Cut and Lay


Here we have some pictures my assistant took, when I was striking out a clients two piece suit. The cloth is from Harrison's of Edinburgh as part of their Mystique collection. At 8 oz, it's a medium weight - ideal for spring and moderate climate.  

The cloth is laid on the tailors board and pressed with a hot iron and steam, to shrink the cloth before it is made into a jacket or trouser. This will minimize shrinkage when the garment is worn.


The forepart is laid first, along the selvage edge, measure from the cloth edge to the chest dart to ensure the correct grain line.
After the pattern is traced out, the details are added, position of the darts, break line, pocket mouth etc.
 The typical figure has a low shoulder on one side, this is noted during the consultation when the client is measured. Blue chalk is used to represent the right shoulder is the low side, and red chalk to indicate the left shoulder as the low side. When there is an extreme low shoulder there is usually a low hip also. This effects the side silhouette of the jacket make it fuller on one side.
 A side body is introduce when an exaggerated waist is sought, one can only reduce 5/8"at the side on a one piece front, if further suppression is required a side body is introduced.
Note that the forepart, side body and facing are cut going the same direction on the cloth. This is important and should be observed by all tailors but its not usually the case.
Some cloths are considered one direction, and when the patterns are inverted during the lay, it turns the cloth  the opposite way round. This would provide disaster if the cloth where a velvet, check, had a nap, or fancy alternating strip. On solid cloths it is not always necessary.
The back is laid below the forepart, the center seam runs almost parallel with the selvage edge. The balance marks and sleeve pitch points are transferred.
Inlays are added to the hem, shoulder and side seam. This allows for any alteration that may be required at the fitting stage.
The top and under sleeve are laid beside the back, the grain line is measured off the fold edge to ensure the sleeve is cut straight.
The under sleeve is flipped to maximize the lay, inlay is added to the cuff 3-4" and the hind arm of the under sleeve.  
The cloth is cut using traditional bench shears. Bench shears are larger and heavier than tailor shears, at 2 1/2 lbs in weight, they are used on the board and not meant to be lifted. The handle and blade remain on the table and the hand is used to push forward opening and closing the blade.  
Designed to cut through heavy tweeds with ease, some tailors will opt for a long lighter tailor shear when cutting light weight cloth.
Each segment is cut with inlay added, the scrape cloth is put to one side and used to cut the welts, jets, pocket flaps and facing required.
The wrong side of the cloth is marked with a white X. The linings, canvas and other trimmings are next to prepare.

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