I’m often asked what makes a bespoke jacket different from ready to wear / off the peg (occasionally with an exclamation that they’re half the price on the high street!), so I thought I’d share with you my design / manufacture process and what makes an Eliza Wyke bespoke jacket different.
The jacket illustrated below is a new design, inspired by a visit to the McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A earlier this year.
Each garment design commences with the block traced onto plain paper, from this point I can scale up or down the sizing, and at this stage I add the design. In this instance, as I’m making a sample (my size!), there is no need to make up a toile (a calico version of the final design to ensure style, fit etc meet the customer’s expectations).
I’m now ready to lay my pattern and cut in cloth. In this instance I’m using a remnant of wool herringbone from Marton Mills.
The next stage would be to baste (tack) the pieces together for the first fitting. However, today, as it’s a sample, I’m going commence the sewing stage.
The first fitting highlights the areas where there is need for further attention – in this instance we need a nip and tuck around the waist area as the bias pieces are not sculpted enough.
…and then it’s back to the pattern to mark additional darts and shaping.
So far we’ve taken a full day’s work to get the shell of the jacket to a point at which I’m comfortable to commence the interlining and lining stage. I’ll leave the jacket to rest overnight (fabric can sometimes drop, especially if it’s cut on the bias as many of these pieces are, so needs to rest).
The following day was spent nipping and tucking the cloth too create the perfect silhouette as it had relaxed overnight and, on reflection, I wanted a sharper fit. Only then could I commence the lining, interlinings and facings stage of manufacture. This stage involves a lot of hand stitching and pressing.
The lining and facings are cut and manufactured in the same way as the outer jacket shell, they are then machine stitched together. The lining body is constructed on the machine and then inserted into the jacket.
The above process is a lengthy one with much steaming and pressing, and of course sculpting the jacket on the mannequin and can take at least a day.
The final stages of an Eliza Wyke jacket is the hand stitched finishing. This includes hand stitching the sleeves into place, the under collar and any top stitching that might be required.
I like my jackets to stand out from the crowd, so will always pick a funky or bold lining. In this instance I used a rose print lightweight satin.
Finally, the with a cheeky finish to the rear, I’ve used a newspaper print for the under collar, which I’ll wear stood to attention to show… and keep my neck warm!