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Gail (RIP) from Schott: her thoughts on fit and custom jackets


Practically Family
Was just reading this on the Schott forum and it seemed interesting enough to post here as well as a tribute to her:
Our employees, most have worked for Schott about 20 years before the first Schott Retail store was opened, personally this is my 38th year. It is easy when you have an actual person in front of you and a wide selection of styles and sizes for a customer to try on and select their preference. Our customer service has to reply on a phone call, email or post on our website. Based on what the person tells us, his measurements (hoping he measured correctly) and the style he wants, we advise him what his actual size is, but what his size is and his preference in the fit are can be two totally different things. I have seen customers wear jacket much too small and others who want and wear a looser fit, the individual will always decide what he wants. Finally if you have a spec sheet, you can see the size measurements given for the chest and the sweep which is the bottom of the jacket that the measurements are in half. Example: size 42 has a chest in half of 24", complete circumference of the jacket would be 48". The same size 42 for the sweep or bottom of jacket in half is 20", complete circumference would be 40". So the decrease of inches from chest to bottom of a jacket is 8" not 4".

Everyone has a preference in the style and fit of any jacket and the choice is there to make. What works for you may not work for someone else. I do see many jackets posted on our site for sale that are too small and they are looking to sell or trade, because the purchase a jacket not in their actual size. Motorcycle jackets are the hardest styles to advise a person on a size, I've seem more customers wearing motorcycle jackets then any salesman in a store and "ONE SIZE" OR "PREFERENCE" does not fit all! I wonder how that same salesperson would be on a phone, given some specs and preference of fit by the person, and no jackets for anyone to try on, would do or even qualify coming close to our employees. Sorry if I am ranting, but You don’t how hard our employees work to help our customers. I know we have a great staff of salemen at our stores, but our staff at the factory has been doing this a long time, so I know they have a harder time then any salesman at a store.

Custom jackets are expensive as was already quoted for $1500 by Langlitz. Horsehide is a most expensive leather, jacket size can also add to the cost as larger sizes take more leather. Custom jacket cost is based on materials and pattern changes. A expensive part of a custom jacket are pattern changes and making a new set of patterns for the custom jacket. Just based on a stand-up collar, new patterns have to be made for the front and back panels to accommodate the fit of a stand-up collar, I am assuming like the collar on the style 141. It may all look easy and simple on paper, but our designer could take a day to redesign the patterns so all pattern parts fit together properly. Once the new set of patterns are made, the leather must be matched. This requires a pallet of leather being pulled from the warehouse just to match one jacket, then repacking the pallet when done. Matching leather can take several hours by a matcher as he lays up 30-50 hides on a table to just match one jacket. After the hides are selected the jacket is then cut and taken back to our design departmnet where a sample maker will assemble the jacket. The sample maker is a person that can assemble a complete jacket, while our factory production is assembly of each sewer doing a specific job, a sample maker does require a higher labor cost. It is hard for anyone not knowing how a custom jacket is made from start to finish to understand the full cost of the jacket.

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