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My opinion on MTM vs. OTR - Page 4

post #46 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
I disagree. They simply cannot make the necessary changes. It is near impossible, IMO.
Do you mean that an experienced tailor wouldn't be capable of taking the measurements precisely and expertly enough to render the completed MTM garment a better fit than a RTW garment? I'm not clear about what you mean by "the necessary changes."

This thread seems to be concerned mainly with suits and jackets, and for those examples, it may be the case that MTM misses producing a really good fit. I don't know, never having gone the MTM route with them. However, I've had lots of MTM shirts and trousers made, and there's just no question that they provide a vastly superior fit over RTW. With shirts, you can get the shoulder width just right and the necessary deviations between average shoulder width and chest dimensions altered to your physique--along with the right tapering, etc., to provide an excellent fit. In my experience, after two or three shirts, the ones I've got since have been close to bespoke quality fit-wise. With trousers, the same thing. I've been able to have the butt, hips, thighs, cut to my physique, with the result better, I believe, than alteration of a RTW pair would produce. In addition, of course, you can have one (my preference) or no back pockets, the pockets cut at the slant (or on the seam) that you want, the belt loops done just right for the belts you intend to wear, extra fabric in the crotch area to reduce wear, cuff liners for the same purpose, etc.
post #47 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Not so. A lot depends on how well your measurer is able to comunicate modifications to the maker. He's got to know what will likely happen when he manipulates a particular measurement of a particular pattern by a particular degree. Thus, a salesperson who has experience dealing with a specific maker may be able to do a lot better than a tailor, even one that is generally competant.
I'm not sure I fully agree with this. In my experience with MTM shirts and trousers, the measurer (sometimes the tailor himself) has used a very comprehensive work sheet with places for many detailed measurements of the kind that the person making the garment has asked for and could not fail to understand. It is pretty objective, but I would still much rather have someone with tailoring or shirtmaking experience taking the measurements.

I might add that no salesperson I've ever dealt with has had sufficient experience with the making side of things to know "what will likely happen when he manipulates a particular measurement of a particular pattern by a particular degree." In my opinion, the measurer would have to have had at least some experience as a maker to know those details.
post #48 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by stickonatree View Post
yes.

the only thing i have to add is that with MTM, it's possible to get better measurements the more you order, so that after 2-3 suits you have a "perfect" pattern.

But in my experience, the first one is usually annoyingly off the mark... but they still charge you full price for it.
post #49 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
Do you mean that an experienced tailor wouldn't be capable of taking the measurements precisely and expertly enough to render the completed MTM garment a better fit than a RTW garment? I'm not clear about what you mean by "the necessary changes."

This thread seems to be concerned mainly with suits and jackets, and for those examples, it may be the case that MTM misses producing a really good fit. I don't know, never having gone the MTM route with them. However, I've had lots of MTM shirts and trousers made, and there's just no question that they provide a vastly superior fit over RTW. With shirts, you can get the shoulder width just right and the necessary deviations between average shoulder width and chest dimensions altered to your physique--along with the right tapering, etc., to provide an excellent fit. In my experience, after two or three shirts, the ones I've got since have been close to bespoke quality fit-wise. With trousers, the same thing. I've been able to have the butt, hips, thighs, cut to my physique, with the result better, I believe, than alteration of a RTW pair would produce. In addition, of course, you can have one (my preference) or no back pockets, the pockets cut at the slant (or on the seam) that you want, the belt loops done just right for the belts you intend to wear, extra fabric in the crotch area to reduce wear, cuff liners for the same purpose, etc.
I mean two things. First, there are only so many changes that can be made of a stock pattern, and they can only be made simply. There is little room for the art of tailoring when you are starting from a block. Second, the process of fitting and refitting, pulling and tugging and shaping is what makes for the difference. It is a dynamic process while MTM is invariably static. The same goes for shirts and pants, though to different degrees as there is less shaping possible.
post #50 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
I'm not sure I fully agree with this. In my experience with MTM shirts and trousers, the measurer (sometimes the tailor himself) has used a very comprehensive work sheet with places for many detailed measurements of the kind that the person making the garment has asked for and could not fail to understand. It is pretty objective, but I would still much rather have someone with tailoring or shirtmaking experience taking the measurements.

I might add that no salesperson I've ever dealt with has had sufficient experience with the making side of things to know "what will likely happen when he manipulates a particular measurement of a particular pattern by a particular degree." In my opinion, the measurer would have to have had at least some experience as a maker to know those details.

Shirts and trousers are one thing, and suits and jackets another. It doesn't matter how clear the sheet looks to you; every maker interprets changes its own way. My worst MTM experiences were through a maker's own head tailor; his expertise was clearly in pattern design, not fitting. In contrast, the salesperson that I worked with on suits and jackets from the same maker did a much better job.

I'm not saying you're necessarily better off with one or the other, only that successful MTM often depends more on specialized knowledge with regard to a particular maker and less on general tailoring expertise.
post #51 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
Second, the process of fitting and refitting, pulling and tugging and shaping is what makes for the difference.

To be fair, they can do this in MTM; it's just cumbersome, clumsy, and likely a waste of everyone's time.
post #52 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
I mean two things. First, there are only so many changes that can be made of a stock pattern, and they can only be made simply. There is little room for the art of tailoring when you are starting from a block. Second, the process of fitting and refitting, pulling and tugging and shaping is what makes for the difference. It is a dynamic process while MTM is invariably static. The same goes for shirts and pants, though to different degrees as there is less shaping possible.
Well, fair enough. The comparison here, however, is not between MTM and bespoke, where your comments would be on the mark, but rather between MTM and RTW, with the latter surely an even more "static" process than MTM. The question is whether MTM can result in a better-fitting garment than RTW with alterations. Perhaps we should modify this to MTM with necessary alterations vs. RTW with necessary alterations. Understood that way, would you not agree that, on average (and with inevitable exceptions), one would likely end up with a better-fitting garment with the MTM + alterations?
post #53 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
Well, fair enough. The comparison here, however, is not between MTM and bespoke, where your comments would be on the mark, but rather between MTM and RTW, with the latter surely an even more "static" process than MTM. The question is whether MTM can result in a better-fitting garment than RTW with alterations. Perhaps we should modify this to MTM with necessary alterations vs. RTW with necessary alterations. Understood that way, would you not agree that, on average (and with inevitable exceptions), one would likely end up with a better-fitting garment with the MTM + alterations?
I am going to go with what Ed Morel has said many times and suggest that RTW with alterations is usually just as good, and often better. I am not sure that being able to select your own fabric is much of a benefit to most MTM customers, and often it is a disadvantage to those who most perceive it as a benefit.
post #54 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by teddieriley View Post
I agree. if you have someone who undoubtedly knows what they are doing, you should get a great, close to perfect fitting garment via MTM by the 2nd or 3rd attempt (which may or may not be the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd suit, depending on what things were initially off and whether they were fixable with the 1st or 2nd suit).

Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
I disagree. They simply cannot make the necessary changes. It is near impossible, IMO.

I was only agreeing to the extent consistent with my experiences with WW Chan. I really have no clue how MTM programs for ISAIA, HF, OXXFORD work. From what I gather, Chan uses a significantly different process. And although there is a definitely identifiable Chan silhouette, the amount of things he is willing to and can change, seems what probably lies in between MTM and bespoke, rather than what an HF MTM program is willing to do, for example.
post #55 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
I am going to go with what Ed Morel has said many times and suggest that RTW with alterations is usually just as good, and often better. I am not sure that being able to select your own fabric is much of a benefit to most MTM customers, and often it is a disadvantage to those who most perceive it as a benefit.
Fair enough again. Opinions vary. Would you see things this way for shirts and trousers too, or only for suits and jackets?
post #56 of 66
this really makes me mad-- I really hate to see anyone have a bad experience with buying a suit, and really pisses me off when it was MTM!!!! I'm curious as to what brands you had done MTM and they turned out badly, what the response of the store was, etc. I only have two mtms, and had a great experience with both; however, I feel that if they had turned out badly, the person/ store I dealt with would have made things right even if it meant taking extreme measures (replacing the garment, etc.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big A View Post
I got a couple of MTM suits and a sportcoat last week and was less than satisfied. I have been sitting here wondering why spend the money on MTM in the first place? A MTM suit is assembled for your from an existing pattern. An OTR suit is created from a pattern, then it is disassembled by your tailor and re-assembled to fit. If you have a good tailor (as I did until the fucker retired last week) then why not use the skilled tailor you know, rather than the individuals at a MTM shop?

Also, as far as I can tell, buying an OTR suit and having it tailored extensively is still cheaper than MTM. I'm assuming, of course, that you aren't buying an OTR suit at full price simply because I never have. RLPL suits, for example, can be had for anywhere between $500 and $1000. Extensive tailoring might cost $200. A decent MTM suit is around that price.

I understand the benefits of choosing your fabric, choosing your lining, etc. All of that's fun and all, but in the end you want a suit that fits. If you are buying MTM, you are at the mercy of the guy measuring you in-store. At least with OTR you know what you are dealing with ahead of time.

For me, it will be OTR and a new tailor (when I find one) or full bespoke. I'm not going to deal with MTM again.

Thoughts?
post #57 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
Fair enough again. Opinions vary. Would you see things this way for shirts and trousers too, or only for suits and jackets?

I don't know about shirts as I have not had an RTW shirt in many years. My MTMs were OK, though there were some issues that I found could not be dealt with properly. For pants, I think that altered RTW come out much better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Foxx View Post
this really makes me mad-- I really hate to see anyone have a bad experience with buying a suit, and really pisses me off when it was MTM!!!! I'm curious as to what brands you had done MTM and they turned out badly, what the response of the store was, etc. I only have two mtms, and had a great experience with both; however, I feel that if they had turned out badly, the person/ store I dealt with would have made things right even if it meant taking extreme measures (replacing the garment, etc.)

I think that his story is hardly unusual when it comes to MTM. I have done it through most of the "top" makers and through more than one store, and I have invariably been disappointed, and badly disappointed. That is why I went bespoke.
post #58 of 66
wow. I guess this is a surprise to me-- would you guys then consider the brioni I had done a fluke? the measurements and adjustments to the stock model the head tailor at bergdorf did for me seemed pretty good/ detailed to me. I mean, off the rack fits me pretty well anyways, but I felt the MTM was a much better cut/ fit for me, and wanted to do another one (or if I had the $$, I'd order 8 more!)
post #59 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Foxx View Post
wow. I guess this is a surprise to me-- would you guys then consider the brioni I had done a fluke? the measurements and adjustments to the stock model the head tailor at bergdorf did for me seemed pretty good/ detailed to me. I mean, off the rack fits me pretty well anyways, but I felt the MTM was a much better cut/ fit for me, and wanted to do another one (or if I had the $$, I'd order 8 more!)

Well, from my perspective, it comes down to an issue of value over anything else. I don't think MTM is necessarily worse that RTW for most people, but any improvement tends to be incremental or subjective at best. As you point out, RTW Brioni already fits you quite well. Moreover, it's pretty easy to obtain deeply discounted RTW.

But then, I can understand the desire to spend a lot more to achieve results that are only marginally better. For me, bespoke was just more worth it.
post #60 of 66
There is an intermediate form of MTM that is worth mentioning.

The most commonly known form of MTM--the mainstay of department stores and local haberdashers--is, for want of a better term, taking measurements and then sending it on to an offsite manufactury. The garment is then returned to the shop that takes the measurements, and if (1) the measurements were taken expertly and (2) the person or people who make the garment understand and agree with the communication of the measurements, one might end up with a garment that fits better than OTR. It seems somewhat common, however, that such MTM garments come back, and then are often altered again...ironically, almost as if they were OTR garments in the first place.

There is a subset of MTM, however, that still exists. In this subset, the person who takes your measurements (or someone in the shop) cuts the garment on premises. The cut pieces are then sent out to a manufactury, where it is assembled and returned. I believe Paul Winston (a.k.a. Chipp 2) offers something like this as his MTM, and I think Kilgour had an operation like this, which they called something like "Entry level bespoke," where the cloth was cut in London and then sewn up in China. Or the person who measures you might manipulate the block pattern directly locally, and rather than sending on simple measurements, send on an altered pattern to the manufactury for cutting and assembly (this last is the type of MTM that my bespoke tailor offers, although I have not used it).

In the more common method, the salesman or measurement taker is not directly involved in manipulating the block pattern. In fact, the person measuring you might be a clerk or a dude who owns the shop, and not a tailor, cutter or stylist. A stranger (or maybe a group of strangers) who has never seen you adjusts the pattern, and does so through (one hopes and prays) through a dry interpretation of numbers on page written up by the person who deals with you directly.

In the less common method, one is getting very close to a bespoke garment. Typically, cost savings are achieved because the quality of manufacturing (for example, the proportion of the garment sewn by hand), is ususally less than in a full-on bespoke item. And it is often the case that the offsite maker might be a large operation making a large volume of RTW in addition to taking in MTM orders, and so, have economies of scale that translate to lower prices.

Some top bespoke makers offer an MTM option, and it is quite possible to benefit from bespoke skill and insight at lower cost, whether the maker cuts your garment, or just modifies the block pattern, since they will subsequently fit the completed garment on you.

- B
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