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From pattern to first fitting. Part 9

Updated: May 21

The first fitting is a vital part of the process. However, each tailoring establishment will choose a different stage at which to present its work to the customer. Some, with a very roughly cut and loosely sewn garment, will leave more work for the re-cutting stage. Others will put more skill, time and energy into the early stages, taking more measurements and perhaps using a try-on set to determine the level of comfort in a jacket and trousers. Nothing is more personal than a bespoke suit.

With a made-to-measure suit, the shape and model are already determined by the factory or workshop that makes the suit. Some factories offer modest fit adjustments to a basic of the suit, while others have very sophisticated and modern techniques originating a new and unique pattern for each customer to give a level of fit often comparable with the bespoke method. New technologies are often employed using powerful computers and highly skilled garment engineers using state-of-the-art CAD (computer-aided design) software. With a bespoke suit, a new pattern is constructed to apply to the bespoke cloth. The pattern is determined by the tailor who took the measurements and noted the wishes of the wearer. A tailor has several options when constructing a suit. The padding that lies under the cloth in the lapel, the lining and interlining are all major influences on the look and feel of a suit, A full canvas suit will have a little more soul' and will mould itself to the wearer where a half canvas or even a fully fused garment might feel and look like a little ridged. However, modern tailoring techniques have advanced to produce jackets that have commendable qualities of drape and suppleness, various qualities and weights of canvas (between the cloth and the lining), for example, with or without horse hair, will make a huge influence on the drape and hang of the jacket.

The choice of the type of canvas and the amount of handwork determines the time needed to make a suit. In a factory with a good tailoring process of about 60 skilled men and women, a suit can be made within eight hours if a fused garment is chosen. It is a strange world; customers go for thinner and thinner cloths and yet most ready-to-wear brands first make them thicker by gluing fusing into the front and neutralising a part of the lively and flexible features at the same time. A tailor who does it all by hand, choosing a full canvas, padded lapels and collar, hand-sewn button holes, etc. needs about 50 hours to make a suit. The choices for a suit and its cloth are numerous and these myriad of combinations challenge and stimulate the minds of the stylish and the curious wearers •

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