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​Suit Structure - Canvassed vs. Fused

Posted by William on

Quick quiz… who knows how their suit was made? What makes a a suit ”quality?” If you are like most people, even those who wear a suit every day, chances are you may not know.

When it comes to the construction of suits, people mostly assume a higher priced suit is nicer/better/higher-quality. In fact, if you are buying a “name brand” suit, you are paying a lot more for a little 2.75 in X 1.5 in patch on the inside of the jacket, not necessarily for a better suit.

So, what makes for a well-constructed suit? Let’s briefly dig into the three most-basic ways to build a suit - full canvas, half canvas and fused. The diagram below (borrowed from The Art of Manliness) can help you visualize, but please note that William & Lauren uses some variances from the diagram.

Full Canvas

Canvassed suits (both full and half) have traditionally been constructed with a layer of horsehair canvas underneath the outer wool layer. The canvas gives the suit its shape and allows it to fall cleanly on the wearer. Full canvas suits feature the canvas from the top of your chest, all the way down the full length of the jacket. This full coverage provides for the suit with the best shape, and in general takes much longer to construct. For that reason, full canvas suits will be quite a bit more expensive.


Before talking about half canvas suits its important to note what is on the other end of the spectrum. Fused suits take the outer shell of wool and glue it to the fusible interlining. The primary benefits of this type of suit are that the manufacturing is very inexpensive and easily allows for mass production, which in turn leads to the low prices for suits that you might find at department stores or discount suit wholesalers. Fused suits also deteriorate more quickly (see the bubbling of the fused suit below), and once it starts, there is no way to stop it.

Do fused suits have a place in the world? Sure, but they don’t have a place at William & Lauren. We strive to bring our customers only the best quality custom clothing, and for us, that means eliminating fused suits.

Half Canvas

Now, there is a happy medium between the top-notch sophistication of the full canvas suit and the inexpensive ease of the the fused suit. The half-canvas suit uses the same construction as the full canvas for the chest piece and lapel, but doesn’t extend the canvas all the way to the bottom of the jacket. So, the wearer gets the same benefit of an excellent shape on top, but because the time it takes to construct the suit is significantly less, the suit comes without the cost of the full canvas.

Half canvas suits have become the market standard for good reason. Just the right amount of structure to look good for all occasions, but without the cost of full canvas.

Contact us about getting your first half or full canvas William & Lauren suit. If you’re still not sure which option is right for you, email us, and let’s talk about it -