Between the extremes of bespoke and ready-to-wear has existed,
since the end of the 19th century, a “grey area of garments for which
the customer was measured, but that were then made up to the closest
standard size, often, but by no means always, in a factory.”
The distinction made here is between bespoke, created without use of a
pre-existing pattern, and made to measure, which alters a standard-sized
pattern to fit the customer.
Technological change makes this distinction more subtle, since “fittings
are increasingly required for both bespoke and made-to-measure; a bespoke
service may require an individually-cut pattern, which is then kept should
further suits be required, and now made-to-measure measurements are often
stored too, on a computer. Even hand-work, often cited as a benchmark of
bespoke, is now increasingly found in made-to-measure garments, while
machine-making plays some part in the creation of most bespoke suits”.