How do I learn to become a bespoke tailor and/or find an apprenticeship in the United States?
November 18, 2012 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Where should I look for information on becoming a bespoke tailor (through books/self-education, training, and/or apprenticeship) in the United States?


I am interesting in learning to become a bespoke trailor, but I am unsure where to begin my education. Any suggestions for excellent and rigorous books, training programs, or apprenticeship opportunities would be much appreciated. I don't have much money at my disposal. Ideally, I would like to teach myself some basic skills, such that I can seek out a paid apprenticeship. The finest craftsmanship is a big priority for me, so I'm mostly interested in resources that will help me achieve excellence... no messing around here!

Thank you for your insights and suggestions in advance!
posted by faeuboulanger to Education (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
English Cut
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:54 PM on November 18, 2012

This is the trade organization for custom tailors in the US.

I interviewed some bespoke tailors years ago, but the only one I truly remember is David Reeves. I don't know how active he is in mentoring newcomers to the industry, but it wouldn't hurt to try to contact him on social media.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:58 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

This looks like a pretty good starting point for getting further starting points.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:09 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Recent NYT on one who only grosses $50K/year
posted by Sophont at 9:45 PM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: Re: Sophont

I am currently a student who can make no more than $12/hr. Even when I am done with my bachelor's degree in English (from a prestigious university; at the end of this Winter), I don't have very high hopes of making much money. $50K/year sounds pretty good to me. I want a creative career that involves making something with my hands and something that will be fulfilling. I absolutely love clothing, traditional menswear, and craft. As long as I can pay my rent and feed myself (which is something I just barely have the luxury of doing now), I will be happy. I don't need or want to get rich.
posted by faeuboulanger at 10:06 PM on November 18, 2012

It sounds like he nets $50k a year, which isn't nearly as depressing a prospect.

Where do you live? Would you want to relocate to a major metro area?

How well/quickly can you sew? Can you make a pattern? Those are the foundations of custom-made clothing from what I can tell, and there are tons of resources for learning that.
posted by supercres at 10:06 PM on November 18, 2012

I don't know if this is anywhere near you, but LA Trade Tech Community College has a tailoring certificate program. You would probably need to take some basic sewing classes first.
posted by apricot at 6:54 AM on November 19, 2012

Do you sew--like the people on Project Runway sew? Can you drape fabric, draft a pattern, etc.? I think you can learn some of this from books, but really hands-on experience is the only way to get the skills needed to be any sort of seamstress or tailor, much less a "bespoke" one. (That means that you make up your own pattern for a client, not just using a ready-made one and adapting it.) FIT in NYC has a great program--check out the various certs available. But be aware that getting to the level of skill required to actually design and create garments can take quite a while.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:06 AM on November 19, 2012

I don't know if this is anywhere near you, but LA Trade Tech Community College has a tailoring certificate program. You would probably need to take some basic sewing classes first.

I'm currently taking classes at LA Trade Tech. It's a great program and very cheap compared to private fashion programs like FIDM or Parsons. There are a lot of aspiring designers and tailors in the classes with me, and quite a few working tailors in the more advanced classes. If you're near LA, I highly recommend starting with their basic pattern making classes just to see if you enjoy the process of sewing.

I drive up every Saturday from the OC, since it's a much stronger program then anything offered down near me.
posted by Arbac at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

« Older Do trainspotters know when there's going to be a...   |   How to get my door to automatically shut quietly... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.