In regards to Ann Rabinowitz's information on Singer Sewing machines.
Indeed they were extremely important in Jewish household, for the very
reasons she mentioned.
The advent of the sewing machine opened up many opportunities for
those men (and women) who would become slipper makers, garment
cutters, pattern makers, etc. Most people in the tailoring industry
started out in those occupations, and gradually over time became what
was then known as "master tailors", proving their tailoring abilities,
with each step involved in garment making. One did not start out as a
master tailor as an immigrant. The word "tailor" encompassed several
occupations, until one finally made it "master tailor".
My great-grandfather worked his way >from slipper maker and eventually
became a "master tailor". My uncle was sent to tailoring school in
Scotland, and he became a certified tailor, and eventually was a
bespoke tailor in London, with his own tailoring shop, in the Savile
Row area. The Savile Row area was known for bespoke tailoring, where
a customer would choose a certain fabric or cloth for a suit, and
since it was spoken for by that person, it became known as "bespoken".
The bespoke tailoring industry thrived in that district. The suits
that were sewn were custom made to fit and style (including custom
patterns), and not ready wear garments made >from patterns that
preexisted. My uncle's business thrived, and he was well known in the
bespoke tailoring industry. He was involved in tailoring until he
died, at the age of 88, in 2001.
My uncle was the bespoke tailor to many celebrities, including the
Beatles, Roy Orbison, Sammy Davis, Jr., to name three out of many. He
made the original suits the Beatles wore on their world tour, and also
continued making suits for them for quite some time. He made the
clothes for Paul McCartney's Wings band. He appeared in the Beatles
film, A Hard Day's night, and guess what his role was...their tailor!
Many of the patterns have been sold, and the suits sold, or given to
museums or companies/organizations that display them. My cousin
continues in the tailoring industry making suits for members of the
Yes, without the sewing machine, many of our ancestors would have been
hard pressed to not only find work, but to move up through the ranks
of tailoring. We should be grateful in many aspects.
Lorraine Millings Weston
FREID, MILLINGS, MINTZ, SAFFER, SOLOMONS
Austria, Belarus, England, Lithuania, Poland, Russia