photo courtesy of Vidigami

Mr. Sidman wears a homemade suit to the Class of 2021 graduation ceremony.

Happy Thought: Tailoring

February 2, 2022

Are you interested in tailoring but don’t know which materials to use, which tools to buy and where to buy supplies? Mr. Sidman is here to answer your questions and share his experiences through an interview with Inkwell.

“I make my own clothes because I like them to be very durable,” expressed Mr. Sidman, who has 20 years of experience sewing: “I choose the fabrics, what they’re made of, and I choose long lasting fabrics, so that I’m not wasting materials and energy.” Additionally, he noted, “When you make your own clothes you have infinite numbers of options as to how they can fit, what they can look like, and what patterns you can use.”

When asked about what materials he uses, Mr. Sidman replied, “I use non-synthetic cotton and linen primarily. Not so much with silk.” He added the boutique he buys supplies from: “I end up buying a lot from stores far away, so Mood Fabrics in New York.” He then revealed his sewing method saying, “I use a fairly old electric sewing machine from about 1964.”

“Some I taught myself; some I learned by experimentation,” Mr. Sidman explained. Furthermore, he stated who introduced him to tailoring: “My mother, who is still sewing, taught me many things long ago.” 

He described his style as “classic. It’s always functional. My clothing is mostly inspired by the styles of the 1920s and 1930s.” He also revealed his favorite garment saying, “The wonderful thing about a waistcoat is it has all these great pockets, and it’s so convenient, which is one of the reasons why I wear it.”

Mr. Sidman stated why he thinks more people should make their own garments saying, “What I find most frustrating about [modern] garments is that in modern society, it is made to be disposable; it’s not meant to last a long time.” He also discussed the benefits of tailoring: “If people made their own clothes and saw how much work it is to do this, they wouldn’t treat clothing as a disposable thing—as something to wear for two to three months and get tired of and just give it away or throw it away.” According to Mr. Sidman, “One size does not fit all and this idea that you can buy clothing off the rack that will fit you is just preposterous…I think people wear clothes that really don’t fit them properly, but it’s what’s available on the rack. If you don’t know how to make them, then the expense of having somebody tailor your clothes is very expensive.”

Lastly, Mr. Sidman shared his tips for those who are interested in crafting garments: “I wouldn’t go out and buy an expensive sewing machine unless you think you’re really interested.” And, his final piece of advice was to “Start with something simple, find a good pattern, follow the pattern, follow the instructions. Start simple and go from there.”


This piece was originally published in Inkwell’s Fashion Issue.

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