I’ve learned a lot since my commissioning a suit series and I was eager to apply my learnings to the new sport coat I had made. Many of the things I asked my tailor to do were not the usual and sometimes became a challenge as I’ll explain further. I’ll be talking heavily about tailoring so be prepared to encounter some terms that might be unfamiliar.

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Polyester linings make jackets relatively warm to wear so I went with a partially lined jacket that only covered the front and upper back. My tailor initially balked at the thought because linings serve a secondary purpose: hiding shoddy craftsmanship and unfinished edges. But I insisted and gave him some advice on how to finish the edges and vents. I wanted double vents but he said it would be much harder without linings so I agreed to a single vent. I have found a suitable sample so for my next sport coat I will ask him to do double vents.

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I wanted my sport coat to have a relaxed feel to it. That meant heavily padded shoulders and a roped sleevehead were out. I have broad shoulders so I definitely don’t need the padding to enhance them. I asked my tailor to do a shirt shoulder instead which attaches the sleeve to the rest of the jacket like that of a shirt (as opposed to roped which lifts the sleevehead up). I’m glad this part has turned out well but took some time to get done.

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When it comes to fused jackets, a layer of fusible is applied to the fabric, then horsehair, then another layer of fusible on top of it (this process is used in place of a hand-basted canvass which can be found on high-quality, true bespoke jackets). I asked my tailor to get rid of the horsehair and the additional layer of fusible to make the jacket less structured and less warm in the chest. The outcome is a more relaxed jacket but it also posed a small problem: the fabric did not drape properly near the shoulders. I told my tailor to add another layer of fusible in this area and the problem was solved.

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Other details I asked my tailor to do was wider quarters and a suppressed waist. Wider quarters look elegant as they do not give the suit a box-y look while a suppressed waist gives my torso a better shape. I also chose a wider lapel of 3.5 inches that roll instead of being flat on the chest. The lapel notches are higher and sit along the collarbones so that it does not interrupt the lines of the lapels. Lastly, I chose brown buttons as they look supremely elegant with navy.

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I’m impressed with the finished product but I could still identify some areas of improvement for my tailor. There’s a little bulge that needs to be corrected on the sleevehead, the cuff buttons need to be aligned better and the pressing needs to be done at a lower temperature. Nonetheless, this first attempt of mine at an unstructured sport coat turned out pretty good.

I’m happy my tailor was willing to work closely with me and agree to many things he does not usually do. It’s not everyday he gets asked to work on a jacket like this with someone who’s very particular with the details. I guess the lesson here is that it takes a lot of effort to achieve an effortless look. And as I’ve said before, local tailors can deliver great value for money if you know what you want and if you’re willing to get your hands dirty.

Rico Ignacio can be found at the Kamuning Public Market along L. Sianghio St., Quezon City. I purchased the fabric from a shop in the buildings along Ylaya St., Binondo, City of Manila.