Jump to content


Photo

Apprentice Under a Tailor


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Alexandros

Alexandros

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 14 September 2010 - 02:16 PM

Hello Tailors!

Alexandros here, I recently graduated fashion design school and specialized in menswear. My final project was made-to-measure men's suits. Unfortunatly none of my teachers had any idea how to make mens suits so my final year of school was reading old tailoring and pattern making books and educating myself on men's tailoring. Although I have a degree in apparel design and production I feel I am lacking in a tradition mens' tailoring education. I would like to apprentice under a master tailor (here in new york) and eventually if plausible apprentice on Savile Row and eventually work there as well...those are my aspirations anyway.

So, does anyone know of any master tailors in New York that are willing to take an apprentice?

Thanks!
  • Coren likes this

#2 Martin Stall

Martin Stall

    Wizard

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 979 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Spain

Posted 14 September 2010 - 06:04 PM

Can't tell you but I do think that you'll be luckier if you'd be prepared to move. It's not an easy position to find.
Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

http: under construction...

#3 Sator

Sator

    Administrator

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,998 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 14 September 2010 - 07:28 PM

Firms big enough to take on apprentices are rare. I don't believe any of the tailoring stores in NYC belong in this category.

Most bespoke tailoring firms are small operations. It is very difficult to accommodate an apprentice who needs to be shown from scratch what to do. Firstly, it is difficult to pay the apprentice. It is doubly difficult when the apprentice slows the operation down, causing the firm to lose money. Furthermore, most older tailors are old school in that they expect an apprentice to know how to make up a coat before they even start their apprenticeship.

The fact that there are so few high end bespoke tailoring firms, and that tailors are getting close to retirement age means that there is little incentive to take on an apprentice. You would have to be extremely good already before anyone would even think of taking you on. That means there is a minimum standard you have to meet, so that you don't slow the production down. If you do, it is unlikely that you will be taken on.

I know this makes life very tough, but not impossible - provided you are talented enough and motivated enough.

#4 Martin Stall

Martin Stall

    Wizard

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 979 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Spain

Posted 14 September 2010 - 08:14 PM

And prepared to go where you will be taken ;)

Edited by Martin Stall, 14 September 2010 - 08:15 PM.

Sure, I believe your work rocks, but... have you considered, how are you going to sell that stuff?

http: under construction...

#5 greger

greger

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, USA

Posted 14 September 2010 - 08:26 PM

In the old days many started as children and were not paid. Today, if you can find a school, you would pay to go to school. After you are proficient enough to not loose money or much an apprenticeship would work. But for them to teach you and loose money is unreasonable. Your work has to be good enough to pay your way. Maybe haveing a regular job and sorta moonlight your apprenticeship expecting no pay for most of it would get you through the door.

#6 Alexandros

Alexandros

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 15 September 2010 - 01:18 AM

Great feedback, thanks guys

#7 Kerry

Kerry

    Apprentice

  • Moderator
  • PipPip
  • 308 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Reading, UK

Posted 15 September 2010 - 05:36 AM

I found this a while ago. although it is not for the US market it explains the training available in the UK. You may have to consider relocating.
http://www.canucutit....cfm?TopJobID=4

#8 Der Zuschneider

Der Zuschneider

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,429 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:TX, Houston
  • Interests:- German Cutting Systems
    - Modern Tailoring by German Semi-Traditional Standards

Posted 15 September 2010 - 02:54 PM

The craft has become so rare and difficult that you even have to bring money and pay the tailor to teach you.
Like you go to university you have to pay.

Edited by Der Zuschneider, 15 September 2010 - 02:55 PM.

www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#9 beaubrummel

beaubrummel

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 86 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Tailoring, Menswear, Womenswear, Shirtmaking, Shoes, Watches

Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:32 AM

I apologize in advance for digging up an old thread, but I have been researching apprenticeships and such and am finding a recurring theme just like this thread and I suppose it just boggles my mind how there aren't many tailors out there who are sharing their knowledge to the next generation. And yes I know, I've seen a countless number of arguments about it, apprenticeships take years, in the old days you would start right after you were potty trained and sweep the floor for 10 years before sewing a button (little sarcasm). And while that's fine and well, this isn't the old days. And there does seem to be an interest from the younger generation to learn such skills, but there is a larger lack of willing participants to teach. I myself have fallen into this category and have been learning through a combination of some schooling (large lack of availability there as well), and self teaching through alterations and making full garments and forums like this (which does have great value) as well as books, or even youtube. But as many will undoubtedly agree, there aren't many substitutes for learning from a professional in the trade. There are movies like O'mast and Men of the Cloth I believe is wrapping up production and these tailors talk about wanting to share their knowledge with the next generation so that these professions don't just die, so where's the disconnect?
  • Coren likes this

#10 jeffrey2117

jeffrey2117

    Journeyman

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NC
  • Interests:Sewing and tailoring, numismatics, frustrating my assistant by forgetting where I put things when I move them.

Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:40 AM

Hello beaubrummel,

You are nearly correct about early training. The previous posted replies are all too familiar to me.

I have had two ladies wish to apprentice with me in the last several months.

The first girl was about 20-22 years old, just newly married. She would come in for one hour a couple of times a week, during the time of day when I have rush of customers. The girl also has no knowledge or sewing background at all. She would only be in the area less than nine months time. Wishes to learn everything I know during this time.

The second lady, in her 30's made a first sewing project, a jacket from a pattern with poor quality materials and work quality was to be expected at her experience level. She can only come in one day a week on a Saturday morning only.

One of the ladies were willing to work for free or even pay me a bit for lessons.

I am very tired and busy with daily work and really do not have time to slow down, without a long term commitment to be here long enough for me to instruct them properly. Perhaps when I retire in a few more years I will see about instructing classes at local college.

I gave each of the ladies the web site address for cutter and tailor and asked them to review the beginners page and see the recommendations and understand the commitment and knowledge involved to properly learn this craft.

Kind regards

Jeffrey2117

Edited by jeffrey2117, 04 April 2013 - 12:40 AM.

"An intelligent man knows he is ignorant, a ignorant man knows he is intelligent".

#11 Terri

Terri

    Pro

  • Super Pro
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,021 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Ontario Canada

Posted 04 April 2013 - 09:28 AM

so where's the disconnect?


Reality. Daily life running a business.

I have been teaching cutting over the last ten years and have formally trained one apprentice, took another on for supplemental training and a third for an intensive jacket cutting and fitting session over two years.
It is a lot of work to teach. There is a huge amount of preparation involved, and investment/money as well. The training was funded both by the government as well as the company I work for, otherwise it wouldn't have happened.

If you' re running your own tailoring shop you would need enough work to support an apprentice because it takes time away from your tasks to instruct, and oversee someone else's work, while keeping to your deadlines. You also have to want to teach, and be able to teach. Not everyone can.
While you are busy keeping a business going you may not feel that you have the extra time an apprentice requires, so the years go by and then you are close to retirement or beyond and you realize no one is trained to take over.

I guess that is the disconnect.

#12 jeffrey2117

jeffrey2117

    Journeyman

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NC
  • Interests:Sewing and tailoring, numismatics, frustrating my assistant by forgetting where I put things when I move them.

Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:16 PM

Reality. Daily life running a business.

I have been teaching cutting over the last ten years and have formally trained one apprentice, took another on for supplemental training and a third for an intensive jacket cutting and fitting session over two years.
It is a lot of work to teach. There is a huge amount of preparation involved, and investment/money as well. The training was funded both by the government as well as the company I work for, otherwise it wouldn't have happened.

If you' re running your own tailoring shop you would need enough work to support an apprentice because it takes time away from your tasks to instruct, and oversee someone else's work, while keeping to your deadlines. You also have to want to teach, and be able to teach. Not everyone can.
While you are busy keeping a business going you may not feel that you have the extra time an apprentice requires, so the years go by and then you are close to retirement or beyond and you realize no one is trained to take over.

I guess that is the disconnect.



Hello Terri,

You have been very busy indeed, the voice of experience well founded and all very true.

I feel that I am approaching this point in life described earlier,

"so the years go by and then you are close to retirement or beyond and you realize no one is trained to take over."

Last year, a man with greying hair comes in and I remember him as a bored young boy, swinging his legs in the chair while waiting for his father!

It is tough, but I love this work.

Kind regards,

Jeffrey2117

Edited by jeffrey2117, 04 April 2013 - 01:23 PM.

"An intelligent man knows he is ignorant, a ignorant man knows he is intelligent".

#13 beaubrummel

beaubrummel

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 86 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Tailoring, Menswear, Womenswear, Shirtmaking, Shoes, Watches

Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:56 AM

Hello Jeffrey2117,

If you don't mind me asking, how did they become apprentices, or nearly become apprentices?



Why don't more tailors get together and form say a tailoring guild? I'm sure you can find government funding and get new people into the industry that way.
I suppose from my point of view it's much different than tailors such as yourself or other members here that have been doing it for some time, and from my point of view I just think that it makes it difficult for newer folks to get into the door and in turn less people are learning the trade. Formal classroom training is few and far between, especially specialized training like this takes. And not everyone has the ability to go to places like Savile Row Academy, or some other schools/courses in Europe.

#14 Terri

Terri

    Pro

  • Super Pro
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,021 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Ontario Canada

Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:14 AM

In the past one of the tailors at work used to offer an intensive 5 day class making a men's waistcoat, open to the public, but the costs were high because it was organized by the company, and they found that there was very limited interest at the time. They also had no idea if the people attending had any experience, and they had to get a certain number of students to make it worthwhile. The ones who had never sewn took up much more time than the ones who had some skills and knowledge. Not sure if it satisfied all students.

Just an FYI about our process.
Where I work, interested potential employees submit a resume, and are asked to attend a half day sewing "test", to ascertain their skill level, as well as their personality and instructability. If we need someone, we draw from that group and give them a job at a beginner level and then reassess them in a month. If they show potential or have excellent skills already, we keep them on, and they get "on the job" instruction. If they are good they are asked back the next season and they can access training within the corporation, outside of the on the job instruction and learning. They are formally evaluated every year by their cutter, and there is a formal standard of tasks that need to be mastered before moving up in the pay scale.
If someone is interested in moving onward to a cutting job, there is a process for that as well, but you have to have been sewing for some time and develop a relationship with your potential mentor. There also has to be money available for that training, which is not always the case.

Personally, I know that I we are short of jacket makers right now, but you need to find the right person because it takes a lot of time and effort to develop those skills, and not everyone can do it or do it really well.

Edited by Terri, 05 April 2013 - 10:15 AM.

  • zinc6 likes this

#15 greger

greger

    Master

  • Senior Professional
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,122 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, USA

Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:59 AM

It takes patience to become a tailor. It has to be the tailors worth while, too. Sewing, ripping sewing ripping sewing until perfect before moving onto the next part and not bothering the tailor while sewing ripping... until perfect. Also doing it his way so as not to pick up bad habits. Some bad habits are not worth dealing with, so that student is finished if he won't comply. I remember this one kid in high school painting class (art) had high expectation, and of course, none of his paintings got close, he was always so disappointed, but kept on and his skills got slowly better. So many beginners expect more than they can do. Redoing a section until it is right is very disappointing. But it has to be done that way or you will make garbage for the rest of your life. And then there are the fitting problems and so on. Nobody is going to pay a beginner, so five years later?

#16 beaubrummel

beaubrummel

    Umsie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 86 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey
  • Interests:Tailoring, Menswear, Womenswear, Shirtmaking, Shoes, Watches

Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:26 PM

So essentially, you want to have good working knowledge of being able to make up some garments, whilst not having a list of bad habits, and learn quick. That would be an ideal apprentice?

There should be more involvement here in the states in the profession. In England, there's Savile Row and they take apprentices from college so it's not like they're 8 years old, the Savile Row Academy and a bunch of other schools, in Italy, there's the Brioni school, Kiton I believe has their own school as well. Where's the love in America?

#17 jeffrey2117

jeffrey2117

    Journeyman

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NC
  • Interests:Sewing and tailoring, numismatics, frustrating my assistant by forgetting where I put things when I move them.

Posted 07 April 2013 - 02:16 PM

Hello Jeffrey2117,

If you don't mind me asking, how did they become apprentices, or nearly become apprentices?



Why don't more tailors get together and form say a tailoring guild? I'm sure you can find government funding and get new people into the industry that way.
I suppose from my point of view it's much different than tailors such as yourself or other members here that have been doing it for some time, and from my point of view I just think that it makes it difficult for newer folks to get into the door and in turn less people are learning the trade. Formal classroom training is few and far between, especially specialized training like this takes. And not everyone has the ability to go to places like Savile Row Academy, or some other schools/courses in Europe.



Hello beaubrummel,

I have not accepted either of the two I mentioned earlier as apprentices. I would rather have someone with basic skills training and work experience if possible.

The young girl had no knowledge or skills in clothing or design, but wished to make her own clothing line from a couple of hours a week after a few months training.

The lady, she is in her mid 30's, seems much more focused and had a determined attitude with a desire to listen and learn. She wished to make a 100 mile round trip once a week for maybe 2 hours lesson for no pay.

Now the question of would it benefit me to take the time away from work to give only very minimal advice and abbreviated training for these few hours for short time only? The answer would be no.

You ask the question of why more tailors do not get together to form a tailoring guild? I am the only Tailor left in a wide geographic area for over twenty years now, so can I be the guild president and sole member of my chapter?

I agree that it is difficult for newer people to open the door of this career field.

I think a formal training school would be wonderful to give us graduates with certificate of verified skill levels and we provide them with a pool of open positions available.

The issue of can they be able to support themselves and that there are not as many doors left for them to open. If you wish to pursue this career, you must build your own door!

Many just starting out with basic skills do not have necessary knowledge experience for the variety of issues they will face, space or funds for a startup on their own, this is why they need to work with experienced persons for a few years for guidance.

Kind regards

Jeffrey2117
"An intelligent man knows he is ignorant, a ignorant man knows he is intelligent".

#18 jeffrey2117

jeffrey2117

    Journeyman

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 370 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NC
  • Interests:Sewing and tailoring, numismatics, frustrating my assistant by forgetting where I put things when I move them.

Posted 07 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

So essentially, you want to have good working knowledge of being able to make up some garments, whilst not having a list of bad habits, and learn quick. That would be an ideal apprentice?

There should be more involvement here in the states in the profession. In England, there's Savile Row and they take apprentices from college so it's not like they're 8 years old, the Savile Row Academy and a bunch of other schools, in Italy, there's the Brioni school, Kiton I believe has their own school as well. Where's the love in America?



Hello beaubrummel,

Your first lines above describe to me an employee that needs additional training and experience.

To me an ideal apprentice would be someone who has the desire to do be the best job possible. Someone that I can instruct and properly train with a long term commitment to build up their experience, work skills and speed until they have the abilities and decision making process to complete tasks assigned with little supervision, then they may take over my business and I may retire!

Kind regard

Jeffrey2117
"An intelligent man knows he is ignorant, a ignorant man knows he is intelligent".




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users