Suit Construction: Canvas

I touched on this in my last article, but today I am going to give a bit more information on canvas; what it is, and what it does.

Canvas is a relatively loose weave fabric that provides shape and stiffness to the jacket; without it, the jacket would be a floppy piece of fabric. Canvas in suits is typically a combination of wool or cotton, and some sort of stiffer animal hair, typically horse or camel hair.

Some different types of canvas. Image by Jeffery Diduch, via StyleForum

Some different types of canvas. Image by Jeffery Diduch, via StyleForum








In a perfect world, every jacket would be fully canvassed; unfortunately, canvas is expensive, and so most lower end jackets are fused. Fusing is a method of gluing a layer of interfacing to the outer fabric of the jacket; this makes the fabric unnaturally stiff, and the glue is prone to wearing off, causing the fabric to bubble.



Images originally by Black Lapel. Check out their article here


Simply put, a fully canvassed suit offers the best form and drape; a fused suit is usually unnaturally stiff, and hangs awkwardly, bit it is cheaper; and the half-canvassed suit combines the both, it saves money on canvassing, while still providing moderate shaping to the chest area.

Recommended Reading

I have covered the basics, but if you want some more in-depth info, then here are some articles that you should check out:

Suiting 101: An Introduction to Suit jacket Construction by Black Lapel : An easy to read and informative article, providing the basic information.

The Art of Manliness Suit School: Part I – Fused vs. Canvassed Suits by The Art of Manliness : An in-depth, three part series of articles on suit construction, this article covers pretty much everything that you will need to know.



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