workmanship

In the world of tailoring and shirtmaking, what separates the men from the boys, if you will, is the issue of “fusing.”

Fusing is the use of non-woven paper or plastic saturated with glue which bonds the cloth you see to an interlining which you don’t. The interlining is critical to the look of a garment—it gives the garment structure and shape.

Fusing is a popular tailoring shortcut that makes cloth easier to work with. Very fine wools, for example, are very difficult to tailor the old-fashioned way. With fusing, lightweight, supple cloths like Super 120 wools become more rigid and thus easier to work with.

But no fused or glued garment can be shaped to the body like a traditionally-made garment. Fused clothing is generally flat, shapeless and devoid of personality. Plus there is the added nuisance of the glue gradually separating from the cloth over time creating a bubbling that is unsightly.

Process of creating clothing, by a custom tailor nycAt Saint Laurie we never fuse our clothing. Instead of gluing pieces together, our interlinings are first basted to the top cloth by hand. (Basting is the process of attaching cloth to an interlining with temporary stitches that are removed after the parts of the garment are  permanently sewn together.) Our interlinings are woven from naturally resilient materials that can be molded to the body. In every one of our coats is a canvas, which is a mixture of wool and camel hair. It is lightweight, yet “bouncy.” On top of this foundation is a sturdier piece of canvas made of wool and goat hair that forms the chest of the coat. In the shoulder area, a woven material containing horse hair is sewn in place to keep the shoulder pad from collapsing. The undercollars of our jackets are bolstered by a insert made of Irish linen. Similarly, our shirt collars are given added support with a fine cotton webbing from Switzerland.

Hand crafted custom suit by Saint Laurie NYC

How can you tell if a garment is fused? First, get an idea of how thick the actual cloth is. With a shirt, you can feel the cloth on the body of the shirt. For a suit, feel one layer of the trouser leg. Then try to separate the collar of the shirt from what’s underneath or pinch the front of the suit coat. If the cloth won’t pull away or feels much thicker than what you felt originally, the garment is fused.

(212) 643 1916 or [email protected]

ADDITIONAL READING

Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors
22 West 32 Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10001
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[email protected] or 212.643.1916
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