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Tailor’s jargon explained – jacket cuff styles and trousers hem choices

Tailor’s jargon explained – jacket cuff styles and trousers hem choices


If you have ever been confused by the differences by your tailor when they talk about suit finishings, here is a break down. You can minimise the cost of alterations on your suit, when you know what to look for during the purchase.


Decorative button hole/ShamsBlog- shams

When you buy a new suit, 80% of the time, they will come with Shams, or decorative button holes. These are stitching next to the button on the cuff, to imitate the button hole look. With this style, we can shorten or lengthen sleeves at the cuff, as these stitching and buttons are easily removed and can be replaced.

Shortened sleeves with buttons and ventBlog- ventbuttons

A lot of the time, the shams are not very noticeable (eg. Dark stitching on dark suits). In these instances, our customers may opt to not have the shams restitched after alterations in order to save money. This finish what we mean by vent and buttons, and above is what it will look like. We can also resew the SHAMS to retain the original style, for a small fee.

Functional buttonholeBlog- Open buttonhole

Other times, the suits you buy may come with fully functioning buttonholes. These styles are more traditional, as the buttons can be opened and closed. From the cuff, we can only shorten or lengthen up to 1.5cms. If more shortening is required, we can alter the sleeve length from the shoulder of the jacket. It is a significantly more delicate job, reserved for the more experienced tailors, and therefore generally cost more than shortening from the cuff.



Plain invisible hem

Blog - inv hem
Most suit trousers will be finished with a plain invisible hem. You cannot see any stitch marks from the outside, and there is a 5cm allowance on the inside of the hem. Be careful not to put trousers straight in the washing machine, as invisible hem trousers unravel easily, if not properly cared for.

Hem tape

Blog - pants tape
Traditional trousers may come with a half tape of full tape around the inside of the trousers. These are meant to product the trousers fabrics from rubbing against the shoe, and provides a more structured look on the hem.

Cuffs Blog - pants cuff

Even more traditional, are cuffed trousers. They add a degree of sophistication to the trousers.




Pleated back shirts allows more fabric around the midsections. This is more suitable for gents who like a loose fitting shirt, especially around the tummy area.

No Pleat

For those preferring a slim, fitted look, choose shirts that do not have pleats in the back. We can easily add darts as well if you would like a fully fitted look.