Adventures in suit design: Handmade brown Baird McNutt Irish Linen suit

After a couple years of observation, I’ve begun to experiment with my own signature designs.

First it was the Fun Shirt, and now I’ve moved onto crafting a signature jacketing style.
Buying and wearing many different makes of RTW and MTM gave me the opportunity to try wearing a range of different cuts and proportions, in order to figure out what looked best on me.
Over the last few months, that experience began to solidify into a singular vision of my preferred style.
Having a somewhat accurate picture in my head of what I wanted, I decided to begin the process of iteration in creating my own cut, while also further honing my MTM pattern.

Deciding it was time for a summer suit, I had this suit made as a test run for our fully handmade option at Beg Your Pardon, utilising Irish linen from Baird McNutt, which was a brand new supplier for us at the time.
We’ve since made many garments from Baird’s cloths, and have been impressed with the drape, resilience and colour of the cloth.

Building from the measurements used on my first Beg Your Pardon suit, I made some corrections to the pattern in order to achieve a better fit.
These were extending the shoulder slightly, and increasing the jacket length.
I also widened the trouser, particularly through the thigh, also increasing the leg opening.
I neglected to provide a finished knee measurement, letting the maker grade it themselves, which I learned that I should not repeat in future. The grade was sharper than I expected, and I resolved to provide a finished measurement for the next iteration.
The first pattern provided a strong base, as most of the initial measurements were spot on.

To build the design pattern for the jacket, I based the beginnings on our house standard one button jacket.
Features of this style include a barchetta chest pocket, and a rounded cut to the quarters, a feature I find particularly flattering as it provides curvature to the lower torso instead of boxiness.

Something I’ve realised is that I love the Italian style of a three button fronting where the lapel doesn’t quite roll to the typical three-roll-two style often seen on #menswear guys, but rather the lapel rolls to a point somewhere between the top and middle buttons.
This appreciation was initially spurred by my Corneliani linen jacket, one of my first serious acquisitions and still a regular in my wardrobe.
This led me to specify a three button stance with the roll ending halfway between the top and middle buttons, which I think plays a beautiful harmony to the rounded quarters of the jacket.
It’s the feature that forms the base of my personal taste in jacketing, and will be a signature for me from now on.

Sleeve lengths need to come up a fraction.

The button stance was heightened on this jacket compared to what I usually wear, and I’m surprised to say that I really do prefer it where it sits on this jacket. It’s around 1.5cm higher than I’d normally have it, but it feels more proportionate.
I specified a 10cm lapel on this one, and utilised a higher end Italian made canvas for the chest piece. It’s lighter in weight and breathes better, perfect for a summer suit.

For this particular iteration, I decided to add a twist to the typical patch pocket format by adding a patch ticket pocket that pokes out from the hip pocket.
It turned out beautifully.
I also made a technical adjustment of lengthening the depth of the rear vents by 2cm. We’ve since incorporated that into the design of every jacket we do at Beg, as it elongates the silhouette while providing additional room for movement and a cleaner drape.

The jacket is quarter lined in Bemberg silk, using the same lining that I use for all of my personal garments.

The trousers were made with the trendy option of an exaggeratedly long fastener, with twin buttons.
It’s quite a striking look with its asymmetrical flair, and I quite like it.

However, in a sense, I shot myself in the foot with it.
I was very confident in knowing my waist measurement, and didn’t have belt loops or side adjusters put on as it would spoil the cleanness of the aesthetic.
I figured I knew my measurements well enough to pull it off.

I lost weight between placing the order and receiving it.
I had the trousers altered, to clean up a cheeking issue and I had the waist taken in again while that work was being done.
This’ll nail it, I thought.

I lost weight again…

My first day wearing the suit to work I had to get myself some suspenders to stop the pants from residing around my ankles.
On the plus side, I’ve gotten comfortable with wearing suspenders now, something I never thought I’d manage.
Also, the trousers drape beautifully.

I’ll be making some adjustments to the base design for the next iteration.
For the jacket, I want to lower the gorge, and the chest pocket.
Both sit much higher on the maker’s standard positioning pattern than I’d like, so my gorges will lower.
It’ll probably take another one or two iterations to get perfect.
I’ll be addressing my asymmetrical arm lengths with a slightly shorter right sleeve.

My trouser pattern will have rise adjustments made, lowering it a touch and perfecting the ratio.
I’ll be further tightening my waist measurement, and I’ll most certainly have belt loops in future.
I’m also going to remove the back pockets from future trousers, as I never use them. Better to have a cleaner line.
The fastener will also go back to being something more conventional. I like the fastener I used on these pants, and a pair of grey odd pants I had made in a grey linen, but I don’t intend to require braces on all future trousers.
And, as mentioned above, I’ll be specifying finished knee measurements in future.

Design in tailoring can quickly get much more complex than you might imagine, and the level of observations shown above is only really scratching the surface.
Many of the most technical details haven’t even begun to be explored yet.
And it’ll probably take a while before I’m knowledgeable enough to speak this language at anything more than a barely-above-beginner level.
However, this has been a good starting point.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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