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The Made-to-Measure Thread

induere_to

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Hey man, best of luck with your mental health issues, I hope you are getting whatever help you need. I'm glad to see you feel comfortable talking about it.

My understanding of this thread was it was a place for people to post their MTM garments and talk about the experiences they've had as customers and perhaps the iterative process to get to where they are now, so I dont want to belabor this back and forth with you too much. However, a final reply before moving on:

So, your algorithm is really just "ease". Chest measurement plus 4", waist plus 3" etc. I think thats pretty standard, and once again a benefit of try-on so you can actually see where you are starting from. On that subject, I cant understand why a try-on would cost more than your trial garments, and you can reuse them over and over. 38R-50R is only 7 suits, so I cant see how that would get remotely close to $20k. The closet space is a real concern, but rolling racks, etc.

As for the shoulder width, sleeve length and body length being the most important measures, I couldnt disagree more strongly. The most important measurements are shoulder slope and posture, because you broadly cant correct for those once a garment is made. They also dictate most of the other things about how the item fits, including the location of the armhole. Static, 2D measurements are important, but they are incomplete. Two people with the exact same measures could have wildly different shapes, posture, arm position/ sleeve pitch, pelvic tilt, etc. Some of those things you can eyeball, but thats a guess. Some of those things you wont know until theres a try-on, basted garment or finished garment on the customer. Context is incredibly important.

I also wanted to circle back about your patterns, because I'm fascinated. Are you actually producing the patterns that you send to the factory to be used for fabrication? Are you using software or freehand drawing them? I cant imagine how complicated and difficult that would be and how much effort must have gone into teaching yourself how to do that. Really impressive and I'd be interested in hearing about how you learned.

FInally, the grey pants look nice, good job.
I think you need to re-read what I wrote about how I determine a persons posture. I agree that the most important element to perfect a garments fit is shoulder posture and balance. But how are you going to measure that without a trial garment? So many people on this forum look at shoulder divots, thinking they're caused because the shoulder is narrow but that's not always the case. Actually, more than likely it isn't. Could be shoulders that are too wide, dropped, rolled or even the construction of what's inside the sleeve head. The closer the garment fits, the easier it is to resolve the issues.

And no, I meant algorithm, not ease. I've been selling ready to wear long enough to know that base measurements don't always highlight posture issues. Several of the companies I do freelance fittings for does it the same way as you. If a guy has erect posture, and sloped shoulders, you find yourself reducing a lot of fabric in the back of the chest. But, when focusing on it more clearly, turns out you're no longer pinning excess fabric, but instead you're actually pinning a posture correction that can easily be mistaken for something a lot less critical. Guys can have big guts with narrow shoulders or small guts with wide shoulders. Taking proper measurements and making a trial garment based off of those measurements to provide a better foundation to fit someone properly is the way that I found best to go about understanding how to accommodate for a persons posture. I asked a bespoke tailor (that I work very closely with) about his measurement algorithms for trousers so I could bounce ideas around and compare methods and was honestly rather dissatisfied by his answer. I disliked his lack of attention to something so crucial that when he made me a pair of trousers, I ended up questioning him about whether his lack of algorithm was cause for my qualm in the way the trousers fit. He actually laughed and said it was possible. After that, he asked for my help to develop better trouser patterns. Not trying to brag, but to prove that measurement algorithm, from my perspective, is extremely important. But if you're reducing finished measurements only then it really doesn't make much of a difference.

Also, if you're working off even-number sizing only, it's harder to accommodate for the guys that have odd number sizing. The way I go about it, if I measure a guy by one eighth of an inch, that's the size he gets in his trial garment. Posture is soooooooooo much easier to correct once you have a template that's closest to the persons actual measurements.

I started doing fittings this way when I had a client come in to Spier and Mackay looking for a tuxedo for his wedding. He and his brother both had severe scoliosis and they both had dwarfism. The owner of SM messaged me asking why I'd even take-on a customer with such crazy posture, to which I requested he tried doing a trial garment. To date, the results of those garments are among the best I've ever done; and I've learned so much since then. I can only think about how well I could do it now if I were to see them again. To be honest, I don't even think they realize all the work put into those garments, but I'm satisfied being the only one that knows. I posted pictures a while back from this fitting.
 

bdavro23

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I think you need to re-read what I wrote about how I determine a persons posture. I agree that the most important element to perfect a garments fit is shoulder posture and balance. But how are you going to measure that without a trial garment? So many people on this forum look at shoulder divots, thinking they're caused because the shoulder is narrow but that's not always the case. Actually, more than likely it isn't. Could be shoulders that are too wide, dropped, rolled or even the construction of what's inside the sleeve head. The closer the garment fits, the easier it is to resolve the issues.

And no, I meant algorithm, not ease. I've been selling ready to wear long enough to know that base measurements don't always highlight posture issues. Several of the companies I do freelance fittings for does it the same way as you. If a guy has erect posture, and sloped shoulders, you find yourself reducing a lot of fabric in the back of the chest. But, when focusing on it more clearly, turns out you're no longer pinning excess fabric, but instead you're actually pinning a posture correction that can easily be mistaken for something a lot less critical. Guys can have big guts with narrow shoulders or small guts with wide shoulders. Taking proper measurements and making a trial garment based off of those measurements to provide a better foundation to fit someone properly is the way that I found best to go about understanding how to accommodate for a persons posture. I asked a bespoke tailor (that I work very closely with) about his measurement algorithms for trousers so I could bounce ideas around and compare methods and was honestly rather dissatisfied by his answer. I disliked his lack of attention to something so crucial that when he made me a pair of trousers, I ended up questioning him about whether his lack of algorithm was cause for my qualm in the way the trousers fit. He actually laughed and said it was possible. After that, he asked for my help to develop better trouser patterns. Not trying to brag, but to prove that measurement algorithm, from my perspective, is extremely important. But if you're reducing finished measurements only then it really doesn't make much of a difference.

Also, if you're working off even-number sizing only, it's harder to accommodate for the guys that have odd number sizing. The way I go about it, if I measure a guy by one eighth of an inch, that's the size he gets in his trial garment. Posture is soooooooooo much easier to correct once you have a template that's closest to the persons actual measurements.

I started doing fittings this way when I had a client come in to Spier and Mackay looking for a tuxedo for his wedding. He and his brother both had severe scoliosis and they both had dwarfism. The owner of SM messaged me asking why I'd even take-on a customer with such crazy posture, to which I requested he tried doing a trial garment. To date, the results of those garments are among the best I've ever done; and I've learned so much since then. I can only think about how well I could do it now if I were to see them again. To be honest, I don't even think they realize all the work put into those garments, but I'm satisfied being the only one that knows. I posted pictures a while back from this fitting.
I'm not going to take the time to respond to individual points in your message. Your posts come across as a bit condescending and its very clear that you see yourself as an expert. I dont think thats the case though. I'm going to leave this here as I dont think this is the appropriate conversation for this thread, so best of luck in your endeavors and I wish you well with your business.
 

induere_to

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I'm not going to take the time to respond to individual points in your message. Your posts come across as a bit condescending and its very clear that you see yourself as an expert. I dont think thats the case though. I'm going to leave this here as I dont think this is the appropriate conversation for this thread, so best of luck in your endeavors and I wish you well with your business.
Think as you please. You'd rather read between the lines of everything I write and take my statements as personal assaults against you. In every response you've tried to correct my terminology or call out fit issues though I've never touched on yours.

We're on the same team. We're both doing what we can to do our best to dress people in whichever means we think is best, doing what we can to expand this small, meaningless subculture of the fashion industry. You don't have to like my methods, you don't have to respect me; I'm self taught with an unorthodox approach. There's a lot you have done that I can definitely learn from and that doesn't take anything away from the respect I have for you in that regard.

At the end of the day, I'll always be a piece of shit. Whatever, I'll own up to it. But, I'd rather not behave like a preteen girl.
 

Toninno

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I have the finest block patterns ever created. Tony Farelli, one of Ralph Lauren’s original pattern makers and a great teacher of mine ,made them for me. I do also use The Mitchell System. Of all of the great tailors I appreciated under, only Henry Stewart drafted patterns. Raphael, Toninno Christoforo, the Cesta Brothers all cut from blocks. Toninno Christoforo, the unparalleled genius of tailors, loved my block patterns and of course I let him use them. All of my trousers are made from Farelli blocks, as are some of my vests. A well balanced, high armhole block pattern is ever bit as good as an expertly drafted pattern- in the right hands. The Farelli pattern has a certain look as does the Mitchell. The top jacket is Farelli the bottom is Mitchell
9CFF8E28-2FB6-4510-A0AC-AC16DC6DCB7A.png
019E8BBC-378B-4B29-A918-7B6F82735682.png
 

Toninno

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I have the finest block patterns ever created. Tony Farelli, one of Ralph Lauren’s original pattern makers and a great teacher of mine ,made them for me. I do also use The Mitchell System. Of all of the great tailors I appreciated under, only Henry Stewart drafted patterns. Raphael, Toninno Christoforo, the Cesta Brothers all cut from blocks. Toninno Christoforo, the unparalleled genius of tailors, loved my block patterns and of course I let him use them. All of my trousers are made from Farelli blocks, as are some of my vests. A well balanced, high armhole block pattern is ever bit as good as an expertly drafted pattern- in the right hands. The Farelli pattern has a certain look as does the Mitchell. The top jacket is Farelli the bottom is Mitchell View attachment 1477057View attachment 1477064
40B9E1E0-A88F-4422-A567-9B8F78F1CEF2.png
EBD22820-C79B-47B9-B737-3F56D13FF13F.png
 

bdavro23

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Think as you please. You'd rather read between the lines of everything I write and take my statements as personal assaults against you. In every response you've tried to correct my terminology or call out fit issues though I've never touched on yours.

We're on the same team. We're both doing what we can to do our best to dress people in whichever means we think is best, doing what we can to expand this small, meaningless subculture of the fashion industry. You don't have to like my methods, you don't have to respect me; I'm self taught with an unorthodox approach. There's a lot you have done that I can definitely learn from and that doesn't take anything away from the respect I have for you in that regard.

At the end of the day, I'll always be a piece of shit. Whatever, I'll own up to it. But, I'd rather not behave like a preteen girl.
PM'd
 

bdavro23

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I have the finest block patterns ever created. Tony Farelli, one of Ralph Lauren’s original pattern makers and a great teacher of mine ,made them for me. I do also use The Mitchell System. Of all of the great tailors I appreciated under, only Henry Stewart drafted patterns. Raphael, Toninno Christoforo, the Cesta Brothers all cut from blocks. Toninno Christoforo, the unparalleled genius of tailors, loved my block patterns and of course I let him use them. All of my trousers are made from Farelli blocks, as are some of my vests. A well balanced, high armhole block pattern is ever bit as good as an expertly drafted pattern- in the right hands. The Farelli pattern has a certain look as does the Mitchell. The top jacket is Farelli the bottom is Mitchell View attachment 1477057View attachment 1477064
Frank, thanks for sharing these. Would you mind talking a bit about how you adjust a block pattern to a specific customer? And how would that differ from drawing one from scratch?
 

Toninno

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I asked Frank Shattuck regarding his block patterns. Here's his response (he got pretty worked up haha):

I do have block patterns that I often use. They are excellent block patterns made by one of Ralph Lauren’s first designers, Tony Farelli. The armholes in The Farelli pattern are actually higher than the Mitchell System. The Mitchell System and the farelli patterns have different lines ( silhouette ). I decide which one to use depending on the customer. If a block pattern is good it’s good. You can see in posts of mine where I often mention my Farelli patterns. In fact Toninno Christoforo loved the balance of my Farelli patterns and he often used them. And all of my pants are cut using the Farelli pants pattern. And many of my vests are Farelli.

Mitchell System (My coat)
View attachment 1476878


Farelli Block Pattern, Frank says you can see the Ralph Lauren in it.
View attachment 1476879
Here is what The Blue Book of Men’s Tailoring says an block patterns
46AD55DC-0325-4BA5-9C6F-7EFDCF768F8A.jpeg
C4EE0BFF-9CA2-4875-A7FC-2158B04510C8.jpeg
 

jaywhyy

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I like Dieworkwear's take on mtm vs bespoke:

I agree with his take.

Agree the prevalence of block patterns is more prevalent then I realized in bespoke. I knew A&S did, not aware of other Savile Row. Learn something new everyday.

Nevertheless, I would turn away if someone tried to sell me "bespoke" where I don't have a hopefully well-trained/supervised cutter translating his/her own measurements into the final drafted pattern him/herself.
 

Toninno

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Frank, thanks for sharing these. Would you mind talking a bit about how you adjust a block pattern to a specific customer? And how would that differ from drawing one from scratch?
I’d love to. Thank You. Firstly, a good block pattern is golden. Mine is good. It was made by a master designer, Tony Farelli, a student of The Sam Regal Design System. It is perfectly balanced so it makes adaptation easy if you have the knowledge, Or the books to find the knowledge. The manipulations such as stooped- erect or round back or sway back are the same as a drafted pattern—but on a drafted pattern you make the adaptations while drafting. And the block patterns are not susceptible to my mistakes which, unfortunately, occur often. On my block patterns the armhole is tried and true and the sleeve goes right in. Of all the Master tailors I’ve learned from, only henry Stewart drafted patterns. On the Mitchell System the tailor creates the armhole and the according sleeve. It’s tricky. But beautiful when set. My Mitchell System pattern has a very distinctive, 1930s cut, as this is the era it originated. It does definitely take much more tweaking and figuring than my Farelli block pattern. But the outcome is very subtle but striking, linear and handsome. But I love the Farelli as much. It’s just different. I’m long winded. 😂. Thank you. Frank.
 

classicalthunde

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My first foray into made to measure (Ring Jacket at The Armoury)
View attachment 1477397
went and visited the Armoury a couple of weeks ago, was keen on trying out their model three. It did not fit me well, and they insinuated that ring jacket was very particular and system-oriented and ultimately if OTR was not in the ball park then it might be tough to even get there with MTM.

it was interesting to hear them talk distinctly about their different MTM factories and what they can and can’t do...

Edit: also, I love the fabric choice for a first commission, classic color but an interesting pattern to chop it up a bit!
 
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stuffedsuperdud

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some of my issues were:
- fit issues: I have a narrow/forward shoulders, a barreled torso, and an 8 inch drop...my suit was just a big square block with no shape at all...I looked like i was wearing the David Byrne suit in a normal-ish size. My OTR entry-level SuitSupply fit better and had a much better silhouette, and was $300 cheaper after alterations. The suit also had a pretty obvious lapel pop when buttoned, I feel like that's a pretty unforgivable sin in custom tailoring, especially since they just could not get rid of after two rounds of 'final adjustments' (I think it was due the button placement, but cant double check since the suit is long gone)
This one is unfortunate. I started going to them after you did, and from Yelp reviews it sounds like there was indeed a major round of improvements around 2016, which was when I started going to them. I had a bunch of try-on garments to work with, and the fitter took a long time to very diligently go over things. This one might depend heavily on who looks at you. I had Burgan from the DC shop, and he's probably their best.

- experience: a minor gripe, but the whole thing was essentially measurements, try this on, '"how does it feel...good? okay." I like a bit of hand holding and stylistic guidance when seeing a tailor, I cant recall being asked even basic stuff like "is this a formal suit or a relaxed one?" or "how much shoulder padding do you like?" or "wider lapels go better with a bigger chest" etc.
This is actually something of theirs that I think is currently a strength. Since leaving DC and moving to Boston where they don't have a showroom, I've been to whichever shop is close to where I might be traveling for work, and have had uniformly good experiences throughout, so maybe that is something they've deliberately worked on. Their guys usually enjoy chatting with me once they find out I am a nerd about these things, and usually they mention having cut their teeth at SuitSupply or someplace similar before making their way here. Now I can't really speak for myself regarding how much input they provide, since I usually go in knowing exactly what I want, I have gone with a few friends (referral credits baby!) and they've been very helpful in guiding a new guy through the elements of a suit and making fabric and stylistic recommendations.

- tricky pricing scheme: I wanted a mid-grey suit and there were only navys, blacks, and charcoals at the base price from unidentified mills. I had to go up like 4 or 5 levels just to get a basic, generic mid grey, things like VBC and H&S were almost 2x the price of their entry level stuff. For a frame a reference the upcharge for VBC at KW is only $100, and base prices at Hemrajani MTM include VBC. Also, their default 'half canvas' isn't very accurate as the canvasing doesnt go through/connect to the lapel (I could be getting this part wrong on the technical side), it was a $75 upcharge to have the half canvasing go through/connect to the lapel, and a $200 something upcharge for full canvasing...at this point with all the upcharges your already squarely in the KW or Hemrajani MTM price range
Yea this one was a bit jarring the first time and I definitely felt low-balled. They gave me some sales pitch about how they're fabric distributors for various manufacturers and can get a good deal, etc. but this seemed true only for the unnamed mills. I have a few VBC garments from them, and the markup beyond the base fabrics was like $400 for a 2-piece, which interestingly is about what my tailor would upcharge me for VBC fabrics that he has to buy from an agent as opposed to bolts he has in stock, so I'm kinda thinking that the savings aspect from the wholesale side of their business only applies to the off-brand stuff. Related to this is that their fabric library isn't THAT big. They have their stock fabrics and then Loro Piana, H&S, VBC, Zegna, Reda, and Scabal, which sounds like a lot but is actually kind of limited compared to the bigger players, and I remember them being lacking in the fall/winter department, the choices limited to the VBC woolens/flannels/covert book. This might be a business decision though: their target audience is a bit bro-ish, and is probably way more interested in dressing like Dickie Greenleaf than George Smiley. A VBC Revenge book probably generates much more interest with these guys than the Fox Heritage book ever would.

The canvassing thing too was a bit odd, but I at least appreciated that from their reps I was finally able to get a straight answer about construction, instead of some #menswear gibberish about how you need to have a floating whatever that molds to your body over time blah blah.

My last order from them was a VBC 3-piece, with the half canvas option, and it was something like $1100, well above the $495 they planted in my head the very first time I went to them a few years ago hahaha. But I think that's still similar to lots of other MTM outfits making a similar product and my pattern is pretty dialed in so I am going to stick with them for now.


I’d love to. Thank You. Firstly, a good block pattern is golden. Mine is good. It was made by a master designer, Tony Farelli, a student of The Sam Regal Design System. It is perfectly balanced so it makes adaptation easy if you have the knowledge, Or the books to find the knowledge. The manipulations such as stooped- erect or round back or sway back are the same as a drafted pattern—but on a drafted pattern you make the adaptations while drafting. And the block patterns are not susceptible to my mistakes which, unfortunately, occur often. On my block patterns the armhole is tried and true and the sleeve goes right in. Of all the Master tailors I’ve learned from, only henry Stewart drafted patterns. On the Mitchell System the tailor creates the armhole and the according sleeve. It’s tricky. But beautiful when set. My Mitchell System pattern has a very distinctive, 1930s cut, as this is the era it originated. It does definitely take much more tweaking and figuring than my Farelli block pattern. But the outcome is very subtle but striking, linear and handsome. But I love the Farelli as much. It’s just different. I’m long winded. 😂. Thank you. Frank.
Welp I'm just going to read this on loop for the next hour in your voice. Frank, all of this is fascinating and it's quite refreshing to hear these precious nuggets from a primary source and not a menswear writer who might not appreciate the finer points of your craft.
 
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JJ Katz

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I suppose that one difference between MTM and Bespoke is that with bespoke you’re more likely to be able to bring your own fabric?
 

JJ Katz

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The only MTM I’ve tried is a basic internet outfit. I think the first suit was poor in fit but as I “dialled in” the measurements, it’s improved in a later jacket and odd trousers
 

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