Why full canvas matters

Suiting construction is one of the most important pillars of a great Made to Measure suit. In the industry there are three main types of suiting construction; fused (or floating chest piece), half-canvas & full canvas (floating canvas). These construction methods give a Made to Measure suit its shape and rigidness. 

A fused suiting construction is the most common type and is the cheapest and easiest to construct. It involves glueing a synthetic canvas to the outer fabric of the Jacket. The advantage of this is that it does not require much skill to manufacture in comparison to a full canvas made to measure jacket, resulting in a cheaper, quicker and easier jacket. There are however many drawbacks to this form of construction. Firstly it creates a jacket that is stiff and not breathable, leaving the wearer feeling uncomfortable while wearing the product. Secondly it lacks the level of shape and conformity to the body that a full canvas offers. Lastly over 6-12 months the glue starts to separate from the outer fabric making the outer jacket fabric look like it is bubbling, meaning a regularly used fused suit typically only lasts 6-18 months. 

A half-canvas construction is the next form of suiting construction. It is a hybrid of a fused construction and a full canvas construction. It is the most typically used form of construction in Made to Measure suiting; due to its affordability, ease of construction and quality in comparison to a fused construction. The main advantages are that the suit utilises a horse hair canvas and is stitched into the lapel giving a more robust, flexible feel. It is also harder wearing than fused suiting as elements are stitched into place rather than glued. The main drawbacks of a half-canvas construction is that it doesn’t drape as well as a full canvas suit, is far less robust, typically lasts 1-3 years and doesn’t have the flexibility and breathability when wearing it compared to a full canvas suit. Made to measure tailors will often say it is lighter, more flexible and breathable than a full canvas, this not the case, it is rather made to measure tailors attempting to make their lesser form of construction more appealing. 

A full canvas Made to Measure suit is the highest form of suiting construction. It involves using a “pad stitch” (that is typically machine done in Made to Measure) that fixes together the “outer fabric” and a horse canvas that gives a suit its shape, drape, rigidness and strength. The process is 65% more labour intensive when compared to a half canvas suit and 120% more when compared to a fused suit, this is where its added cost comes from. It also requires a lot more skilled labourers when compared to half-canvas or fused suiting meaning a lot less factories can make it. At casual fitters we use a full canvas horse hair construction as standard, we source the canvassing from Italy and use an extra piece of canvassing to give the chest area extra shape, a unique process to casual fitters. We are so confident in the quality of our construction and fabric that we offer free alterations (to limited parts of your garments) and free repairs for the life of the garment. Typically one of our suits will last at least 5 years, this is dependent on how heavily you use the garment, its care as well as your fabric choice.