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Can a well-fitted fused/half-canvassed jacket look better than a fully-canvassed one?


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#1 Svenn

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 03:26 PM

Greetings everyone, I would much appreciate any help with my inquiries below, and I hope it will help expand the collective knowledge of tailored clothing for those of us still learning:

This question arises from quite a bit of research I've been doing before I plan on making a trip to Asia to get some suits. There appears to be a very clear threshold between reputable tailors in Singapore/Thailand/Korea who charge roughly $400 for multiple-fitted custom suits, and the next level up of fully-canvassed $1200+ Hong Kong bespoke tailors. The latter is quite praised in another style forum, for reasons along the lines of Sator's quote below, yet I raise the observation that many of the non-full-canvassed suits I've seen out there look equivalent if not better than the $1200 WW Chans (HK tailor) on the net...

A full traditional canvas structure will help a garment be more fitted to the wearer. That is to say that it is traditional for formal garments to be structured and fitted, and more casual garments to be a softer and loosely fitted or draped.


...as examples, below are some non full-canvassed jackets I've found attractive (thanks to vox and hymo):


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...and here are some full-canvassed WW Chans that just don't look right to me. I believe I see the greater structure and stiffer, more sculpted waist you mentioned Sator, but, and perhaps I'm missing something, it doesn't look noticeably better/different than the previous suits:


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To be clear, my goal is to commission a very structured, little drape, hard-cut suit in the vein of the military-traditioned Savile Row tailors... which, if I have any idea what I'm talking about (which I don't) would look like these:

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So, in conclusion, can I achieve the above by taking my 16 oz wool to a good tailor using non full-canvassing construction? It would save nearly a $1000, which I assume is also of consequence to the other young guys out there like me getting their first suits...

#2 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 11:50 PM

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All of it is rubbish, unless the this one here. Looks like some upholsterer put them together. :Praying:

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#3 Schneidergott

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 02:31 AM

Fused or fully canvassed does not influence the fit of a coat. If the fit is off it doesn't really matter how the coat was made.

I find that coats with a fused front run a bit warmer, since the glue layer is blocking the moist transfer. So if you are planning on a 16oz cloth to be made up I would recommend canvassed.

If money is an issue, you might pick a tailor who offers both and start with the lower price option. If it goes well, get the fully canvassed garment. If it doesn't, you haven't wasted precious money.

But another question: Isn't there any local talent near you?

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#4 Svenn

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:33 AM

Fused or fully canvassed does not influence the fit of a coat. If the fit is off it doesn't really matter how the coat was made.


I guess what I'm asking then is if a fused and fully canvassed are fitted equally well, is there any reason the fused would look much different than the full-canvassed? More specifically, if a tailor is skilled enough to do a hand-sewn full canvas, is there still a possibility his fitting skills would be less than a cheaper tailor? The thought occurred to me that perhaps these more expensive Hongkong guys are taking advantage of foreigners who mistakenly believe full-canvassing, i.e. construction, is the be all end all of a good suit, while fit gets pushed in the background.


But another question: Isn't there any local talent near you?

Unfortunately not, I'm in a remote part of the Pacific Northwest... and I believe the only custom tailor in a 900 mile radius is a single Italian fellow in Seattle with a not so hot reputation, and a $3000 starting price. I've tried MTM and it failed miserably. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the merits of shopping locally, and when I get the funds I'd much rather get a suit made by someone in my hemisphere who I can communicate in English with. I have to go to Asia for another purpose anyway.

Der Zuschneider- glad to see you have the courage to call a Chan 'rubbish', I wasn't too impressed by their appearance either, though we'd both be hanged for heresy in the group-think of the other fashion forums. I like that Beaman suit too, and I'm hoping the 16oz twill I found from huddersfield matches it somewhat.

#5 greger

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:26 AM

Isn't this one full canvas, but lighter canvas and less structure? I didn't think he bought fused.
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This one here is made by a guy who took other peoples money, so someone to avoid.
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The makers of both had worked at A&S in the past.

Good fuse, bad fuse, how do you know which one will be in the coat?
A good canvas job contributes alot to a coat.
Bad fuse shortens the life of a coat considerablly.
Most times it is cheaper to buy a good canvassed coat than buying dozens of fused coats.
With inlays, if you gain a little weight the inlays can be let out, so the coat can still be fitted sometimes even years later.
Fuse, most times, if not always, gives a plastic look to the coat. And, those coats look rather artificial.
It seems to me it is best to wait longer, saving up to buy the better garment.
It a good idea that the tailor makes 2-3 coat with some other cloths, than him starting out with your special cloth. This gives him a chance to fine tune the pattern.

#6 Svenn

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:57 AM

Fuse, most times, if not always, gives a plastic look to the coat. And, those coats look rather artificial.


This is perhaps the central issue I'm having trouble with. Is this a subtle difference you can only perceive when the jacket is moving, or is it glaringly obvious from yards away?

I certainly heed the other advice about canvassed suits lasting longer, but I'm really just looking for a suit to tie me over a year or two until I can afford a full-canvassed one. However, if a fused suit really would look dramatically worse than a hand-sewn canvassed one, I'll a wait an extra few months wearing my scrappy MTM until I've saved enough. ...I'm still not clear if the ~$400 USD price-range Asian tailors are doing all-fused suits, half canvassed, or whatever... but that's a separate issue for another thread.

#7 Nishijin

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:15 AM

What are you looking for ? Look or feel ?
If looking for look, a well-made fused coat may make believe for all but the expert eye.
If looking for feel, the difference is huge, and you can feel it just as you put the coat on.


I find hard to believe that a great fitter would rather fuse than canvas his coats. Fitting is the most difficult skill to master, great fitters are usually great cutters/tailors.
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#8 Svenn

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 09:29 AM

I find hard to believe that a great fitter would rather fuse than canvas his coats. Fitting is the most difficult skill to master, great fitters are usually great cutters/tailors.

I don't understand. There are tailors in Asia who have been fitting people for fused jackets for decades, simply because there's no market for the more expensive full-canvas jackets... why would they necessarily have to be poor fitters simply because they make different kinds of jackets?

#9 Svenn

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 09:34 AM

Fuse, most times, if not always, gives a plastic look to the coat. And, those coats look rather artificial.

(Sorry to quote you again on this, but it's really the central concept I'm trying to understand in this thread) Are you applying this statement only to fully-fused jackets, or half-canvassed ones as well? (obviously both have fusing, but I was just wondering if the little bit of canvassing on the latter eclipses the undesirable characteristics you described).

#10 greger

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 01:33 PM

jcsprowls and jefferyd probably know by more about fuse than anybody else here. They work in the manufactures world of clothes. They're the ones to ask about it. jefferyd posted on Ask Andy and SF with pics, well worth your read.

You might check out this thread and some others about Ariel Tello in San Bernardino, California if you live near there. What prices he charges today, who knows? Here is another thread about him. If you look there are probably more threads about him.

A hand made garment takes time, and time is money. Tailors for centuries have been way underpaid for the skill and knowledge they have. The only way to get a good cheap coat is to make it yourself. A garment like this is not rushed. Besides, you can make what you want after awhile as the skills of know how build. If you start with pants the first pair takes a lot of time, if your doing it right. The second pair is much faster and the third pair is even quckier. As granddad said the further away from the eye the less mistakes show, so pants are a good place to begin. MANSIE WAUCH has a good pattern system that he posted (his system is simular to what I like to use). Use your own measurements (if your waist is larger than general look for directions about disproportionate for minor changes somewhere on this website).

Whatever you choose in buying a garment, that somebody else makes, fit is more important at your price range. Which means for the price you want to pay I would go with the cheapest price where attention is they measure and do the fittings. (After two or three coats in a row that you like from them then consider the special cloth.)

#11 jcsprowls

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:00 PM

Fusing is just another way to interface a coat. Frankly, as tricky as canvas can be, I think canvassed coats are more prone to poor execution.

I guess I don't understand the purpose of the original question.

I don't like the fit or styling of the green tweed coat. It looks to me like the model was asking for a lot of style elements but forgot to ask his tailor's opinion.

The stone/grey suit is a RTW garment. He needs to see the alterationist.
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#12 Svenn

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:49 PM

Frankly, as tricky as canvas can be, I think canvassed coats are more prone to poor execution.

I guess I don't understand the purpose of the original question.

I basically just want to know if it's worth spending the extra $1000 USD on a fully-canvassed suit, supposedly the indispensable hallmark of a superior jacket, when I've seen plenty of $400 fused/half-canvassed suits that appear to fit/compliment the wearer just as good if not better. I want to inquire about the possibility that perhaps some full-canvassed suits, in this case from Hongkong, may not fit any better than much cheaper fused suits found elsewhere in Asia.

Your first statement above is very helpful in that regard... it seems to suggest the possibility that perhaps the full-canvassed Hongkong suits, though constructed more laboriously and traditionally, may in fact fit no better than a carefully fitted fused/half-canvassed suit nearly a third the price. The wrinkly, limp-looking WW Chans I posted were offered as potential examples of fully-canvassed, but perhaps ill-fitting or poorly executed jackets.

#13 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:27 PM

There is no half canvassed thing. Either you have a front canvas or not. Basting that canvas in the front is good tailor work. Some tailor fuse the front and additional put canvas in the front. A suit without canvas is rubbish. It is nothing! Its not even a real suit but a flatfish. I would not bother to have a suit made in Asia or find a good tailor which might be difficult. First you need to know what a good suit is, so check the forum and make yourself smart.

A well made suit has only canvas in the front and no fusing.
Only when the customer wants that terrible summer paper fabric you should fuse to stabalize the front. This fusing should be a fixing the tailor need an expensiv fixing press. So forget it Asia tailors only work with dull scissors and Zollstock. Pi mal Daumen. Kinder betet! Der Vater schneidet zu...
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#14 Schneidergott

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 01:46 AM

A good tailor will make you a good suit, whether he fuses or not. Your problem will be to find that good tailor. If he specialises in fused coats he should be able to make a decent one for you. Just because a coat has a full canvas does not mean you'll always get excellent and quality work. We all know examples of such coats gone wrong, even from highly recommended houses. On his blog, Des Merrion said once that most of the bespoke tailors who despise a fused coat have no experience with it at all and that he never had the problem of fusing coming off the fabric.
There are quite a few videos on Youtube and alike that show how marvellously cheap and excellent Asian tailors work. But seriously, how much "quality" work can you expect for $200.00? All claim to use "Super 150's wool (sometimes even cashmere) cloth made in Italy", or "pure silk" for their shirts.
In another forum somebody pointed out that you'll have to specify everything with (south-east) Asian tailors, so make yourself a list of what you want.
Go to a retail store and feel the fronts of the better RTW coats so you'll be able to compare when you're in the tailor's shop.

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#15 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 03:00 AM

Very correct SG, think the same.
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#16 Svenn

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 04:01 AM

^Very helpful as well for me SG.

Realizing now that a full-canvassing tailor could possibly be just as much an ill-fitter as a fusing tailor, albeit much less likely, I'll have to make some decisions in re risk. If I get a full-canvassed suit, and it fits well, then I have a good garment almost for life... if it fails, I've lost $1000 in costs avoided vs. fused.

Since this will be my first foray into custom suit world, should I perhaps go with 1 or 2 fused suits first to use as expendable trial models for an eventual full-canvassed suit? Perhaps with two models such as this the full-canvassing tailor would be more likely to understand what I'm going for and less likely to make a mistake?

Oh and for clarification SG, the $200 figure for fused is for labor only, the tailor I was looking at allows you to bring in your own fabric, which I would from Huddersfield (making it more like a $400 suit).

#17 jukes

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 06:13 AM

The price being quoted seems low, fused coats are not necessarily bad coats as already stated, maybe the coats are also "bagged" (machine made) with a few hand stitches on the outside to make them look reasonable, at the end of the day you get what you pay for.

#18 Sator

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 05:15 PM

I agree that you can have a beautifully cut and fitted garment which has been made up economically using speed tailoring techniques such as fusing. However, speed tailoring tend to be symptomatic sometimes of a general lowering of standards all around. Full canvassing often indicates that the tailoring firm takes great care and pride in each little individual step of the process, even if it in itself is not a guarantee that the coat will any good.




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