Spring 2013

I’ve been busy lately. You may have noticed.

I work for the company that makes Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, two venerable old clothing companies in the U.S. Hart Schaffner Marx was founded in 1887 and Hickey Freeman in 1899- there’s an enormous amount of history in the two companies but like many old companies things needed to be freshened up a little. So over the last few years we have been hard at work updating the product, not least of which is the fit. The latest new things to go to market are in the Hart Schaffner Marx brand.

We have three core fits in the Hart Schaffner Marx line, two of which have been completely updated for Spring 2013, and a third one which has very limited distribution for this season and will see a wider rollout this fall. In all, with all the variations available for advance and custom orders I had about 140 new patterns to make. We will discuss the fits and elements of the suits on the company blog, but I thought readers might like a sneak preview of one of them.

Readers may be familiar with my own personal style of cutting, namely a clean chest, very little drape in the blade, a nicely suppressed waist, a higher armhole and a clean sleeve. The third core fit is all of these things, only cut a little shorter as this is part of our “fashion” offering as opposed to the more classic fits which are longer. I grabbed one of the fall samples which happen to be close to my size to shoot off a few pictures. It looks almost as good as something I might have spent hours and hours making myself by hand, which underscores the importance of fit. People tend to fetishize hand work in garments, but I always say fit should be priority number one.

Now, if these photos are any indication, I need to get some rest. I look tired!



17 Replies to “Spring 2013

  1. Very nice cut and amazing fit. I am normally not a fan of the shorter jackets/blazers, but this length looks fresh and wearable. It exposes more of your legs. Therefore, making the customer appear taller and thinner. As opposed to the new "shrunken" blazers, which I think makes most jackets on guys look too small. There more I look at the jacket in the photo, the more I am considering making a new jacket with a shorter lenght for myself. By the way, what is the normal/standard length you would make for a jacket size 38r or 40r, and what is the new length for the current jacket in the photos? …Thank you for sharing the photos and information on the new fits.

  2. It looks fantastic! Congrats on your achievement with these new lines.

    Quick question: what do you mean by "a clean chest, very little drape in the blade, a nicely suppressed waist, a higher armhole and a clean sleeve"?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. May I ask a question which, I feel the answer to may be of grate use to many interested in your blog. That being the proportioning of time, and how do you manage your time in order to complete the tailored garments you make by hand. Time a valuable and restricting commodity can be successfully managed by gaining advise from a professional such as your self . Also the consideration of sparse, and the allocation of sum where to complete sed task, would be endlessly useful to sum of your followers. In this world of little time I believe taking time to create something by hand a worthwhile exercise, and individuality a must needed exercise. vetawho@yahoo.co.uk

  4. Hi there Jeffery,

    The fit is looking great.
    Sorry, if you are feeling tired; are you truly recovered from your hand?? Having just had shoulder surgery, I am learning that the physio is something you have to go through……..I guess the same is true for you.

    I am still working on my buttonholes and will never be as perfect as you, but a girl can dream!!

    Thank you for sharing about the company you work for, I really enjoyed reading the company blog.

    Regards from the other side of the pond.

  5. Thank you, Jeffery. I enjoyed this, your company's blog post and the interview. Did you make your patterns by hand, or with a computer?

  6. That looks really nice! It's very refreshing to see a product like this coming from a traditional American company. Can you tell us about the other two lines?

  7. John- Thank you.

    David- thank you. A classic 40 R I would cut at around 30 1/2" (30 1/4" for 38R)- this one is 29".

    Alex- thank you.

    Adrienne- thank you. Some people cut with extra cloth in the chest and around the shoulder blades for effect or for comfort. Also, the sleeves on many garments tend to fit as though they were an afterthought or the patternmaker didn't know any better (particularly in the back of them). I'm a little fussy about the fit of my sleeves.

    Anonymous- when making my own garments by hand, I do it on my time off, as a hobby of sorts, so I'm not really paying attention to the time.

    Marysia- thanks again. It has been about six months and there has been no change at all- the surgeon told me that if the operation were a success, I should be completely recovered by now. So it would appear that it didn't work.

    Anonymous- thank you. At work I make patterns on the computer. On the side (for my own clothes), I make them by hand.

    Benjamin- thank you. I will be posting, in some detail, about the three core fits on the company blog some time soon. I will post a link once they are up.

  8. Have you been responsible for the patterns of the last couple of years at HSM? I've noticed a shift in the fit and have really enjoyed how the new models look on me. They've been a great sweet spot of value and fit in my wardrobe.

  9. Jeffery, I've gotten a few of the newer HSM's across my alterations table recently and I was pretty impressed with the overall quality at the price. The sport coats were $199 on sale for a cashmere plaid. Inside I noticed finishing that was a step beyond typical RTW. Seam allowances were serged. Pretty impressive cuts as well. Only the sleeves needed to be shortened a bit. Good to see an update to a classic brand.

  10. The jacket is looking great, Jeffery! Perhaps the new collections will revive interest for HSM among the younger clientele. The cut certainly shouldn't be an issue.

  11. Jeffery, you don't look tired…you look great. If anything, it's that your tie is askew a little. Is that how they're being worn nowadays? 😉 Anyway, glad you're up and at 'em again. Sorry your hand didn't heal completely.
    But, looks like you're doin' fine…can't keep a good man down.

  12. Great work on the new models — I opened the page and before reading the text, was wondering which expensive Italian firm had made it. I particularly like the shaping of the waist as seen from the front and back. The shoulders and the chest fit exceptionally well. In most RTW, the shoulders and chest are too broad, making the suit look boxy.

  13. Anonymous- I've been tweaking for a while, but Spring 13 was the first real overhaul.

    A&B- Thank you

    Ville- thanks, I hope so!

    Kim- thank you 🙂

    Anonymous- a nice compliment, thank you.

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