W.G. Child and Sons (The useful blazer project part 2)

Sunday, February 7, 2010
As mentioned in a previous post, I am having a few small adjustments made to my blue double-breasted blazer. I'm also taking the opportunity to try out a tailor down the road from me, W.G. Child and Sons. This weekend, I managed to pay them a visit. They're in an odd location for a traditional tailor, which is partly what attracted my interest, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Despite being damaged in the war, the Wandsworth shop has been in operation continually for 125 years and is still owned by the Child family. I suspect it may be one of the last few of the local tailors that existed when having bespoke clothing made was more common, before the trade shrank to Savile Row and a handful of other locations.

I was immediately impressed with them when I went in. Like most bespoke tailors, it's clearly not somewhere to go unless you have specific business, with no off-the-rack suits or shirts to browse. Rather, there are a couple of well-furnished consulting rooms, strewn with stacks of fabric. In the back is what must be the cutting room, lined along one wall with hangers holding the paper patterns of W.G. Child's customers. This, along with the handful of basted garments, indicates that it is, as it claims, a serious bespoke tailor. I would have liked to have asked more questions, and taken some photos to post, but I was occupied with working out what to do with my blazer. I may make more effort when I go back to pick it up

The staff are clearly very knowledgeable and experienced, weighing up a number of options as to how to achieve the slightly better fit that I wanted on my blazer. The first proposal was to partly remove the sleeves and take in the side seams: almost certainly the best way to achieve the change, but also by far the most expensive at around £200. The cheapest option would have been to slightly increase the wrap (the overlap of the double breasts or, in other words, the distance between the vertical rows of buttons), but we experimented with this and couldn't quite achieve the right effect. In the end, we decided on a middle option: to take in the jacket at the back seam, which would be more effective, but require much less work to take apart and then re-sew. This, plus replacing all of the buttons, will cost around £55. The fit we achieved by this method, as far as I could tell from pinning the jacket into position, seems a great improvement for relatively little money.

Of course, I shall have to wait to see the final result, but so far my impression of W.G. Child has been extremely positive and, if this project works out, I shall look in to the cost of ordering some shirts from them. I'm in need of some more tailor-made shirts in any case since, Child's tailor pointed out, my right shoulder is somewhat lower than my left. We came to the conclusion this is a result of years of sweep rowing but, regardless, I think it may be the reason that most shirts sit with slightly more cuff showing on one sleeve than the other.