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Unrivalled Expertise

This month marks 40 years since military tailoring specialist Sarah Wilkinson joined our bespoke tailoring company based here at Number 10 Savile Row.

Sarah’s sewing and embroidery skills are a rarity, even on Savile Row which has been the bastion of men’s tailoring since the late eighteenth century.

During her distinguished career to date Sarah has worked on some of the most striking and recognisable pieces of military tailoring for which Great Britain and more specifically Savile Row is world-renowned.

This post highlights just a small selection of the wide variety of bespoke clothing that Sarah, along with her colleagues, works on in the Dege & Skinner workshop.


Sarah works regularly on the uniforms of The King’s Body Guard of The Yeoman of the Guard.

Dressed in their distinctive Tudor uniforms of red, white and yellow, The King’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard has a ceremonial role in many Royal events.

There are 73 Yeomen of the Guard, all of whom are former warrant or non-commissioned officers of the British Services.


As well as the ceremonial uniforms worn by The King’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard, some of Sarah’s other regular tailoring work includes making and on occasion refurbishing uniforms for The Royal Company of Archers, which acts as the Sovereign’s official bodyguard in Scotland.

The Royal Company’s most regular duty is to be in attendance at His Majesty The King’s annual garden parties held at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Dege & Skinner holds the Royal Warrant for work on both these specific and historic uniforms.

Other notable work during Sarah’s career to date includes…


The Royal Lancers uniform that featured in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s 2014 exhibition titled ‘What Is Luxury’? That same piece is now part of the official archive at the Museum.

Commissioned to amalgamate the uniforms of two merging regiments, the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) and the Queen’s Royal Lancers, this revised design was adopted by The Royal Lancers on 2 May 2015.


Sarah can and does make all manner of clothing, often seen by a large global audience during a televised event such as a royal wedding or His Majesty The King’s Coronation.

When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018 he was granted special permission by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to wear the frock coat of the Blues & Royals Regiment.

The sleeves alone took Sarah an entire week to create due to their intricate ‘frogging’ detailing.

Sarah also made miniature replicas of the Blues & Royals uniform worn by HRH Prince Harry for the four attending Page Boys, including HRH Prince George seen here, aged four.

The other Page Boys dressed by Dege & Skinner were Master Jasper Dyer (aged 6), Master Brian Mulroney (aged 7) and Master John Mulroney (aged 7).


HRH Prince Louis’ much admired doeskin tunic, which he wore to the televised Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III in May 2023.

Sarah was also involved in making military-inspired uniforms for Her Majesty The Queen’s four Page Boys, who attended her during the globally watched Coronation ceremony held at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen wished to have her four Page Boys’ uniforms inspired by the two Regiments of the British Army for whom she is the Colonel in Chief, namely The Grenadier Guards and The Rifles.  

So how did Sarah become one of the leading specialists in the creation of stunning military uniforms so admired domestically and on the international stage?

Determined to find herself an apprenticeship in tailoring, Sarah had asked her father to bring home a copy of The Yellow Pages telephone directory, which prior to the internet was an invaluable information resource for job seekers.

Unfortunately Sarah can clearly recall being told on multiple occasions at that time that bespoke tailoring was a ‘man’s trade’ and certainly not suitable for a woman, heaven forbid! Being the determined young person that she was, and indeed still is, this only served to make Sarah more determined to craft her career in bespoke tailoring.

Hit List

Searching for suitable companies to contact, the ever-ambitious Sarah drew up a hit list of possible companies she’d like to work for and wrote to a number of them, seeking her desired apprenticeship.

In Dege & Skinner’s case Sarah’s letter was passed to the then Managing Director Michael Skinner (now Chairman). Impressed enough by Sarah and her determination to succeed in the trade, Michael sought funding from the Youth Training Scheme (YTS).

YTS was an initiative launched in the 1980’s to provide on the job training for school leavers aged 16 and 17.

Sarah joined the company in August 1983, aged just sixteen years old.

It’s somewhat hard to say for certain, but Sarah thinks she may well have been the first female tailor to work on Savile Row. There certainly weren’t other women around at that time, as far as she could see.

“I’ve had some extraordinary experiences in my 40 year career with Dege & Skinner. Early on I found myself living in Portsmouth, learning to make naval uniforms at the time of the Falklands War.

Seeing the naval ships leaving the docks on their way to serve Queen and Country was something I’ll remember forever.


Attending Trooping the Colour and seeing the striking scarlet tunics I've made, particularly when they're worn on horseback alongside other ceremonial uniforms I work on, is a moment of personal pride too.


It's somewhat surreal to see my work on the television at globally televised events, such as The Queen's funeral and The King's Coronation.

After 40 years in the trade it's only when you feel the excitement of others on seeing your work that it hits home what a rarefied work environment I've been privy to for such a long time.``

Trained in both civilian and military tailoring Sarah found herself making various tunics and frock coats for The Guards Regiments when it occurred to her that she wanted to be able to make an entire tunic herself, rather than having to buy in the embroidery pieces from a third party.

QEST For Excellence

To make that possible Sarah successfully applied for a scholarship from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), which was awarded in 1993, enabling Sarah to learn metal thread embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court.

So with 40 years’ experience what does Sarah think are the vital characteristics required to excel in the bespoke tailoring trade?

“Definitely patience, perseverance and the ability to be extremely well organised. It’s not easy to learn how to do what I do; I’m still learning new skills after 40 years! It takes an awful lot of practice to master the skills necessary to create the impeccable pieces of bespoke tailoring that you see on your televisions during high profile events such as The King’s Coronation. It’s that constant learning and the opportunity to continually pick up new skills that makes my job so interesting and engaging. Being a bespoke tailor is certainly not boring!”


Sarah now has fully trained colleagues working alongside her in Dege & Skinner’s bespoke tailoring workshop, thereby ensuring that the skills and expertise necessary to make stunning bespoke pieces at Number 10 Savile Row can continue for generations to follow.

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