Made-to-Measure is a pretty loose term in the fashion industry today, and refers generally to a garment made according to your personal measurements.
How exactly your unique measurements are translated into the garment is the main difference between made-to-measure and bespoke. It should also be noted that even a customized pattern can be put together poorly, but in general these suits will be better made than off-the-peg because they target a higher spender.
Each tailor or fashion business with a made-to-measure service is either adjusting existing patterns to your unique measurements, or drawing a pattern from your measurements using specific formulas. Due to the complexity of the metric patterning involved, companies using the latter method generally do so with Computer Aided Drawing.
Because of the general uniformity of menswear, it’s actually rather simple to take a standard pattern from my arsenal that will it you well enough, and manipulate a few key areas to accommodate your unique measurements. It’s a bit of an art to know which portions of the pattern to manipulate and how, and what other pattern pieces will be impacted and themselves require adjustment. Although CAD is faster at using unique measurements to draw the pattern (which is pre-programmed of course), it’s only as good as the formulas behind it, which tend to disappoint when it comes to difficult bodies or unique fits.
The advantage is of course a far superior fit to anything you could get off the peg. Although I have some disdain for this tailoring method (mainly because it’s sold for what it’s not) it’s a great way to get clothes that fit you well for a reasonable price. And is also a great way to ‘get into’ having bespoke clothes tailored.
The disadvantage is that, because we’re dealing with rigid or semi-rigid formulas, certain things will work great (like your unique hight and girth). But the depths of your crotch, armhole drop and shoulder rest are not going to accommodate your unique physique. The method also limits the amount of creativity and ingenuity one can bring to a garment, by laying a solid foundation which predetermines much of what happens later on in the tailoring process.
I know I can get a bit negative about made-to-measure, but it really is a great way to get something personal made in haste. Especially if it’s a standard garment and you have a pretty regular shape. I think my greatest gripe is the price, with unscrupulous tailors selling you a service you just aren’t getting. Don’t fork out for bespoke tailoring unless you actually know what you’re buying.
If there’s no basting it’s probably made to measure and not bespoke. Which is totally fine so long as you’re not being charged bespoke prices for made-to-measure work.
If there’s something you need clarity on don’t hesitate to hit me up in the comments, and if you’re feeling lost it’s because you’ve stumbled on this series half way through, you can read the rest here:
Suits and their Fits