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Why Does My Suit Bubble?

Imagine putting on your favourite suit only to find little bubbles on the front of the jacket. It is unsightly and annoying. Is it from dry cleaning? Or is it the suit? Let us tell you why those bubbles appear and what you can do to prevent them.

You might have heard the terms ‘fused’ or ‘canvassed’ before in regards to your suit. This is referring to the way the jacket is made. The front of the jacket – including the chest and lapel – are always supported by a piece of stiffening fabric. This layer is designed to create structure, support and eventually mould to the wearer’s body and shape.

Traditionally, this piece of support is made out of canvas from a blend of horsehair, and is woven together to create a floating piece of fabric that is then hand-woven loosely onto the outer cloth of the jacket in the front panels and around the collar. The fabric of the suit almost floats on top of the canvas and therefore drapes more softly between the layers. The canvassed suit is the most labour-intensive to produce. It requires a high level of craftsmanship, hundreds of man hours and is therefore your most expensive option.

To combat the cost challenge of producing canvas to this high level, off-the-rack and fast fashion companies developed what we now call ‘fusing’ to allow suit production on a mass scale at a lower price.

And there lies our problem……. Fusing.

If your suit jacket is bubbling, you probably have a fused suit.

Instead of hand-stitching the canvas to give the suit shape, a synthetic layer is glued (fused) to the inner side of the suit fabric. Fused suits is thick, stiff, and doesn’t mould to your shape. Not only is it quite boxy to look at, it is also very more hot to wear. In addition, the glue can break down overtime, which causes the synthetic layer to separate or ‘bubble’ away from from the suit fabric. Dry cleaning can exasperate this further as it overheats the suit during the cleaning process which causes inferior glues to melt and separate quickly.

This cannot be fixed, which means the suit will have to be replaced.

There are some tips on how to save your suit from bubbles:

·    Only buy canvassed suits or custom made suits. Find a tailor (like The Modern Gentry) who uses canvas and a quality canvas at that. This luxury detail will support your suit throughout the years and through any dry-cleaning process.

·    Opt for 100% wool fabrics as they will shed dirt naturally over time, saving you having to dry clean your suits to frequently

·    Try to spot clean minor stains with a gentle fabric cleaner and damp cloth. If you decide to go for a dry-cleaning then only trust a specialist who understands the uniqueness of a suit and if you have a fused or canvas jacket.


Want to learn more about how to look after your suits? Check out The Suit Book – Everything You Need To Know About Wearing a Suit

Contact us today to talk to one of our specialists for further information on the differences between suits.

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