Two weeks later and truth be told; I couldn’t wait to get back to 89 Rochester Row. I was chomping at the bit to see what the precise measurements taken not but a fortnight ago would look like in the flesh. As I burst out of Victoria station and raced up Vauxhall Bridge road, I was on cloud nine. The thought of trying on the first rough cut of my very first bespoke suite – a dream long held by myself – was incredibly exciting.
Having reached the doors of Redwood and Feller, Elliot came to greet me with the same warmth and enthusiasm he had done on our first encounter weeks earlier. He genuinely seemed as excited as I was to see how my jacket and waistcoat baste fitting would sit.
He quickly disappeared out of the back door to the work shop area and reappeared moments later with my baste fitting in hand (well, on hanger.)
I was prepared for the fact that this would in no way resemble the finished product as Elliot had explained the bespoke process to me during our first meeting a few weeks prior.
This early rendition of my suit would not be made from the glorious Fox brothers charcoal flannel cloth that I had originally picked out. No; this was basically a mock up of things to come, cut from a much cheaper material in order to be able to tweak and rework after numerous revisits. Having said that, this grey cotton material garment that Elliot proceeded to drape over my shoulders still seemed far superior in quality, cut and comfort to any other suit I had ever worn previously! As he inspected each angle with a keen eye, chalking slight alteration notes at every interval, I couldn’t help but think what a shame it was that this baste fitting would soon be ripped apart again before being rebuilt with all the extra added changes. It just seemed like so much work had already gone in to this so-called ‘mock up’.
With that being said, it really was fascinating to see all the intricate inner workings of a bespoke suit. Especially considering that this was MY bespoke suit and I was seeing it take shape and evolve before my very eyes.
No stone was left unturned. Even a very slight puckering between my shoulders was accounted for. As Elliott pinned the offending crease, he explained exactly how this part of the jacket should fall ie: flush – like a second skin. Among many other alterations noted and accounted for was the length of the jacket, its arms and the width of its lapels - for which Elliott added another few centimeters on my request. The whole process was like drawing on your very own, perfectly fitting suit.
It was amazing finding out all the small considerations that I wouldn’t have even thought about. Things like the amount of room required between my waistcoat and the jacket fastening. The Flannel used in the final cut of the suit would be slightly thicker, and so arrangements were made for the pattern from this fitting to be ever so slightly looser in the fit. Elliott even asked if I planned to either loose or gain weight between now and the wedding day so that he could accommodate! I knew this process would be meticulous, but the fact that the fit of my finished suit at this stage wasn’t going to be dictated by the progress (or lack there of) my wedding diet was definitely a bonus.
Even with all these concise amendments taking place, the appointment itself lasted no longer than 20 minutes. It felt like just as soon as I was in through the door, I was back out again, safe in the knowledge that my wedding suit was in safe hands with Elliott. I made my way back to the station with a spring in step, looking forward to the next and final stage of my bespoke experience – the final fitting.
Next week’s installment - Redwood and Feller - A bespoke tale episode four: This is it – don’t get scared now