Pressing: An unsung art of bespoke tailoring (video)
The first time I saw a tailor use an iron to shape cloth, I was genuinely surprised.
You wouldn’t think material would be able to be manipulated that much, using steam and pressure to turn a straight piece of canvas into the shape of a collar (above). But it’s routine for bespoke tailoring, and is used in many other parts a suit, as Nicholas De'Ath of Dege & Skinner shows us in today's video.
It’s Nicholas's third example that most readers will probably be familiar with: shaping the leg of a trouser so that it becomes a slight ‘S’ shape, with bulges at the thighs and calves (below).
Now I haven’t had this on all my trousers, and it hasn’t seemed to make a big difference when I have. But my body shape doesn’t necessarily need help in that area - and the important thing is that if a tailor feels it’s needed, pressing gives them the ability to do so.
The reason I was keen to do this video is that pressing, as a part of the craft of bespoke, doesn’t get talked about that much. It’s a lot easier to show basted jackets covered in white stitches, or someone hand-padding a jacket on their knee.
Pressing is noisy, hard to see, and the results are often hidden - either because the result is just a smooth finish (as on the shoulder seam) or because it’s actually on the inside, as with shaping the inlay.
Many thanks to him, to the tailors who demonstrate the work for us, and to everyone else at Dege & Skinner for their help.
And thank you as always to the Campaign for Wool, who have supported all these videos. There is a dedicated channel for video on PS (see menu above) and other recent videos in this vein are:
- How to hem trousers (like a Savile Row tailor)
- How to sew on a button
- How a bespoke suit can be repaired
- How to look after tailoring
- How to look after suede jackets
- How to look after and wash knitwear
- How to press trousers