Video: How a bespoke suit can be repaired

Friday, August 9th 2019
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How a suit lasts - and can be repaired over time - doesn't get much focus in bespoke.

The craft, the history, the style: they're all talked about more, and understandably so. They're a good deal sexier.

But it's a shame, because a benefit of the way a bespoke suit is made is that it can be repaired easily. And because the tailor has been around for a long time, chances are you'll be able to have it repaired at the same place that made it - rather than some corner alterations shop.

Repairs also deserve focus in this age of sustainability. A suit looked after and repaired does not have to be replaced, meaning fewer resources used.

 

 

In this film, I talked to Richard Anderson about the alterations he gets into his shop, from simple buttonhole repairs to a customer that needs new elbows on his jackets every year.

You can see more videos in this practical series here:

 

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Joel

Very nice video.
Would you mind sharing a bit more about that last repair on pants, the fork if I got this correctly. I have huge issue with this (even if the only sport I did while wearing a piece was walking to the office), be it tailoring or even jeans (my levi’s rarely last more than a year without damage in this area starting to occur).
That patch is already a nice trick as to how to repair, however I was a bit surprised to see that patch on the outside, not the inside (or did I catch this wrong?), would you repair a good pair of jeans the same way? As well, do you have trick that could either delay, or even prevent, this from happening, such as wearing a specific kind of undergarment?

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

I have a similar issue with most of my trousers, be it linen, wool, cotton or denim. On my bespoke trousers, my tailor stiches small pieces of lining material (viscose I believe) on the inside of the trousers in this area to prevent friction of the material, which I think is the main problem. It’s practically invisible from the outside and works well, slowing the process of wearing out material considerably.

David

Fantastic stuff! Can’t imagine though how someone would wear through the elbows and need them repaired annually. Crawling around commando style?

Anonymous

Hi Simon,

Is that the Ciardi cotton suit which you are wearing in that video?

Justin

Simon- is this your Ciardi cotton suit? It looked a touch shiny in the Style Series photos but the olive color really looks fantastic in natural light. What a chic alternative to more khaki/tan cotton suiting.

Anonymous

Lovely necktie Simon. Is it from Drake’s?

Anonymous

Like the cool nonchalant walk in slow motion.

What a style icon you are Simon! I wish I had your class!!

Scott

Would you please discuss the repair options for moth holes in a bit more detail.

Scott

Thanks Simon! I saw the video, but wanted to make sure I understood the options correctly. So the invisible mend is really the the only way to completely eliminate a moth hole and obviously is expensive, but worth it if you like the suit or sport coat. Do you think the interior patch method works reasonably well or is it noticeable?

Anonymous

Good video though it would have benefited from a title card or graphics at the head (beginning). For the viewer the use of more close-ups would be beneficial as varying repairs are discussed but without the necessary visual detail to support the points being made (cut into the the narrative of the picture sequence but with dialogue remaining uninterrupted). A few are featured but the camera angle really needs to be overhead to be of proper use.
Separately, following the narrative, I wondered why bespoke tailors do not suggest buying extra lengths of cloth (it being the cheapest element of the process behind construction) for repairs, or indeed, the later construction of a second pair of trousers. If the suit costs £4K+ then an extra yard (for repairs alone) of cloth would be a worthwhile investment for the future.

SanFi

Hi Simon,

Great video–very informative! With this new knowledge about patching, I am curious whether one should ask the tailor (from the beginning of the order) to refrain from discarding any leftover cloth/fabric and instead hand over some of that leftover cloth to the client. (This “new” practice would be in the tradition of extra buttons that often accompany a new order.)

The idea here is to guarantee that any hole/tear development can be patched up with the original material provided by the client.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks!

Anonymous

A+S keep cloth offcuts for this very reason

Triskel

On the question of wear at the fork, and please don’t be offended, I found that losing weight reduced the fatness in my legs which caused the inside legs of my trousers to rub against each other. Future wear eliminated.

Michael Norman

Invisible mending (reweave) has a limit to the size normally around 1.5/2 inch in diameter.
British invisible mending based on Marylebone High Street can advise further.
The moth will not find Dry Cleaned clothes attractive for nesting, the slightest hint of oil, food & drink is a magnet for these scavengers and can result in the annihilation of a huge investment of the second skin. Horse chestnut (conkers) are a perfect natural free deterrent which can be used in keeping then away from your clothes.

Michael Norman

Yes the Horse chestnut gives of a pheromone which the moths hate.
All the great houses and estates in the land including the royal ones have used this deterrent.

Bob

Let’s be careful about giving out factually incorrect information on this site. You’re talking about the horse-chestnut leaf miner, which is an animal, a moth. Only animals produce pheromones. Plants, like the horse chestnut, to not produce pheromones.

There is a product on the market called the horse chesnut leaf miner trap. It uses a pheromone to attract the moth, which is then trapped. Here’s one example: https://www.dragonfli.co.uk/products/horse-chestnut-leafminer-pheromone-trap

Bob

It’s the tannin in the chestnuts which acts as a repellent. Ships’ hulls were made of oak for this reason (among a thousand other reasons): the tannin in the oak would repel naval shipworm. Cedar wood is also high in tannin. Hence cedar-wood blocks etc.

Over to you.

VSF

This was a fascinating video and extremely informative. Mr. Anderson’s suit was very nice as well. The shoulder looked fantastic, more natural than structured.

SC

Yeah, Richard said he is using less padding than previously but I find it still is significant. My suit by Richard from 2 y ago still feels a bit armor like…the shoulders are natural but still really chiselled. Did he mention what the weight and fabric of his suit was?

VSF

The armor look is the most unfortunate aspect of most row tailors in my view. I’m sure they have a good reason for it, and the clients must like it, but it’s not a style I care for quite frankly. Of course A&S is a notable exception and fortunately we have Italian tailoring.

Anonymous

Yes we have A+S, but we also have Steed, thank goodness.

VSF

I’m not familiar with this tailor. Is the garment construction along the lines of A&S or the Neapolitan Italian tailors? I

SC

Steed is like A&S…Edwin Deboise was a cutter at A&S as was Thomas Mahon. They left to start Steed, then Mahon left Steed to start English Cut, where he recently left last year after problems with his investors. Steven Hitchcock also does soft tailoring like A&S, having trained by his Dad at A&S…

VSF

Thank you. Do you have a preference between Steed or Stephen Hitchcock?

SC

Unfortunately, can’t help you there between Hitchcock/Steed…only Savile Row bespoke suit I got is made by Richard Anderson. Simon may be better to comment as he has Steven Hitchcock and A&S suits but don’t recall anything made by Steed from what I’ve read…

Nathan

I always suffer from wear and tear in the fork/crotch area. Good to know I can get it fixed!

BespokeNYC

Do you know if they do repairs for suits/jackets made elsewhere?

Peter

The black humour that surrounds this subject in the workroom doesn’t represent the same perspective.