Made to measure often gets confused with bespoke tailoring and vice versa. We take an in depth look into them both, so that you can see just how different they really are and that when you’re making a decision on which to choose, you’ll be well informed.
What made to measure tailoring is in short
In short, made to measure is an upgrade from ready to wear, where the choice of fabric, lining and design is all yours. For some, made to measure comes as a good choice made when nothing off the peg ever really fits properly, nor looks good. Understanding that time and the measuring tape is better handed to someone with experience and expertise to ensure that the clothes you buy will fit you much better than those ‘off the peg’. If you’re not a standard height or shape, then you’ll likely be better suited to made to measure (Pardon the pun)
A Made to measure suit is initially created by a computer from a pre-made block. It is then stitched together by a sewing machine, with some but very little hand finishing. Enabling you to get a better fit with your own choice of design and fabric from a wide range of options. Made to measure suits take around 48 hours to make from start to finish with a 4-6 week turnaround time.
What bespoke tailoring is in short
Bespoke is for those who want an immaculate fit that is only wearable by the individual. A bespoke suit is hand crafted and offers a weightlessness that bespoke can only create. A bespoke suit is cut from scratch by a highly skilled tailor with years of experience. No computers are used and you have a paper pattern created exclusively for you, which is then marked out onto your chosen ‘bespoken’ fabric and then made into your suit.
A more in depth look
We’ve broken each process down for both made to measure and bespoke into the various elements from the original appointment, to the fitting process to after care so you can see the true differences between them both.
You can expect both appointments to take the same amount of time (Approximately 45minutes to 1hour) with similar questions asked, which consists of your tailor getting to know you and your preferences. Ideas are then offered to you based on your skin tone, lifestyle, preferences and reason for use.
Made to measure
Approximately 16 measurements are taken for a made to measure suit. Both body measurements are taken, with measurements from an existing suit along with noting your configurations which are explained below:
Configurations are the quirks that make your body different to others. For example:
-Posture (How you stand naturally is very important, to ensure the suit fits the way you stand)
-Arm pitch (Your arms may sit slightly forward or back and this makes an impact on how the sleeve hangs)
-Drop shoulders (Whether one or both of your shoulders slope)
-Prominent chest (Where the lapels may lift off of your chest because you have a large or built chest)
These are just a few examples. There are hundreds to choose from and it’s for the tailor to select which ones will be necessary and really make the difference. These are entered into the CAD machine, along with your measurements to create your unique suit.
Some tailors will vary on the number of measurements taken for a bespoke suit but they’re essentially relatively similar but are all taken from your body, rather than over a suit or with the use of a suit. Your configurations as above are all noted. One of the most accurate changes a bespoke suit can make over a made to measure suit is the chest. For example, a chest dart is cut into a bespoke suit to accommodate a prominent chest. On a made to measure suit, this kind of accuracy is impossible.
Made to measure
As a made to measure suit is created by a machine, there is a limit on what designs can be created but the choice is pretty wide and offers what most people could realistically want.
With bespoke tailoring, the world is your oyster so there really is no limit when it comes to the design. For example, if you wanted three pleats at the back of your suit (God forbid!) then you’ve got it.
The Pattern Cutting
Made to measure is made using a computer aided design system. Your design is entered into a computer and is laser cut to precision. Once all of the elements of your suit is cut out (into multiple pieces), its then moved on for a number of skilled tailors to stitch together by machine.
Bespoke starts with a paper pattern which will then be your eternal blueprint. Any change from future fittings are changed on the paper pattern. From there, your tailor will cut your chosen fabric which will form the first part of your fitting.
Manmade- Inside made to measure, a man made canvas is used and the thickness depends on the cloth chosen to make your suit. This gives the upper body of your suit more body and is a little stiffer because of the materials used.
Natural horse hair – Everything about bespoke uses the finest methods, this includes using natural horse hair in the canvas inside your suit (Also called interfacing) this allows for your jacket to move freely and mould to your body, where a stiffer, manmade fibre can’t.
With a made to measure suit short cuts tend to be made to keep the costs down and in a lower priced suit you will be offered, for example: plastic buttons over horne buttons, fake button holes (AKA sham) over real, opening button holes. You may be offered these at an additional cost. We offer all of the high end touches free of charge.
With a bespoke suit there are finer details such as stitching of the lapels by hand which offer a more hand crafted appearance.
As a made to measure suit is machine cut and stitched, the overall appearance firm and structured with neat seam lines. There are options such as a full, floating canvas which you find in a bespoke suit but the way it’s made is the over ruling factor here.
Bespoke suits are mainly hand made so their finished appearance is much more delicate. The suit appears just as it is; hand crafted and flows and moulds with your body like no other.
With a made to measure fitting, your suit will come already made and you may be forgiven for thinking that your tailor has simply taken it off of the shop floor. It is made straight to finish, with a few simple tweaks to bring it closer to perfection.
With a bespoke suit, you will have a fitting with a sleeve or two lightly tacked on (stitched) this enables the tailor to remove and re-place it to the best position for your body.
You will see what’s called lots of basted stitches (White stitching all over the jacket) This is lightly holding together all of the components of the suit – The outer fabric and interfacing also known as the canvas.
Time to make
Made to measure suits can be made within 2 weeks when placed on an express service. Otherwise, on average they take between 6-7 weeks with a further two weeks for fittings.
Bespoke suits are usually made between 12-16 weeks. There is much more technical skill involved and as they’re handmade, the timings can be defined by how much a Tailor has on at the time, the amount of fitting needed and of course the customers availability to attend fittings regularly.
In a good made to measure suit there should be around a 2’’ seam allowance to let in or out of course. This offers more flexibility for if, you do happen to put on weight.
Bespoke is more ‘tweakable’ once finished. Although you wouldn’t want to mess about with either of them too much after completion, as this will weaken the seams
In a good made to measure suit there should be around a 2’’ seam allowance to let out or in of course. This offers more flexibility for if, god forbid- you put on weight.
Bespoke will be the same depending on what happened during the fitting process and possibly more.
We advise that with both, that less is better when it comes to dry cleaning, as the moisture that keeps the fabric looking so lustrous can be stripped from over doing it, leaving the fabric looking shiny or lacklustre.
It’s always best to wear a suit for one day and then let it breathe for two further days and rotate accordingly.
Made to measure suits start at £1,200 for a two piece suit
Bespoke suits start at £4,000 for a two piece suit
A final synopsis of Made To Measure Tailoring vs Bespoke Tailoring
- A made to measure suit is made straight to finish with some fine tuning
- You will get a suit that is made for you in the fabric and design of your choice
- Its overall appearance is stiffer, feels more weighty and hovers over your body rather than fitting into every part of your body gently
- Made to measure is more superior to ready to wear by way of fit
- A bespoke suit is made exclusively for you with multiple fittings and tweaks until perfect
- You get a suit that is made for you in the fabric and design of your choice with added finer detailing
- It’s completely hand made from start to finish
- It is completely weightless and moulds to feels like it’s a part of you
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