I recently commissioned my third single-breasted suit from my tailor*. At this stage my pattern for a single-breasted jacket is pretty much cemented. The balance works well, the sleeves have been adjusted to just the right length and small issues like the height of the waist button have been ironed out.
So it makes sense to speed the process up. At the moment I effectively have three fittings: basted, forward and final. As I always end up having something small changed when the suit is completed (such as the sleeve length or trouser waist) the final appointment is effectively a fitting.
The choice is basically to skip either the basted or forward fitting. If I skipped the basted, the cutter could send the cloth to the jacket-maker immediately, without having to wait for me to come in for a fitting. It would also save the time it takes for the jacket to be basted (say half a day).
If I skipped the forward fitting, the jacket maker would not have to send back his work at all, so the time saved would be slightly greater: no time waiting for me plus no lost time in couriering the jacket (twice).
Really though, the choice comes down to whether I am more confident in the fit of my jackets or in their design. The basted fitting is mostly about balance – it is the tailor’s biggest opportunity to get the figuration right and re-cut the cloth if anything is wrong. The forward fitting helps in this too, but it is mostly about me seeing the design in its near-finished form. It is not too late to alter the button positions or the roll of the lapel, or to spot any mistakes.
I’m not bad at designing suits, but my tailor is a lot better at fitting them. I’ve designed a dozen or so, he’s cut hundreds. So I plan to skip the basted fitting from now on. The jacket maker won’t like it, as he’ll have to pause in his work halfway, but better that than a botched design.
* A three-button, single-breasted model with patch pockets, turn-back cuffs and a collar tab; in mid-grey, nine-ounce Minnis flannel. The patch pockets have an outside welt that matches the depth of the cuffs and of the welt on the breast pocket (non-patch). Buttons will be whisky-coloured horn.