No matter how much time you spend thinking about the instructions to give to your tailor, there will always be something you forget.

I had been thinking about the Norfolk Blazer for months, considering peak lapels, two buttons and additional pockets before I decided on my final design. (See previous posting.) Those months were almost feverish at certain points, as I debated which elements in the jacket would give it exactly the right balance between formal and informal.

But I still forgot to specify the cut around the waist and the finish at the front.

The problem was that I used an image from a style forum to demonstrate to Edward Tam what I meant in terms of a belt that overlapped across the front and fastened with two buttons. While I pointed out that there were several things in the image that I wanted differently, I didn’t specify the two points above. I assumed that in these areas he would follow the designs of previous suit jackets and only make the additions I described.

So when I tried on the final Norfolk Blazer it was rather fuller than I expected around the waist. This was because the design in the picture had a less tapered waist, no doubt more practical to the Norfolk’s normal outdoor pursuits. The belt was the correct length, cinching in the waist to my preferred size.

And the jacket finished with square fronts at the bottom, as in the picture but unlike a suit jacket, which would always be curved. I hadn’t even noticed this about the picture, but now it was pointed out it seemed obvious. The angle here was even mirrored in the squared-off patch pockets.

So my first prototype is still in Hong Kong, having the waist taken in an inch and the jacket fronts rounded off. I’ll include a picture in the next post.

In the meantime, my lesson from this is to always use an item you have had made in the past as the base for any commission. I’ll have jacket number two, but in brown with peak lapels, for example. Or shirt number three in a pale-blue herringbone.

You always need a base item because there will be many items you will forget to specify otherwise. No matter how many lists you make.

The mistake I made was not giving Edward a base – so he used the picture instead. Still, no harm done, just a few frustrated days while the final Norfolk Blazer catches up with me.

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Nonetheless, the idea is a great one. It will trouble me no end not being able to find one.


Dear Simon,

an avid regular reader of your blog, I have followed your posts on the Norfolk blazer with particular interest.
I am studying abroad in Beijing right now, so I too am in the fortunate situation of having access to comparatively cheap good quality tailoring (though I only found my present tailor after some slightly disappointing experiences with tourist oriented MTM places selling themselves as “tailors”).
And I actually considered having a Norfolk jacket-based garment made here too, inspired by the very same AA illustration you posted a little while back.
Though, being a student, I was thinking about having it made into an even more casual, “modernized” version featuring among other details snatch fasteners instead of normal buttons and possibly made of wide whale corduroy instead of tweed. In the end I dropped that whole plan because I was not able to find nice, simple, good quality snap fasteners of a suitable size and colour (also, the weather has been getting colder recently, so I included a custom duffle coat in my budget…)

That does not mean, however, that I might not potentially revisit the Norfolk concept in the future and I am very thrilled to see how your final jacket turns out!

Good luck and all the best!