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The Bespoke Process

The Bespoke Process

A bespoke suit from Oliver Brown is an immaculately hand-cut, hand-sewn, and hand-finished garment. It takes over 80 hours of labour to craft a fully-bespoke garment. Read on to learn about the process involved in crafting a bespoke suit.


Our bespoke room, opened in the summer of 2017, is proudly positioned at the front of our shop on Lower Sloane Street, allowing passers-by to view our head cutter at work and offering customers the opportunity to have fittings at the heart of bespoke creation. Upon a first visit to our bespoke room, one of our tailors will guide you through choosing the cloth and style of your suit. Selecting a cloth from the thousands we have available involves a discussion about how your suit will be used and whether it will be for a particular occasion. We will then offer guidance and expert advice on the styles available. Everything is possible at this stage, and nearly any request can be met. Our house style is both modern and imbued with points of historical influence. The final part of a first visit involves taking dozens of precise measurements that consider your posture, figure, and individual needs.


The tailoring process involves traditional hand-made methods of production that are adapted to meet each client’s individual needs. The work begins in earnest when our tailor creates a unique pattern for you. This pattern is used as a template to strike the cloth with chalk and cut by hand. At this stage, our cutters leave extra cloth (called inlay) to allow the suit to be altered.


Once the cloth has been cut to shape, it is handed over to the appropriate specialist maker (whether for coats, waistcoats, or trousers) in order to begin its construction. Additional materials are added, such as the three layers of natural horse-hair canvassing that gives the suit its shape.


It is often said that the first fitting is more for the tailor than the client. At this point, the coat and trousers will resemble the final garment but will be lacking pockets, lapel facings, button-holes, and permanent stitching. This is so that changes can be made to fit and styling to ensure that the client is not simply fitting into a suit, but that the suit is molded to their figure, to create a uniquely harmonious design.


The baste stitches are then removed so that the cloth can be pressed and re-cut, taking into account any alterations that have been made during the first fitting. Patterns are altered at this stage as well, so that any future garments can reflect these precise changes to fit and style. The creation of a bespoke garment is an investment in time as well as the final product—a process that evolves and ensures the highest-quality finished product. Once this stage has finished, the cloth is returned to the maker to be prepared for a second fitting. Pockets, linings, and facings are added, creating a more finished product.


During the second fitting, the tailor will check the progress of the suit against initial measurements and alterations to its pattern, including but not limited to: the break over the shoe, the seat of the trousers, the drape, the neck point and cuffs. At this point, the suit will begin to resemble the finished garment.


The suit is dismantled once again after the forward fitting to make any final, meticulous alterations. A finisher hand creates the button-holes and stitches the linings, pockets, and facings. Pressing of the cloth is one of the most crucial steps before a suit is finished. This gives definition and a sharp appearance to the garment.


At this point, the suit is ready to be collected, and many of our customers choose to wear their new garment out of the shop with pride. However, we have all of our customers try on their suit before it is allowed to leave the shop so that one of our tailors can cast an expert eye over their work, checking for even the most minute fault in fit or craftsmanship. Advice is also given to the customer about how to best care for their new suit. Each customer’s final master pattern is kept on file in the shop to create the foundation of any future garments. Through the life of a bespoke garment, we offer a complimentary repair service work the working parts of a suit: should a button go missing or a zip fail to work, we will happily replace these. We also offer a courtesy sponge and press for our bespoke garments.