A bespoke suit and a made to measure suit are very different. A bespoke suit is made from scratch for each individual. The fit and the experience is something you can’t achieve from a made to measure garment.
The initial consultation is crucial. It is important that the consultant understands the needs of the client and what the suit is being created for. Only then can they recommend the right fabric weight, colour and composition. As well as the right style, which can differ depending on the occasion but also the client’s shape, age and height.
Once this has all been discussed the measurements are taken. Unsurprisingly, the first set of measurements are paramount to the fit of the suit so it is important that not only are you measured by someone well trained, you also communicate with them how you want your suit to fit. Otherwise they could measure you perfectly in their eyes without knowing your particular nuances such as the fact that you prefer more room across the shoulders or that you like your sleeves longer than most.
On average 20 measurements are taken, depending on what you are having made as well as your body shape. If you go to the gym a lot for example, thigh measurements and bicep measurements will be taken as well as the standard measurements. Almost as important as the measurements, your body configurations are photographed and documented. This has a huge impact of the finished garment as the way it sits on each client’s body. It is important that you stand naturally, only then can your consultant tell how garments hang on you, there is no point standing to attention, you want your suit to sit perfectly while you stand casually.
On paper you could have the same measurements as someone else. However your posture, the slant of your shoulders, the curve of your spine could be entirely different and would result in the same garment sitting completely differently on you to them.
All the measurements and configurations are then given to the cutter, who will cut your bespoke suit, ready for the first fitting. Aside from the cutting, the key to a bespoke coat is the internal canvassing. Horsehair canvas is used to transform the coat into a 3D piece that moulds to your body and flatters your physique, as well as maintaining the garment for years to come. The canvas is kept in place by hundreds of hand stitches, allowing the garment to breath as well as drape perfectly across your torso.
The First Fitting
The beauty of bespoke is that you will always have a first fitting where the garment is half made so that if you do want to change style details like pockets, button positions and lapel widths you will have the opportunity to do so then. Something unavailable with made to measure. This is also the stage where you get a feel for the fit of the suit and see the fabric in full. Especially helpful for wedding suits as it gives you a chance to think about matching ties and pocket squares.
As it is only in basted form, you have a lot more control over changes that can be made to the fit of the suit as well. For example this stage allows the tailor to get the balance of the jacket right and ensure the trousers are sitting perfectly before pockets are cut in and there is little room for change.
Once the suit has been pinned and chalked to the satisfaction of both you and the tailor, it is then taken apart and recut with any of the changes that need to be made. Your personal paper pattern is adjusted as well, for future suits.
The Final Fitting
Occasionally you will have a second fitting before the final fitting, but usually one will suffice. After the Cutter has recut the suit he sends it to the coat and trouser maker where the suit is put together. It is then hand finished, pressed and brought back to you for the final fitting.
When you try the finished suit on you should immediately notice the structure of the jacket, and how well it moulds to your body, compared with other garments you’ve bought in the past. The final fitting allows any minor changes to be made before you take home your bespoke suit.
Approximately 65 hours go into making a Threadgold bespoke suit, to achieve the ultimate fit and experience for each of its clients.