By Ryan on April 3rd, 2016
There’s a horse in your suit jacket, did you know that?
Well, if your suit jacket is constructed with what’s called canvas, then the statement above is true to an extent.
But I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.
This week, we’re talking suit construction. More specifically, we’re talking about what I would call the very foundation of a suit jacket – whether the suit has a fused or canvas-style construction.
This is important because the drape and “hang” of your suit will be directly impacted by its construction technique. This includes how the suit conforms to your body over time and how it will stand up to dry cleaning.
Is one method inherently better than the other? Well, it really depends on what your needs are.
On our suits webpage you may have noticed that we offer what is called canvas horse hair construction. So, what exactly is that?
Horse hair canvas is springy, but strong and resilient, and is used to develop that “soft roll” when shaping garments. This is in stark contrast to a crease – something that is common in off-the-rack suits.
It’s actually made from horse hair that has been fused together to create a thin sheet. Much like your suit fabric, it’s cut to the appropriate pattern and then stitched with the fabric. Since we are a Colorado company, allow me to explain this further in terms of cold weather coats. When you buy a warm ski jacket, you’re generally going to have two parts – the outer shell (water and tear resistant) and the inner layer that is more about keeping you warm via insulation. Similarly, men’s suits typically have two layers – the outer wool fabric and the inner canvas. The job of the canvas is to keep the shape of the suit.
The takeaway is that horsehair canvas has some integrity. That it stands up on its own (say, when folded over) and will help give your suit jacket some life.
And at BE, our canvas construction is always treated with cold water to keep the canvas from shrinking.
Many manufacturers have gone the way of fused construction. This method involves fusing an interlining to the woolen shell. Early industry attempts at fused construction have led to mixed results. Critics like to point to “bubbling” in jackets – a phenomenon that occurs after repeated dry-cleaning where the fused material will delaminate (the glue losing its adhesion) resulting in an unsightly rippling of the fabric.
But like so many things in life, a fused jacket is not just a fused jacket. That is, some manufacturers have developed very adequate techniques for manufacturing fused jackets.
At BE, we are very pleased to say that our fused jackets have never shown any signs of bubbling. They have shown excellent shape and contour.
So, what does all of this really mean? If you’re in the market for a suit, you’re going to need to make a decision. If you’re on a budget, then a fused construction will save you some money and still serve as a great introduction to bespoke suiting.
However, to get the real experience of what a fine suit can be, we recommend opting for a full-canvas construction. The coat will have life, hold its shape superbly, and best of all, it will conform to your body after repeated wearings.
If you’re looking for the best looking suit available, one that will conform to your body and last a very long time, then there’s no doubt that a full canvas suit is the best pick. There’s a lot of history behind horse hair canvas construction, and the fact that industry is still manufacturing men’s suits in this way, is a testament to the inherent quality behind a canvassed suit jacket.
Have more questions on this topic? Here’s how to get in touch with us.
Fused vs. canvas suits – The Art of Manliness