Do any of you know of tailors in the USA(other than those at dry cleaning establishments?) who are willing to work with the fabric that we take to them? Â
No, but there's no harm in asking the ones that you're interested in if they'll make such an arrangement.
Specifically, some shirtmakers claim that their high-grade shirt fabric costs up to a few hundred dollars per shirt, when actually 170s cotton can be had for ~$16/meter(1.8 meters per shirt in 60" width) and 200s cotton is ~$22-~$25/meter(1.8 meters in 60" width and 2.7 in 36"), prices before duties and shipping. Â
Well, duties and shipping can add significant cost. I've heard, although I've never actually verified it, that duties on cotton goods are higher in the United States than on wool and linen. In any event, I'm not sure where you're getting your prices, but all 170s (or 200s or whatever) cotton is not equivalent. I'm sure that there are price variations based on the pattern of the weave, the quality of the weaver, and many other variables.
But a suit and shirt are very different. Â A good suit is largely handsewn and takes quite some time to make. Â A good shirt can be stitched by machine and does not take nearly as long to make as a suit.
I think that you underestimate the value of a handmade shirt. I'll grant you that certain details (like the hand-rolled hem of the tail that Kiton affects) don't contribute much other than additional labor by a highly-skilled (and highly-paid) artisan. Others, like hand-attached collars and hand-stitched shoulder yokes, contribute to a better fitting shirt (and one whose fit gets better over time). Makers like Charvet and Lorenzini make superlative shirts by machine; but I like Borrelli better, and I like them better because of some of the handwork. A good handsewn shirt doesn't take nearly as long to make as a handsewn suit, but you're still talking about multiple hours of labor by a highly-skilled artisan.