June 5, 2014

A guide to canvassed and fused suits



You might have heard about canvassed and fused suit jackets. But what are they, and which should you be looking for when buying a bespoke tailored suit?

Canvassed jacket

With a canvassed jacket, a layer of horsehair canvas is placed beneath the wool fabric shell to help with the structure, balance and form of the suit. The wool is stitched to the canvas. Eventually, the canvas adapts to the shape of your body, to create the perfect fit. Therefore, a canvassed suit, like whisky and wine, simply gets better with age.

Fusible interlining

But you might like to look at a fused approach. Fusible interlinings are a cost-effective solution and have improved dramatically in the last generation. They involve inserting an interlining with a special resin that is heated and melts to form a bond with the cloth. Technology has come on greatly and the ‘bubbling’ along the front of the early days is no longer an issue.

Once the interlining is bonded, we have to be careful to ensure we don’t heat the area again. This is something to be wary of if you wear a fused bespoke suit. If you subject it to steam without pressure, the bond can soften and create delamination. So try to avoid steaming tailored suits.

Half-canvassing

Somewhere between the two is a compromise – half-canvassed jackets. These have canvas in just the chest and lapels; the rest of the jacket is fused. The good news is that they’ll save you money on a fully canvassed jacket because production costs are lower.

Is it canvassed or fused?

You can carry out a ‘pinch test’ to decide if a jacket is canvassed or fused.

Simply pinch the fabric on the sleeve to get an idea about the thickness of the wool. Next, pinch the cloth under the lowest button, both inside and out. Pull the layers apart carefully. Can you feel another layer inside? If so, the jacket is canvassed.

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