Canvassing Opinions

Exploring the ins and outs of canvassed tailoring – and why the received wisdom on fusing may be out of date.

No matter whether your tailored jacket is cut from wool, linen, silk, cashmere, vicuna, cotton or (perish the thought) polyester, inside it will almost certainly contain a canvas layer, clinging to the outer cloth. This structural interlining can be fused in place or floating. The latter is far preferable. And yet, despite what purists say, fused garments cannot be dismissed out of hand. Here, we explain why.

Let’s start from the basics. The name canvas, much like the music of Snoop Dogg, is derived from cannabis — the Latin word for hemp, which was once the primary material used to make this rough cloth. Today, the canvas found in tailored apparel is usually a blend of two or more fibres including flax, wool, cotton, hessian and horsehair.

As Bernhard Roetzel explains in his men’s style classic, Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion, “Canvas is used in traditional tailoring to give shape to a suit jacket,” serving as a pliable ‘skeleton’ between the outer cloth and the garment’s lining. “A custom tailor will sew it in by hand, but in industrial manufacturing it is stuck in with adhesives.” This process is known as fusing, where the outer cloth and canvas are glued together. “Canvas that has been fused in stops the material of a garment falling loosely, reduces the breathability of the suit, and is less durable,” Roetzel counsels.


February 2020


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