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Tailoring Tales.


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#1 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 07:34 AM

I had occasion to go to Liverpool town centre yesterday.  While I was there I called to see an old tailoring friend of mine who still has a workshop in the town centre. We both served our apprenticeship in the same workshop years ago (55 to be exact. He is due to retire soon.) We got talking over old times, and some of the characters from those days. One story came to mind and we both laughed at the situation that transpired.
A certain trimmings merchant who used to call into the workshop, was well known for his persistence in selling you a bargain, and would pull the wool over your eyes to clinch a sale. One day he called in and tried to sell the boss a very 'exclusive sleeve lining' this lining was not the usual striped lining that most tailors used, but was a very nice plain white satin. The boss admitted, “it was not bad at all, but not what we usually put into our coats” “I can do it for a very good price, if you are interested”, insisted the merchant.
After some lengthy haggling and finely settling on a price, the deal was made. The boss became the owner of several bolts of white sleeve lining, (more than he really needed at the time, but it was a good price he always insisted afterwards.) A few weeks later, another cloth merchant called in with some nice fabrics for sale. During conversation with the boss, the merchant mentioned to the boss.

“ Did you hear about, H**** so and so, trying to sell a load of  'coffin lining' the other week!!!

 

Another old, well known trouser maker, would pawn or sell customers trousers if he was short of money, to pay his rent or staff wages.   When trousers were finished, it was customary to sew the order docket opposite the back pocket with some basting cotton for identification. You knew when the trousers had been stained, scorched or nicked by a careless snip. He would sew the docket over the damage and plead ignorance. There were times when the trousers would be returned with the docket sewn somewhere in the knee region!! 

 

Yet another character, would pay off his debts, (his cutting bill, in my case,) by offering you a selection of books he could obtain from a relative in the book trade. One Christmas, he could not pay his bill, and I threatened to withhold his work if he did not pay up. He begged me to take some books instead. I ended up taking a number of children's books for my youngsters for Christmas.
It was only later on, someone in his lunchtime pub, spilled the beans. (He had a friend worked in the stockroom of a local bookshop, he was  stealing them to order! It all came out when the bookshop did a stock take, and found that someone had done a bigger stock take!)

 

One funny sequel to this story, another tailor, quite a religious man, had asked for a Bible!

 

All these characters have sadly gone to the tailoring workshop in the sky now.


Edited by MANSIE WAUCH, 13 March 2015 - 07:39 AM.

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#2 hutch48

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Posted 13 March 2015 - 11:27 AM

Great stuff. The funny part is the coffin lining was probably good stuff.


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#3 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 07:33 AM

Great stuff. The funny part is the coffin lining was probably good stuff.

Of course it was good stuff! and it did not go to waste, it was all used up over the following months. The problem was, if you can call it a problem, was that the trimmings merchant scored points over the boss. The fact that dozens if not hundreds of customers, were walking around with suits with sleeves lined with coffin material, did not bode well with the boss.   


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#4 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 08:03 AM

I was at a funeral today. Afterwards people were invited back to a local community hall for drinks and a bite to eat.  During the course of the afternoon I spied a familiar face pushing his way through a crowd of people. I t was another chap from the same workshop mentioned in my last post, (this is the honest truth!)I was only talking about him two days ago, and here he was in front of me.
I got up and followed him to where he was sitting. What a sad reunion! The poor chap, (who was in his eighties,) his wife informed me, was in the first stages of dementia, and had difficulty in remembering things.  After a greeting and a handshake, I was able to help him remember who I was and some of the times we had in the paste. This brought a smile to his face, and I could tell he was thinking back to those times. This was a man who in his prime was a first class tailor, who ran his own business for many years, could charm the ladies to an extent that he was never in want of female company. A chap who was the envy of most of us in the workshop. A charmer, a cad , a character, a very good tailor.   An old man in a shell.

An old tailoring saying, is that 'If you drop your shears on the floor, an old tailor dies'. Heaven forbid that I ever drop my shears.


Edited by MANSIE WAUCH, 14 March 2015 - 08:04 AM.

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#5 hutch48

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 10:11 PM

I am sorry to hear this but sad to say its one of the facts of life. Not withstanding such things, I have heard of a few tricks that help some, get the good quality lighting so they can see properly, put them in a stimulating environment just as happened when you talked to him for a while and it may help a bit. Depends on how much damage has been done.

 

The old saying is right never never drop your shears on the floor or the previous owner if no longer with us will turn in his grave.


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#6 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 06:30 AM

Mansie, my observation of my grandmother who lived to be 102 was that she remembered early people and things better than more recent ones. It was probably quite help for your old friend to see you. 

 

There are a variety of superstitions in couture which fit more or less into tales. My favorite is that the color green is bad luck. I have no idea why, but when used as a dye, arsenic is green. 


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#7 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 08:19 AM

Mansie, my observation of my grandmother who lived to be 102 was that she remembered early people and things better than more recent ones. It was probably quite help for your old friend to see you. 

 

There are a variety of superstitions in couture which fit more or less into tales. My favorite is that the color green is bad luck. I have no idea why, but when used as a dye, arsenic is green. 

 

Funny enough, my favorite colour is green and always has been, it is supposed to be the most restful to the eyes. 


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#8 greger

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:38 AM

There used to be lots of green suits and sports coats back in the 60s. Mostly olive. Rather see bottle green. It is strange how colors come and go. Been waiting for some colors to come back for a long time. So many young men have never seen colored mens clothing and think the whole concept is gay. After all, the old pictures are black and white (what would they know).

Edited by greger, 02 May 2015 - 10:40 AM.

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#9 Measure Man

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:36 PM

Funny my late father painted the fixtures in the work room green, he said the colour had a calming affect and stopped all the tailors fighting!


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#10 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 03:02 AM

There used to be lots of green suits and sports coats back in the 60s. Mostly olive. Rather see bottle green. It is strange how colors come and go. Been waiting for some colors to come back for a long time. So many young men have never seen colored mens clothing and think the whole concept is gay. After all, the old pictures are black and white (what would they know).

 

Gregor, I like the colour green, but I would not wear a green suit!


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#11 greger

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 06:03 AM

Charcoal, Navy Blue, light grey (rarely see that any more) and green for suits, these were, it seems, the most popular. Wine color for blazers (at least I liked them). Olive seemed to be worn in a more relaxed business environment and traveling. Colors come and go, and sometimes gone to long. What I don't like is when some colors become too popular. For example, grey cars have been way to popular; probably 9 out of 10 cars are grey, for over a decade? Color schemes get out of hand to often.




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