The Hands Behind Our Shirts
Budd makes all of its bespoke and made to measure shirts and the large majority of our ready to wear shirts at our workshop in Andover, Hampshire. Spring 2019 also saw Budd launch production of its new slim fit and tailored shirts in Nipani, India. The company chose the Nipani outpost as a result of its credentials and its high level craftsmanship, spear-headed by the factory’s Italian owner, Monti, one of the shirting world’s premier mills and manufacturers. Our move to India is a simple one, motivated by the exceptional quality of work available to us and the capacity that it frees up in Andover, ensuring that each of the shirts we produce there, be they bespoke, made to measure or ready to wear are made with the highest level of attention and skill.
Whilst there might be some physical mileage between our craftsmen, the techniques, cloths and DNA that goes into each shirt remains the same. Each Budd shirt is made with meticulous attention to detail and the exacting standards that you would expect of the company. There is no cutting corners (except where that is an actual pattern thing) and each stage of production is clearly flagged. Gwen and Di have overseen the making of all of our shirts in Andover for over 75 years between them, with Gwen having trained initially at Turnbull & Asser when they had a factory at Whitchurch. Our India operation is overseen by Sanjay, an equally affable gentleman who has made shirts for many years, helping to develop talent at the Napani workshop and working closely with Budd’s own production manager to ensure continuity with our UK production.
Each of our shirts is cut to Budd’s own, unique patterns, with over 35 component parts making up each one. Cloths are cut to ensure that any design details such as checks or stripes are matched. Collars are individually hand-cut and hand turned. They include a floating, cotton interlining that is hand trimmed to ensure clean collar points. A collar may seem like a simple element to the shirt, but it is one of the most fiddly, starting from the first task of creating pocket pieces in which to place collar stays.
Our hand folded cuffs are also interlined with cotton and are fashioned in a similar way to the collar, working inside out before attaching them to the sleeve. Each of our sleeves is prepared with three 1cm hand-folded pleats and a hand-folded gauntlet, providing elegance and comfort in equal measure.
The yokes on our shirts are split, meaning that there are two visible panels that sit across the shoulder on the back to provide ease of movement. These are matched on the underside for polish and strength. We add a slight curve to our yokes, so as they better follow the body line and offer even more comfort.
All of our shirts are sewn together by manually passing each piece through a hand worked sewing machine. Our seamstresses use single French needle stitching, working to a general principle of 18 stitches per inch.
The buttons on all of our shirts are cut from either sustainable mother of pearl or real horn, with button holes hand-marked for perfect placement. Today we wrap our buttons using an Ascolite machine, this happens at the button shafts and ensures that they stay nice and secure and sit proud.
No shirts leave either of Budd’s workshops until they have had a full quality control inspection. We actually check our shirts at each stage of production, but this final onceover is imperative and is the final stage before our shirts are pressed and bagged up. Anything questionable goes back down the chain to be rectified and is checked once more. The final QC process is always a satisfying one, with the coming together of skills and hands fantastically shown off.
Budd has always held close working relationships with the finest shirting mills across Italy and Switzerland. Today the UK’s weaving industry for shirtings is dramatically reduced, with only a couple of houses in existence. We still source some of our cotton and wool blends on home shores, and our linens from Northern Ireland. This allows for us to secure consistently excellent shirtings and on multiple occasions, commission cloths that are exclusive to Budd. With the exception of our dress shirts and stiff bibs, all of our shirts are machine washable, and we recommend washing them on a gentle wash at a low temperature, pressing them whilst still a little damp. Always remember to press collars on the underside and from the collar points inwards. Linen shirts should be pressed inside out.