Making the Pinstripe Leather Suit
This bespoke suit was ordered by an overseas client, who happens to be a real dresser!
He saw these pants I did and asked if I could create a suit for him using the same technique.
Since everything was done long distance, this pinstripe leather suit had a bit of an extended creation time. The client had to travel on work quite a bit and was not able to complete fittings right away. Doing the fittings via email/mail and photographs adds time as well. Additionally, It’s important that the client either has a good way to take full body selfies or can get someone to help!
We’d all prefer projects not to get too drawn out, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable. If this were commissioned In-Person, a reasonable time frame on a project comparable to this one would be about around 3-4 months, when all scheduling goes smoothly.
This takes up the pinstripe suit project from the 2nd Muslin – shown before it was sent out to client.
The fit on the first muslin was quite good, mainly it was a little too snug all around. So I adjusted the pattern and created the second muslin. Once my client received the 2nd muslin, he tried it on and took a (second) copious set of photos that he emailed back to me. This way, I was able to see clearly places where I added a little too much room. Plus, I was able to catch a couple of other small fit improvements I wanted to do.
Photos are super important! Especially when I am working with someone long distance. The more the merrier as far as I am concerned. (The heavy lines you can see on on the muslin make my reference levels and points very clear in photos.) In this particular case the first muslin was so close to correct that I did need that initial muslin returned to me for checking any changes. I did not need the second muslin back either. This is not always the case. It really depends on the individual project.
Once I got the photos back, I corrected the pattern, and tested it one more time before cleaning it up and drafting the final pattern. The final pattern for the suit has all the linings, facings and interior construction pieces. All of them are drafted and calibrated to fit together exactly. When working in leather you really don’t want to leave anything to chance – any freehand cutting is limited to hem and seam stabilization pieces.
I spent some time marking the matching points across all the pattern pieces, before stitching the pinstripes. Nothing is left to chance. Generally, when something is all hand-done like this it’s not going to be minutely perfect. (Though, If I were charging $150,000+ for a couture garment – it would be minutely perfect!)
All the stitching is hand-guided with some very low tech help. Basically, I use my eyes and a very nice specialty guide on my machine! So, while I’ve done this technique before, completely hand/eye guided in smaller amounts, this is a very nice improvement all around. It took about 6 days to complete the cutting, stitching and prep work before the actual construction began.
I created a hybrid tailoring technique for leather.
Because, leather does not take well to feather stitching. I’ve seen feather stitching done on leather suits by a few European tailoring houses and frankly, I think the finish is just awful. In leather, with the exception of cordovan lacing work or other visible, decorative hand-work techniques, machine stitching is best all around.
Working the garment and linings together while flat, however, is a classical tailoring technique. But again, because this is leather- the flat construction has it limitations – it really depends on the project and the leather choice – that’s what dictates the techniques that I use.
The shape of this pinstripe leather suit is helped along by the decorative stitching which adds a little weight to the skins and anchors down much of the interior construction. As a result it’s crisper and not as soft as this leather jacket– which is made in the exact same leather btw.
It’s interesting, a pinstripe suit can have a very mafioso look or a classic British look, and even though it has a reputation of being a bankers uniform, this pinstripe leather suit is most definitely not a uniform!