Meeting the Cutter: Sian from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury

If you can, meet your bespoke cutter. You’d really relish the connection bespoke offers.

Plus, the cutter can really assess your body, instead of picturing you through photos or descriptions.

In my last Whitcomb & Shaftesbury post, I discussed meeting Mahesh and Bob. Mahesh measured me, while Bob (the coat maker) gave his professional input and conveyed my figure/measurements to Sian, who drafted the pattern and cut the cloth.

Sian began working in 2006 at Kilgour on Savile Row. Trained under Ritchie Charlton, she found her niche as a bespoke cutter, and is now employed at Whitcomb & Shaftesbury.

I delighted in receiving photos of Sian’s long-distance work:

Transferred the pattern onto the fabric with chalk

I decided to travel to London – mainly to see Sian for my fittings – but to also visit some makers.

After landing, I rushed to my appointment.

Good news: the leg fit exactly as I desired. Meaning — the leg was slightly tapered, but not too much, and the drape looked good. Classic with a 30% modern cut.

There was slight folding/excess in the seat, I believe, but that would be corrected for the second fitting.

Sian would reduce the waist gap by 1/2″ and leg opening. Visually to Sian, a reduced leg opening looks better.

Waist change from 27″ to 26.5″

Apologies for lacking fitting photos. I was rushed for time.

We made an appointment 6 days later for the second fitting. Fitting #2 should have the alterations.

The second fitting surprised me because the legs looked severely tapered for my taste.

That was mainly my fault, because I didn’t voice that I liked the original leg. I consented to suppress the leg, though it wasn’t so clear to me then that that meant a more tapered leg.

I asked Sian if I could visit the next day to observe her adjusting my pattern. She generously agreed.

Immediately before starting, I told Sian I preferred the original leg cut.

She agreed that fuller looked better and offered to draw the new pattern, reinstating the old leg, but incorporating the newly reduced leg opening.

The first fitting leg width was 8 1/2″; the second moved to 7 7/8″ and then to 8 1/4″

Sian also marked the changes on the trouser for the tailor to adjust.

Tailor’s shorthand: ≠ means the pant needs letting out

Details/Changes during the fittings:

  • Cloth: Huddersfield Fine Worsted 510044, 14/15oz, 435/465gm
  • The bottoms changed from 8 ½” to 7 7/8”. 
  • Waist changed from 27″ to 26.5″
  • I changed to black buttons, only one button in the front, and no-pleats.

Sian enjoys interacting with clients as much as I appreciate visiting. We got along.

Interestingly, about 5% of Sian’s clients are female.

I look forward to the final delivery and will follow-up with an in-depth post. Thank you to W&S and Sian for your insightful explanations.

Sian and Richard, the apprentice (wearing my same trouser cloth!); photo by W&S.

Links: Whitcomb & Shaftesbury

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