Suits are complex things. There are many aspects that go into constructing a quality suit, from the lapel roll to the cuff break to the interlining. Today we’re going to talk about interlining: the lining that holds your suit together.
What exactly IS interlining?
At its core, interlining is the layer of fabric that goes between the inner and outer layers. It’s what allows the suit to hold shape, kind of like a skeleton, but as with many things in life, there are different levels of quality, and what kind of fit you get all depends on the suit’s construction and the price point you’re willing to work with.
Suits can vary greatly in price. You can find some suits as low as $50, and some go up to far beyond a several thousand. There are many different factors that go into deciding a suit’s price, and one of them is the interlining. There are two main variations on suit interlining: fused, and canvas.
Fused: Cheap in price AND quality
A fused interlining is one that is a thin sheet of fabric (usually wool) heated and pressed between the inner and outer layer. It’s cheap and easy to produce, which often leaves suits constructed this way at a lower price point. In fact, roughly 95% of off the rack suits are fused. But there are several downsides to getting a suit with a fused interlining.
It is directly attached to the inner and outer layer, so it can feel more stiff. It is also less breathable, resulting in more sweat, which results in more dry-cleaning, which can diminish the quality of the suit and the fit, as the interlining eventually breaks down. When it does, the outer layer will bubble up, and the fit will be even less flattering. It will not form to your movements – rather, it will sit on top of your body, and will sag.
Canvassed: High-class, high price
If you’re looking for a better fit, and don’t mind shelling out a bit more cash, consider getting a canvassed suit. Canvassing is a form of interlining where a layer of fabric, usually linen or horse hair, is sewn into the suit. With the interlining only making contact at the points where it is sewn, a canvassed suit is much more breathable. It will move and shift with your body, and the more you wear it, the better it will fit as it begins to mold to your shape.
A canvassed suit is both more expensive to produce, and more time-consuming to construct, so you will most definitely see that reflected in the price. If you are going to a tailor to have a bespoke suit made, be sure to check that they will be creating a canvassed suit for you. There is no point in paying to have a bespoke suit made if it’s going to be constructed with a fused interlining – it entirely defeats the purpose of having a custom fit.
Half-canvassed: A healthy middle
If you’re interested in a canvassed suit, but can’t quite afford the price, consider a half-canvassed suit. This suit is constructed with a combination of both fused and canvassed interlining. It will use canvas on the chest, lapel, and down to the pocket, with the lower half of the jacket being fused. If you need to, that’s an okay area to skimp on, because the drape isn’t quite as important at the lower half – it’s okay to let it taper down so that it has freer motion. You want the heavier structure to be on the upper half of your jacket, where it must form to your shape to accentuate it. That, after all, is the point of a well-fitted suit.
How can you tell what you’re working with?
If you’ve found a suit you’re interested in and want to know what kind of interlining it has, you can use the ‘pinch test’. Use two fingers of each hand to pinch and separate the inner and outer layer on the chest. If you can feel a third layer in between, then the suit is canvassed. If you can’t feel a third layer, it is because the interlining is completely pressed into the inner and outer layers.
In virtually all situations, a canvassed suit is the way to go if you’re looking for the best fit and drape, and the longest lasting suit. As mentioned above, the more you wear a canvassed suit, the more it will adjust to your body and the fit will actually improve over time. While fused is a more economical option, your best bet is to go at least half-canvassed, if you’re looking for a proper fit. Even though half-canvassed and full-canvassed suits are more expensive, they will last longer and only look better as time goes on. If you can, splurge, but at the very least, go half-canvassed. Your closet, and your body will thank you.
About the Brand: HARTTER | MANLY’s entry level suits are half canvas. Since the brand prefers to only produce the highest quality garments, HARTTER | MANLY only charges customers it’s cost to upgrade to full canvas. The value results in 90% of HARTTER | MANLY’s customers choosing to pick full canvas jackets.
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