This is an alteration to an old flannel suit, pinching in and raising the neck of the jacket slightly to correct a collar that currently stands a half inch away from my neck.
This, of course, is one of the last alterations you should have done. It can easily be messed up by an inexperienced tailor and it will minutely alter the shoulder and back balance. It’s one of the reasons you should always make sure the shoulders and neck fit you if you’re buying a ready-made suit and are planning to have it altered.
But a collar that stands away is a most irritating fault, on a par with sleeves that are too short. Plus the suit has sentimental value – it was the first suit I ever had made for me, a grey double-breasted with just two buttons from Edward Tam in Hong Kong.
Over time, Edward’s tailors have shown their quality (I did not appreciate at the time that the lining is entirely sewn in by hand, and this on a £250 suit) but his fitting less so. Most of the jackets seem to stand away a little at the neck and be rather square in the chest.
Russell took off the collar to see how much inlay was left underneath and, interestingly, showed me how that excess had been snipped at the edge. This is sometimes done to excess on the inside of a curve, to ensure that it doesn’t prevent the cloth on the outside from curving naturally. It is often used on the armhole of a waistcoat, for example.