How To Tell A Quality Suit: Fused Vs. Canvassed

A guide to one of the most important aspects of suit jacket construction

There are two kinds of suit jackets and blazers. There are canvas jackets which come in a full or half canvas, and then there are fused jackets.

Since the jacket is made from wool or another material, when you lay the fabric out on a table, it’s completely flat. It doesn’t take the proportions and angles of a person’s body into account. It lays there like a piece of paper. The interlining is what’s put in the jacket to make it three-dimensional, so it drapes well on your body and doesn’t just hang flat.

What is a fused suit jacket?

Most suits and blazers found off-the-rack (OTR) at department and menswear stores use fused interlinings. They are the cheapest and easiest to produce and can be found on most inexpensive jackets and sale items.

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A close up of suit jacket canvassing.

The problem is that unlike the canvassed jackets, fused interlinings are glued to the jacket’s shell. Although it may appear at first glance to be flattering, and a sale price is always a nice find, the fact is that it’s an inferior construction technique that will render your suit unwearable in a fraction of the time it would take for a canvassed suit to wear out.

Why? Since it’s glued, there is no room for movement. This causes the interlining to stretch which puts strain on the glue and the fabrics. Since they are also made from fabrics that – in most cases – are lower quality, as the strain wears on the fabric and glue, the once-dapper appearance begins to look like you wore your older brother’s hand-me-down suit. The chest piece is what usually looks the best at the store, but even that fails quickly.

Fused jackets don’t breathe easily. It causes a greater amount of sweat to form and, as a result, requires more dry cleaning which is also hard on the fabric and glue. There’s no doubt that any menswear aficionado will easily be able to spot that you’re wearing an ill-fitting and poorly made suit.

The only benefit is the price, but, one could argue that you’ll spend more money, in the long run, having to replace the jacket than if you had invested in a jacket that could last 10, 20 or 30 years.

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What is a canvassed suit jacket?

When it comes to canvassed jackets, there are full and half canvas options. The full canvas jacket is the pinnacle of the group, but if you are on a budget, consider a half canvas over a fused jacket every day of the week.

The reason a canvassed jacket is more expensive often has to do with a better quality fabric. But the biggest factor is the craftsmanship and that it takes more effort to create.

While a fused jacket is held together with glue, the canvassed jacket has an interlining that’s sewn to the outer shell. Because of this, it moves with you and the drape changes as your body re-positions. Therefore, there is minimal strain to the jacket. With a good quality jacket, the drape will actually improve as you wear it as it conforms to your body type.

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Showing the difference between a half canvas and full canvas jacket construction.

Unlike the full canvas jacket, the half canvas combines the flexibility of a sewn interlining with the appearance that the fused chest piece gives at the store. That really broad and muscular impression. While a half canvas not as good as the full canvas jacket, it does offer a discounted option to those working with a smaller budget but who value a suit that still looks good.

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

J.A. Shapira
He Spoke Style

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  • Chris Betty

    Thanks for the explanation!

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Our pleasure!

  • tomas

    Had no idea.This should be a Public service announcement.
    thanks