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Friday, 20 January 2017

Blackwick’s – Tailors since 1897

Story from Uniform Girls 11

The basement fitting room of Blackwick’s (Bespoke Tailors) Limited is a small subterranean grotto whose only natural illumination comes from above, through grimy green-glass pavement lights which presently resound to the homeward tread of City office people, it being five fifteen on a weekday afternoon. Shoe-shaped shadows march across the small glass squares, some slowly, others stepping out, with the tap of high heels a frequent counterpoint to the tramp of heavier feet.
Standing on a low stool, amid ill-stacked bolts of cloth and between walls lined with half-finished suits on polished wooden hangers, a dark-haired girl turns her eyes upward and warily watches the passage of those anonymous feet across the glazed lattice above; in between sideways glances which don’t quite meet the eyes of the tailor, Mr Blackwick himself, she looks up again, her eyes wide and her cheeks a little flushed, wondering perhaps at the seemingly perilous proximity of so many strangers, while below street level, bare feet away though it might as well be a hundred miles, she is half-naked in a room with a man she has never before set eyes on.
The tailor crouches at the girl’s feet and taps first one leg then the other; shiny black shoes step obediently into a garment which is left circling white-socked ankles for an interval while the man looks up at bare round bottom-cheeks and notes several pale lilac marks curved around the undersides of young buttocks.
The tailor asks no questions of his customers, which doubtless is one of the reasons why they patronise his establishment; he makes no comment, passes no judgement, yet knows much about the people with whom he does business. He knows, for instance, when he is looking at cane marks which have not quite faded a week after they first blossomed across this young lady’s bottom. The tailor rises to a stoop and slips the shorts up bare legs.
‘Just hold your things up, please Miss.’
‘Oh sorry ’ the girl’s nervous apology goes unremarked as she clutches vest and blouse and striped green tie and pulls them up clear of her hips, navel high and more. Mr Blackwick hoists the shorts up over the out swell of bum-cheeks and settles the pale yellow shorts snugly into place.
‘Now thenlet’s have a look at you, Miss.’
The shorts are a near-perfect fit; near-perfect, but not quite so. The tailor passes a professional eye over his work; for himself he would have chosen a slightly crisper material, something with a bit of knap to it, but his instructions were explicit; ‘I want her to look as nearly naked as possible, Mr Blackwick, without her actually being so. I have in mind a thin cotton, or some such thing; I want her to feel almost naked too, d’you see. To feel that there’s as little as possible between the eye of the beholder and what he beholds.’
The cotton is certainly a thin one; it has hardly more substance than an oft-washed pocket handkerchief, and it sits intimately around the girl’s hips; the tailor wonders whether there is too much covered up for his customer’s liking personally he hadn’t seen any sense in making the shorts so skimpy as to negate the point of their insubstantiality. The cut of the garment, therefore, is not especially provocative; the girl’s buttock cheeks are all but covered, and at the front there is no rash angling-up of the legs. Neither is the fit particularly tight; there is room all round into which several fingers might be insinuated without undue difficulty, and although the cotton is unable to disguise the girl-shape which it affects to clothe, there is a look of looseness which, if anything, emphasises rather than conceals the femininity of the hips and buttocks beneath.
The colour too is right. The girl’s legs still retain the hint of a summer tan, a restrained but warm tone which sets off the pale yellow delightfully. The tailor reflects that the sun-kissed colour of the girl’s thighs did not fade away where one might have expected it too; he finds himself speculating on the luxury of a private pool in one’s own secluded garden, where a pretty girl wouldn’t have to wear even half a bikini if the householder didn’t mind the lack of such a thing or, indeed, if he insisted on it.
The tailor pops several pins into his mouth, which he holds between his teeth; his eye runs over and around the youthful figure obliged so to exhibit herself up on the fitting stool; now all depends upon the finishing touches. He produces a flat triangle of blue chalk from a waistcoat pocket and proceeds to the shorts this way and that with a thoughtful pursing of his lips whilst he decides where best to take the tuck. The girl almost loses her balance as she is nudged into turning her hips just so, coaxed with the tips of the tailor’s fingers into pushing her bottom out the merest fraction more, and finally steadied with a firm hand lest she should actually fall off her podium.
The chalk makes a mark a neat cross on the elasticated waistband directly above the point of the girl’s hip. With a finger slipped inside to draw the cotton taut, the tailor sketches a line which slopes down from the cross to the centre seam at the back, following round the curve of the hip with a practised hand.
‘Turn round, please Miss.’ The words are muttered between pin-clamping teeth, and a line is drawn similarly from the opposite hip to the point where the first line intersects with the back seam.
‘Face this way, please ’ The girl turns again, bottom wobbling faintly; she bites unconsciously at her lip and looks down dubiously at the top of the crouching tailor’s bald head. Confidently now, two more lines are put in with bold strokes, again starting at the hip and declining at an angle as they run round the girl’s hips and across her tummy. Just as at the back, the lines intersect at the central seam, which runs down over the plump pubic mound and disappears between soft, close-pressed thighs.
Pins are plucked from between teeth and inserted into the material with an expert lift of two fingers behind and a firm push of the thumb in front.
‘Round again, Miss ’ The same weighty springiness in her bottom-cheeks as she makes a teetering turn. The last pins are put in, and a knowledgeable hand smooths down and round each buttock in turn, shushing away the hint of a crease here, a ripple of material there, easing the back seam neatly into the division of the girl’s buttocks. The tailor takes half a pace back.
‘Comfortable, Miss?’ The girl glances down, then up. She nods uncertainly, still holding up her vest and blouse and tie.
‘Mmm I th-think so
‘Round here?’ He takes the mild liberty of giving her a tactile hint as to whereabouts he means, stroking round her plump buttocks, interest in the feel of warm girl-flesh under the thin cotton as evident as is professional enquiry as to the fit he has achieved.
‘Y-yes ’ she whispers her reply unprotesting, and gets her bottom patted several times, then several more times, which is her own fault for being too timid to make a complaint; the tailor slips his fingers inside the waistband at the back and lifts until the seam between the two plump buttocks is pulled up snugly into the division and tight underneath. The girl lifts herself out fractionally on her toes, her bottom trembling faintly as she responds to the upward urge of the shorts between her legs; she doesn’t quite oblige with an ‘Oooh!’ but a suggestion of sucked in breath is no less satisfactory. Another pin is snicked into the tuck at the waist.
‘Getting there, I think ’ says the tailor, and pats the cheeky buttocks again. ‘Turn round, please Miss
The girl pirouettes awkwardly on her stool and there is the hint of a pout on her pretty face as she ventures a brief meeting of glances. The extra pin at the back has enhanced the fit at the front; a distinct suggestion of labial involution draws the eye to the apex of smooth-skinned thighs, the seam pulling up exactly along the central line of the declivity.
‘Well, I think that will do,’ says the tailor, after a final hitching-up of the waistband and a further sibilance of breath from the girl. ‘Better slip them off now ’.
The girl is about to push the shorts down but the tailor intervenes.
‘No just hold your things up, Miss ’ Vest and blouse and tie are gathered again and the shorts are slid down. Each foot in turn lifts and steps out, and the tailor goes over to a sewing machine in a corner of the room. Bare-bottomed and bewildered as to the reason why she should still have to keep her clothes held up the girl hears the sewing machine thrumming away behind her and sees the feet passing by overhead. She pouts a little more but waits obediently until the machining is finished.
The sound of pins dropping into an empty tin, then the tailor brushes by and drops the shorts onto a worktop.
‘If you could just hold you blouse right up now, Miss
‘P-pardon ’ A freshening pinkness floods into the girls cheeks.
‘High as you can, please
One firm young breast, then the other bobs free beneath the up-lifted blouse. A tape measure is produced from a trouser pocket.
‘For future reference, Miss ’. The measure is passed around the girl’s back and drawn forward to encompass her breasts. Considerable care is taken to ensure that the tape passes over each little nipple, both of which complicate matters by becoming stiffly erect so that the measure has to be replaced just so, not once but several times; ‘I like to be exact when it comes to measurements ’. The girl nods dumbly and bites her pouting lip.
‘And there’s just one more hands right up on your head, now’. The girl puts her hands on her head, still holding on to her clothes; only her eyes are to be seen within the upside-down tent of her blouse. The metal-tipped end of the tape is placed in the small of the girl’s back.
‘If you wouldn’t mind, please Miss
Only a tailor would know to what use a measurement of the distance from the middle of the back to the navel, passing between the legs on the way, might be put, but the girl lets the tailor’s fingers thread the tape between her thighs and pull it up snug, then check to be sure that it is not off-centre at any point between navel and back; the girl’s blushes heighten, but still she makes no protest and at length the tailor is satisfied. He releases the tape behind and pulls it, rather thoughtlessly, between her legs; the metal-tip makes the girl bleat as it passes through the moist-roofed tunnel, but the tailor politely ignores the little ‘Oooo!’ and rolls up the tape and slips it into his pocket.
A telephone buzzes at the back of the room. The tailor sorts through several pieces of material to find the receiver, which he puts to his ear whilst his eyes look sideways at the plump-bottomed shape of the girl on her stool. ‘Oh yes,’ he says, ‘it was the clerical grey, wasn’t it I’ll be up in a moment.’ The ‘phone clonks onto the rest.
‘What time are you being collected?’ he asks over his shoulder as he packs the shorts with swift flips and folds into a plain shallow box.
‘Um six o’clock, I think ’ says the girl, still clutching her blouse nipple high for lack of an instruction to do otherwise. A length of dark blue tape is passed around the box and deftly knotted.
‘Well you’d better wait here then’. He takes the box with him as he leaves. The girl remains on her stool and hears the tailor’s halting step mounting the stairs to the shop.
Time passes. Feet still scuff across the pavement lights, but less frequently as the hour wears on. Little by little the girl’s blouse slips down as she begins to think that perhaps the tailor won’t be coming back, but still, of course, it fails to cover very much of her round young bottom. She waits on her stool, watching the shoe-shadows flit across the ceiling. A little tear rolls quietly down a cheek
For a follow-up, see Blackwick’s — The Old School Tie.


  1. There was a shop in St annes square Manchester on the same lines as this in the late 60s

  2. takes one back to the early 70s when those places existed