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canvas interlining in custom suit

What is Canvas in a Suit Jacket?

We were all taught from a young age, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Though, as image consultants, we disagree with the implication that your image doesn’t count, there’s still plenty of truth to it. As it relates to custom sport coats and suit jackets, canvas is what’s on the inside. What is canvas in a suit jacket? This post will discuss this, and also why it’s important.

When your personal brand is top of mind, it’s natural to focus on things you can see in addition to those you can’t. It’s similar with beautiful clothing – when a particular color or pattern catches your eye, you gravitate towards it. Part of what makes beautiful clothing beautiful is the skill and thoughtfulness with which is was crafted, which you can’t always see.

What is Canvas In A Sport Coat?

canvas interlining in custom suit
The inside of a full canvas jacket.

Suiting canvas is simply a third layer of material that lives between a jacket’s fabric (outside layer) and its lining (inside layer). It’s made of natural fibers that have been woven together and stitched to the suit’s cloth, either by machine or by hand.

The best garments on the market are referred to as “full canvas” garments, which means the canvas interlining spans the full length of the jacket. Fused and half-canvas garments use synthetic fibers in place of natural canvas. You can read more about the differences in our guide to suit construction.

What Does Canvas Do?

So, now we know what canvas is, but why is it important (and why does it command a higher price)? Without canvas, a suit jacket would have a flow-y silhouette, not dissimilar to a robe. Canvas gives a coat structure, allowing the lines do drape cleanly from your shoulder in that classically handsome, masculine way. Chances are, if you ever saw a guy walking down the street and thought, “Wow, that suit is killer,” it was probably a full canvas one.

You will always look best in a fully canvassed garment.

Full canvas jackets offer the following benefits over their fused counterparts:

  • Improved lifespan – with good care from you and your dry cleaner, you should expect 20-30 years of life out of a full canvas garment
  • Improved breathability – canvas is made from natural fibers, which breathe. Synthetic ones found in fused garments don’t breathe nearly as well.
  • Excellent shape and comfort. Being a natural material, canvas molds to you similarly to how shoes break in to your feet.

Deconstructed Garments

mens custom sport jacket philadelphia
A deconstructed jacket – just fabric and some lining.

After all that proselytizing about canvas, we now come to deconstructed jackets. These have no (or very little, very light) canvas in them. If canvas is so great, why remove it from the jacket?

custom men's deconstructed sport coatIf you’re looking for a casual-yet-tailored look, removing the canvas from a jacket “defangs” it and gives you a garment more at home with chinos, jeans, and drawstring pants than with worsted wool trousers. To make up for the loss of heft, more of the jacket’s base cloth is used in place of canvas.

Check out our post on deconstructed jackets to learn more.


We feel that every person who buys a suit should know the basics of canvas. Someone buying a car should have at least a base level understanding of how it works, right? We’d be happy to discuss more about canvas in suit jackets in person – give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email info@henrydavidsen.com to set up an appointment.

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