German traditional fine tailoring, unique scientific cutting on the table
Private Schneiderstube - Houston

“Children pray! Father is cutting.” — “Kinder betet! Der Vater schneidet zu”

Until the development of cutting systems of scientific foundation, pattern making was a very mysterious matter. Pattern models were made with “Rock of Eye” designed by the grandfather, drawn with roundly tools, and accompanied by prayers, they were passed on from generation to generation. These techniques would very carefully be guarded that nobody could steal them or make a copy of it.

The eldest cutting book stored in a museum by H. Niedermayer d. Jüngere from 1544 – 1568 can be found in the Ferdinandeum in Innsbruck. The eldest pattern cutting construction book is called “Geomatria del arte de vistir” by Christophoro Serrano in Sevilla in Spain published in 1619. The first cutting systems were magical three dimensional systems which separated the body shape into triangles. Taking measurements by applying this system required precise accuracy, otherwise the pattern model would be broken completely out of its position. With the increasing scientific development, coordinated systems were developed in the beginning of the 19th century. The surface of the body then was divided by a three partitionment, allowing an isolated cutting construction with highest accuracy.

Of course it was a German called Michel who in 1818 invented the three partitioned cutting system. And in 1820 Siegfried Bernhardt from Dresden/Germany established a pattern cutting system, based on proportions of the human body. Shortly afterwards the French tailor Barde, Compainge, Fontaine and Lavigne established the ‘reduction scheme’, which was broadly recognized. The greatest deal in cutting in Germany and even partly abroad however had Heinrich Klemm from Dresden, who published in 1850 the first complex pattern cutting system as big compendium. And in 1890 several other pioneers of the cutting nature followed such as Rudolf Maurer – Berlin, M. Müller & Sohn – München, „Der Schneidermeister“ – Hannover, M. Lutz – Stuttgart, Hirsch –Berlin und Roussel – Paris.

The end of WWII saw the demise of bespoke tailoring companies, and with that also that of the cutting schools in general in Germany. Only the M. Müller & Sohn system from München remained and continued to develop. During the 70's, bespoke tailoring in West Germany died a slow death and was also usurped by the MTM industry. Cutters became designers, and were barely able to even press trousers correctly. They then took over what was left of the cutting traditions and started to corrupt the specialized professional knowledge. Only in Eastern Germany did bespoke tailoring stand up to the ongoing lack of garment until the end of the 80's. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 finally finished off what was left of proper bespoke tailoring in the former GDR.

Alongside M. Müller & Sohn, other excellent specialists developed their own cutting systems after the war, such as Hans Mayer – Dresden und Kurt Czujewicz – Berlin and they continued to develop their systems until the end of the 70s. They brought the science of cutting to a unique perfection that only few tailors nowadays are able to comprehend.

Bespoke tailoring has disappeared, the great forebears have taken their secrets to the grave. Only the books remain and those are rarities and only available at great expense. Here you see a small sample of my collection of cutting books.