Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Cad and the Dandy's London Cut

My Donegal tweed suit is progressing, and will be my second suit with Cad and the Dandy. This time, though, I've been lucky enough to be given a bit more of an insight into the process, as they kindly offered for me to come in and see their head cutter at work on Savile Row.

The above image is released under a Creative Commons CC-sa license.

I hadn't realised that I'd actually be seeing my own suit being cut, but when I arrived I saw my tweed spread on the cutters table with my individual coat pattern laid out on top. Especially for a suit where I'd provided the material, it felt rather exciting to be able to see so much of the process from a simple length of cloth to a full suit.

John, the cutter, carefully chalks around each panel, adding lines to mark button positions and pockets, and then measuring out extra material that will form the inlays necessary for any later adjustments. He explained to me the process of making a pattern, and the sort of adjustments that he is intuitively able to make for people with a slight stoop, a pronounced stomach, a prominent chest, or any of the other many quirks of physique that can't simply be expressed by a list of measurements. It's clear that a great deal of experience and intuition goes in to cutting a suit, and it's hardly surprising that apprenticeships take years to complete.

Finally, he cuts the patterns out, with the fabric folded in two and cutting through both layers, so that each symmetrical panel is consistent. Cutting along chalk lines is probably the easiest bit of this job, but it must still take a steady hand and steely nerve to cut into an essentially unique length of cloth, already barely enough to make a suit out of, while the customer stands there watching!

Not all of Cad and the Dandy's suits are cut on Savile Row, but if you go for their fully hand stitched suit then it will be, with the added advantage of a basted fitting before it is sent to be finished. The basted fitting gives an extra opportunity to make adjustments to the suit before it is made up to a point where certain things become almost impossible to change, and is therefore important in ensuring the best possible fit. It's also one of the key differentiators between a made-to-measure suit, and a truly bespoke one.

Going with the hand-sewn, Savile Row cut option from Cad and the Dandy will cost anywhere between about £650 and £1000 for a two-piece but will be, as Ian puts it, 'legitimately bespoke'. While a Savile Row tailor will likely offer a couple of extra fittings, Cad and the Dandy have got all the essential bespoke elements in place with their top-end option in terms of making a personal pattern for each customer, providing a basted fitting, using master craftsmen, and fulfilling the detailed specifications of the Savile Row Bespoke Association.


  1. It certainly is unique to be able to say you actually saw your suit being laid out and cut. Good for you! You will enjoy that rig all the more because of this experience I am sure.

  2. This is fantastic. Did you opt for a waistcoat as well?

  3. Fantastic insight, looks as though the Cad and the dandy are doing a great job. I look forward to seeing the finished product!

  4. That's pretty cool

  5. Thanks for all the comments. Yep, definitely think that being able to see so much of the process is going to make the suit even more special.
    K.S. Anthony - no, sadly not. There was only just enough material for the two-piece suit, so a waistcoat would definitely not have been possible. Still, I think tweed suits can work quite nicely with a well-chosen odd waistcoat. I'm thinking if I can find one in a similar shade of dark green to the lining I chose, then that might look good.


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