttonholes and buttons, and these are very good. The buttons have been beautifully shanked and stand up to attention like a row of horn soldiers.
I noticed some light grey thread peeking through the underside of the buttonholes which I found a bit puzzling.
I unpicked one of them and found that the buttonhole had been meticulously overcast prior to working it up. Why they did it with light coloured thread is anyone’s guess, but at least it was carefully done and does not show on the right side.
The way he has matched the flap to the coat is somewhat curious. Darts often distort the pattern above the pocket so it is most common to match the flap to the lower part of the coat. In this instance he has matched to the top part, behind the flap. I’m not a fan.
Inside the pocket, he has created a pleat which should help prevent the pocket gaping open when the owner shoves things in it.
The inside lining has marks that indicate the the garment has been altered so there may be a few question marks.
The lining itself has been inserted by hand, something which few West End tailors do anymore. It’s been reasonably neatly done, far better than the Fallan and Harvey coat.
A piece of linen holland has been used to turn the edge of the undervent, however this was completely concealed by the lining.
The back hem has been reinforced with weft-insertion fusing.
Since the front hem has been done with linen holland, I think it is safe to assume that this was done by the alterations tailor.
It is no surprise that the chest, lapel and collar have all been padstitched by hand, and a piece of silesia has been laid over the lapel canvas prior to padstitching. The edges have been stayed with linen holland in a method that looks to me like the one used by canvas garment factories.
The facing has been applied by machine, and the linen is caught in that seam. I will have to unpick the tape to know for sure if he has done what factories now do.
And yes, there it is, the gap between canvas and seam.
In order to reduce bulk in the edges, we trim away more canvas than is traditionally done. Once the front has been shaped (the excess cut away to the proper shape, leaving only the seam allowance of 3/16″ or 1/4″) we trim away the canvas not to the seam line as used to be the method, but double the value of the seam. For example, if the seam allowance is 1/4″ we will trim 1/2″ of canvas away. We sew at 1/4″ then turn the seam allowance inside to fill the gap between edge and canvas. The tape is caught in the seam which will prevent the canvas from moving. This technique is most useful on very fine cloth where the added thickness of the canvas at the very edge is not to be desired.
Back to Savile Row.
There is needle-punch foam in the sleevehead, similar to what is used by manufacturers, and the shoulder pad is prefab. The sleeves have been set by machine, and the shoulder seam has been sewn by machine. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the number of people who think that it is necessary to do these steps by hand are a distinct minority.
When I got to the chest I could tell that there is only one layer of wrapped hair hymo in the chest, rather than proper haircloth so I didn’t go to the trouble of unpicking it all. I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it is much softer than haircloth and if the customer wanted something very soft, then it’s not a bad choice. However I would still have put a haircloth (or even hymo) reinforcement in the shoulder, and there is none. There may be a reason for this as well, which we will never know.
So is Maurice Sedwell the best on Savile Row? Inconclusive. This is certainly the best Savile Row garment that I have handled but one can’t make sweeping generalizations based on a handful of garments. Were I in the market for a tailor in London’s west end, I would certainly call on Mr. Ramroop to have a chat.