Tailoring is a very technical art. Despite the many times I have seen a suit being chalked, cut and made, there is still an awful lot I don’t understand and certainly can’t explain easily. Perhaps it could only be fully understood by doing it yourself. It’s something others could bear in mind on occasion too.
It is satisfying therefore to feel you fully understand something that previously proved elusive. In this instance, it was the pattern matching on the back of my Huntsman shooting suit.
On the finished jacket, as you can see above, the pattern does not match at either the belt or the collar. Now, it can never do both – or is highly unlikely to – because the width of that central check fluctuates with the shape of your back. But the pattern is normally set to match the collar and then fluctuate on the way down. On stock examples of this cloth in the Huntsman shop the collar matches but the belt does not – indeed, the difference at the belt is even more pronounced than on my version, as they are made with a greater drop between chest and waist.
During the fitting, David Ward decided that the collar needed to be pushed up the back of my neck in order to sit sufficiently tightly. That meant that the two backparts had to be heightened, requiring the central seam to be split and some of the inlay in the seam used. That moved the check apart at the neck, by around 3/8 of an inch. The only way to avoid this difference would be to cut an entirely new back, which perhaps David could have done.
It was certainly right to improve the fit at the expense of the pattern matching. The fit of a bespoke jacket should always be the priority, and I think you can see from the clean finish to the back that that fit was very good.
On the plus side, we decided that there was room to take in the waist of the jacket (as I will wear it without the waistcoat as much as with it) which will allow the checks to match, as least as much as is possible with a loose piece of cloth. We also lifted the sleeves on either side slightly, to deal with a little buckling under the shoulder, and lengthened the left sleeve half an inch.