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Arc's Experience with Iris Tailor

FEATURE Iris bespoke suit

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#1 arc

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:12 PM

Arc's Experience with Iris Tailor: Part I

(With apologies for how large the photos appear on-screen!)

Iris tailor, as many will already know, is located on the first floor of Lucky Plaza in Singapore's Orchard Road shopping belt. For those who need better directions - from the main entrance, head towards the right and rear of the building and you'll eventually see this storefront (picture plagiarised from Gshen's SF post):

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The inside of Iris is a wonderful mess of Scabal, Dormeuil, H&S, Loro Piana, Ariston and VBC books, amongst others. I handled some remarkable swatches during the short period of waiting my turn - a beautiful LP linen jacketing in cream and baby blue stripes with a remarkably open weave, and a turquoise H&S linen that makes for a great summer pant come to mind.

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The opposite side of the premises, where even more books (I recall some Inizio jacketings and a Zegna 100% silk book) are stacked under a table laden with bastings and cloth. This is Jeffrey unearthing my baste after a good five minutes spent searching the store for my order.

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Nani of the funky blue hair, seen here tweaking my trouser fit. Nani strongly favors the slimmer cut, and inquired (to my mild horror, to be honest!) if I'd like my hems any slimmer in light of current fashion trends. We settled on this... For the time being. I saw further inputs as being moot until I can wear and see the second suiting baste in its entirety.

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Jacket (and vest, obscured) fit, with Jeffrey staring daggers into my back...

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I recognize that the pictures could be better proportioned - but this was Nani's maiden attempt at using the Sony Ericsson Xperia camera, so big props to her for helping me to take these photos to begin with!

The unanimous in-store verdict was a serious underestimation of the bulk and width of my upper back, leading to pulling of the collar/shoulder backwards and downward - to be adjusted for next fitting. Aside from several corrections for accurate sizing, we also: lengthened the right sleeve; undid the seams of the vest to play around with the amount of "show" vis-a-vis the jacket; upped the lapel width as seen on the right chest (mental note to adjust collar shape to account for the wider lapel); and discussed if a smidge more waist suppression might be in order (this was actually Nani's suggestion; I'm ambivalent on this, we'll see how it turns out).

I also wondered if the jacket might be too short, but Nani/Jeffrey advised otherwise, with Jeffrey adding that my posterior was fully obscured (as it should be). Having suspected for some time that I've got longer arms than most guys my size, I hath deferred to their judgment for the time being.

Bearing in mind advice that the first fitting is for the tailor, I decided to leave queries on sleeve ripples to the next fitting. Will update once the next round takes place in a week or so. In the meantime, critical views and opinions are most welcome!

#2 SGKit

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 10:22 PM

^Very nice! The wider lapels suits you better!

The trousers though look a bit too tapered but I believe it is an issue of personal preference.

Nani really loves a very tapered fit but I feel it is alright the way it is. Perhaps just opening the quarters a little more?

#3 arc

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:03 PM

Yeah, I forgot to put that down... I'll make a point to raise it during the next fitting. I'm hoping that by pulling attention downward it'll go someways to balancing off the visual "shortness" of the jacket.

#4 kotmj

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:42 PM

Very, very interesting. I like how they anonymized the customer by using a customer number and writing this down on the lapel of each canvas. The only problem is that this is not intuitive for me -- if I see a 1613 if would not be apparent to me who's jacket this is without looking it up in the CRM database.

There is also considerable economy of bastings to temporarily affix the canvas to the forepart. I think I would save 10 minutes per baste this way. A single column of bastings for Iris versus two for me and three for Gieves & Hawkes (http://1.bp.blogspot...el Jacket 2.jpg). I think I'll stick with two.

I do not understand why the cross pockets are cut at this stage. Malaysian tailors leave the cutting to the very end.

The trousers are mighty slim! Have you tried sitting down in them? I always ask the customer to sit in them during a fitting.

#5 arc

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:46 PM

That's a good point, kotmj. It didn't occur to me at the time as I was in abit of a hurry for dinner. I need to catalogue this wisdom somewhere for future reference...

#6 joonian

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:53 PM

What do columns of bastings achieve? What are the benefits of more columns?

#7 kotmj

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:04 AM

They look impressive.

#8 gshen

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:20 AM

If your shirt collars are all made to the same spec (the height seems to suit your neck length well), I'd remind them to raise the jacket collar a tad. I like about 1/4" to show.

+1 on trousers being too tight!

#9 amateursarto

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:03 AM

What do columns of bastings achieve? What are the benefits of more columns?


A few more columns also can help to smoothly mate the outer cloth over the canvas. Ideally, the outer cloth should be easy: there should be some fullness in the outer cloth as compared to the canvas, so that it rolls over the canvas without any ripples, lumps or excessive wrinkles. The outer cloth should also match the canvas as closely as possible at the roll line, (bridle), darts, etc in the canvas. Lines of basting help to align the outer cloth to the canvas. In theory, more lines of basting can join the two layers while maintaining their independent characteristics.

#10 joonian

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:35 PM

Thanks, sarto!

#11 arc

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:33 AM

Iris Tailor: Part II

The Iris folks will be in Thailand for the weekend, and have thus sought to do as many of their outstanding fittings over the Thursday and Friday prior. Fortunate for me, since I had requested that this suit be done before mid-June.

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Without further ado, here's the pants after being taken in. I took kotmj's advice and plunked myself in the nearest chair. Indeed, these were pulling across the thighs. I withheld inputs until the jacket was donned, but eventually opted for more width throughout the trouser leg - just didn't look right once the jacket was on.

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We also discussed my perennial problem with folds at the back of the trouser leg, for which the pants I'd worn down to Iris (from Dylan & Son) served as good reference. I asked her if slimmer-cut pants are more liable to these sorts of folds, to which she replied that she knew a couple of tricks to fix the problem, and that she'd adjust my order accordingly. She also offered to alter my collection of Dylan pants - not for free, of course!

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This is Nani in her spunky new haircut, in shades of blue and purple. This picture was taken after Jeffrey & Nani ripped open my right shoulder (quite an experience, I must say) and re-pinned the baste to adjust for my dropped right shoulder.

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Here's what the jacket looks like. I didn't take pictures of the vest.

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(Buttoning point is at the pinhead, the rest will be lapel roll.)

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At this point, we agreed to:

- Re-work the right shoulder.
- Adjust the vest for better fit, to account for pulling across my chest. No pics, unfortunately.
- Also, raise height of the vest a smidge.
- Lengthen sleeves 0.25".
- Lengthen jacket 0.5".
- Widen trouser width.
- Also vaguely recall some mention about fixing the bunching in the rear lower back.

Third fitting will still be on the muslin baste and should take place around mid-next week. Nani told me to remind her about my open quarters request prior to cutting the actual cloth.

In the meantime, tips on how to rid myself of sleeve ripples and rear waist bunching (and how to convey the adjustments in a fashion that Nani will understand) are most welcome - as are all other critiques on fit, balance, where/what to adjust, etc.

#12 kotmj

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:59 AM

Coming along very nicely!!! I love this thread! I'll try to give a more thoughtful response later in the day.

#13 terrorsquad

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 11:42 AM

I am so tempted to make a trip to Singpaore just to try out Iris.Their work is very good. I cannot imagine Ah Loke agreeing to 3 fittings on a muslin baste! :D

#14 kotmj

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

I cannot imagine myself agreeing to 3 fittings in muslin.

#15 kotmj

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:55 PM

This is an unusual suggestion: I would reposition the darts on the trousers so that the peaks of the cones produced by the darts coincide with the peaks of your bumcheeks. This means moving each dart laterally 2" closer to the seat seam. There is nothing special about the present positioning of the darts. All the trousermaker did was to position them halfway between the outseam and the seat seam. Once upon a time when trousers were MUCH fuller, you'd need 2 darts at the back. One was the primary dart and the other the secondary. The primary dart would have been placed pretty much where the ideal dart position would be in your case.

I would also reshape the 2 inches of the outseam directly below the waistband. There is some lateral strain, a tightness, right below the waistband. The outseam should flare out a bit more right below the waistband. After clearing the hipbone, the seam should come back in closer to the thighs. In other words, the point of maximum convexity of the outseam needs to be adjusted upwards. Notice that 5" below the waistband is the present point of maximum convexity. There is excess width there where it is not needed.

So much for the trousers.

#16 kotmj

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:15 PM

I will leave the jacket for the forum to critique.

#17 andrew

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:18 PM

Enjoyed your feature very much. Any extra charge for the muslin fittings?

#18 arc

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 11:04 PM

This is an unusual suggestion: I would reposition the darts on the trousers so that the peaks of the cones produced by the darts coincide with the peaks of your bumcheeks. This means moving each dart laterally 2" closer to the seat seam. There is nothing special about the present positioning of the darts. All the trousermaker did was to position them halfway between the outseam and the seat seam. Once upon a time when trousers were MUCH fuller, you'd need 2 darts at the back. One was the primary dart and the other the secondary. The primary dart would have been placed pretty much where the ideal dart position would be in your case.

I would also reshape the 2 inches of the outseam directly below the waistband. There is some lateral strain, a tightness, right below the waistband. The outseam should flare out a bit more right below the waistband. After clearing the hipbone, the seam should come back in closer to the thighs. In other words, the point of maximum convexity of the outseam needs to be adjusted upwards. Notice that 5" below the waistband is the present point of maximum convexity. There is excess width there where it is not needed.


I understood this perfectly. Your advice is invaluable as usual. I will raise these with Nani at the next fitting. Much thanks.

Andrew - it's all factored into the quoted price, so no "extra" charges for this. I also gather from research and advice that what I've paid is consistent with the price quoted to others.

#19 "6"

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 02:52 PM

This is a great write up. Keep up the good work arc!

#20 arc

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:09 PM

Iris Tailor: Part III

Technically this isn't part 3 because I did quite a few fittings since the second baste - a third muslin baste, plus a forward fitting (ie. in the actual cloth, which is to recap a Minnis Fresco 8-9oz). This set of pictures was taken somewhere around that stage.

First, pants. Shaping up good so far.

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The drape / hang was turning out mighty fine.

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And the forward baste.

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Had I been more experienced, I would have noted the sleeve pitch issue at this stage. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20... It's been a great learning experience. Take note of my tricep straining backward against the cloth - fixing this would require a rotation of the sleevehead in a clockwise direction, such that the curve of the sleeve is aligned with curve of the arm. (kotmj and other experienced tailors please correct me if I'm wrong.)

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The back. Upper back is generally clean by now, although there's some tightness in the trap/lat areas. While not a deal-breaker for me (given that our starting point was a very slim suit I saw this as being an inevitable consequence), I do believe I asked for the side/back seams to be let out slightly to accommodate.

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Other changes at this point included asking for more open quarters, and a lengthening of the jacket by an inch - not a fan of short jackets.

Part 4 coming up very shortly, imma smoke a couple cigarettes before processing them pics.





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