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.