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A guide to understanding the tailor’s jargon

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A guide to understanding the tailor’s jargon

Have you ever nodded and played along to whatever your tailor is suggesting, without knowing what they are actually talking about? Here is a guide to help you understand all the technical jargon your tailor uses, so you understand exactly what they mean.


  • Break = The amount of “bunching” at the front of your trousers hem, on top of your shoe.
  • Crotch length/rise = The curve at the bottom of the seat. Can be too short or too loose on different body shapes. If too short, a diamond piece can be used (see below).
  • Cuff = A traditional look on trouser hem, usually 3-5 cm turn at the bottom of the hem.
  • Diamond piece = A piece of diamond shaped fabric inserted into the crotch of the trousers, to increase crotch length, or to replace damaged fabric.
  • False hem = Fabric is attached to the inside of the hem to achieve maximum length when lengthening your trousers.
  • Kick tape = Polyester/cotton ribbon on the inside of the hem to protect your trousers from constant rubbing and wear against your shoes.
  • Hem = The bottom of the trouser legs.
  • Pleating = Pleated pants are more traditional, and have a more loose fitting look, compared to slim leg trousers.
  • Saddle = A piece of silk/polyester fabric attached to the inside of the trousers at the seat, like a little saddle, to prevent rubbing and thereby prolonging the life of the trousers.
  • Seat = The back seam of the trousers, below the waist band.
  • Tapered legs = Making the legs on trousers slimmer, as is the current fashion.
  • Top stitch = Visible stitching for decoration purposes. Usually along the outer or inner legs of jeans, and back seam of jeans.


  • Armhole = Can be lowered or taken in to suit your body shape. The right fit makes a big difference to the comfort of the jacket.
  • Vent = Split at the cuff of your sleeves and at the hem of the jacket. Jacket body vents can either be a single, double or no vent option.
  • Lapel = Collar at the front of the jacket. Can be wide, narrow, round, angled etc depending on the fashion.
  • Roll neck = The bubble at the back of the jacket, near the neck. Should be reduced to ensure a smooth, seamless look.
  • Sleeves = Can be shortened or lengthened with vent and buttonholes. The shirt sleeves should peek out 1cm from your jacket sleeves.

If you would like to learn a bit more about the in’s and out’s of wearing a suit, check out The Suit Book – Everything You Need to Know About Wearing a Suit, by our director Clare Sheng.

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