Our technical spotlight this month is on canvassing. Canvassing is a term that refers to the construction of a jacket. The canvas are layers of fabric that go in between the suit cloth and the inside lining. It can be made of wool, horsehair, camelhair, or a hair/cotton mix. They use hair as the fabric because it retains its shape and when bunched up, springs back.
There are three options when it comes to suit construction; fused, half-canvas and full canvas. Each have their benefits and cons.
A fused suit has the interlining glued straight to the suit fabric in the front panels and lapels. The benefit is that it is a less expensive option but there are many cons to it. Because it is glued together, it can't drape to fit the body very well and creates a stiffer fitting jacket. It also doesn't breathe as easily. Another negative aspect is that over time the glue will break down and the interlining will come away from the suit fabric and cause bubbling. Fusing has come a long way over the years, however it still falls short when compared to a canvassed suit.
Half canvas is when the suit has canvassing through the shoulders, chest, and lapels but is fused from the waist down. It gives structure through the chest like a fully canvassed suit but has a stiffer construction because of the fusing. It is the in-between option and is priced closer to a fused garment
The last and best option is full canvas. A fully canvassed suit has the canvas fabric in the front panels and lapels from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the jacket. This construction helps the suit drape on the body. Over time the canvas conforms more to the body shape which increases how well the suit fits. It also allows for better movement and it breathes well. The canvas gives the suit structure and shape; it's like the skeleton of the suit. It does cost more because construction requires more skill and it takes longer to make. However, a fully canvased suit fits and drapes better and gives the suit a longer life, which is why all of our suits are made with full canvas construction.