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The Made-to-Measure Thread

classicalthunde

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I’d be really interested to hear from the vendors in this thread more about the behind the scenes stuff:

- how many different factories they looked into working with, and how/why they made their decision?
- Do you have a quarterly/yearly order minimum with your factory or mills?
- what was the start up like? Approx costs, working out a design or ‘house style’?
- how many of of their own suits/sport coats do they own?
- how they went about trying to gain a strong customer base
 

othertravel

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I'm going to a wedding today, so I thought I'd share my get up for the day. This is a Dormeuil mohair/ wool navy suit in standard two button, notch, flap configuration. Personally, I think this suit looks great and is pretty close to ideal for me in terms of silhouette. If I'm honest, I'd probably like just a touch more room in it, especially the thighs of the trousers. The suit is made to the same measurements as the grey one I posted earlier, but they fit differently. Manufacturing tolerances are around 1/4 of an inch, so theorectically, you could have as much as 1/2 an inch difference between two garments if they cut and sew on opposite sides of the line. Thats unlikely, but it could happen. The other thing that makes this suit fit a little closer than I'd like is the mohair, since it tends to be on the stiffer side.

Anyway, it isnt uncomfortable, I'd just prefer a bit more room. Pictures:

View attachment 1479010View attachment 1479011View attachment 1479012View attachment 1479013View attachment 1479014
looks great! What do you think about a slightly higher rise?
 

Bromley

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I’d be really interested to hear from the vendors in this thread more about the behind the scenes stuff:

- how many different factories they looked into working with, and how/why they made their decision?
- Do you have a quarterly/yearly order minimum with your factory or mills?
- what was the start up like? Approx costs, working out a design or ‘house style’?
- how many of of their own suits/sport coats do they own?
- how they went about trying to gain a strong customer base
1) If you're thinking about starting a MTM operation, you probably already have some idea of what you're looking for style, quality, flexibility, price-wise. That helps narrow down the range of workshops you'll want to try out, which is good, since each test requires a considerable investment of time and effort. It's extremely helpful, if not imperative, to visit these workshops in person. It's important to see how they operate, to make personal connections, to get a sense of what it will be like to work together. Maybe the product is excellent, but the reliability is shaky. You'll want to figure this out early on.

There is a huge range of MTM factories out there-- from large workshops with CAD software and automated cutting equipment, to tiny family-run workshops. There are varying advantages and disadvantages throughout this spectrum. Your own criteria (let's say style, quality, flexibility, cost, business relationship), will inform your decision. You may find exactly what you're after with the first workshop, or maybe only find it with the seventh.

2) Some (larger) workshops request that you meet certain minimums. Others do not.

3) Start up costs depend on a lot of factors. Will the factory work with you to customize unique features? It may take a few tests to get those right. Will you work off of try-on clothes? These are all things you'll have to pay for.

4) At the beginning you will own the results of tests that did not go as well as you'd like. Clothes that, for whatever reason, you decided weren't good enough. You will want to wear these clothes, though, because you paid quite a bit of money for them, you do like the cloth, and they're almost good. But you can't wear them for work at your new MTM shop, because (hopefully) they're not representative of the better MTM clothes you're able to make now. This will bother you. You do need to wear your own clothes, so you will pay more money than you'd like for a bunch of new MTM clothes, and then you will feel pretty good.

5) I believe that if you do consistently excellent work (whatever it may be), people will find you, stick with you, and be excited to tell other people about what you do. This is ideal, but it's not easy. I do also think you can make a lot of money selling sub-par products if your marketing and PR is good. But don't do that.
 

bdavro23

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looks great! What do you think about a slightly higher rise?
This is a 10.5" rise. If I go a bit longer, my trousers tend to slide down to this position, but then the crotch is a couple inches too low and is uncomfortable. I have experimented with this over the years a fair amount. I would need to go to somewhere around at 13.5" ish, maybe 14 inch rise to get to my natural waist and thats simply too high for me.

An added complication in my trouser fitting is that I have what they call in the industry a "huge ass". This makes everything more difficult. With all that being said, I think I am going to experiment with a little bit more relaxed trouser fit in the near future. Not loose, but perhaps a little softer around the edges. Ease the hip, thigh and knee just a touch and create a little more shape. We'll see and I'll post the outcome here if I have something made up.
 

hpreston

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I'm going to a wedding today, so I thought I'd share my get up for the day. This is a Dormeuil mohair/ wool navy suit in standard two button, notch, flap configuration. Personally, I think this suit looks great and is pretty close to ideal for me in terms of silhouette. If I'm honest, I'd probably like just a touch more room in it, especially the thighs of the trousers. The suit is made to the same measurements as the grey one I posted earlier, but they fit differently. Manufacturing tolerances are around 1/4 of an inch, so theorectically, you could have as much as 1/2 an inch difference between two garments if they cut and sew on opposite sides of the line. Thats unlikely, but it could happen. The other thing that makes this suit fit a little closer than I'd like is the mohair, since it tends to be on the stiffer side.

Anyway, it isnt uncomfortable, I'd just prefer a bit more room. Pictures:

View attachment 1479010View attachment 1479011View attachment 1479012View attachment 1479013View attachment 1479014
Bravo! It looks like you have absolutely nailed your fit.

Incredibly sharp, @bdavro23. The back in particular looks immaculate in that somewhat unforgiving cloth.
Came here to say same. The back is immaculate.
 

FlyingHorker

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I'm going to a wedding today, so I thought I'd share my get up for the day. This is a Dormeuil mohair/ wool navy suit in standard two button, notch, flap configuration. Personally, I think this suit looks great and is pretty close to ideal for me in terms of silhouette. If I'm honest, I'd probably like just a touch more room in it, especially the thighs of the trousers. The suit is made to the same measurements as the grey one I posted earlier, but they fit differently. Manufacturing tolerances are around 1/4 of an inch, so theorectically, you could have as much as 1/2 an inch difference between two garments if they cut and sew on opposite sides of the line. Thats unlikely, but it could happen. The other thing that makes this suit fit a little closer than I'd like is the mohair, since it tends to be on the stiffer side.

Anyway, it isnt uncomfortable, I'd just prefer a bit more room. Pictures:
The fit is great, I dig it.

Thoughts on having fairly roomier trousers in terms of cut?
 

induere_to

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I’d be really interested to hear from the vendors in this thread more about the behind the scenes stuff:

- how many different factories they looked into working with, and how/why they made their decision?
- Do you have a quarterly/yearly order minimum with your factory or mills?
- what was the start up like? Approx costs, working out a design or ‘house style’?
- how many of of their own suits/sport coats do they own?
- how they went about trying to gain a strong customer base
Priority was looking for a factory that was easy to communicate with so that QC had as little issues as possible and that they were willing to do accommodate my nit-picky minor details. Working in MTM over the years, I knew what worked for me and what didn't; and in addition, getting the best results possible. The first factory I've communicated with is UNUA, from Spain. They're factory is in Portugal and though his English is great, I was able to communicate with him in Spanish. For context, this was five years ago when my company was something I wanted to work towards and figuring out how to nourish the seed. I was looking for a manufacturer in Spain because I wanted to support the country I grew up in; so in the beginning, I was trying to filter through any Spanish factory I could find. I decided not to go with them at the time because they had not developed women's patterns as women's tailoring was my main point of interest. More recently, I had been approached by many factories in China. I recall I made a trouser for a friend of mine (woman) that ended up with pretty great results, but the website process was all drop down menu and had a more Made to Order process rather than allowing me to have all creative freedom that I wanted. I made a sort of two-piece jumpsuit waistcoat/trouser combo for another girl that I was planning to style for an editorial shoot with a local published photographer that turned out to be a nightmare. The factory didn't like the measurements I took and fought me on the length of the waistcoat. I told them to use their better judgement and they lengthened it by two inches from what I requested initially, once received and I did the fitting, it was obvious the waistcoat needed to be shortened exactly by those two inches. They apologized and I never worked with them again.

I've been approached by factories like Saint Gregory in Naples whom are exceptional people and have outstanding work; I've seen some of the bespoke garments they've made for Erik @EFV and I have many friends that work with them and I absolutely love their finished product. At XXXX euros at sample price was a bit high for someone like me wanting to start out small so I encouraged them to remain in contact with me for the near future, once I feel I'm ready. Last January, at Pitti, I sat down with Vasili, the owner of Bespoke Athens and at the table with us were Banfi, the owner of Saint Andrews in Italy and Bogdan of Twins Bespoke in Poland. For those who may not know, Saint Andrews is one of the first Italian handmade suit manufacturers in Italy. As was told to me, they were the manufacturers for some of the tailor shops on Savile Row once the were permitted to manufacture outside of the United Kingdom. Once Saint Andrews became too expensive, Twins Bespoke was the second option. At a XXXX euros CMT manufacturing cost, I now know why companies they manufacture for sell for such high prices OTR (RLPL as an example). At the time I was working for Spier and Mackay and they wanted to see some of the MTM items I was wearing. They examined every square centimetre of my jacket, impressed, asked me the manufacturing cost, to which I replied XX euros. They laughed and went on a tangent that Chinese manufacturing is progressing rapidly, stomping out bad reputations and threatening Italian manufacturing.

With this in mind, I decided to contact one of my older manufacturers that I had experimented with and push them to see what options they had that would benefit me. They were able to adjust any patterns as requested and I didn't have to work off base models or try-ons. Instead, as mentioned earlier, I measure my clients for a one-time fitting garment, and make adjustments off those for my first fitting and place orders that way. I didn't want to screw around with trying to design my own house-cut because I didn't want to over-complicate things with them. Instead, I'd ask them for pictures of how they assembled a shirt shoulder or how they opened or closed their quarters. From what they'd provide, I'd build off of. As one example, they made me a suit that was supposed to be a soft shoulder, had plenty shirring but for my next order I asked if they could do the same, but to remove the sleeve head entirely for more of an actual shirt construction. I loved the results.

Finding manufacturers can be a process, not everyone is as patient as me, but it paid off. Ideally, I'd still rather run a bespoke shop in the future. Communication is key, having a factory in a 12-hour time difference doesn't make things all that easy. There is no MOQ required with my factory either which answers the second question. I initially decided to go the route of doing custom cashmere sweaters and this factory was my go-to. They made beautiful sweaters but their downfall was that they only did cashmere. As they tried introducing me to factory after factory I gave up as a lot of the samples ended up turning out rather shy from my expectations. Each factory had it's own policy on MOQ order regulations so I'll just have to re-approach it in the future.

From my factory I own one suit currently with several in development. But I have numerous trouser and jacket orders from them, obviously not including the garments I've made for clients. Which, to answer the last question, my clients are currently close friends and clients from previous companies. I refuse business from some people and I'm currently looking into options to have people fill out application forms to shop from me. For several reasons, which will have to be another post. Spier would not allow me to take a lot of clients overseas or anyone that was not local, so I'm currently working on some fitting garments for guys like @Caustic Man and several guys in Germany and Sweden that have reached out willing to contribute in my growth and experience with remote fittings on-line that I've always been skeptical towards. As the process continues, I can try to share as much as I can as long as it means something to someone that is willing to learn from all of my mistakes.
 
Last edited:

bdavro23

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Priority was looking for a factory that was easy to communicate with so that QC had as little issues as possible and that they were willing to do accommodate my nit-picky minor details. Working in MTM over the years, I knew what worked for me and what didn't; and in addition, getting the best results possible. The first factory I've communicated with is UNUA, from Spain. They're factory is in Portugal and though his English is great, I was able to communicate with him in Spanish. For context, this was five years ago when my company was something I wanted to work towards and figuring out how to nourish the seed. I was looking for a manufacturer in Spain because I wanted to support the country I grew up in; so in the beginning, I was trying to filter through any Spanish factory I could find. I decided not to go with them at the time because they had not developed women's patterns as women's tailoring was my main point of interest. More recently, I had been approached by many factories in China. I recall I made a trouser for a friend of mine (woman) that ended up with pretty great results, but the website process was all drop down menu and had a more Made to Order process rather than allowing me to have all creative freedom that I wanted. I made a sort of two-piece jumpsuit waistcoat/trouser combo for another girl that I was planning to style for an editorial shoot with a local published photographer that turned out to be a nightmare. The factory didn't like the measurements I took and fought me on the length of the waistcoat. I told them to use their better judgement and they lengthened it by two inches from what I requested initially, once received and I did the fitting, it was obvious the waistcoat needed to be shortened exactly by those two inches. They apologized and I never worked with them again.

View attachment 1480438
*The female trouser I made (pre-alteration obviously).

I've been approached by factories like Saint Gregory in Naples whom are exceptional people and have outstanding work; I've seen some of the bespoke garments they've made for Erik @EFV and I have many friends that work with them and I absolutely love their finished product. 900 euros at sample price was a bit high for someone like me wanting to start out small so I encouraged them to remain in contact with me for the near future, once I feel I'm ready. Last January, at Pitti, I sat down with Vasili, the owner of Bespoke Athens and at the table with us were Banfi, the owner of Saint Andrews in Italy and Bogdan of Twins Bespoke in Poland. For those who may not know, Saint Andrews is one of the first Italian handmade suit manufacturers in Italy. As was told to me, they were the manufacturers for some of the tailor shops on Savile Row once the were permitted to manufacture outside of the United Kingdom. Once Saint Andrews became too expensive, Twins Bespoke was the second option. At 1500 euros CMT manufacturing cost, I now know why companies they manufacture for sell for such high prices OTR (RLPL as an example). At the time I was working for Spier and Mackay and they wanted to see some of the MTM items I was wearing. They examined every square centimetre of my jacket, impressed, asked me the manufacturing cost, to which I replied roughly 250 euros as an estimate. They laughed and went on a tangent that Chinese manufacturing is progressing rapidly, stomping out bad reputations and threatening Italian manufacturing.

With this in mind, I decided to contact one of my older manufacturers that I had experimented with and push them to see what options they had that would benefit me. They were able to adjust any patterns as requested and I didn't have to work off base models or try-ons. Instead, as mentioned earlier, I measure my clients for a one-time fitting garment, and make adjustments off those for my first fitting and place orders that way. I didn't want to screw around with trying to design my own house-cut because I didn't want to over-complicate things with them. Instead, I'd ask them for pictures of how they assembled a shirt shoulder or how they opened or closed their quarters. From what they'd provide, I'd build off of. As one example, they made me a suit that was supposed to be a soft shoulder, had plenty shirring but for my next order I asked if they could do the same, but to remove the sleeve head entirely for more of an actual shirt construction. I loved the results.

Finding manufacturers can be a process, not everyone is as patient as me, but it paid off. Ideally, I'd still rather run a bespoke shop in the future. Communication is key, having a factory in a 12-hour time difference doesn't make things all that easy. There is no MOQ required with my factory either which answers the second question. I initially decided to go the route of doing custom cashmere sweaters and this factory was my go-to. They made beautiful sweaters but their downfall was that they only did cashmere. As they tried introducing me to factory after factory I gave up as a lot of the samples ended up turning out rather shy from my expectations. Each factory had it's own policy on MOQ order regulations so I'll just have to re-approach it in the future.

From my factory I own one suit currently with several in development. But I have numerous trouser and jacket orders from them, obviously not including the garments I've made for clients. Which, to answer the last question, my clients are currently close friends and clients from previous companies. I refuse business from some people and I'm currently looking into options to have people fill out application forms to shop from me. For several reasons, which will have to be another post. Spier would not allow me to take a lot of clients overseas or anyone that was not local, so I'm currently working on some fitting garments for guys like @Caustic Man and several guys in Germany and Sweden that have reached out willing to contribute in my growth and experience with remote fittings on-line that I've always been skeptical towards. As the process continues, I can try to share as much as I can as long as it means something to someone that is willing to learn from all of my mistakes.
It may not have occured to you, but there might be clients of some of the companies who's names you've dropped reading this. Its pretty inconsiderate/ irresponsible to quote wholesale prices in an open forum. You probably want to edit your post.
 

induere_to

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It may not have occured to you, but there might be clients of some of the companies who's names you've dropped reading this. Its pretty inconsiderate/ irresponsible to quote wholesale prices in an open forum. You probably want to edit your post.
If positive feedback on your behalf was a drinking game, StyleForum would become a Temperance Movement.
 

bdavro23

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If positive feedback on your behalf was a drinking game, StyleForum would become a Temperance Movement.
Surely you dont need positive feedback from me, since apparently the rest of the menswear world is clamoring for you to make clothing for them and fix their fitting systems. Instead of dropping all these names why dont you become an affiliate vendor and start dropping your collection?
 

FlyingHorker

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It may not have occured to you, but there might be clients of some of the companies who's names you've dropped reading this. Its pretty inconsiderate/ irresponsible to quote wholesale prices in an open forum. You probably want to edit your post.
Hrm, why is the bolded a bad thing? I don't understand.
 

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