To Clarify the Difference - MTM, Custom, Bespoke

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by texasmade10, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. texasmade10

    texasmade10 Well-Known Member

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    I would like to have a page so people can discuss the differences because I know different people have different understandings. Here is my view.

    MTM - Basically a glorified ready to wear suit. It is machine cut to a pre-made size based on the clients measurments.

    Custom - Handcut pieces to each elements of the suit.

    Bespoke - Handcut as well with multiple fittings.

    Anyone want to add? This is just a quick reference.
     


  2. Maccimus

    Maccimus Senior member

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    My understanding:
    Typical MTM: pre-made suit, altered according to the measurements taken by the salesman, no fittings
    Improved MTM: patterns be made according to the measurements, by hand or by computer program, made by a factory or workshop, can have zero or multiple fittings
    Bespoke: patterns be made according to the measurements by hand, considerable care be taken to ensure the perfectness, most of the work be finished in-house
     


  3. Matt S

    Matt S Senior member

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    Custom has no meaning. To some it is bespoke, to others a MTM suit is a custom suit. Bespoke is a term mostly used in England. MTM varies amongst different companies. MTM in every case takes a set pattern and modifies it, whereas in bespoke a pattern is made just for you based on your measurements. Some MTM companies use more of your measurements than others. Some companies offer more models and options than others. Even with bespoke, you are often limited to a "house style." Some bespoke tailors are more versatile than others.
     


  4. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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  5. .Kurtz.

    .Kurtz. Senior member

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    Custom might carry the nuance of having a different/specific design demanded by each customer. Bespoke would be regular patterns cut to the specific measure of each customer.
     


  6. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    "MTM" means cut by machine from a pre-existing, standardized pattern with only certain features available. Measurments can be adjusted but only within a limited range. There is a choice of fabric but it is often limited to fabrics stocked in-house by the manufacturer.

    "Bespoke" means cut by hand from a paper pattern specifically made for you with any features you can talk the tailor into implementing. Measurments can be whatever they need to be. In theory, any fabric can be used though the tailor may only be able to order from certain labels.

    "Custom" means you are about to get screwed.
     


  7. musicguy

    musicguy Senior member

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    "MTM" means cut by machine from a pre-existing, standardized pattern with only certain features available. Measurments can be adjusted but only within a limited range. There is a choice of fabric but it is often limited to fabrics stocked in-house by the manufacturer.

    "Bespoke" means cut by hand from a paper pattern specifically made for you with any features you can talk the tailor into implementing. Measurments can be whatever they need to be. In theory, any fabric can be used though the tailor may only be able to order from certain labels.

    "Custom" means you are about to get screwed.


    This!
     


  8. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    MTM= Made to your measurements.. which = custom.
    Bespoke is an English term that = Custom in the US

    sometimes MTM is confused with stock specials.
    this is the process of using basic block patterns with a choice of fabric and usually
    collar and cuff style and a sleeve length.

    a benchmade garment is a handmade suit.

    the terms are all very confusing.
    the important part is if the garment fits. and you are comfortable
     


  9. a tailor

    a tailor Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    ok here we go. most people that are not tailors hear the terms custom/ bespoke, and make up their idea of what the terms mean. they then tell others, and soon everyone misunderstands.
    now here we go.

    made to measure: a store person takes measurements, and then sends the measurements in to a factory. harts or oxxford or some other.
    in the factory a standard size pattern is used and adjusted to fit the customers measurements.


    in a ready to wear factory the garment runs through the same assembly line as the stock size garments. the finished garment is shiped to the store.
    this can be for garments at the low prices as well as the very high price ones.


    some mtm production shops are established just to make mtm garments only. they also vary widely in prices.
    the same procedure is used.
    but in this case some of these shops can vary the styling lapels,pockets, etc, etc.
    also some can arrange for a basted fitting, or even more fittings to be made. assisting for a better fitting garment.



    custom/bespoke
    why the slash? because they both mean the same thing.

    the customer is measured,a pattern is made, cloth is cut. a coat maker makes the coat. a vest maker makes the vest. a pant maker makes the pant. each tailor is a specialest. one or more fittings are made to be sure things are going right at different stages of construction.
    these fittings are done by the cutter.


    my dictionary says bespeak is, =to ask or arrange for in advance.
    also, bespoke is, =past tense of bespeak.
    also custom made is, =made to order.
    notice that the definition has nothing to do with quality or type of workmanship.
    bespoke only refers to what the customer does. not what the tailor does.
    check your dictionary.

    when i began my apprentice ship in 1949 there were many real custom tailor establishments in the U.S. alas there are very few today. they all proudly called themselves custom tailors, not bespoke.
    in fact few even heard of the term. in recent years somehow the term came here from across the pond. people seemed to like the sound and elegance of the word,
    so the american custom tailor became bespoke. to me a sad turn of events. i think that custom is still a good american word.
     


  10. texasmade10

    texasmade10 Well-Known Member

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    I am not understanding the major difference between MTM and Custom. MTM you can still select your fabric/cut/style etc right? So the only difference is it is put in a machine to be cut to your size? This means that if there is no machine use din the process it is bespoke right?
     


  11. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I am not understanding the major difference between MTM and Custom. MTM you can still select your fabric/cut/style etc right? So the only difference is it is put in a machine to be cut to your size? This means that if there is no machine use din the process it is bespoke right?

    you are getting caught up in terminology.

    you could pick your fabric have a tailor make you a paper pattern. and then sew the entire jacket by machine. even fusing the fronts.

    or
    you could have a tailor chalk the measurements on to the fabric and make the entire garment by hand.

    or
    You could have a salesmen take intricate measurements. send them off via computer to a factory far far away.
    the computer operator inputs measurements, the computer adjusts for all of the measurements.
    the fabric is then cut by an automated knife cutter. then the garment has a full canvas and the garment has various degrees of handwork.


    which is better which is worse?

    the one I want is the one that fits the best!
     


  12. ktrp

    ktrp Senior member

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    They aren't clear categories with clear boundaries.

    Its best to understand a given maker's process, and go from there.

    Using standard pattern pieces in combination is cheaper then making new patterns.

    New patterns as scaled up/down versions of standard patterns is cheaper then creating a new pattern from scratch.

    More options are more expensive then less if they force things towards more customized patterns.

    More fittings is better then less.

    And of course there are differences in how things are made and finished.


    I have a few suits made by a hong kong based M2M outfit who swings through the city I'm in twice a year. They state:

    "Unlike modern tailors who use standard set patterns, [our] tailors traditionally use a handrule to cut a suit or shirt based on the individual measurements taken....Paper patterns are exclusively made and retained for each individual customer to ensure future garments are consistent throughout the years."

    Also:
    "As designers we not only keep abreast of current trends, we are happy to create. In fact we relish this part of our work and are always open to new ideas. Bring us a magazine cut-out or describe what you want and we will incorporate your individuality wherever possible."

    They will record requested adjustments to tweak your patterns for future orders.

    There are no fittings, obviously. They take a photo of you to pass on to the tailors along with the measurements. I believe the end results are fused.

    These guys allow for way higher customization then the average M2M place, while in other ways being 'lower' quality (fused, no fittings, etc.).

    Which brings me to me original point - there aren't clear distinctions with set boundaries. There are lower/higher levels of service, customization and interaction. You can't just say 'this place is m2m'.
     


  13. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    MTM - Basically a glorified ready to wear suit. It is machine cut to a pre-made size based on the clients measurments.

    From a construction quality perspective, I'd say that's about right. But the big advantage of MTM (IMHO) is not that it's made to your measurements (because it really isn't much more than tailored off-the-rack), but that it's made to your specifications. You choose the fabric from a books of hundreds of fabrics, not from the 20 that they decided to make OTR this season. You can mix and match trouser and jacket styles, and you usually have some flexibility around pocket styles, etc.

    From my experience, it's not the fit that's 'made' for you, but the fabric and other 'options'.
     


  14. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    From a construction quality perspective, I'd say that's about right. But the big advantage of MTM (IMHO) is not that it's made to your measurements (because it really isn't much more than tailored off-the-rack), but that it's made to your specifications. You choose the fabric from a books of hundreds of fabrics, not from the 20 that they decided to make OTR this season. You can mix and match trouser and jacket styles, and you usually have some flexibility around pocket styles, etc.

    From my experience, it's not the fit that's 'made' for you, but the fabric and other 'options'.


    it is made toyour measurements
    most computer pattern programs can be manipulated to achieve excellent fit.
    the main issue is who took the measurements and and if the block pattern for the garment is what the customer is looking for.
     


  15. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    it is made toyour measurements
    most computer pattern programs can be manipulated to achieve excellent fit.
    the main issue is who took the measurements and and if the block pattern for the garment is what the customer is looking for.


    Yes, but from a stock pattern / model. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't made to your measurements, just that in terms of value, in my opinion, the big upside to MTM over OTR is not the 'custom' measurements, but the ability to select fabric / options that aren't available OTR.

    And in terms of fit, I'm not really sure that MTM is any better fit-wise than tailoring an OTR suit (except for cases where there are fitting extremes).
     


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