Film ID:
NEFA 11874

CUT TO PERFECTION

1970

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Description

This is a 1970 promotional film made by Turners Film Productions in Newcastle for Jackson the Tailor Limited, one of the most famous English menswear brands of the sixties and seventies. The film shows the mass production of quality suits in the factory tailoring industry, where wages were paid 'on piece rates', or paid by the garment. Footage depicts the craftsmanship involved in producing a hand cut, individually tailored garment.

A young man, dressed in a suede and sheepskin (shearling) car coat, joins his girlfriend in a yellow Lotus Elan sports car and speeds off down a country road. The sports car accelerates through a ford and along scenic country roads. Next, a comic sequence parodies men’s fashion at the time. A male model poses in a series of modish styles: the hedonist hippy, the casual beatnik, the mod and the pop dandy. He then poses in a classic tailored dark suit in front of a castle.

The film cuts to an old tailor hand stitching material whilst sitting on top of his cutting table, in a room of mannequins and patterns. A close-up of the tailor’s hands fades into the scene of a large-scale tailor’s operation. Pan along the length of a large scale cutting room where a great number of male tailors are cutting patterns at rows of tables. Next, lines of women are employed in workshops, making the clothes on their Singers sewing machines.

A pair of scissors cuts a diagonal across some plaid material and the first title appears.

Title: Cut To Perfection by Jackson the Tailor

A man walks down an aisle of material in a warehouse and chooses a roll of cloth. A voice over says that the finest wool cloths are from Australia.

The next sequence shows a sheep farm in Australia, with shots of ranching, sheep shearing and sorting wool, produced for the international menswear market.

There are general exterior views of a chemical factory, where polyester yarns are chemically produced.

Abstract shots show shimmering yarns in production. Next, wool and synthetic fibres are mixed on mechanised looms. There are various shots of traditional worsted cloth in production on looms at a West Yorkshire factory. A brook runs through the Pennines, for the soft water used in worsted manufacture. General views of Bradford and Huddersfield factories set the scene of the Pennine worsted industry. A view of a Leeds factory introduces Yorkshire as a centre for woollen manufacture. Fields of sheep and a shot of a mill next to a fast flowing stream in the Tweed valley in Scotland introduce the region for the production of checks and twist suiting wool cloths.

Close-ups of research centre tests on cloths follow, which include dye fastness tests, testing for water repellent qualities, stretching tests for tensile strength, and tests using abrasion machines to check wear and tear properties.

The film cuts to scenes at a Jackson the Tailor factory. A 'multiple' tailor looks at a range (or 'blanket') of suit cloth in a manufacturers sales office, whilst the salesman smokes a pipe.

The scene links to the tailor’s showroom where a man is shown sample books of material. Close-ups of a material book turned by hand illustrate the immense range of cloths available.

A clothing designer sketches styles at a drawing board, surrounded by menswear design drawings. A man drafts the pattern for a suit after he is shown the prototype design in the round.

A man is measured for a suit at a Jackson retail outfit, and details are recorded on a work ticket that will stay with the work as it progresses round the factory.

A stock keeper collects the cloth from a company warehouse where a huge number of cloth reams are stored. The cloth is unrolled, measured and the cut to length.

Close-ups of cascading buttons, cotton, belts, and 'Jackson the Tailor' labels indicate the mass scale of the Jackson operation. A rail of block patterns are examined and one chosen to correspond to the work ticket.

The next section follows the progress of work. In the cutting room, pieces of cloth are marked out and cut by hand by tailors. A trimmer cuts the linings and heat presses lining and canvas backing material together.

A detailed sequence shows the different stages in the sewing of the suits, at speed and by machine and hand. All the sewers are women. Close-ups show their feet and knees operating the sewing machines.

Various shots of pressing operations complete the process of making the suit.

Expert examiners check the measurements and quality of the finished suits. The suits are packed to forward to dispatchers. A close-up of a dispatch label bears a Kenyan address.

A supervisor watches a class of female Jackson trainees, who practice sewing against the clock.

A group of fashionable female school leavers attend a recruitment session at Jackson the Tailor. Portrait shots of  individual girls.

Next, a look at facilities for Jackson the Tailors  workers. There are shots of a privately staffed company health clinic.

The film cuts to a view looking west down the main street of Guisborough. Two young men arrive at Sunnyfield House, Jackson’s clothing management training centre in Westgate, Guisborough. Groups of young men relax, smoke, chat and play snooker. They attend a series of lectures.

A final shot shows the customer and manager interaction at a Jacksons’ tailor shop.

The final sequences in the film are staged promotional scenarios that show men in a wide range of suit styles and locations. There are shots of two male shop display mannequins, dressed in vivid blue and orange suits. A man and woman walk into a 'groovy' club where people in fashionable clothes are dancing and drinking. Celebrities leave a plane and wave to the (invisible) crowd. A family are dressed stylishly at the zoo. A couple attend a race meeting. Another couple walk through the countryside. Two men in suits talk outside an office building. A boss dictates to his secretary, confident in his Jackson suit. Three executives board a plane in smart suits.

Credit: Turners Film Productions. Newcastle Upon Tyne. England.

Credits:

Director. Cameraman. Peter Brown

Script by John Grant

Spoken by Michael Aspel

Production. Bryan Copplestone

In charge of production. Brian Nicol

Original idea. Malcolm Jacobson

Title: Cut To Perfection. Jackson the Tailor.

The film closes with a shot of a customer admiring his suit in a shop mirror.

Title: Jackson the Tailor wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of the many organisations involved during the production of this film.