Tailor

In Colonial Times, almost everyone needed a tailor. Tailors made clothing for both men and women. For men, they made greatcoats; cloaks; robes, including loose fitting "banyans" and wrapping gowns, derived from Japanese kimonos; and "sherryvalleys," which were worn on the legs over breeches to protect clothing. For women, tailors made riding habits, stays, hoops, and cloaks. 

Tailors made clothes for both the wealthy and the poor. The only difference in the clothing for the rich and the poor was the quality of the fabric. Most of the tailors did not sell fabric, so the people would select the cloth from a merchant and bring it to the tailor to be made into a garment.

In the world of tailoring, sewing was a very basic skill. In fact, the trade had some workers who were called 'table monkeys.' All they did was sew. The trade had a pecking order. "Table monkeys" occupied the lowest level. The most admired people were cutters and finishers. Cutters cut patterns. Their abilities determined how well clothing fit a customer's body. "Fit" in tailoring was—and is—everything. Finishers did work that was often delicate and detailed. It might include buttonholes or fashionable trim.

All tailors  worked by hand.  To succeed, a tailor had to be good with their hands, have good math skills, and be familiar with European fashion trends.  They had to enjoy working on the smallest of details. They had to be able to concentrate on one thing for long periods of time.  Because tailors worked so closely with people, they also had to be friendly and trustworthy.

 

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