A New Approach to Bespoke

The tl;dr versions- scroll down for an opportunity to buy tailored clothing made in Europe from your own personal pattern at a deeply discounted price.  Oh, and help us out at the same time.

It’s a widely-accepted belief that a bespoke suit must start with a unique pattern drafted from a customer’s individual measurements.  The early twentieth century saw the proliferation of “scientific” drafting systems that bespoke cutters could use to interpret the body measurements.  These systems were full of seemingly complex math, but had the great shortfall of needing to be simple enough to learn and remember.  Anyone who has used any of these systems to draft and sew a pattern knows that the first draft was usually pretty clunky and needed a lot of fittings and revisions.

At about the same time, hordes of engineers and pattern designers were perfecting the art of creating production-ready patterns that would, theoretically, fit the population without much alteration.  The made-to-measure industry grew up offering clothing made from basic block patterns which had the benefit of having been refined and perfected but also fairly generic in fit. The assumptions used to develop the grading rules which would extend that base block pattern into a variety of sizes are now understood to be incorrect; most of the anthropometric data used was gathered from surveys of the military in order to make uniforms, first during the civil war in the US, then succeeding world wars.  We know that members of the military are younger and fitter than the average suit-wearing male so this data is no longer considered accurate. New, better data now exists.

I have spent over 25 years working in both bespoke tailoring and in suit manufacturing.  I have long wanted to take what I have learned in some of the best clothing factories in the world and apply that to a new drafting system.  One that would rely on computing and algorithms rather than having to be a simple-to-remember system of proportions.

Almost a year ago I was approached by a group of clever Europeans who had already started such a project, wanting to know if I would be interested in joining them in developing their software which was initially based on the old drafting system concept but for a modern customer.  There are many sites on the internet which already claim to be able to create custom clothing based on measurements alone, or on photos or 3D scans of the body and I would have loved to have found a product which can actually do what it claims to, but most (perhaps all) of these companies are full of super-smart software engineers with little to no clothing and tailoring backgrounds.  For this reason, I was initially skeptical, but when we met in Amsterdam last May, I instead found that one was also a tailor, like me, and that we were on the same wavelength about a lot of things, so I accepted to partner with them.

An early test.
An early test.

Now here’s the call to action.  Our initial tests have been very promising and we need to start beta testing this in the wild.  We are offering a very limited number of fabrics (in order to control for variables) to be made into suits that are made-to-measure using a bespoke-quality pattern, made individually to your own measurements, at a deeply-discounted rate.  The only requirement is that you be within driving distance of Amsterdam, as one of our partners will come measure you, and you need to consent to being photographed as part of our testing of 3D scanning technology.  We are particularly interested in difficult fits and people who will break our system- it improves every time we make a garment. Interested parties can contact Peter Van Dongen at peter@tailoredby.eu

EDIT- Max requested a side view. I have a couple of photos of a wrinkly basted fitting shell done for the brother of one of our team members who is a somewhat challenging fit as he is quite muscular.

One Reply to “A New Approach to Bespoke”

  1. Great to see you back Jeffery!
    The example you posted is quite interesting–do you have a side view picture? It seems to be a “modern” ie short/slim jacket but decently balanced. This is quite rare becuase I have seen countless failures in MTM/bespoke industry, where people try to create a slim jacket, the balance is off. A common mistake I observed is they simply shrink everything from a standard pattern, including the width and length of back piece. And then the narrow/short back drags the entire jacket backward, which makes the jacket looks roughly Okay when unbuttoned but extremely terrible when buttoned…

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