The difference between fish cuts and sidebodies…

Two fish cuts Scholte Style
A blue mohair suit with two fish cuts, Scholte Style. Cut and made by Steven Hitchcock.

A question I get asked the most is, what is the difference between my work and Anderson and Sheppard’s? My previous employers have cut the same way for over 100 years. Scholte came up with the concept of soft tailoring in the last century. This means a one piece forepart with either one or two open ended fish cuts. This in my opinion, was better suited to the heavier weight cloth which was also in use 100 years ago.

The side body is the modern way to cut as the weight of the cloth has become a lot lighter, a 100 years ago there was no central heating the weight of a suit would be around 18 oz for a heavy cloth and 13oz for a lightweight. Today 13oz is regarded heavy and 7oz is the lighter weight. The change in cloth weight needs a change in cut to be able to make these up into a perfect suit.


The Scholte cut coat with two open ended fish cuts.
A tweed sports coat with natural elegance, soft tailored by Steven Hitchcock with two fish cuts.

I was taught to cut a coat using the ‘fish cuts.’ I still use this technique for some of my clients, but I also use the side body technique too. I much prefer the side body, as do most west end tailors. This allows me to cut shape into the coat where it is needed, unlike the fish cuts which just take a suppression in the waist. Some times if the fish cut is not tailored correctly, it can leave the front of the coat floating away from the body. A side body which has a belly cut taken from it will shape the bottom of the coat, perfectly fitting the shape of the body.

As I hand make all the canvas’ myself, to make sure that my coats have a very soft feel to them. Just in the same way as I did when I went through my apprenticeship at Anderson and Sheppard in the 1990’s. This, with the handmade shoulders make for a great looking and very soft and comfortable coat, I believe the best in London. As I only make three suits a week I can control the standards, and are always the very highest found in Savile Row today.

Bruce Boyer a champion of soft tailoring profers a side body.
Sidebodie pattern. Bruce Boyer is a champion of soft tailoring and prefers a side body.


fish cuts
Two fish cuts used on this sports coat.

When I cut for a client that has the ideal measurements of a 42″ chest and a 34″ waist, then I may cut his coat with the two fish cuts, just as Scholte did all those years ago. The fish cuts would be sufficient in creating enough suppression and shape for my clients body shape. If I was cutting a pattern for a  client with a similar size chest to waist than I would cut him a coat with a side body, as it would mean I could cut more shape and style into the coat using the extra seams that create the side body. In layman’s terms; the side body will keep the sides of the coat short and the front of the coat long. With the cloth we work on being so much lighter in weight today, I believe it is best to cut a side body as the light weight cloths don’t take too kindly to heavy stretching and shrinking with the iron.


Jason Atherton wearing Steven Hitchcock Bespoke
Steven cut Jason Atherton’s coat with a side body.

For more visuals on how I cut and make my bespoke suits see Instagram for daily updates of my working day as a bespoke Savile Row tailor.


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