When it comes to ethan-enzi, not everything of value is visible to the naked eye. One of the most important components lies just beneath the surface—canvassing.

But not all suits share this feature. Most mass-produced, off-the-rack suits are “fused” instead. In this cost-cutting measure, a piece of interlining is glued onto the inside of the suit. This provides structure, but is not flexible and will degrade over time. Dry-cleaning a fused suit might cause damage to the glue, causing unsightly “bubbles” to appear on the jacket’s surface.

So, What Is Canvassing?

Canvas is an interlining traditionally made from horsehair. It is sewn into the inside of a suit jacket, between the layers of cloth that make up the jacket’s surface. This is done to give the jacket shape. Most noticeably, the lapels of a canvassed jacket will have a “roll” and some spring to their appearance, rather than falling limp or flat, as a fused jacket might.

Because it has been sewn rather than glued, canvassed jackets are more flexible and provide more comfort. They will also mold to the wearer’s body, becoming more comfortable overtime. Lastly, the breathability of horsehair can guard against overheating.

Half-Canvassed vs. Fully Canvassed

The level of canvassing can vary in a suit. A suit that is fully canvassed has an interlining that covers almost the entire length of suit jacket (minus the sleeves, which are never canvassed). The end result is a suit jacket with a definite shape and a draped appearance.

In the case of half-canvassing, only the chest piece and lapels are lined by canvas. By focusing on just those two areas, half-canvassing provides shape to the most important parts of the jacket. Half-canvassing can also be a great option for silky, lighter-weight spring and summer fabrics that drape naturally.

When it comes to choosing half or full canvas, how often you will be wearing the suit jacket should be considered. Because of its longevity and ability to match the user’s shape, full-canvassing is ideal for suit jackets that will be worn regularly over a long period of time. But if a suit will be worn only on special occasions, half-canvassing will also satisfy.