Wedges: How “Bespoke” Is Bespoke?

The idea of “bespoke” is not only is it hand-made, but it’s designed to fit just you and only you.

And the mark of a Savile Row tailor is that he pushes that idea to the extreme.

Left arm & right arm patterns. As the gentleman's arm is permanently bent, I had to create a "wedge" to compensate

Left arm & right arm patterns. As the gentleman’s arm is permanently bent, I had to create a “wedge” to compensate

Here’s an example. In the photo above, I was drafting the arm patterns for a client. The gentleman, for whatever reason, had an arm that could not open fully; it was permanently bent.

If the suit was off-the-peg, there would only be one solution- take it to an alterations tailor and have him shorten the sleeve.

But with bespoke, that’s not how it’s done. What I did as a standard procedure was create a wedge, using extra paper stapled together, to create a unique pattern for the gentleman’s right arm, different from his left.

Close-up of the wedge. Three pieces in all, stapled together

Close-up of the wedge. Three pieces in all, stapled together

Wedges are very common on Savile Row, and not just on the arms. It’s not just that no two bodies are ever identical, but no individual body is ever 100% symmetrical or perfectly shaped. Therefore the tailor must compensate accordingly.

It’s just small detail, but small details matter.

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About Thomas Mahon

Thomas Mahon is one of the most experienced tailors on Savile Row with a list of clients including royalty, celebrities and business icons. Tom has almost thirty years experience of hand tailoring in Savile Row including five years at Savile Row’s most famous and respected tailor, Anderson & Sheppard. His clients experience the traditions and expertise of the finest bespoke tailoring available today using a soft and unstructured style typical of Anderson & Sheppard. His workshop is based at Warwick Hall in Cumbria and also meets clients at his office in London, Tom also makes regular trips to visit his growing international client base in Europe, the USA and further afield. When not creating beautiful bespoke suits, travelling to see clients or sharing his sartorial advice with his internet followers, Tom enjoys teaching sailing and is the boats officer for the Sea Cadet Corps near his Cumbria home. For the full story visit
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