Tailoring a Suit

17-12-2013

suit you sir

Right off the back of Wearable tech, here is a blog post about, well, a wearable! In fact, the best kind of wearable a man can have; a tailored suit, fitted to perfection and totally unique.

Last year, I was persuaded by my lovely girlfriend to make my own suit. I'd been complaining that most suits are quite boring, sad affairs and that any occasion worth a suit should have a good suit - one that makes you feel like the king of the world. She suggested that unless I want to spend an obscene amount of money, I should try to make one. A practice run was needed. For that, I made a waist-coat that some of you may have seen. I still wear it and love it dearly. With that under my belt, the two of us set to it.

lining

I was introduced to a slew of photographs of various designers. As we know, most fashion revolves around women but there are a few good styles out there for men as well. Some of my initial ideas were a little too wacky but I was quite inspired by Viviene Westwood who has some really interesting tailoring. I was politely informed by the girlfriend that being too wacky without attention to detail would quickly result in disaster. I wanted a suit that conveyed geekiness, yet style - a tricky prospect. In the end, it came down to a few key design choices that I'm still quite happy with.

pockets

The first choice was the fabric and the way it is cut. I'm using Super 100s wool with a self stripe (not quite a herring bone). The first geeky move was to cut each of the major pieces of the jacket at different angles, rather than along the grain-line as is traditional. The angles were chosen from the Fibbonaci Sequence so the first angle is 10 degrees, the second 20 degrees and so on. Given that the stripe is quite subtle, you'd only ever notice that something looks intriguing about the suit without actually placing it. So far so, good.

buttons

I decided to go with 3 pockets on one side, one on the other and one internal pocket. This, in itself is quite quirky but the best bit is that all the pockets function as pockets. I can't stand a suit with fake pockets. An internal pocket is a must. There's nothing cooler than reaching into one's inside pocket and pulling out the company credit card! So pockets, there are aplenty! The lining of the jacket and the trousers is luminous green; the closest green I could find to the kind found on old terminal displays. There is something about this green that screams tech-y. Even better, you only ever see hints of it at any one time. For example, the flaps of the outer pockets are sewn so that the edges show a small amount of the lining. When you look at the suit you can catch just a glimpse of them.

buttons

The buttons are quite something too! The three major ones on the front have the and, or and not logic gates laser etched into them. Thanks to the laser cutter at the London Hackspace this was quite a doddle. I decided to do the same for the cuff buttons. One side has the letters, W,A,S and D etched into them. The other side has 3 buttons with Arrows on, and the letter P. I'll give a prize to anyone who recognises these series of symbols (hint: it's not the Konami code but it's not far off!). All of these are stitched with thread that matches the lining.

pocket

Overall, this project was hard. The plan was to finish the suit in time for a wedding in Greece. I managed to get the jacket finished but was behind on the trousers. Thankfully, the girlfriend managed to finish them off for me, whilst on the train! Apparently, people were giving her odd looks, as if they'd never seen someone sewing up trousers before. I know, right? The girlfriend did wonder if she was putting me through some kind of exquisite torture at some points; it was incredibly difficult. I've never really sewn anything like this before and the precision required is higher than anything else I've tried. The main thing is the order of the steps. It's not immediately obvious that one thing should happen before another but thanks to expert tuition, I didn't make these mistakes.

label

section9 is now, clearly, a diffusion brand! Hah! Well, I think it will be a while before I attempt another suit. I did have a few ideas for this one. I'd prefer a fourth button for a smaller collar - and to stop the inside pocket from pulling when large items are placed in it. I'd also prefer something a little more interesting with the front buttons (PCBs maybe?) but in the end, these aren't going to happen because when I wear this suit, I feel like the proverbial million dollars which is really the best thing anyone can ask when they wear any clothing.