Thomas Mahon on real cuff holes

This is great information, when I had my (low quality Boss) tux altered they actually did not even sew back the fake cuff holes, and I was slightly displeased.

english cut: bespoke savile row tailors: real cuff holes…

This is a little detail that’s grown in importance over the last few years: “Real Cuff Holes”. These are seen today as one of the major hallmarks of a bespoke suit. But surprisingly enough, it wasn’t always this way. Indeed, when I started in the trade twenty-three years ago, a relatively short time span, real button holes on the cuff were very rare.

The reason for this is not what you think, i.e. that real holes are more expensive or harder to do, even though yes, they are.

The real reason is that quite simply, very few people need them, and yes, they can cause problems.

Here’s why. Bespoke clothing is like liquid. It’s always in a slight
state of change until it’s been well worn and allowed to settle down.
When a suit is finished and has gone to the customer, once it’s
“settled” a bit, it might need some minor alterations. This is
perfectly normal. But this is where “real holes” can cause problems.
Because you may need to lengthen or shorten a sleeve, and this is where
real holes cause the most obvious aggravation.

Also, if you alter the shoulders this can also affect sleeve length,
so that too may be slightly compromised. Most tailors, including
myself, put two “real” and two “sham” holes, for precisely this reason.
Four “real” holes allows for virtually no sleeve length alteration,
unless the cloth is plain or striped. If the latter is the case, you
can take out the sleeve from the shoulder and shorten it from the top.

But to lengthen it any more than about three-eighths of an inch at
the bottom is going to start looking awful, with cuff buttons
apparently floating halfway towards the elbow.

If you must lengthen a sleeve with real holes, as I often do, what
you can do is lengthen the sleeve as necessary, then take out the top
hole, and add another at the bottom to keep it balanced. So the
worst-case scenario is that you’ve now got three working “real” holes
instead of two.

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2 Responses to Thomas Mahon on real cuff holes

  1. miz February 15, 2007 at 9:55 am #

    interesting stuff, ayn.

    i heard that you don’t know how good a suit is until you’ve worn it for a few years. i see now how wearing a suit will make it stretch and form to your body. a good suit will form gracefully, a bad suit, well, less gracefully.

    i had a suit made for me in thailand. if you ever visit thailand, MAKE SURE you get a suit made there. it’s cheap and you will get a suit that is perfectly tailored to your body and specifications. go on http://styleforum.net to get suggestions for good tailors.

    in my case, i wanted a very slim, fitted black suit, single-lapelled and only two buttons. no-nonsense. i would have paid well over a thousand or so dollars in the u.s. in thailand, it was $200 and change. that’s with a custom fitted shirt that fits me like a glove.

    they DO take email and mail orders, but, i highly suggest you go over there because that second fitting is crucial. or, if you like the way a certain suit fits, you can send it over there and they can copy the pattern.

    anyways, just some suggestions if you are looking into a bespoke suit. peace!

  2. ayn February 15, 2007 at 9:58 am #

    thanks, yeah, will definitely look into it when I’m in thailand or hong kong… I don’t really need a suit, only wear one maybe once a year, I actually wear my tux more often than any suit coz peeps are dropping into marriages left and right, haha…

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