7 features that make a made to measure suit

7 features that make a made to measure suit

You pick up a measuring tape, note that the customer is slim and has no bum and thats it right? Wrong! When we create a suit, we pay a lot of attention to our customers body structure. It’s not until we see them in boxers and t-shirts. (We may sure the heaters are on for this) that we can see the body properly.

A customer can come in wearing a baggy pair of trousers and there’s a pair of super slim legs hidden inside. By taking note of their body structure, we can really see what we are working with and ensure that we cut a suit that is ideal for the customer.

This is where a lot of tailors go wrong. It takes time and patience to fully train a tailor, whether they’re measuring for a made to measure suit or bespoke. In some ways, its actually more difficult to measure for made to measure initially, as you have to ensure you have everything near enough perfect for the first fit, as there’s not much room for error. With a bespoke suit, the joy of a fitting is that you can change most of it, given that you have enough seam allowance to play with.

Next Im going to run through some of the most essential configurations, we as tailors have to consider when creating a made to measure suit for our customers:


1- Shoulder width This is the most essential area to get right. if the jacket is dropping off the shoulder, it can look sloppy and if too tight, it looks like you haven’t made it for you. The sleeve head should hug the top of your arm and form a near perfect right angle.

The only time I would make a shoulder slightly wider would be when a customer has a slightly larger waist measure, so I will want to balance his proportions. However, its sensible to have a firm, padded shoulder in these instances.

2- Sloped shoulders Some customers are happy not to conceal their sloped shoulders (best way to think of this is to imagine a plastic/metal clothes hanger and bend the shoulders downwards) in which case a configuration to lower the shoulders to the customers ensures that you don’t have excess fabric on the top of the shoulder or a twist into the armpit, where a strain has been created by the shoulders dragging the jacket down.

However, if we want to balance the shoulders, we recommend adding shoulder pads. While doing this, the armhole may need to be slightly lower to accommodate for the additional padding on top that lifts the armhole up.

3- Dropped shoulders

Most typically people have a dropped shoulder on one side. Its very important to pick this up if the drop is dramatic. If it isn’t, it can lead to an in balance in the jacket. One way to see this in your own jacket is to see where the button hole is against the buttons at the front of the jacket. If its completely misaligned, chances are you have a drop shoulder. This will also create problems in your shoulder line and on the lapel. Another thing you’ll be able to see is a break in one side of the lapels when the jacket is done up. This is because the jacket is compensating for the different shoulder levels.

We tend to add one extra layer padding to the side that is dropped, so that the shoulders are perfectly aligned. If you cut the jackets so that it accommodates the dropped shoulder, the jacket will be balanced but the shoulders won’t look as good.

4- Sleeve pitching

Is our customers arm lying straight or is it slanted forward or back? In my view, this is so important as its a very difficult to change this in a made to measure suit, as you would have to unpick the entire sleeve and rotate and usually there isn’t enough fabric to allow this to happen with ease.

5-Sleeve length 

The sleeve length needs to be spot on and hit the wrist bone (if you’re someone who likes to show a little shirt cuff) Ideally you would, as it looks a lot sharper and one of my pet hates is a sleeve covering the hand.


The chest area is very important, as it can determine a very slick looking jacket or one that looks like you’ve bought it off the peg. In made to measure, we define this by:

5- Flat chest – If a customer has flat chest, you will find a lot of excess fabric in the chest area. We would know to cut the suit with less fabric around the chest, so that there isn’t any gaping and the jacket will sit flat against your chest.

6- Prominent chest – If the jacket lifts up off of the chest and creates a break on both sides, this is likely to be because the person has a prominent chest. You will be able to see this fairly easily with a not so close inspection. On a made to measure suit you would build in more space for the chest, so that the lapels end up sitting perfectly.

7- Normal – If the jacket is sitting fine and nothing screams out, chances are nothing needs to be addressed.

These are just a few of the areas we look at, there are many more including the customers stance, posture and how, of course, they like to feel in their suit. We always run through a series of questions to fully understand what our customers want from their suit.

If you’d like to make a booking with us for your made to measure suit please contact us here or on 0203 3698969 We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.