A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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404.—Tailors; Tailors' Pressers and Machinists

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alteration hand
alters ready made garments by unpicking, sewing and machining where necessary; may also repair or renovate old or second-hand garments as required.
see closer (clothing).
baister, baister-in, baister-under, baister-out, baister-on, baster ; fixer
runs parts of garments together, by hand, with long stitches, along chalk marks made by cutter (402) q.v., to hold them in position temporarily until stitched by machinist q.v.; attaches stiffening canvas to fronts of coats, to collars, shoulders, etc., with rows of stitching, the thread being sewn through the under side of cloth and not showing on face; sometimes also baists after machining to keep in place.
breeches maker
in highest class trade makes breeches throughout, except cutting and fitting; "making" may involve a number of processes, e.g., fitting-up, seaming all seams, seat pieces and button catch, felling leg and seat seams, strapping, knee capping; all stitching is done by hand; in other branches fixes parts of breeches together, as received from cutter (402) q.v.; supervises sewing of pieces together by machinist q.v., but does not usually sew them himself; finishes and sometimes presses breeches after they have been sewn; in small establishments may be his own cutter.
cape maker
as for coat maker.
cassock maker
sews up cassocks, i.e., clerical robes, by hand or machine after they have been cut out by cutter (402) q.v.
children's coat maker
a specialised worker engaged in making children's coats; does baisting, fixing, padding, lining, hand sewing and finishing, but not cutting; often also does machining and pressing.
church vestment maker, clerical robe maker
as for cassock maker.
closer (clothing) ; bagger
a machinist q.v. who stitches finished linings into coats, etc.
coat and skirt maker, coat and skirt hand
(i) a worker capable of making both coats and skirts throughout (except cutting); combines duties of coat maker and skirt maker q.v.;
(ii) in wholesale trade, a machinist q.v. engaged in machining coats and skirts.
coat maker, coat hand ; jacket maker
sews together, by hand or machine, parts of coats as received from cutter (402) q.v.; attaches lining in readiness for machinist q.v.; makes pockets, etc.; sometimes makes button holes and sews on buttons, but this is usually done by button holer (419) q.v.
collar maker (tailoring)
stitches collar, by hand or machine, after material has been cut by cutter (402) q.v. to fit neck of coat, and attaches to coat.
feller (clothing)
see finisher.
finisher, tailor's finisher ; feller
sews by hand, sleeve linings, vest arm holes, and lining at bottom of jacket; sews on waistband, lining and buttons of trousers; tacks up button holes; sews on tabs, etc.; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. coat finisher, mantle finisher, needle hand finisher (waterproof garments), trouser finisher.
fitter, fitter-up (fustian clothing and tailoring)
prepares work for machinists q.v. by fitting and pinning together parts of garments after cutting, trimming overlapping seams and edges, and adding linings; gives directions to other workers, e.g. coat maker, trouser maker, skirt maker q.v. as to making up; cf. cutter (402).
fitter-on (tailoring)
fits garment on customer before it is finished; marks and notes alterations necessary; in bespoke tailoring trade, fitting is usually done by cutter (402) q.v.
see baister.
habit maker
a specialised worker who makes riding costume throughout, except cutting or fitting; in highest class trade, this involves a large number of operations for the coat, the skirt, and the waistcoat, e.g., sewing various body seams, putting in canvas linen and working up fronts, turning in edges, making arid sewing in linings, long seaming skirt, making knee, pommel and seat cuts, pressing, turning up, felling, lining waist, pressing off.
hunting cords maker
a breeches maker q.v. who specialises in making hunting breeches.
jacket maker
see coat maker.
kilt tailor
receives cloth, cut out by kilt cutter (402) q.v., and sews it in heavy folds or pleats to form kilt, working in accordance with waist and breech measurements; sews on body lining and narrow braid round top; sometimes sews on buckles and straps for tightening purposes.
ladies' tailor
a tailor q.v. mainly engaged in making women's costumes and coats.
machinist, tailor's machiner
sews by machine (hand or power) garments put together by baister q.v.; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., coat machinist, knicker machinist, mantle machinist, raincoat machinist, skirt machinist, trouser machinist, vest machinist.
machinist, five needle ; padder
sews or quilts padding, prepared by fitter-up q.v., into garments, using five needle machine usually operated by power.
machinist, trouser ; trouser hand
a machinist q.v. who specialises in sewing trousers by machine.
mantle maker
a coat maker q.v. engaged in sewing, by hand or power-driven machine, mantles or loose coats of a special pattern.
padder (clothing)
see machinist, five needle.
pocket hand
cuts out and stitches, by hand or sewing machine, pockets for tailor made suits and costumes and inserts into garments at places marked by cutter (402) q.v.
presser, final
see presser-off.
presser, hand
flattens out and sets under pressure of hot iron (tailor's goose), seams of garment during making process, and of whole garment after completion (see presser-off).
presser, machine
places garment in position on table of steam-heated or gas-heated press, which varies in make according to class of garment to be pressed; operates press by means of levers; regulates temperature by adjusting valves.
presser, mantle
a hand presser or machine presser q.v. who presses ladies' mantles both during process of making and after completion; usually done by machinist q.v.
presser, seam
a hand presser or machine presser q.v. who presses seams on front side of garment; usually does "under pressing" also, see presser, under.
presser, special
a hand presser q.v. who presses specially delicate and complicated clothing, requiring great care and skill to avoid creasing, colour fading, or alteration in shape.
presser, stock
a machine presser q.v. who is engaged in pressing garments made in wholesale factory for stock.
presser, trouser
shrinks trousers; presses them with hot iron, by hand or by ironing and pressing machine, and creases them down front.
presser, under
does under pressing, i.e. pressing seams open on wrong side of garment by hand, with a hot iron; sometimes does other preliminary pressing also, after each machining operation, and prior to final pressing.
presser-off ; final presser
a hand presser q.v. who irons completed garments to give them finished appearance, generally using a gas-heated or electrically-heated iron; interposes damp cloth between iron and cloth and sets or shapes collar, sleeve, etc., by shrinkage.
repairer, renovator ; tailor's translator
alters and repairs garments, by unpicking, sewing, and machining as required; cleans, fits and presses garments.
robe maker, law robe maker
makes throughout, robes worn by judges, barristers, university professors and students, etc., from parts cut by cutter; sews up seams, etc., by hand or with sewing machine; usually an outworker; if employed in a factory, may be assisted by machinist q.v.
skirt maker, skirt hand
(i) in retail trade, makes skirt throughout, except cutting and fitting; does baisting, hand sewing, lining (if required) and finishing; may also do trimming, if required; machining and pressing may be done by other workers;
(ii) in wholesale trade, a machinist q.v. who specialises in machining skirts.
sleever, sleeve maker
makes sleeves by sewing up parts on sewing machine; sews up linings and sews to sleeve at wrist; turns in at wrist and presses; inserts sleeves into garment and stitches and fells down seam.
slip-on maker
cuts out lining of silk, etc., and sews it together by hand or machine, as a preliminary to first fitting; sometimes slip-on is cut by second hand and sewn by apprentice.
tailor, tailoress
general terms for any man, woman, or girl, employed in making tailor-made suits, overcoats, costumes, etc.; more specifically in retail bespoke tailoring a worker who receives cuttings of garment from cutter (402) q.v. and makes-up garment usually throughout, i.e. fits and tacks parts together ready for trying-on, baists in stiffenings (see baister), machines seams of cloth and linings (see machinist), presses seams (see under presser), sometimes fells in linings, sews buttonholes and sews on buttons (see finisher), presses off or smooths, sets and shapes garment by final pressing (see presser-off); in wholesale bespoke tailoring usually only does fitting up, baisting in and pressing off, machining and finishing being done by machinist and finisher respectively; in ready made tailoring, where work is greatly subdivided, only does fitting up, and baisting in of collar; sometimes specifically designated according to material, e.g. cotton tailoress, cotton finisher tailoress, leather tailor.
tailor's translator
see repairer.
trimmer, tailor's trimmer
(i) a worker in cutting room, who takes work from cutter (402) q.v. and cuts out lining and assembles trimmings, etc., ready for making-up department; sometimes keeps a stock of trimmings; cf. trimmer (940);
(ii) sews braid on military or other uniforms, by hand or machine; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., mantle trimmer.
trouser hand
(i) see trouser maker;
(ii) see machinist, trouser.
trouser maker ; trouser hand
a worker capable of making trousers throughout, except cutting; finishes and presses trousers; in bespoke trade , sometimes sews up seams by hand.
vest hand, vest maker
see waistcoat hand.
waistcoat hand, waistcoat maker ; vest hand, vest maker
a specialised worker (often an outworker) who makes waistcoats, by hand or machine, throughout, except for cutting and fitting; making includes a number of processes, e.g. sewing in canvas and taping edges all round, seaming, felling, buttonholing and sewing on buttons, making back and sewing on.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.