What is the one single most important element that differentiates a Bespoke suit from one that is off-the-peg or made to measure? Apart from being handmade from wool clothes with absolute precision and perfection, the main difference between a Bespoke suit from one that is made to measure is canvassing.
A Bespoke Suit has a woolen layer of canvas that is hand stitched to the suit fabric with a web of interlocking stitches. The canvas gives more form to the clothes and ensures it maintains its curves by draping over you in a manner that will never look plain and flat over your body. The canvas also gives your lapel a rolled look whilst flowing well with your body without falling flat on it. Hand-rolled lapels are therefore one of the most significant features of Bespoke Suits which is unattainable on made to measure ones.
The web of interlocking stitches on the canvas making it one with the suit is done in a manner which resembles the clockwork movement of a watch. This level of handwork alone takes close to 50 hours as it needs to be done with a single thread continuous stitch without any broken cuts or pieces. If the thread breaks while doing it at any point, the entire thing needs to be opened up and the bespoke tailor needs to start all over again as it’s important that with every movement of the person’s body, the canvas layer and the threads move along with you giving absolute ease and flexibility of movement while wearing the suit. This entire process is one that is skipped altogether in a made to measure suits.
Additionally, the inclusion of horse hair in the canvas gives it the ability to grip the overlying clothes and aids in the natural movement of the suit in synchronization with the body. The canvas is made of wool which has a natural memory feature. As your suit gets older and the canvas threads become loose, the suit with the canvas will start taking the shape of your body and fit you better with time. This is in stark contrast to what can be achieved in made to measure clothing as made to measure suits will never be able to fit you better with time due to the layer of canvas that is missing on the inside.
The canvas also increases the life of your Bespoke Suit as the clothes and fabric never interact with your body directly due to the layer of canvas in between. A bespoke tailor treats the canvas of a bespoke suit similarly as an artist would treat their canvas for a painting. In both cases, it provides to be the fundamental step that is the platform which leads us into creating a unique masterpiece of perfection. It is also a silent elixir of life which keeps your suit in form, keeps your cloth fresh and makes sure the suit eventually takes the shape of your body and remains in that shape unlike those of made to measure suits. It is due to the memory feature and the extended life of Bespoke Suit that suits have gained the status of an inheritance piece which gets passed on to future generations. A value that can only be seen in bespoke suits and not in made to measure clothing.
With the shape and form of the previous owner, it is believed the inner qualities and personality of the previous owner also gets transferred to the new bearer. The canvass, therefore, is the soul of a Bespoke suit making it alive, fresh and immortal.