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Recommendations on alterations

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by drizzt3117, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    I am considering purchasing a suit that seems to be my size in each measurement except for the chest, it is several inches too large. As it is a fully canvassed suit, should I have any reservations having it taken in an inch or two?

    I have had some suits taken out and they fit great w/o any issues, but is having suits taken in the same process? Should I have any concerns?
     
  2. kabert

    kabert Senior member

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    I wouldn't worry about it. Suits can be taken in both down the back (center seam) and from the side seams, thus allowing some flexibility. I've had suits, jackets, overcoats, etc. taken in with no problems -- as much as at least four inches (i.e., going from a 48+ inch chest to 44 or so). A couple of times, the taking in means that the shoulders have to be adjusted slightly too, but that's a small price to pay for getting a properly fitting jacket. The key is . . . finding a good tailor.
     
  3. MilanoStyle

    MilanoStyle Senior member

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    I believe that once the chest pannel is cut, you cannot alter the chest pannel.

    You may 'shrink' the chest room by tapering waist and middle back seam. But for me, I find that this does not shrink chest room at all though, it only makes your back and lats tighter fit.
     
  4. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    That's more or less what I need, just it to be taken in a bit, the width of the chest is fine.
     
  5. ernest

    ernest Senior member

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    I have the same problem on 11 new suits.
     
  6. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    I have a huge shoulder width, so whittling the chest is a perennial problem for me, and I know this issue well from 15 years of experimenting with various tailors.

    Look at a suit as a rectangular box. Taking in the center seam in the rear reduces the width of the back of the box. Taking in the side seams reduces the thickness of the box, and to some extent the width of the back.

    However, as someone else indicated, there is no seam available with which you can readily cut down the width of the front of the box, at least up high where the chest measurement is taken.

    Could you move in the arms? Only if you want to diassemble the entire arm on each side, recut a new arms eye (my usernamne is a pun on this term), and throw the position of the breast pocket off-center.

    How bout the front darts? Not much help, since they're set too low, and can't rise much without hitting the breast pocket.

    There are only three techniques that can be used, to the best of my knowledge:

    1. The so-called "Campagna chest cut", which is an old tailoring technique reinvented, involving a near-vertical dart behind each lapel, and sometimes a second dart at right angles to smooth the vertical one out. It actually pulls in the shoulder and the upper chest, so it won't work if you need shoulder width. It also requires a knowledgeable tailor and a canvassed suit.

    2. A deliberate British-style padding of the upper chest, which in essence fills up part of space with padding. Can look good, but your Schwartznegger impersonation evaporates when you doff your jacket.

    3. On a double-breasted suit with a 6-on-2 design and a high button stance, I have found you can achieve a modest degree of lower-chest adjustment by rejiggering the crossover. In essence, you increase the degree of overlap an inch or so by moving the fastening buttons outward, which simultaneously brings in the lower chest, raises the button-stance meeting point, and gives the suit more of that Thirties "high-set" look. You can't take it very far, however (an inch each side, 2 inches total), and with a canvassed suit you'll need to pay attention to the natural lapel roll point.
     
  7. kidkim2

    kidkim2 Senior member

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    Armscye--

    A brilliantly-worded, informative post.

    BTW, what's to prevent one from applying your DB advice (moving the buttons) to a SB? (I confess to having done exactly this with my navy crepe Armani.)

    Mike
     
  8. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    You can move the button maybe 3/4 of an inch on a SB suit, but any more and the distance of the button from the hem becomes obvious-- "what's that button doing way the heck in there?" plus the middle button in a SB is usually not set as high as the middle button on a DB.

    That's the virtue of a DB suit-- there's no visual reference that prevents judicious horizontal button moving. So it permits some adaptability. Then again, making a DB suit fit overall is a more complex undertaking, since there are more factors in play.
     

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