Harry Stedman Visits Craft Tailoring
April 24 2014, 0 Comments
Tucked away in a little-known Liverpool side street is Craft Tailoring. A five-minute walk from the famous river Mersey, it’s a small and unassuming shop with a master craftsman at the helm in Mr Walter Smith. After kitting out The Beatles for their first TV performance on Granada Television in 1962, his more than 60 years of perfecting his trade has brought a wealth of interesting anecdotes and accolades from all around the world.
From powering through a sleepless 48 hours to create a flawless dinner suit, for a gentleman who just happened to be dining with the Queen at Buckingham palace. To a Beatles fanatic who travelled the length of the country for a 30 minute fitting, right before jetting off back to the states, all because he wouldn’t accept anyone other than Mr Smith.
Like everyone, Walter had to start somewhere, initially having dreams of becoming a journalist before moving on to be an “underpaid” fashion photographer’s assistant. After a stint of national service that laid the foundations for his education, he finally obtained what started out as “just a job” at a tailor across the Mersey in Birkenhead. From there a move back across the water to Jacksons of London Road, plus subsequent spells at a number of city tailoring firms put Walter in position to become the master tailor he is today. Today his techniques have been truly perfected, right down to the questions he asks, as he exclaims “each answer no matter how subtle will reveal the lifestyle of the client, whether they realise it or not. Which in turn helps me make key decisions throughout the process.“ With a wealth of wisdom and modesty to boot, Walter is quick to deflect any praise onto his team of 6 that together make up the rest of Craft Tailoring. While making the descent into the cutting room its clear the team must be as cohesive as the parts on one of the beautiful machines housed in the belly of the shop, barley any room for manoeuvre as miscellaneous garments, patterns, sheers and bolts of cloth are dotted around.
Select objects draw out a little more praise from Walter. The Reece 101 buttonhole machine gains particular admiration, as does his relic of a goosing iron complete with strip after strip of old plaid cloth to cushion the handle. It really is a delight to see such authenticity and skill still thriving, so if you’re in the area be sure to stop by Craft Tailoring - you’ll leave feeling privileged. - Craft Tailoring 14 Queen Square Liverpool, L2 2AX