Jump to content






Photo

The Cookbook Approach

Posted by Sator , 05 August 2010 · 1,447 views

Last night I was watching a TV programme about two Michelin rated chefs in Tokyo. Both were good friends from the time they were learning to cook professionally, when they discovered that they both obsessively collected a huge library of cookbooks, amongst them vanishingly rare titles. As time progressed, they moved on from the cookbook approach to a thirst for relentlessly developing their own recipes and cooking methods. Even today they visit each other's kitchens after closing time to critique one another's newest ideas, while openly sharing every trade secret with each other.

Numerous television programmes suggest a certain fascination with high end cooking. There seem to be a significant number of cooking shows on the screen showcasing the best of what haute cuisine can achieve. What a pity that when cooking is so popular amongst both men and women, that sewing has lapsed into obscurity. While few would be happy to have people (often children) in the third world cook most of their meals for them, people are happy have them do their sewing for them. Such is the contempt that people show for the ancient art of tailoring.

If there was one raison d'etre for this forum, it has to be education. Part of that education is to make people aware of just how much skill and tradition there is to tailoring, and just how much of a difference fine tailoring can make to people's quality of life. There was a time when wearing nice clothes was as fundamental as eating a nice meal, and living in a nice home. These days you see people step out of an absurdly expensive car dressed like a homeless person. Gone is the time one would fear being stopped by a policeman on the suspicion of having stolen the car! When people happily show off gaudy excess in other fields, the fear that a plain finely tailored suit would look excessively opulent, and grandly formal like an old world Lord seems faintly bizarre. Yet such fear drives people to try to dress as a humbly as a beggar while being chauffeured in a ridiculously expensive car to a Michelin three star restaurant.

Another of the real struggles in the education process is to get people to understand how difficult it is to learn to become a tailor. Traditional apprenticeships to become both a cutter and tailor usually took about six to tens years to complete. A fine coat can easily take 80 hours of work to complete. Yet people cry foul at the thought of being charged for a suit at an hourly rate that would put a tailor on par with a plumber or electrician.

I too have, without doubt, been rather guilty of putting forward the impression that making a tailored garment is like following a cookbook. That is, all of the information on the forum makes it look like as a simple as going 1..2...3 to get the cake to rise. Alas, at times learning to become a tailor from books is like learning to become a professional violinist or golfer from a book. There is definitely a learned skill-based practical aspect to things. To gain that skill you can't just follow a cook book, you have to practice and practice intensively. It takes years and years of practice to attain a professional standard.

In the old days, the tailors even learned by a sort of Suzuki violin method of learning. As a child the tailor learned all the basic stitches, often sitting on mother's lap - within living memory all women used to sew. By the time a tailor started an apprenticeship, they would often largely know to make up a coat on their own already. All that needed to be done was to study cutting and fitting to become a fully independent professional tailor.

Those days have passed. Children today are only encouraged to play tennis, or the violin by their parents. That means that today many learning to tailor are in the position of being like adults first learning a musical instrument or to swim.

Yet to some extent it is still possible be like those Michelin rated cooks who started out as adults learning to cook from their little libraries of cookbooks. And like them, whoever strives to reach the tailoring equivalent of a Michelin three star rating, can still use the springboard of the information that they contain to launch a lifetime of learning, invention and discovery.




Photo
MANSIE WAUCH
Aug 06 2010 06:27 AM
If you look at the opening chapter of Pooles' book 'The Art of Scientific Pattern Cutting' He tells anyone starting out to read anything they can find on cutting and garment making.
I did just that! I was collecting magazines and books over the years that made no sense to me at first, over time they became a valuable source of information. A lot of these books I still have and would be willing to pass them on to anyone at a reasonable price.
Unfortunately, even Saville Row is unwittingly further diminishing the trade, by offering the new "Saville Row apprenticeship" scheme, instead of the old 5 year apprenticeship where the apprentice learned all aspects of the trade, the new system specialises in only certain area,s ie trousers and waistcoats or coats and takes 3 years to qualify.
There is probably some self protection going on as well, to stop ex fully trained personell leaving and starting up on their own in direct competition.
What books do you have available?

Baxter

If you look at the opening chapter of Pooles' book 'The Art of Scientific Pattern Cutting' He tells anyone starting out to read anything they can find on cutting and garment making.
I did just that! I was collecting magazines and books over the years that made no sense to me at first, over time they became a valuable source of information. A lot of these books I still have and would be willing to pass them on to anyone at a reasonable price.

What books do you have available?

Baxter

 

 

What books do you have available?

Baxter

 

August 2014

M T W T F S S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627 28 293031

Recent Entries

Recent Comments

The Cutter and Tailor at Tumblr

It's been quite a while since I blogged here. In any case, here is the Cutter and Tailor blog at the social networking site Tumblr:

http://thecutterandt...rum.tumblr.com/

Tumblr has a reputation for being the place where a lot of those in the fashion industry hang out, rather than on the mainstream networking sites. The idea is to improve awareness of this forum.