Warsaw’s Zaremba is perhaps the most well-known tailoring house in Poland, and apart from full bespoke, they also offer made-to-measure service. Here’s how my MTM order turned out.
Zaremba Bespoke Tailoring kindly offered to make this suit for me for a reduced price. They had no influence over the final shape of this text and had not reviewed it before publication. This is in accordance with my editorial policy, which you can view here.
I first visited Zaremba store in Warsaw in August last year. It was a pleasant experience, being able to see firsthand both finished bespoke garments made there, as well as some ready-to-wear things and accessories which the shop carries. Maciej, the owner, also took his time to show me the workshop, where I had a chance to see their clothes being made by a team of tailors, mostly by hand. We also talked about their MTM service, which I was interested in – I had a look at fabrics, asked about styling options. After my visit we exchanged e-mails and I ended up in the shop again in November – when I placed my order.
Placing the order
Photo by Mikołaj Pawełczak (Blue Loafers)
In bespoke, once you place an order, your measurements are taken and the next step is to create a pattern for you based on those. After that, there are several (usually two or three, that depends on your tailor) fittings, during which the garment you ordered starts resembling the final thing more and more. Bespoke gives you a lot of freedom in terms of styling: width of the lapels, height and angle of the gorge, placement of buttons, and a lot of non-standard stylistic choices which are otherwise unavailable.
Made-to-measure, or MTM, is somewhat simpler than that. The final garment is based on standard patterns, and when you place the order you try on a sample suit, which will be the base for modifications. This service can accommodate non-standard body types better than ready-to-wear stuff, obviously, but also not as well as bespoke. Fortunately, you can see how the sample garment fits, and the person taking your measurements should be able to tell you whether the imperfections of fit can be fixed or not. So who takes the measurements is crucial – they are the one who makes the decisions about modifying the pattern.
Some MTMs will then give you the final garment; others require a fitting. In Zaremba MTM one fitting is necessary.
When it comes to styling options, they appear somewhat limited in Zaremba MTM. Sure, all the basics are there: notch or peak lapel, number of buttons, patch, flap or besom pockets, and so on. However there are just two widths of the lapel to choose from, there is no influence over the gorge. It seems obvious that not everything available in bespoke service is there in MTM. For some it may be a drawback, however, as there are MTMs which offer more in-depth modifications of the pattern. It has its pros, though: the patterns used in Zaremba MTM are very well-designed, proportional and reflect the distinct house style of the shop. I find this approach compelling.
It is also worth noting that Zaremba MTM suits are made with a full canvas construction and are finished by hand – the buttonholes, pick-stitching, sleeve attachment and so on are not done on a machine.
And so I ordered a three-piece suit in lightweight Prince of Wales flannel from Ariston, with soft shoulders, 10cm notch lapels, 3 roll 2 closure, patch side pockets and barchetta welted breast pocket. Trousers were to be high waisted, with double reverse pleats and a 5cm cuff. No belt loops – side adjusters and buttons for braces instead. I also decided on a simple, five-button waistcoat.
My measurements were taken by Maciej, and you can feel he knows what he’s doing. After a quick glance at how the sample jacket fit, he decided on alterations accommodating the asymmetry of my shoulders; the armholes were also to be made smaller, the entire jacket – longer, and the buttoning point moved down.
The suit was ready for the fitting in January. As you can see on the photos, it looks almost finished. The sleeves were waiting for us deciding on the final length (so there were no buttons at the cuffs), the pockets were basted closed.
Some things still needed alterations though. The back of the jacket needed shortening – once Maciej worked his magic with pins, reducing the excess fabric and ease, the back became smoother. The seat of the trousers was also to be altered for comfort and fit.
We also decided on shortening the jacket. The excess length is not that much of a problem here, where the jacket is worn as a part of the suit. My intention, however, was to have a garment which would be easy to break into separates – hence the patch pockets. With odd trousers, the jacket would look touch too long, and that needed correcting.
The final garment
The suit was delivered to me after a little over a week from the fitting. I’ve had it on me a few times since and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The proportions are very good: the button placement, height of the gorge or width of the lapels work great with the overall silhouette of the jacket. The final length is also spot on.
And so is the fit. The suit hangs as it should. It’s cut close to the body, but not overly so, I feel no discomfort wearing it at any point.
The back is clean, the vents stay closed. There’s visible pluckering at the sleeve head, which is expected with the kind of sleeve attachment method used.
I’m frankly surprised at the clean line of the shoulder. There is no padding there, and yet the problem I often have with soft-shouldered jackets – the protruding collarbone – is not really that visible here. The sleeves are worked in con rollino, without wadding in the sleeve head, which helps to make the silhouette seemingly larger at the top without using shoulder padding.
I’m also impressed with how the jacket is finished. The lapels have a nice, three-dimentional roll provided by the canvas construction. The buttonholes are handmade, but very neat and elegant – you can only see very slight irregularities, especially on the reverse. The lapel buttonhole is beautiful Milanese. Most seams have subtle pick-stitching running along them (and that includes outseam of the trousers).
The wasitcoat is a simple, five-button, two-pocket one. I like the fact it’s rather low-cut, and shows a lot of the tie. The back is made of lining fabrics, with a strap for regulating the waist width.
Trousers sit high on the waist, the way I like it. The first pleat is 2cm deep; I was afraid it would be shallower, as I forgot to specify this detail when ordering, fortunately it appears to be the default. The side adjusters are long enough to actually make a difference. The fly is buttoned (here most buttonholes are machine-made; the exceptions are the two for buttons holding the waistband). Unfortunately, the wide two-button waistband is a detail unavailable in MTM – for that you have to go bespoke.
I have the impression that the trousers may be a little to narrow at the calf – they tend to break somewhere halfway from the knee to the hem, instead of having a clean, uninterrupted crease. This may be difficult to avoid with a rather lightweight fabric and narrow hem opening (18cm), and happens to me often with trousers I own.
I am extremely satisfied with this order – both with the final product and the smooth and professional process. The suit is great-looking, and after wearing it a few times, as a whole and in separates, I can also say it’s very comfortable.
Zaremba MTM is no doubt a good option for a custom suit; while by no means cheap, it may be a satisfactory alternative for bespoke – if you like the house style and the sample garment fits you reasonably well.