Regular readers will have seen the recent posts (part 2) covering the bespoke shirt I recently commissioned at JH Cutler, in Sydney.
Sam Hazelton and I caught up again a few weeks ago to see the finished product, once the final few adjustments had been made.
I wanted to wait until I’d worn and washed the shirt a few times, before writing this post, to see if there had been any changes (shrinking) in the cloth during that time.
The shirt fits well and the cotton has started to soften up nicely. It will continue to soften throughout the following months. As expected, there was a slight overall shrinking of the cloth after a few runs through the wash, but Sam, left a bit more room in the back, sleeves and chest in expectation of this occurring. As a result, the few millimetres of shrinking have meant that the overall fit is now good.
I ducked back in to the shop last week to have the cuff buttons moved out by a few millimetres, as well as the collar button (again due to some slight shrinking).
It’s important to understand which areas of a shirt you can and can’t take too many risks with, in terms of fit. This isn’t in any way specific to bespoke, as off the rack shirts will usually require at least some tailoring to ensure the fit is right. Things like a cuff or collar button can easily be moved, but pay particular attention to the fit through the body, around your torso. Most tailors, when taking in a shirt, will cut away the excess cloth, before re-stitching the side seams back in to place. If your shirt is too tight at this point, you may find there is no way back and the shirt is ruined, with insufficient cloth left to let the shirt back out. That knowledge, sadly, comes from personal experience, having commissioned 3 linen shirts last year, with another tailor, only to find they had shrunk to a point where they could no longer be worn. I salvaged the mother of pearl buttons, but they were all the remained.
For future shirts, I’ll stick to a slightly longer, more traditional length in the body, as this shirt has has a tendency to un-tuck itself at the back. Fortunately I wear my trousers above my hips, closer to my natural waist, so it’s not a big issues, but it does come out at times and it’s annoying to have to think about.
My one disappointment was that the shirts aren’t made in house, rather, contracted out to a small factory in Sydney who makes for other tailors and brands. At over $300USD for a shirt, you’d expect it to be made in house. I also only found that out after asking specifically where the shirts were made (assuming they were made in house). I would have preferred that to be disclosed up front, as the assumption most people will make is that they are made on site.
That aside, it’s been a positive experience.