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What is a Jacket's Canvas?

Whether you’re an old hand or a complete novice to the world of suits the first thing you should consider for your suit is the jacket’s canvas, and why a floating canvas is recommended.

With the wealth of information on the internet, many men and women are increasingly becoming aware that most jacket’s include a canvas, but are a little unsure about what a canvas is and its importance to the cut and drape of a jacket.

Simply, a jacket’s canvas is what provides a jacket with its shape and structure; think about that nice clean shape through your chest and waist, this is the canvas as work.  

The traditional way of constructing a canvas is to use a piece of material made from layers of cotton, flax, hemp or jute (and rarely in modern times – horsehair) which is sewn to the outer pieces of the jacket to provide strength and shape.

This type of canvas is sometimes known as a Floating Canvas because the canvas floats separately to the suiting fabric and the linings used; as opposed to a fused canvas, where the canvas is glued to the suiting fabric (see below).

All made-to-measure and bespoke jackets will use this floating canvas method, or at least provide this option depending on the style of jacket you are after (if they don’t, run from the store).

The chief attraction of a properly canvassed jacket is that the canvas will mould to your own body shape over time, providing a better and more comfortable fit.

Of course a floating canvas is Braddon Tailors’ preference for a business suit.

There are two types of floating canvas, a half-canvas where the canvassing extends down the front of the jacket to about where the first button is and then stops. A full-canvas extends all the way through the front of the jacket, supporting the entire front fabric panels.

Whilst all suits used to have a floating canvas, modern processes led to the proliferation of Fused suits; which do not use a canvas but rather a piece of fusible interfacing. These suits still require something to keep the shape of the jacket, so instead of a piece of fabric stitched to the rest of the jacket, it is instead glued.

This is generally what you receive when you purchase an off the rack suit or a ‘custom’ suit at a lower pricing point. 

Fused suits are generally considered inferior in terms of construction because the glue that is used can deteriorate (particularly when dry cleaned), meaning the fabric of the suit appears to bubble and they will often provide a poorer fit because fused jackets are often stiff and drape poorly.  

If you’d like to discuss with a designer the ins and outs of canvassing and your own particular needs, let us know and we’ll gladly arrange your appointment.

Our next article in this series will look at jacket canvassing for different environments and styles of jacket.

original image courtesy JeffreyD -

original image courtesy JeffreyD -