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Made-to-Measure: Our Process

by Eric Langlois |


Being fitted for a made-to-measure suit is a time-honored experience. In this series on The Andover Shop’s made-to-measure process, we will explore each of the steps that allow every customer to create the garment that is ideal for them.

For over half a century, Andover Shop staff have worked closely with customers to ensure the best possible fit, making minute alterations to ensure that body and suit work together. Our staff are knowledgeable about how the style and details of tailored clothing provide the best look with the customer’s body, and are able to advise on materials for all seasons and events.

Figure 1: Made-to-Measure suitcoat

Materials for all Seasons and Occasions

Most made-to-measure customers already know what niche in their wardrobe they are looking to fill when they arrive at The Andover Shop. Often a made-to-measure purchase is driven by a particular event in their life: a wedding, a new job, a trip to Great Britain or the Mediterranean. Each of these events dictates the style and materials that they will choose for their purchase. A trip to Scotland might inspire a choice of a warm tweed from a Scottish mill with classic patch pockets to accentuate the practical, outdoor feel of the sportcoat. A new job might mean that the customer would like a sleek, dark colored suit in a confident double-breasted cut. The Andover Shop staff will advise on the design and answer any questions the customer might have.

The choice of materials is arguably the most important part of the made-to-measure process. Materials wear differently, cooling or warming the body and conveying the desired impression to onlookers. The Andover Shop has more than 100 swatch books of materials available, from casual linen and cotton twill to richly colored tweed and feather-light tropical wool, many of which are woven specifically for us. We have recently received a selection of sumptuous cashmere material that will be ideal for cold-weather suiting. In addition, both locations have an archive of materials that have been collected over the lifetime of the shop, some of which cannot be found anywhere else.

Figure 2: Custom tailoring tools, swatches on the rack

Measurements for Menswear: Get to Know the Process

After the customer has decided on the fit and material of their purchase, our staff takes their measurements to ensure that the body’s best features are accentuated. Our tailors can adjust the pattern to convey a slim, modern look or a more relaxed, classic fit. Ultimately, the customer has the final say in the style they will be wearing for years to come.

With the measurements taken, The Andover Shop dispatches the customer’s order to our partner tailors for production. All production is done within the United States and Canada, through long-running partnerships that ensure each piece is made to the exact specifications provided. Passing through many specialized artisan hands over the course of more than 100 points of production, each garment is impeccably detailed.

Figure 3: Adding the tag to a custom piece

After four weeks, the completed garment arrives back at The Andover Shop where the customer returns for their first fitting. Our in-house tailors and experienced staff examine the fit of the garment, altering the sleeves and trousers, as well as adjusting the body to dial in the fit and provide the best look possible. The garment is then handed off to our experienced in-house tailors for finishing. At this time, buttonholes can be hand-sewn to provide an additional bespoke touch. With these alterations completed, the customer comes back to the shop for the final fitting to ensure they are satisfied.

After a made-to-measure order, each customer’s measurements are saved in The Andover Shop’s file archive, meaning that an order can be placed remotely from anywhere in the world. In today’s environment of COVID-19, this can also help limit the customer’s face-to-face interaction, keeping them safe while also providing access to The Andover Shop’s expert staff via phone or email.

If you have any further questions or concerns about the made-to-measure process, please call either store during our modified hours (10a-4p, Tuesday-Saturday) and we will be glad to work with you.

In the future this blog will be covering the made-to-measure process in greater detail, so watch this space for more information. Next in our made-to-measure series, we will discuss some of the exclusive materials that The Andover Shop has available.