Sunday, 28 September 2014

A Sartorial Pilgrimage

A quick note to let everyone know what's happening behind the scenes at Student Tailor HQ as per usual! Well, before returning to the world of work permanently (more on that later - its really quite exciting) I have decided to use my last free week as an unemployed graduate to throw caution to the winds and do two very important things. The first of those, is to go and pay a visit to a dear friend who is studying in the sartorial heartland of Italy; the bella Firenze. The second of those is to take some time whilst out there to make a tour of the wealth of interesting and talented tailors, shoemakers and outfitters that populate the place, I'm thinking of it as a working holiday! I hope to write some great features about the trip when I return.

The friend I'm visiting is Mr Brendan Fitzpatrick, a talented artist and a gentleman to whom I owe personal thanks, because he has recently agreed to be one of several keen photographers who will help elevate the currently questionable photography on this blog over the coming weeks, bringing a professional eye and camera to proceedings. As a fellow dandy, he will be accompanying me to sartorial appointments in Florence, shooting for the blog. I also owe him my thanks for photographing the Drake's Factory which we were shown round last week - a feature on that will be published soon and a taster can be seen above.

Other exciting features will soon be emerging, including some detailed insight into Gieves & Hawkes' stunning and powerful new autumn/winter collection, a piece on London Based luxury shoe brand Wildsmith - a name which can be credited with the creation of the modern, unlined apron loafer - and the next column in the 'tailoring technicalities' series.

In the meantime, you can keep up with the "Student Tailor's" sartorial travels this week by following me on social media - I promise to deliver a regular stream of (hopefully) intriguing and enlightening tailoring related snippets and snaps for you, so please do consider following my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Until I return, very best wishes to everyone - as always,


Friday, 26 September 2014

The Science of the Bespoke Shirt II, with Ede & Ravenscroft

Last week I returned for the second time, with much excitement, to Ede & Ravenscroft's delightful Chancery Lane store, for a fitting of my new bespoke shirt in the prestigious Panelled Room. A rare privilege this was too - not only to get a glimpse inside one of most historical cubby-holes of a store steeped in history, but also to see a basted shirt for the first time. Ede & Ravenscroft are one of only very few bespoke shirt makers in the capital that offer a basted fitting as a part of their bespoke process, with the garment delicately basted-in at the seams and with the collar and cuffs temporarily attached just as delicately, to allow for the garment to be tweaked post-fitting for a more precise fit and finish.

It is a testimony to the skill of Bespoke Shirt Specialist Roy Sarling, and his finely-tuned bespoke workshop that the shirt fits so beautifully at this stage in the process. The 'depth' of the body and sleeves is perfect, looking slim and sleek whilst also possessing enough room to feel natural and relaxed in. The most surprising thing in slipping on the shirt for the first time, was the extraordinary improvement in comfort that Roy has achieved, compared with my wardrobe of off-the-peg shirts. The enhanced fit and comfort achieved through the precision of a very high, close armhole, and a sleeve which hangs perfectly from a correctly cut shoulder and yoke was an unexpected delight for a bespoke-shirt newbie such as myself. Its not something you expect to make such a difference, but as Roy explained to me, given that a shirt (unlike a suit) contains no structure and simply falls on the body, getting the shirt's proportions right where it rests around the shoulder is crucial to achieving a superior garment, hence why he insists on offering a basted fitting.

Similarly fascinating was the amount of attention that Roy paid to the yoke of the shirt. Roy cuts a single-piece yoke, preferring the cleaner surface to that of a split-yoke, and insists that the yoke has to be perfect at this stage, because every other part of the shirt is connected it. If the yoke is wrong, there is potential for every other part of the shirt to either be proportioned incorrectly or hang incorrectly as a result. Needless to say, the yoke is perfect and the shirt fits closely in the back and shoulder, whilst still offering me full freedom of movement and allowing the sleeves to hang precisely from the shoulder seam. Also a joy to behold is the tall, powerful pointed collar, inspired by 1930s formal shirting, cut with a tab to fasten under the tie. As you can see, it produces a very authentic shape and its just what I was hoping for.

Only some minor adjustments are needed at this point; the collar, thanks to its relatively high stand and Roy's experienced eye fits perfectly. The length of the sleeve is ideal and so too are the proportions of the shirt's body and tails. We decided to ease the width of the cuffs by a quarter of an inch, because they're a tiny bit tighter than I'd like, and to take a little out of each side-seam for a more defined waist - note that Roy doesn't make slim fitting shirts with darts, preferring to keep the back of the shirt looking as clean as possible, achieving any shape necessary through just the side-seams alone. Impressively, shape therefore is achieved exclusively through clever cutting of the cloth to create an hourglass shape, with cloth being thrown-forward in front of the side seam, and being taken-in behind the side-seam, to ensure that it still sits naturally around the torso. Finally, matching coral pink voile panels will be sewn into the inside of the shirt-front to ensure an opaque front and pure colour - a true bespoke touch. Beautiful best-pearl, three-eye buttons will be added and the cuffs re-cut and attached with a mitred front edge. After these tweaks have been completed, the shirt will  go straight to finish and I for one, cannot wait to see the completed article. 

The bespoke shirt making service is available exclusively in Chancery Lane, by appointment. Shirts start at £295 and there is no minimum order required.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

In Conversation: Mr. Justin Fitzpatrick 'The Shoe Snob'

The overriding impression when meeting Justin Fitzpatrick, arch-shoemaker, retailer and authority on all things in the world of footwear, is that of a man very much in control of his destiny. Tucked away down an almost suspiciously quiet street of elegant regency townhouses, overshadowed by Bishopsgate's soaring towers in the East End, Justin's showroom (shared with Timothy Everest's bespoke house and workrooms), is a quirky but classically discreet space. After a long-anticipated perusal of Justin's collection, J. Fitzpatrick Footwear, we sat down to chat, and within five minutes of Justin recounting his story to me, the sense of his ambition to realise his dream of owning a shoe brand was palpable. 'I just thought "there's nothing out there wowing me" [Justin was still studying at university at this point] so I decided that I wanted to bring better shoes to America. I just thought "I'm going to start a shoeline"' and he did. To reach this point, Justin has worked tirelessly for seven years, following a plan that would teach him the skills needed to be a success. 'I knew that I needed to learn and become a credible designer. I wanted to immerse myself, to understand every facet and every detail - both of designing and retailing. I wanted to be able to say "I understand shoes"'.

 Justin set to work on realising this dream straight from university (and even during university when he started learning about footwear retail through working part-time for Nordstrom). He sunk his life savings into travelling to Italy to study bespoke shoemaking for a year under the late, great Stefano Bemer and moved to the UK afterwards to be closer to the epicentre of the luxury shoemaking industry. He started The Shoe Snob Blog - explaining that 'no one was representing the shoe industry; people had questions and no one was answering them' - and took a job shoe-shining in Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row to build up his client base and reputation. Simultaneously, he spent his working week commuting from Brighton and also travelled up to Northampton on those weekends when he could to learn more about the art of pattern and last making with Gaziano & Girling. That took five years. Then onwards to the lengthy process of designing, sourcing, testing and finally launching his own long-anticipated luxury shoe brand.

 Justin's ambition and pursuit of excellence can be sensed in the collection itself. Benchgrade shoes are offered in fine materials at a distinctly competitive price, but Justin has gone one step further in that his shoes also incorporate a number of features primarily associated with handgrade footwear. J. Fitzpatrick Footwear shoes are soled with closed channels for a clean finish (whereby a thin leather over-sole covers the stitching on the sole itself), and feature bevelled waists which slim the instep of the shoes down considerably for a long, attractive line through the length of the foot. Equally, his shoes are characterised by a close ankle and fluted shape through the arch. These rakish lines have been achieved primarily because Justin's shoes are all made on exclusive bespoke lasts which he crafted especially for his collection in close conjunction with Tony Gaziano. The result is a superior shoe with a wealth of bespoke touches and an overwhelmingly sleek silhouette. No other shoes on the market today can offer quite the same aesthetic at this price point.

 At present, J. Fitzpatick Footwear doesn't offer shoes on either narrow or wide lasts, but a made-to-order service which will offer different width-fittings is in the works currently. Justin decided early on that for his first collection, it was important to retain a focus on producing the most elegant shoes he could, hence why he chose initially to work only with E-fittings. 'I wanted to fit as many people as possible, but not at the expense of the shape of the shoe'. It seems that it is not only Justin's philosophy of pursuing excellence in his work that informs the sleek lines and attention detail imbued in these shoes, but also his own personal philosophy on what makes for a great gentleman's shoe.

 'There's no denying a thing of aesthetic beauty; people want this in their shoes but don't necessarily understand what it is they're attracted to. I didn't understand until I learned to make shoes'. What is this holy grail of shoemaking? 'Understanding the lines of the last, and how to position the lines of the shoe's pattern on that last. Balancing those two perfectly is what makes a shoe beautiful - Tony Gaziano taught me that'; quite some philosophy. The other thing that defines Justin's approach to shoes is his obsession to mix influences, and deliver a collection which exhibits the best of pan-European shoemaking traditions. 'I always wanted to create something which mixed an English welted look with Italian comfort and French flair. No one had taken the three countries and mixed their signatures'. Considering the soft leathers, sleek shapes and substantial construction of Justin's shoes - many believe that he is the first designer to have done just that.

 Reading Justin's collection having learned his personal philosophy was extremely enlightening, and also invigorating because its a truly special thing in the world of menswear when one man's vision is allowed to shine beautifully though an entire collection. Having met and spoken with Justin, it strikes me that creating shoes with a perfectly balanced simplicity of lines and sweeping curves throughout their three dimensional form is perhaps the thing which best encapsulates his art as a designer and shoemaker. The collection is almost impossibly elegant and innovative, borne of several years of ambitious toil, attentive study of the shoemakers art and self-belief. What's next for J. Fitzpatrick Footwear? Excitingly, as well as the made-to-order service, the brand will soon be releasing some eight new models, some of which are new re-coloured existing pieces, and others will be brand new, and a new chunky yet tailored hiking-boot was mentioned amongst other creations. Justin, ever-driven to deliver a better shoe, has also just returned from a trip to Italy, sourcing new leathers to improve the finish of some of his dyed pieces and grain leathers. It seems that things are going from strength to strength and I for one cannot wait to see the new expanded collection, nor try the made-to-order service, in the months to come.

J. Fitzpatrick Footwear shoes start from £300.00.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Tailoring Technicalities: Jacket Vents, Some Myth Busting

Like many things in tailoring, when it comes to wearing and choosing jacket vents, there is no real right and wrong and above all, decisions as to which you wear should be informed by personal preference. There are however some home-truths which may help to inform this decision, and when a few days ago I read an article universally championing double-vents, I thought it might be time for me to offer readers the other side of the coin as it were. Twin rear vents today are everywhere around us, both in the bespoke and ready-to-wear realms, and they are both a sensibly practical and stylish decision when it comes to fitting a jacket - no doubt about it. Furthermore, from the perspective of a menswear retailer, double-vents will be more likely to fit more body shapes, because they can often allow for more freedom of movement in the jacket itself. This does not mean however that the single vent should be snubbed, nor that double-vents should be considered universally preferable.

Chittleborough & Morgan's immaculate double-vents. This is exactly how they should sit. Image from

As a general rule, a single rear vent will better suit men with either large seats, or a significantly curving spine. Conversely, a double-vent will often serve to highlight a large seat, sitting in a square flap over the protrusion (a problem I often have to battle with myself) rather than disguising it as the clean central slit of a single-rear vent will. This is a hugely useful thing to bear in mind if you're either paranoid about the size of your seat, or if you struggle to find a jacket off-the-peg which sits in harmony with the curvature of your spine. Furthermore, twin rear vents have a tendency to fly-away from the seat of the wearer if the back and hips of the coat are too slim. If you like a modern, slim or Neapolitan Pitti Uomo-style fit to your tailoring, a single rear vent might actually keep the back of you looking cleaner and more slim than you'd think. Furthermore, single rear vent will often suit a man who has to settle for overly-roomy off-the-peg jackets, because a single rear vent most easily allows for excess cloth to be removed from jackets simply by altering the jacket through the centre back seam. This is often well worth doing by the way, because the great danger of a single rear vented jacket is that if its loose, the vent will highlight as opposed to disguise any lack of shape running through the spine of the coat.

A cool, skinny modern suit doing its thing at Pitti Uomo - complete with a gaping double vent. 

Having said all this, its worth perhaps bearing in mind that if you're wearing vents, the way in which they need to sit will depend firstly upon which type of vent you're wearing. A twin rear vent needs to be cut wide enough to sit and extend over either side of your seat, right from the edge of each hip. Without some space to sit and drape properly, the vents will simply misbehave. Likewise, a single rear vent needs excess cloth built into the rear part of the jacket's skirt on each side, to prevent the skirt from sitting too tightly, pulling outwards over each hip, and producing a gaping vent which cannot sit cleanly. There's a similar reason why you'll only find single breasted overcoats, and again its a practical one. Having a vent in a long garment allows for the wearer to move more freely, and for the length skirt of the coat to fall cleanly around the legs, for the wearer to sit, stride, stretch and so forth. A twin-pleated overcoat will almost over-address this issue, offering two many breaks between the panels of the coat, looking ungainly and impractical. Furthermore, more often than not an overcoat with double-vents will misbehave in the wind in a way a singled vented garment will not.

Dapper, perfectly sitting single rear vents at work. Note how fullness is built into the rear of each side of the jacket's skirt at the side to allow enough room around the seat for the vent to sit cleanly.

Having written these guidelines, I suspect that many will disagree, but I was taught these guidelines both through extensive personal experience, and through discussion with a number of tailors, so don't just take my word for it. If you want a cleaner jacket shape around your seat, or more shape through your spine, try a single rear vent and have it tweaked if needs be - it might just solve a persistent tailoring problem.

Sartorial authority Mr. Simon Crompton wearing another exquisitely shaped Chittleborough & Morgan suit. This is how a suit should look through the spine when shaped well. Image from Permanent Style.

I've been wanting to produce a series offering handy guides on many of the commonly overlooked or misunderstood aspects of tailored dress for some time, but between producing industry focused features and offering insights into worthwhile brands there never seems to be the time! For this reason, I'm going to make this a long-running, relaxed series of features, offering some nuggets of style advice and tailoring science simply as and when there's a moment in the schedule. Next-up will be a piece on understanding drape, stay tuned.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Role of Ready-to-Wear

Its a curious thing, that three separate Savile Row heavy-weights I have chatted with on three separate occasions over the last couple of weeks, have all expressed a joint admiration for the leaps and bounds that luxury ready-to-wear tailoring has made over the past few years or so. For two of these tailor-extraordinaires, this admiration was tinged with concern, given that these two are both hugely talented and highly-regarded masters of bespoke.

It is perhaps understandable that some consider luxury ready-to-wear clothing a threat to the bespoke world, but I would disagree. Both bespoke and ready-to-wear (with made-to-measure services comfortably bridging the two) each have their place. These products are by their very nature, hugely different. Bespoke customers want something deeply personal, handcrafted and uncompromising and have the time and means to pay for this. Ready-to-wear customers want to engage with these luxurious values, but at a fundamentally different price-point. Such customers also want access to good clothing quickly, and will often seek design inspiration from ready-to-wear collections. A delicate balance has to be struck. Bespoke should perhaps be seen as the natural, eventual progression on from luxurious ready-to-wear lines, with individuals reaching a point when they feel either fussy, confident or inspired enough to become a bespoke customer. In this sense, engaging with luxury ready-to-wear tailoring marks the start of a journey that many passionate customers make towards the next level of luxury and a bespoke tailor. This of course means that off-the-peg clothing need not be considered a threat, and indeed sartorial ready-to-wear garments can continue to provide a stream of inspiring design ideas for the bespoke world. If you spot a blazer with pleated patch pockets off-the-peg, next time you order a sportscoat, the same patch-pockets may well make a reappearance in your bespoke commission. Ready-to-wear design feeds bespoke design, and to a certain extent, keeps the bespoke world on its toes; aspiring to a level of luxury and exclusivity above ready-to-wear collections - as it should.

There is a lot of inspiration to be found from simply having access to such a wide range of different colours, textures, cloths and cuts that in all honesty many men would probably never even think of wearing (or commissioning as a bespoke garment) otherwise. Ready-to-wear is a refreshing source of inspiration, and there are huge benefits to be found in Savile Row's wealth of beautifully constructed and styled ready-to-wear offerings. Chester Barrie for example, famously offers customers access to what is might be thought of as ready-to-wear Edward Sexton, thanks to his collaboration with the brand, but Chester Barrie offers much more than just that. Under Creative Director Christopher Modoo's leadership, the brand repeatedly offers a frankly inspired collection of beautifully sartorial garments which are quintessentially 'Savile Row' with a refreshing modern twist. Gieves & Hawkes' latest collection is the first designed from start to finish by visionary Creative Director Jason Basmajian. It's an unashamedly opulent collection and it's masculine shapes, innovative use of cloths and attention to garment construction all enable the customer to access garments made from the same cloths as used in the bespoke world, but with a designer's eye for colour and texture. 

Down the other end of The Row, Richard James continues to produce stunningly contemporary and easily wearable menswear. Richard James is a brand which has done the Row huge good in my humble opinion, offering Savile Row up to be enjoyed and embraced by a huge range of customers who enjoy their clothes, from all walks of life. These are but a few fine providers of ready-to-wear collections on The Row, and importantly, what all these brands have in common are garments which (in one respect or another) hold-up against bespoke products, allowing for even the most privileged of bespoke customers to find inspiration, enjoyment and to build variety and depth to their wardrobe more quickly and affordably than might otherwise be possible.

That is the beauty of ready-to-wear tailoring, and luxury ready-to-wear should not play second fiddle to bespoke products, but should be embraced equally as one of the many joys of modern sartorial dressing. It is the role of the bespoke world, to continue to differentiate and elevate itself above the ready-to-wear market (and of course being a bespoke stalwart I would argue wholeheartedly that it does) but my point is that we should not belittle the enjoyment and quality of clothing that can be derived from engaging with those brands which take Savile Row tradition and identity, and masterfully implant it into considerably more accessible ready-to-wear clothing. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Anatomy of the Coat I: Pitching Sleeves

Welcome one and all to a fun new project with Cad & the Dandy, my first bespoke sportscoat, cut in a loud, slightly caddish rusty orange and sky blue checked wool by Holland & Sherry - just what I was after. In including this sportscoat on this site, my intention is not to cover the full-length bespoke process as I frequently do, but instead to focus on some of the technical aspects of fitting a bespoke coat (remember that 'coat' is the correct tailoring term for a tailored jacket) and offer some insight into the tailoring science that goes into the most intricate parts of a bespoke coat. The jacket below is at the 'skeleton basted' stage, made-up for a first basted fitting. At this point, all the individual exterior panels and the interior canvassing of the coat have been brought together temporarily, gently held in place by a loose web of white basted stitching. The trimmings, pockets, lining, collar and lapels have yet to be worked on. The idea at this stage is to provide an initial 'skeleton' of the jacket's form, allowing for the tailor to assess for the first time, which aspects of the jacket's fit need to be worked upon and improved.

With fit taking priority at this stage in the bespoke progress, one of the tailor's major concerns is to ensure that the sleeves are 'pitched' or fitted correctly. Getting a sleeve to hang perfectly around the shoulder and through the length of the arm is a fine art, often requiring several fittings. Every individual's arm will hang naturally at a certain angle, or 'pitch' in relation to the torso, and often on ready-to-wear or made to measure garments customers will have to put up with a degree of 'furrowing' or creasing either at the front or rear of the sleevehead, where the natural stance of the arm fights against the sleeve. One of the many benefits of bespoke tailoring is that your tailor can pitch and hang the sleeve perfectly to suit your shape, creating a sleeve that hangs effortlessly from the shoulder, with no furrowing  around the sleevehead where it is sewn into the shoulder, or down the sleeve's length. To achieve this, several things must be addressed. Initially, the cutter will assess the natural curvature of the customer's arm; some arms rest naturally with more of a bend at the elbow than others, so the sleeve itself will not be cut completely straight, but will be cut in a sweeping curve to match the natural curvature of the customer's arms. It is at this stage that the depth of the sleeve will also be assessed; and a generous or slim sleeve cut depending upon the customer's preference and the tailor's house style.

Then, at the first basted fitting, the sleeve must be 'pitched' in relation to the shoulder. Some individuals will have a rounded shoulder and their arms will sit forward a little in their sockets, others will have arms that fall backwards away from the shoulder, depending upon their posture. A bespoke sleeve must be pitched to allow the arm to rest in its natural position in relation to the shoulder with no resistance or friction from the sleeve itself when the coat is worn. The sleeve must effortlessly mirror the pitch at which the arm sits in the shoulder socket.

Sleeves can be pitched 'low' or 'high' with low-pitch accommodating figures with an erect posture and a low, backward slanting shoulder and high-pitch with those who have a forward roll to their shoulders, with a shoulder socket that sits high on their torso - hence the terminology of 'high' and 'low'. Initially, a bespoke coat will have the sleeves basted-in with an approximation of the correct pitch for the customer, based on the tailor's initial measurements and impressions of the customer's posture. During subsequent fittings, the sleeve position will be refined to sit with the correct pitch - hanging effortlessly with a clean, neat shape with no furrowing when the arms are at rest. To begin this process at the first fitting, the tailor will mark the pitch of the sleeve for the cutter clearly with chalk, demonstrating the angle at which the sleeve needs to sit naturally. The above photograph clearly shows the chalking of the sleeve pitch.

Excess cloth in the sleevehead itself can also cause furrowing because this excess gives the sleeve the opportunity to drop a little. To rectify this, the sleeve has to be lifted and roped in a little tighter. This process is known as 'picking up the hind-up' and you can see the effect in the photograph above. On this coat the sleeve was dropping a little more than we'd like at the rear, so the rear of the upper sleeve has been pinned-in behind my shoulder and that excess cloth will be removed to keep the sleeve free from furrowing. The pins running down the length of the rear of the sleeve indicate that the entire sleeve is going to be slimmed down. This is an aesthetic thing more than anything - I like a modern looking, slim sleeve and keeping the sleeve slim will minimise any chance of furrowing due to excess cloth at its rear.

Paying attention to sleeves offers an entirely new perspective on quality of fit, both for ready-to-wear and bespoke garments. Hopefully this post will enable readers to gain a better understanding not only of the technicalities behind fitting sleeves, but will also offer a suggestion of what to look for when shopping for well-cut off-the-peg jackets. A top alternations tailor will be able to strip-out and re-pitch a sleeve if needs be, but its a messy and expensive job, so next time you look in a mirror or attending a coat-fitting, make absolutely sure that the sleeve is as clean as it can be, and that you're happy with how its looking, before you proceed.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Changing Times

Well, I have always promised to keep everyone up to date with news, so here's your latest round-robin. I have some tremendously exciting news to deliver; essentially, if all goes to plan, in just a few short weeks, this blog will no longer exist.

Instead, if you wish to keep abreast of the thoughts of the Student Tailor you will need to visit an entirely new site, or at least visit this blog to be redirected straight through to I am in the process of having an entirely new, 'bespoke' website (sorry, couldn't resist) created in order to revolutionise and professionalise the appearance of this blog. The new site is currently under development and will hopefully provide a cleaner, more sophisticated design with menu bars, better links to my social media channels and a generally slicker aesthetic. All existing articles will be transferred across and will still be available to read and return to. 

Once the new website is launched, I hope that things will continue to grow at a pace. I am in the process of producing an initial contribution for the highly prestigious site Men Style Fashion and as usual I have been beavering away behind the scenes to line up a whole host of new features pertaining to all things special in the world of sartorial style. Within the next couple of days I will be publishing the first of two pieces about fitting a bespoke coat, focusing these articles around a new bespoke project. The series begun recently on the heritage of British luxury shoemaking brands will also be continuing; the first article of which on Bodiley's ofNorthampton sets the tone nicely. These features intend not only to introduce readers to some of the more individualistic shoemakers out there, but also to offer an insight into those little quirks that distinguish the approach and philosophy of these compelling British shoemaking brands.

On another front, a couple of commentary pieces have been teed up for the coming months, whereby I'll be previewing forthcoming menswear collections and I have been in discussion with a number of Jermyn Street brands about producing features which will introduce some of the most luxurious gentlemen's outfitters and accoutrements, to continue to expand the site's scope. A similar series offering readers an insight into artisanal menswear workshops, as well as a glimpse into the beating heart of Britain's cloth mills is currently also being arranged, with the aim of running a series on luxury British manufacturing in the new year.

I'm sure you'll all agree that this is heralds an exciting time for the Student Tailor, and I owe all my readers a great deal of thanks for supporting me along this journey so far. My readership figures and social media following having been growing steadily and this show loyal support is truly heart warming. I look forward to taking you all further on this journey as things continue to grow. Readers will be kept up to speed with the development of the new site, and normal service will be resumed forthwith. Expect an article on the technical process of pitching sleeves within the next few days.

With kindest regards,

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