Today’s video opens with Rory Duffy “crookening” the left forepart of my coat -- that is, bringing it further onto my body to help offset a more developed left side. The concepts of “crookening” and its opposite, “straightening,” are fundamental to coatmaking, and we will be returning to them later in this series when they can be better visualized and explained. For now, this is only the first of many adjustments Duffy will be making to accommodate my asymmetry.
The sewing technique demonstrated in the remainder of the video is an example of how so much of bespoke tailoring is simply the painstaking process of accomplishing seemingly mundane tasks -- in this case, transferring pattern details from one coat forepart to the other.
Markstitching (also called threadmarking) involves putting short baste threads through oppositely mated pieces to indicate defining lines and points of the pattern. The two pieces are then carefully separated and the stitches cut, leaving two mirror-marked halves of the pattern. The idea behind this labor-intensive process is twofold. First, it is needlepoint-precise; even the most exacting re-measuring is subject to drift. Secondly, while chalk markings tend to fade as the cloth is handled, markstitches will remain in place until they’re removed later in the coat’s construction.