Whole canvas or half canvas
Before the invention of the fusible interlinings, the time old method of stabilising the fabric was to apply a canvas interlining to the reverse of the fabric. Laboriously applied by gradually attaching the interlining with row after row of blind stitching running horizontally across the fronts of the coat. This process could take a tailor up to 80 hours of working by hand to complete. Historically fabrics were much heavier than they are today, heavy tweeds and flannels being the norm.
This meant that these tiny hand stitches were not visible on the surface of the fabric, this is known as a whole canvas construction. With the modern demand for lighter and lighter fabrics and the invention of much more delicate weaving looms this process is not always feasible.
At Jeff Banks even though we can produce a whole canvas construction we adhere a lightweight ‘film’ of interlining before the whole canvas construction to avoid any ‘show through’ of the backstitching.
With the advancement of fusible interlinings, a half canvas construction is now possible with an interlining under strict temperature control being individually applied to the reverse of the fabric. This is less time consuming and more economical. The difference is barely visible to the eye and can result in a smooth finish. Various strengthening patches are hand applied to different positions around the coat to stabilise or strengthen the fabric.
The lapels receive particular attention where the additional canvas is hand ‘lashed’ into position to retain the finished role of the lapel. Shoulder pads are critical in any bespoke suit and the tailor will determine the variation of the composition of the pads to ensure the resulting shoulders are identical and the balance and the hang of the coat is achieved. This can be likened to hanging a pair of curtains - if the curtain pole is not absolutely horizontal to spirit level accuracy the curtains will never hang in a perpendicular straight line.