Having darted shape into the canvas, Rory Duffy now cuts and machines corresponding darts in the cloth which will cover it. While at the machine, he also sews the center back and forearm sleeve seams in accordance with the “order of assembly” taught to him at Henry Poole & Co -- an essential efficiency for a handcraft tailor, whose income is dependent on the limited number of suits he can make in a year.
The next step is to shape the back with water and hot and cold irons, working in fullness over the blades and shrinking it away behind the arm. While the iron is hot, Duffy also “blocks the pockets” of the foreparts, shrinking away fullness over the hips created by the chest darts. Such skilled ironwork -- giving Duffy’s workshop the clang and sizzle of a forge -- is at the heart of bespoke, distinguishing it from most ready-to-wear and made-to-measure, for which patterns are generally cut to be sewn flat. While most of this iron-worked shape is intended to be sinuously visible, much of it -- like the stretched backseam inlay at the waist -- will be seen and felt only in the absence of tightness.
Another bespoke touch is the attachment by hand of heavy linen canvas to the foreparts at the base of the darts, to reinforce the cloth where the pockets will be attached. This is more commonly and easily accomplished today with lightweight flexible fusing, but canvas will feel better, last longer, and scratch a certain philosophical sweet spot known only to those beyond help.