The ‘three Fs:’ how to tell if your suit is well-made

28 May 2015
The ‘three Fs:’ how to tell if your suit is well-made

A well-made suit is the difference between an unflattering garment and the best you’ve ever worn. A well-made suit will last you decades instead of months. A well-made suit is an investment rather than a waste of money, but how do you tell whether your made-to-measure or bespoke suit is well made or not? When you’ve received your suit back from the tailors, what should you look out for? If you remember the ‘three Fs,’ you’ll be able to ascertain the quality of your suit in no time... 

The fit

Needless to say, a good suit is one that fits properly. When taking in the fit of your new suit jacket, it’s important to focus on three important areas: the shoulders, the lapels and the collar. Your jacket should lay flat against your own shoulders and back without pinching in or becoming too baggy, so look to see if the seam runs to the end of your shoulder – this will reveal a quality fit. For the lapels, fasten a single button on your jacket and look for the giveaway X-shape that runs from the arms and the waist, causing the lapels to bulge outwards. If you can see it, your jacket is the wrong fit. Your collar should be smooth and without folds, creases or bunches, running in a neat arc around your neck. Also ensure that the sleeves fit well – they shouldn’t sag or cut in under the arms and ought to come to just below the wrist when your arms are at your sides, showing a half-inch of shirtsleeve beneath.

The fabric

Following the fit, the fabric of your bespoke suit is its most important feature. The quality of the fabric used to manufacture your bespoke suit will not only help to determine how it looks, but how it feels when you wear it and how long into the future it will last. A good bespoke or made-to-measure suit ought to be made with natural rather than synthetic fabrics: wool, silk, cotton, flannel etc. Look out for a high quality silk lining, too – the lining of your jacket and slacks is just as important as the face material itself. Furthermore, a good suit will be ‘fully canvassed,’ meaning that the tailor has included a layer of canvas between the face and lining of the jacket to provide it with a more durable structure. If a suit isn’t fully canvassed then it is known as ‘fused,’ and will be lacking in quality over a fully canvassed alternative.

The finish

The final ‘F’ in our rundown is the finish of your suit. When determining the difference between a well-made suit and an average garment, it’s often the little details that count. Check the buttonholes on you jacket: are there any loose threads, and have they been stitched with sufficient care? What about the finish of the garments themselves? Have they been hand stitched, or do the stitches betray the telltale regularity of machine stitching? The quality of the fabric, too, is important. What is the thread count of your suit? You’re unlikely to be able to determine such matters by eye, but ask your tailor to fill you in. The best suits have thread counts in excess of 120.

Here at Hemingway Tailors, we don’t skimp on quality. All of our bespoke and made-to-measure suits are made with the finest materials and constructed with skill and care by our professional tailors. Why not contact us today and arrange for a fitting?  We promise you we’ll take care of the ‘three Fs’ for you!

Abbas Mahmood
Abbas Mahmood
As a lifelong purveyor of fashion, Abbas has been writing for Hemingway Tailors for 2 years, keeping readers up to date with style trends and delivering a regular insight into the world of tailoring.
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