On being a tailor, by Robertsam (1949)




On our last visit at Cifonelli’s, Lorenzo Cifonelli, much to our delight, unearthed a few ancient books, including some books on cutting methods dating back to the late 40s.

One of them, Les Grandes Pièces (“The Great Cuts”) was written by a man named Robertsam (who penned several technical books for artisan tailors) and ends with a particularly interesting conclusion, that we have translated from French (photo of the book’s last page).



“The tailor who wishes to subsist must fight with all his might against easiness. It is not enough for him to deliver simply correct garments in nondescript fabric.

That is the work of button makers. To each his own clients.

The tailor’s client must be demanding and deserve special attentive treatment.

The choice of fabric, colour, design and quality is taken into as much account as cuts and workmanship.

The rapidity of the work for quality alterations when requested will be an important asset in earning the loyalty of his clients.

A flaw unseen by the client at the last fitting and not revealed by the tailor will ultimately alienate the former and give the latter a bad reputation. It is better to spend another hour altering the garment than to lose one client, or more, as they could see the defective garment.

Bespoke tailoring is an art; the tailor is an artist and master. Clients consider him as such and do not wish to be deceived. A client rarely forgives.”



This can put the pressure on today’s tailors, and more importantly, tell the genuine master tailors from the many who are simply surfing the “made-to-measure” wave…

Cheers, HUGO