The real wonder of tweeds
The real wonder of tweeds only really become apparent at this time of year; the weather is supposedly still beautiful (thank you Great British weather), yet when the Glorious Twelfth comes round once again there is something strangely comforting about knowing you can slip on a tweed gilet over a shirt and not get too chilly out in the heather. The traditional shooting suit comprises of five pieces.
The first time a customer looked me in the eye and told me he wanted a five piece shooting suit, I died slightly inside. ‘FIVE PIECES?!’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘FIVE?’. That is, in case you were wondering, five different patterns. Roughly thirteen pieces, comprising of: a three piece suit (trousers, vest (often postboy style, with flap pockets), coat (pleated back, half belt and storm collar optional), shooting vest (gilet) and plus 4’s.
Although that might seem like a lot of tweed (depending on the size of the repeat, a LOT of tweed), the overall effect is absolutely one of the most striking looks for a tailor to create, and offers the versatility our customers look for when adding to their wardrobes.
The details on the shooting suit are all part of the charm:
Each of these pieces has been tweaked over the years, and designed not only to add ease to the wearer in versatility and movement, but also in practicality. The bellow pockets on the vest are positioned to allow the gun to load up from the cartridges in his pockets without shifting too much, the Velcro or elastic on the plus 4’s to allow getting your boots on more easily (less bulk than the traditional buckle) and the suede or leather gun patch to prevent unnecessary wearing out on the shoulder and top of armhole.
I recently made a pair of plus’ for a client who bought in his Great Grandfathers tweed shooting coat to show me. The coat was from 1926, and in mint condition. The most special part for me was the fact that using the help of a (very patient) cloth merchant in Huddersfield, we were able to match the cloth to make up as bottoms, give the jacket an MOT and send him back out into the field a happy man. Mission accomplished!