Why not treat yourself to the ultimate in hand tailored perfection, the fully bespoke suit.
An experienced bespoke cutter will come to your home and take over 40 measurements, using methods that have remained the same for over 100 years.
He will then return to Savile Row and cut the suit out by hand. A few weeks later he’ll return with the suit at the half-made ‘baste’ stage. From this point it is adjusted again and again until it fits superbly.
To make a bespoke suit takes around 8 to 10 weeks.
Scroll down for an explanation of how bespoke suits are made.
A step by step guide to the making of a fully bespoke suit
The first appointment – choosing fabric and measuring
When ordering a fully bespoke suit you are measured in great detail taking into account all the idiosyncrasies of your posture. You are measured by a bespoke cutter who has years of experience on Savile Row. It’s important that the person measuring you is the same person who will be doing the cutting. He will need to see a picture of you in his mind whilst he analyses the measurements and creates a unique pattern for you. If necessary the cutter will take a photo of the client at the first appointment.
The suit is then hand cut to your specific measurements and then hand stitched on Savile Row, but only up to the ‘baste’ stage.
This stage is what makes a bespoke suit bespoke. If your tailor claims to be making you a bespoke suit but there is no baste stage then it is not a bespoke suit. Without this stage it can only be semi-bespoke or made to measure.
A baste is a half-made suit that is not properly finished and only temporarily held together with white baste stitching. This allows it to be easily taken apart and remade.
The basted garment has unfinished lapels, no buttons and no buttonholes (see photo).
The second appointment – first fitting
At this stage you will have your first fitting and the cutter will assess the accuracy of his measurements.
The basted suit is a blueprint or ‘first draft’ of the final version and can be radically altered if necessary.
The cutter will make notes and usually chalk several marks on the suit to instruct the tailors on how the suit is to be altered.
The fact that the suit is only basted together allows you the opportunity to dramatically change the style if you wish. For example there are no buttonholes on this garment so if you want to raise or lower the buttoning position this is easily possible. You also have the opportunity to narrow or widen the lapels or shoulders if you wish.
These options would not be possible on a made to measure or semi bespoke suit.
The third appointment – second fitting
At this point the suit will be at a more advanced stage of tailoring and may be almost completely finished (depending on the complexity of your shape).
All of the alterations carried out by the specialist bespoke adjustment tailor will be assessed and scrutinised by the cutter.
The final adjustments will be marked up and then carried out by the tailors.
The fourth/final appointment – third fitting
Depending on your shape, this may be your final fitting. If so the cutter will check that the adjustments have been done correctly and if you are happy with the suit you can take it home.
If further adjustments are required it will be returned to the tailors until it is perfect. Cutters are perfectionists by nature and a good cutter will not rest until the suit is perfect.
After all he has a reputation to protect.
All in all this process involves 80 to 100 hours of manual work by skilled craftsmen. This is one of the reasons why fully bespoke suits are so much more expensive than made to measure suits.
Jasper Littman fully bespoke suits start from £2500 for a 2-piece.
Why is a baste stage necessary? – Bespoke tailoring is not an exact science. Often a tailor cannot tell whether his measurements are correct until the suit is actually on the customer. The baste gives the cutter the opportunity to see how his measurements translate to the garment when tried on.
Why do hand made suits require so many fittings? – Cutters are perfectionists and can see faults that the untrained eye would never notice. Our cutters will not rest until your bespoke suit reaches perfection, even if that means up to five fittings.
How do Savile Row cutters differ? – Some prefer a closer fit whilst others prefer the suit to have a bit more drape and ‘flow’.
Some stick rigidly to a ‘house style’ and others will adapt to your requirements. Some stick to the ‘rule book’ whilst others are more progressive and forward thinking. If you have an unusual request, call us to discuss it in more detail.
Why is an experienced cutter so important? – The longer a cutter has been working on Savile Row, the wider variety of shapes and postures he has seen. It also takes several years of training to reach the Savile Row standard.
In order to create an immaculate bespoke suit we employ a team of Savile Row experts. There will be at least four tailors working on your suit altogether. This is a list of the personnel involved:
- The cutter – responsible for taking the measurements, drafting the pattern, cutting the fabric, fitting the garments and overseeing the whole process. The ‘architect’ of the project.
- The coat maker – responsible for making the jacket. He receives a bundle of cloth from the cutter and takes the garment to the baste stage and to all subsequent fitting stages – Aside from the cutter, the coat maker is the most important person working on the suit.
- Waistcoat maker – Performs the same tasks as the coat maker only with the vest.
- The trouser maker – Performs the same tasks as the coat maker only with the trousers.
- The finishers – traditionally female – felling (hand-stitching) all linings and edges.
- Specialist presser – pressing is a crucial and underrated part of the process – the jacket is expertly pressed by hand in stages to allow certain parts of the jacket to dry.
- The bespoke tailors – responsible for any fine tuning at the final fitting stage – will also alter or refurbish any old garments if a client loses weight over time.