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My first English bespoke suit

17 June 2009


My tailoring is taking a step up in the world. I’m having my first English bespoke suit made.

The tailor is Graham Browne, whom I have written about on this blog previously. They are located on Well Court, just off Bow Lane in the City. I had originally gone in there for alterations but decided to take the plunge with bespoke as well.

All my previous bespoke suits had been made by Edward Tam in Hong Kong but, while entirely satisfied with Edward’s work, I liked the fact that I would be able to get more of an insight into the bespoke process at Graham Browne.

Edward’s English is very good, but it is not always easy to have conversations about the finer points of jacket construction – the communication level is just not high enough. And, more importantly, I have never seen Edward’s suits being made. At Browne, the cutting is done on the premises, so I can witness that, and the sewing is done by a group based in north London, which again I will be able to visit. This will both enlighten me and, hopefully, provide some interesting reading.
gb-wools1
I wanted an investment suit, one that is conservative enough to last me a long time and get value out of the extra money spent on bespoke. But I was also keen to have a double-breasted suit – because it is so much harder to get a good fit off the peg.

So I went for mid-blue cloth, to be made into a 6×4 double-breasted suit. I always like to have some surface interest to the material – some texture, essentially – so I looked for herringbones with some variation in the blue. Pictured are two I decided between, eventually going for the Botany merino.

I do like buttons. Probably for similar reasons to the surface texture in the wool: I like little, subtle points of individuality. Not wearing my watch over my cuff, but having brown horn buttons on a blue suit, with a nice pattern to them. Again, pictured a few I picked between, with the final decision being number 4 on this picture.
gb-shoulders
Other style points: I like a relatively built-up shoulder on a jacket, as I have sloping shoulders myself; I like a slight rope to the sleevehead; and I like the gorge (where lapels and collar meet) set a little bit higher to give a longer, fuller sweep to the lapel – in this case 2.5 inches from the shoulder rather than Browne’s standard 3.5.

One last point to consider is that I will, obviously, never undo my jacket, even when sitting down. So any ways to make this more comfortable (possibly for hours on end) are a boon. Therefore the armholes will be cut rather small and high, to give maximum reach without pulling at the back of the jacket, and the sleevehead will be fuller for similar reasons – though with a roped shoulder there is already a little bit more material in the sleevehead anyway.

Next post at the first fitting, in two weeks.
gb-tweed