THE BESPOKE PROCESS

On entering the bespoke front shop, you will be greeted by an expert consultant who will guide you through our ‘House Style’ and options. They will explain the bespoke process and give you an idea of current lead-times.
Once you have decided on what you would like to order, you will be invited to select from a wide range of cloths, patterns and weights to suit your lifestyle, or an occasion that you are planning to attend. The bespoke process begins the moment you choose the cloth that is right for you.
To provide a wide choice of cloth for our customers, we work closely with the best mills and merchants in the United Kingdom and Europe. We carry up to date bunches from: Drapers, Dugdale Brothers and Co., Groves and Lindley, H. Lesser and Sons, Hardy Minnis, Harrisons, Abraham Moon & Sons, Holland and Sherry, Loro Piana, Porter and Harding, Smith Woollens, Scabal, Standeven, W. Billand and many more.
Our highly trained Coat Cutter, in tandem with a member of our front of house team, will first take measurements. To create the pattern, the Cutter applies their understanding of your physique, stance and stature.
At Anderson & Sheppard, we train specialist Trouser Cutters who work closely with our trouser tailors. Their measurement method is a flowing, artistic marriage of the eye, intuition, experience and precision to realise your dimensions – keeping in mind the unique visual cues: such as posture and the way you stand. Once sized up, this information is also added to our measure books. The records will be updated or adjusted directly on your pattern as time moves forward and whenever you return to be measured again.
When you come to Anderson & Sheppard, your measurements are recorded in our Measure Books. The Coat and Trouser Cutters will include all the details required to cut different types of suits, jackets, trousers, waistcoats (vests) and overcoats. With this record comes a pattern number, which from then on will belong exclusively to you and identify your paper pattern. Your Coat Cutter records twenty one measurements and your Trouser Cutter eight measurements. They will also make observation notes on configuration and posture.
Once you have chosen your cloth with our front of house team, your Cutters will calculate the exact quantity needed to make your garments and order it directly from the selected mill or merchant. When the cloth-length arrives, it will be checked for colour and any faults before being passed on to the cutting room. Waste is minimal.
Drafting the pattern is a vital part of the Cutter’s job. To convert a set of measurements into a flat paper pattern, which must then be made into a perfectly fitted garment, is the most complex and difficult of skills to develop and master. A cutting room team working closely together, in support of each other, is fundamental to the process where knowledge and skill, gained over many years, is passed on to the next generation of Anderson & Sheppard Cutters.
The Cutter has two sets of shears: one for cutting cloth and the other for cutting paper. Cloth shears are never used to cut the paper two-dimensional pattern as this would blunt them and reduce their accuracy.
At this stage, the Cutters will arrange the pattern onto the cloth, using it as a template to lay the foundation of your garment. The various parts are arranged to minimise any cloth wastage as much as possible. The Cutters then chalk in the silhouette of the pattern onto the cloth, marking in the pockets, lapels, back, and sleeves, until an individual’s suit begins to take shape. Then, it is ready to be cut.
The Cutter carefully matches the pattern of the cloth at the seams and on the pockets.
The person who takes your measurements will also cut and fit the coat, allowing the process to be as precise as possible. Cutting along the chalk lines using large tailoring shears creates the individual panels of each garment.
A well cut pair of trousers is as important to us as the jacket. The expert Trouser Cutter will go through the same process at the Coat Cutter using the same tools and materials.
The customer's individual paper patterns hang in the cutting room and are taken down when an order is placed. By taking check-measures, a Cutter will make slight changes to patterns if their customer's measurements or preference change.
At the trimming station our full-time Trimmer assembles all additional materials, required by our tailors, to make up our customers’ orders.
Customers are able to choose from a wide range of specialist linings.
For the jacket, the Trimmer selects and colour-matches: horsehair, domette, canvas, linen Holland, collar melton, linings, buttons and thread. For the trousers, he picks out band stiffener, canvas, pocket silesia, lining, a zip, if chosen, buttons and thread. To create our natural soft-shoulder, we make our own shoulder pads from thin layers of cotton wadding.
The cloth and trimmings are then wrapped in a large piece of linen canvas, including the garment’s ticket, detailing the customer’s name and requirements. This is known as a ‘bundle’. The bundle, ticket and label are held together with a length of cloth selvedge.
The completed bundle is then allocated to a specialist Anderson & Sheppard tailor.
After unwrapping the bundle, one of the first tasks the Coat Tailor performs is to baste the sleeves together with soft cotton thread.
There are several stages to prepare the first fitting of the jacket, including trimming and shaping the lapels to the Cutter’s specifications and padding the chest with basting cotton thread.
During the process, the tailor constantly presses the cloth with an iron. The cloth is dampened first and then pressed into shape with the hot iron. Here, the tailor is ‘shrinking in the collar’ by creating a curve.
While the jacket is being prepared, the Trouser Tailor works on the first fitting. The tailor only uses a machine on certain seams that need to be particularly strong. Most of the work is done by hand. Here, the tailor machines the top side and underside of the trousers along the inseam.
When a waistcoat has been ordered, the Coat Cutter cuts the cloth and the Trimmer prepares a bundle to give to the Waistcoat Tailor. The Coat and Trouser Cutters coordinate with each other to make sure that all three garments are ready at the same time for the first fitting.
At the first fitting, the customer will observe himself in the mirror while the Coat Cutter reviews the fit and marks adjustments. Quick, flowing chalk marks are made to the cloth, so the jacket can be deconstructed and perfected later. It is a coupling of the Cutter’s eye and sense of proportion, and the customer’s thoughts so far.
The Trouser Cutter will use this session to understand how the garment fits so far, asking you various questions and making their own informed suggestions. They will simultaneously mark areas with chalk and discern what needs adjusting. At this stage, the trouser fitting will have the waistband, pleats if required, pockets, fly and linings in place. Any adjustments will also be carried out before finishing the trouser ready for final fitting.
After the first fitting, the Coat Cutter will ‘rip down’ and recut the jacket to his adjustments before sending it back to the same Coat Tailor who prepared the first fitting.
The Trouser Cutter marks up adjustments with chalk during the fitting, which are then reviewed in detail before sending back to the same Trouser Tailor who prepared the first fitting.
Now that the jacket is back with the tailor, work on the next fitting starts. Here, the tailor marks the buttonholes on the sleeve ready for hand sewn button holes to be put in by the finisher. Other work in this stage include putting the sleeve heads by hand.
Once the tailor has finished work for the next fitting, they check every element of the jacket, including the pitch of the sleeves. The jacket will then go back to the Coat Cutter for further checks.
The Trouser Tailor completes work on the second fitting. Here, they are hand-finishing the fly. The garment is then handed back to the Trouser Cutter for further checks.
When the Coat Cutters is satisfied, the specialist Finisher can apply their deft touch: The meticulous hand-sewing, the inside of the lining, the garment edges, the precise detailing around the collar, and the button holes.
Before the next fitting, the jacket and trousers are expertly pressed. During this stage, the final shape will form, with certain areas pushed in, shrunk, and pressed until it results with the customer’s precise measurements. Any creases are removed. During pressing, the garments undergo further quality control.
The jacket then returns to the cutting room and the Cutter sews on the buttons using strong cotton thread, carefully selected to complement the cloth.
The next fitting is not necessarily the last fitting. The Cutter will inspect if they are happy with the the jacket fits the body, and ask if there are areas that require adjustment. If so, the jacket will be kept on site to make these changes. It could be just a quarter of an inch on the sleeves, or taking up the trouser. Anything, no matter how big or small, to ensure it fits the Anderson & Sheppard standard.
The ticket that was printed when the order was placed remains with the garment throughout the process. It lists all details of the garment as well as a unique code to enable the firm to look these details up if the customer would like to reorder or if repairs and alterations are needed.
When the Coat Cutter leaves the fitting room, the Trouser Cutter will review the fit with the customer and check that the trousers are comfortable. Necessary adjustments will be chalked up and made by the tailor.
When the garments are ready, the customer will be notified that they are ready for collection. From your first order at Anderson & Sheppard, each customer is assigned two Cutters. To maintain continuity of relationship, the same Cutters will work on all your future commissions.
The firm has customers from all around the world and can ship to any destination. Customers can also send their garments back for repair or alteration.
The process does not end on collection of your finished order. Offering in-house alterations and repairs, we are happy to provide any necessary support throughout the long life of your garment. Here a sleeve lining is being ‘felled’ and sewn back in place.
The ‘sponge and press’ service uses a brush, water and an iron to remove superficial stains as a gentler alternative to dry-cleaning, which can sometimes dry out cloth.

...and your Bespoke Suit is ready!