The best of all worlds - for the customer rather than the tailor - is that the customer should live within walking distance of his tailor. Those of us who don't get the short end when it comes to fittings.
Over the course of more than a century and hundreds of thousands if not millions of suits, jackets and overcoats, the world class tailoring houses settled on three fittings as the ideal interaction between customer and tailor. There is the basted ftting of the jacket pieces held together by basting thread, where major changes to the pattern can be accommodated. That is followed by the forward fitting, where the coat is usually (this step varies from house to house) substantially complete but missing details such as buttons. It is at the forward fitting where misunderstandings between tailor and customer are easiest to identify before they can no longer be changed without a great deal of delay. And then there is the final fitting, where the customer can usually expect to walk out of the shop with his new clothing.
It is when tailors travel to their customers, as they do for most of the things they make these days, that this sequence begins to break down. If the tailor visits twice a year, three fittings would mean as much as a two year wait between order and delivery and that is clearly not a viable option. So the usual process is to do away with the final fitting, and to offer a basted fitting for the first garment only, if at all. That means that a repeat customer can choose his cloth in November, have a fitting in March, and receive his completed clothes in time to wear them once or twice before his tailor returns and can discuss any required adjustments. Most of the time there are none.
In an effort to hold costs to the absolute minimum, Hong Kong's W. W. Chan goes so far as to dispense with fittings altogether unless the customer requests them. A fitting adds three months to the delivery cycle but I consider the step a necessity, particularly for the first two jackets when one's pattern is still in flux.
Chan's usual practice is to provide a basted fitting (that's Patick Chu of the Hong Kong shop removing padding from the shoulders of a basted jacket in the photo), and this is the best practice for new customers. Its downfall is that mis-interpretations of the order will often not be identifiable at this stage, or at least they were not for my first suit, an otherwise very satisfactory summer suit that was delivered with a different button arrangement than I ordered. But I found that the firm will provide a forward fitting instead, as it routinely does in Hong Kong, and I am adopting this practice going forward.