The words custom suit are mentioned everywhere these days, so let’s take a moment to clarify what custom suiting entails. When a person refers to a custom suit, they are referring to a broader design that can be broken down into two styles: bespoke and made-to-measure.

When designing a custom suit regardless if it’s bespoke or made-to-measure, you will select the fabric, style, buttons, shape, and lining. Every detail is left up to you. So, what is the difference between the two? Simply put, it all has to do with the pattern.

In fashion design, a pattern is a template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut and assembled. Patterns are usually made of paper or materials such as cardboard.

Bespoke suits are entirely custom. Besides selecting all the design details that can be seen, the pattern used to make the garment is mathematically drafted from your exact measurements. When purchasing a bespoke suit from McMahan’s, over 25 measurements are recorded. Using these specific measurements our cutter creates the pattern that’s laid over the fabric and used to cut the suit.

Made-to-measure suits still give you the freedom to select all the design options, but the pattern is constructed from a pre-existing stock size. After your measurements are taken and sent off, a tailor will alter a pre-existing pattern to your sizes. This process involves taking 23 exact measurements; however, there are limitations to how much a pattern can be altered. Pre-set ratios between the chest, shoulder, and back can only be adjusted within the same ratio.