Kevin Seah Bespoke: A photo essay. Selecting the right garments and stitches for a suit

Kevin Seah Bespoke

In this photographic portfolio, we document the creation and construction of a handcrafted, handcanvassed tropical linen sports coat at Kevin Seah Bespoke

“When a client arrives, we’ll discuss their lifestyle and needs, then scope out an appropriate garment,” Kevin Seah says. “This Singaporean customer wanted a lightweight, airy sports coat. After lengthy consideration, we chose a neutral linen from Solbiati, picked a lovely Liberty cotton for the half-lining and selected the correct tone of horn buttons. Then I sketched out the design for his coat, with peak lapels to add breadth to his narrow shoulders.”

“Next we’ll size up the client, gauging more than 20 different measurements of his upper body, and take notes based on the slope of his shoulders, his posture, build and so forth,” Seah explains. “From this data we draft a pattern, then chalk up and cut the cloth.”

“A handcanvassed interlining is essential to give a coat a natural shape and drape, helping it conform to the client’s body over time and providing the lapel with a handsome roll. We painstakingly handstitch the interlining and pad stitch it into place – many hundreds of individual stitches are involved,” Seah says. “We then begin temporarily constructing the garment with what is called a baste stitch. This will be used for the preliminary fitting, then torn apart and reconstructed.”

“After the baste fitting, we make whatever adjustments are necessary to the garment and the pattern, which will be kept on hand to make subsequent coats for the client, and conduct several more fittings to ensure a perfect fit,” Seah says. “Before presenting the finished bespoke coat to the customer, the final step is the addition of a beautiful Milanese lapel buttonhole, which I personally hand stitch. In all, there’s more than 70 hours’ work in a bespoke suit – sometimes, much more. We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure the client is happy.”

Photos by Vanessa Caitlin and Hazirah Rahim

Kevin Seah