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What They Won't Say - Canvas


Every suit coat will have a full layer of cloth between the outer cloth and the inner silk lining. It’s what lets the coat keep its shape.


With a proper, hand-made suit, the coat is canvassed by hand. The tailors use a real piece of wool & mohair based canvas. And yes, it does take forever.

Why have a hand canvas? It looks better. With a full floating, hand canvas, there’s give. There’s synergy. The end result is the suit follows the contours of the body more naturally. There’s less surface tension. The fit looks more relaxed and elegant without compromising form.

And as the coat now has a natural canvas in the layering, it expands and contacts depending on the body’s heat, making for a more organic fit.


The problem is that using a full floating hand canvas is expensive and time consuming, neither of which suit mass production.

So they can make as many suits as possible for the lowest cost, suit manufacturers, no longer use a canvas interlining in their jackets. Rather, a fusible interlining is glued to the wool shell of the suit.With a machine-made, “fused” coat, they use a special synthetic material which effectivley turns to glue when heated. It doesn’t really do much, besides give the coat its body. It can be done on a machine in a few seconds.

And while this does an adequate job of keeping a jacket’s shape, it often creates an unnatural stiffness in the jacket, making a fused jacket appear lifeless compared to a similar canvassed coat. With a fused coat, there’s no give. Where the outer cloth goes, the fused material goes, and vice-versa. They’re just machine-stuck together. There’s no synergy between the two.

It’s not just budget brands that construct jackets in this fashion. Many designer labels construct their suit jackets this way to save themselves money. What is sometimes problematic with fused jackets is the fact that the glue degrades over time, or may come unstuck during the dry-cleaning/pressing process. Where the wool detaches from the fused backing, the fabric ripples around the chest and lapels, a phenomenon known as “bubbling.” Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this problem once it’s occurred.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with fused canvas suits. It’s an effective way to mass produce an inexpensive suit. Our factory made suits use fusing technology however they all sell for under $250.

What I do have a problem with is expensive designer label suits priced well over $1,000 that come with a fused canvas  If you pay that sort of money you deserve much better.


Between the two extremes lies a compromise – the half-canvassed jacket. Half-canvassed jackets have canvas material running only through the chest and lapels of the coat. Past that point, the jacket is fused.

Half-canvassed jackets have several benefits. First, they generally have a lower price than a similar fully canvassed jacket. Less handiwork means a lower overall cost to you.

And because the top half of the jacket is not fused you’ll not run into any bubbling problems as you might in a fused jacket. This adds to the lifespan of the garment.

Finally, the canvassing provides the proper base for the jacket to drape naturally across your chest, rather than appearing stiff and lifeless as many fused jackets do.



The canvas is the foundation of any good suit. It is responsible for the overall shape of your suit. Accordingly, it’s probably the most important feature of any suit so why isn’t it featured in every suit advertisement?

Because retailers are frightened that if you knew that $899 suit you’re looking at is basically glued together, you won’t buy it and they’re probably right. Our $229 New York Collection is built around a floating chest piece and our $299 hand-made web special uses a full floating canvas, so why would you consider paying more for a mass produced fused canvas suit?

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