Back in to see Leng for the second fitting of the bespoke 3 piece suit made from Dormeuil Ice Flannel cloth. (Part 1 here, Part 2 here)
The second fitting usually helps to give a much better feel for what the finished product might look like, with some of the baste stitches removed, facings on the lapels added and the fit refined a little more from the first fitting.
For this second fitting, it was a case of many small changes needing to be made to be ready for the next fitting, rather than, say, 2 or 3 adjustments. It’s not uncommon for this to be the case, particularly when working with a tailor for the first time. Through the fittings, the changes are all noted on the clients paper pattern, so that future commissions can be made more accurately from the outset. I would have liked to see fewer changes required, in this instance, but the changes which were made had partly resolved the issues from the first fitting, thought not completely and had also created additional new issues with the fit which weren’t present in the first place.
Looking at the images and with their accompanying explanations, you’ll hopefully see where changes are made to achieve a better fit through several areas of a suit. Even for off the rack suit purchases, a good eye for where the fit is off the mark helps in identifying what might need to change to have a jacket fit smoothly through the shoulders or for trousers to break cleanly over your shoes and so on.
At the top of my left shoulder (top right corner of picture) the shoulder pad extends beyond my shoulder, causing a scoop effect at the top of the sleeve. The pad will be shortened, allowing the sleeve to fall naturally, removing the scoop.
The back (mostly on the left side) will be let out as well as raised to clean things up and remove the pull lines shown in this image. There is also cloth to be taken in at the upper back. In the trousers, a crease forms just above the knee on each leg. This shouldn’t be confused with the trousers being too long. When that’s the case, they will tend to puddle at the hem (feet). The crease in this instance is caused by the rear bias (where the trouser cloth meets the waistband) needing to be taken up. This removes excess cloth and lets the trousers hang in a single, clean and unbroken line to the floor.
In the reflected image in the mirror, the scoop effect of the shoulder pad is noticeable. Additionally, the sleeve will be rotated forward to follow the natural pitch of my arm (arms don’t hang straight, they are bent at the elbow and curve forwards). This will remove the creasing seen through the sleeve as the cloth is currently working against the angle of the arm.
Lapel roll. How strongly a lapel rolls is in large part determined by how the canvas is stitched. If you look at the collar in this picture you’ll see herringbone stitches. These are all the way through the canvassed part of the jacket (i.e. all through the chest area) which is now concealed by the cloth. Making these stitches smaller and sewing them closer together through the lapels, gives more shape and body. In this instance the result is a lapel with a stronger roll.
Detail on pick stitching at the patch pocket and jacket facing
Ticket pocket inserted above patch pocket
Marking the necessary change in buttoning point of the waistcoat, as it’s currently not closing cleanly.
The waistcoat being taken in. As a waistcoat sits directly against the body, it needs to be well fitted or risks looking like a sack. One of the main guidelines to note is that you should never see the shirt between waistcoat and trousers (see article on how to wear waistcoats). In this instance, the waistcoat overlaps the trousers by a bit more than it should and a shorter waistcoat gives the impression of longer legs. For this reason, we’ll shorten the waistcoat.
So far the trousers have come together fairly well. The 2 inch waist band is comfortable, secured by a dual button closure. Double reverse pleats add room in the thighs (probably a bit too much room at this point and I had requested single pleats when we designed the suit) and the side adjuster tabs keep the look clean while ensuring the waistcoat doesn’t have to get over the bulk of a belt and belt loops.
Taking in some ease from the back leg, for a slimmer shape through the legs. The hem will also be taken up so there is only a single break at the shoes.
The waistband is taken in a couple of centimetres for a snug fit through the waist.
With the waistband taken it, it creates a clean curve up to my lower back.
Once all of these changes are made, the third fitting should hopefully see only a few additional changes needing to be made, if any, before the suit is ready to be finished. Although at this point it seems as if there are still several issues which have to be rectified. If there is still much work required by the next fitting, something will have gone wrong in the fitting process.
Andrew is an Australian born writer, covering the world's leading bespoke tailors and craftspeople in menswear, with a focus on authentic quality, over branding. He spends most of his days running his successful (god knows how) consulting company and travels frequently to Europe for work and writing. He's a passionate cyclist, former trainee professional golfer and lover of all things Cocker Spaniel. He's married to his best friend and significantly better half, Mehri. They have 2 little boys born 11 months apart, which was funny for about 2 seconds before reality set in.