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The Custom Clothing Process

One of the most common questions we get from prospective clients is, “What’s your process like?” It’s a good idea to learn how a new experience will go before agreeing to undertake it, and we feel – very strongly – that the custom clothing process is no different in this regard. In this post, we’ll outline the various steps we take to make sure you’re looking, feeling, and performing at your best. We won’t be discussing styling of garments, but if you’re curious to view that information, we have entire series on custom suits and custom shirts.

First we will take a peak into the unique experience that is the Henry A. Davidsen process.

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The Henry A. Davidsen Experience Video

Our Process

  • Consult – At Henry A. Davidsen there’s much more to a consultation than “what colors do you like?”  Our discussions will revolve around not just your fit preferences, but also your current wardrobe, your profession, your skin tone, hair color, body build, long-term life goals, and more.  We want to make you the perfect clothes every time. So each of these details matter when crafting the most genuine, impactful garment possible.
  • Educate – At Henry A. Davidsen, we pride ourselves on educating our clients on key concepts of suitmaking – canvasses, made-to-measure versus custom clothes, and the properties of various fibers – just as much as we do creating beautiful and unique garments.  This education is pivotal in understanding garment longevity, breathability, drape, and price point. Our goal is to empower our clients. Teaching someone about the important factors that need to be considered when designing a garment is the easiest way to instill confidence and excitement around suiting!
  • Design – After breaking everything down, we put it back together and fill in the gaps in your wardrobe.  Your consultant will act as your personal guide throughout the design process, helping select the appropriate construction, the perfect fabric, a special lining, unique buttons, appropriate lapels, and the rest of the small details that make your garment something greater than the sum of its parts.

Next we will explore the process based on garment type since the process will differ depending on construction.

Made-to-Measure (MTM) Garments

customer picks fabric for custom jacket
Cloth is selected at the first consultation.

Our Black and Gold Label garments are made-to-measure. The process takes approximately eight weeks and involves three simple steps:

  • Initial Consultation: We spend a lot of time simply talking with first-time clients. A good discussion clarifies the destination you want to arrive at and allows us to create a roadmap to get there. At this stage, we also work with you to design a garment and take measurements, all of which are kept on file. This appointment tends to run about ninety minutes.
  • Second Fitting: About eight weeks after the initial consultation, your nearly-finished garment arrives and we’ll have you in for a second fitting. You’ll meet with a consultant and our in-house tailor, who will mark the garment for whatever tweaks and finishing work are necessary, including our standard functional sleeve buttons. Much shorter than a consultation, a second fitting tends to last no more than twenty minutes.
  • Final Try-On/Pickup: About two weeks after your second fitting, your garment is ready for one last try on. Don’t get us wrong – we’re happy to ship to you or do a simple hand-off if need be. We think it’s best practice to take one last look together, just to be sure all of the final tweaks came out as desired and there’s no additional work needed.

Full Custom or Bespoke Process

custom suit process scrap fitting
A scrap fitting in progress.

Our Blue and Purple Labels are full custom garments and require the creation and refining of a custom pattern. First-time clients can expect a turnaround time of about twelve weeks. Repeat clients, however, enjoy turnaround times as quick as six weeks. The process looks like this:

  • Initial Consultation: Our initial consultations for custom garments are identical to those for made-to-measure ones. We talk, design, and take measurements.
  • Scrap Fitting: Approximately three weeks after your initial consultation, we perform a scrap fitting. A “scrap” garment is essentially a beta test for the pattern we created for you. We use inexpensive material to cut a try-on of your pattern. We put it on your body and check the garment’s fit, drape, and balance before we cut any luxury cloth. The beauty of the scrap is that you’re refining a pattern, not a finished garment. As such you can make changes that would be otherwise impossible, such as lengthening a coat, changing the button-placement, or broadening shoulders.  This also gives a client the ability to see how certain design options will look on their body if they couldn’t otherwise picture it from a style guide.

The ability to tweak your pattern before we begin production is what allows us to ensure a perfect fit, so the scrap stage is crucial.

  • Second Fitting: Six to eight weeks after your scrap fitting, the nearly-finished garment will arrive. Like the made-to-measure process, you’ll meet with a consultant and our tailor at this stage. The expectation here is that we’ll make minor tweaks, since the scrap fitting did the heavy lifting.
  • Final Try-On/Pickup: Same as made-to-measure, your garment should be ready for pickup about two weeks after your second fitting.

Custom Shirt Process

We’re proud to share that we typically don’t need to make alterations on our shirts. The process is often just two steps:

  • Initial Consultation
  • Final Try-On/Pickup

Not all orders are the same, though. Some clients are more challenging to fit than others, and some have styling requests that are highly unique. We’re happy to accommodate any such multi-shirt order through our “sample” process, which looks like this:

  • Initial Consultation: Same as above.
  • Sample Try-On: We make up one shirt out of your order to your measurements and style specifications for you to try on. We solicit fit and style feedback and make any necessary changes to the balance of the order.
  • Final Try-On / Pickup: Your entire order arrives, incorporating the changes made at the sample stage (if any).

custom tailor shows off jacket lining to client

Starting The Process

We’re delighted to answer any questions you have about our process and in addition to constructed garments, we also offer custom casual wear and custom accessories, including denim, ties, polos, henley’s, sweaters, and even belts. We’re here at 215-310-0219 and at info@henrydavidsen.com. We look forward to starting a conversation with you.


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