What are Unlined and Unstructured Jackets?

In short you could say that Unlined or Unstructured jackets are the most natural fitting and draping jackets.

Before we go into the benefits of an unstructured jacket, we need to do a short history lesson first. After WW2 the majority of men would wear a suit because they had to. Alongside that we have seen men who aspired to create their own success and businesses which led to different play fields with new dress codes and possibilities to express yourself with your personal style. Actually we could see them as the contemporary Dandy.   

However, before the cultural revolution of the 1960's men used to wear suits because they had to and because they liked to. Oddly enough, we're now coming full circle and man men (spearheaded by the millennial generation) are now wearing suits because we love the way they make us feel, look, and act. While our fathers may never understand this drive, our grandfathers certainly did, and wore their suits and sport coats for the same reason.

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More often than not this is seen on lighter, summer-weight fabrics. Part of that is because lighter weights of wool and materials like linen are more prone to wrinkle in the first place, and another reason is because removing the lining allows the jacket to wear much cooler. Natural fibers like linen, cotton, and wool can breathe but this breath ability is obstructed by the satin lining, making even light-weight jackets wear much warmer in the summer.

Thankfully though, casual jackets are appropriate throughout the year and many men are making unstructured jackets from heavier materials like tweed and winter-weight wools. These casual winter jackets wear just as comfortably as their summer counterparts but still retain a bit more heat and keep with the seasonal propriety of each fabric.

One of the only downsides to an unlined jacket is that they're near impossible to find. One of the benefits of a lining is that it can hide the ugly-but-effective stitches that go on inside a suit. An unstructured jacket can't do that same thing, so the makers are required to spend more time and effort with stitches that both do the job and look good at the same time. For most off-the-rack makers, the demand isn't worth the extra cost. This does not count for genuine tailors. This means you can come in for a visit and tell us - with any material you choose - whether or not you want to unstructured your jacket. There are no limitations and you have the complete freedom to build your sport coat or suit as casual or formal as you'd like.

An Unlined/Unstructured, Fused, Semi Canvas or Full Floating Canvas construction for you?

De Oost Bespoke Tailoring is a house of craft and passion so we can tailor using several ways of construction. This is a short explanation about the 4 common methods used by Bespoke Tailors.

 

Full Canvassed Jackets

Traditionally, men’s suits were constructed with a layer of horsehair canvas underneath the wool fabric shell. This canvas holds the shape of the suit and keeps it from sagging or deforming, much like the foundation of a house keeps it upright. The canvas is cut to the jacket’s shape, then the wool is stitched to the canvas. Over time, as you wear the jacket, the canvas conforms to your body’s shape, creating an excellent fit.

The canvas lining allows the suit fabric to drape naturally, allowing a clean, well put-together look. It takes years of training and additional hours of handwork for a tailor to be able to craft this the correct way.

Half Canvassed Jackets

Between the two extremes (fused and full canvas) lies a compromise – the half-canvassed jacket. Half-canvassed jackets have canvas material running only through the chest and lapels of the coat. Past that point, the jacket is fused.

Half-canvassed jackets have several benefits. First, they generally have a lower price than a similar fully canvassed jacket. Less handcraft means a lower overall cost to you. And because the top half of the jacket is not fused you’ll not run into any bubbling problems as you might in a fused jacket. This adds to the lifespan of the garment. Finally, the canvassing provides the proper base for the jacket to drape naturally across your chest, rather than appearing stiff and lifeless as many fused jackets do.

Unlined - Unstructured Jackets

When your suits aren't just for business and formal occasions then having them tailored Unlined or Unstructured is a good option. It gives the wearer the most natural look and freedom of personal expression.

By removing the interior lining, shoulder pads, and the canvassing, the jacket wears more like a shirt than a suit coat. This allows for more movement - comfort, a more casual appearance, and a more natural silhouette for the wearer - all of which help bringing the jacket down to the less formal level of the wardrobe. More often than not it is seen on lighter, summer-weight fabrics. Part of it because lighter weights of wool and materials like cotton and linen are more prone to wrinkle in the first place, another reason is that by removing the lining it allows the jacket to wear much cooler. Natural fibers breath but this is obstructed by the satin lining, even a light-weight jacket with a full-canvas construction wears much warmer in the summer.

Deconstructed - Fused Jackets

Many suit manufacturers no longer use a canvas interlining in their jackets. Rather, a fusible interlining is glued to the wool shell of the suit. And while this does an adequate job of keeping a jacket’s shape, it often creates an unnatural stiffness in the jacket, making a fused jacket appear lifeless compared to a similar canvassed coat.

What is sometimes problematic with fused jackets is the fact that the glue degrades over time, or may come unstuck during the dry-cleaning/pressing process. Where the wool detaches from the fused backing, the fabric ripples around the chest and lapels, a phenomenon known as “bubbling.”

Differences: In the full canvas Jacket, you can see how the jacket is composed entirely of cloth and horsehair canvas. The fabric is stitched directly to the canvas. In a half-canvassed garment, fusible extends the entire length of the coat. However, the garment is stitched to the canvas material, assisting in the proper shaping and providing life to the coat. In the fused jacket all the way to the right, the fusible interlining is glued the entire length of the coat.

If you want to know what the best construction would be for your garments and your personal style needs/ideas? Then feel free to contacts us for personal advice.

Batik Jacket: Fusion of Cultures and Tailoring Techniques.

A client came to visit us to say he was still extremely happy with the jacket we made for him in 2012. Back in 2012 he was imagining how it would look if we would create a suit out of two same color and pattern sarongs. A sarong or "sarung" denotes the lower garment worn typically by the Indonesian. He wanted to have a tailored suit through which he could express his interest in his Javanese roots. It has been a while since we have seen the jacket and the fit is still perfect. So we decided to take some pictures of it. Although he wore the jacket at parties where he would dance intensively, the jacket is still in good shape after more than three years. 

The torso part of the jacket and cuffs are made out of one complete sarong. The golden-brown and black floral pattern is typical for fabric from Solo, Central Java. This piece is a modern commercial cloth and has a soft texture which makes the jacket comfortable to wear.

Unlined batik jacket tailored with Napolitano sartorial techniques, with Nehru collar. Torso fabric is cotton batik from Solo, Central Java Indonesia, sleeves are black cotton. One complete sarong is used to make the jacket. Seven buttons and three buttons on the sleeves with working button holes.


Technique

The original batik cloth has more of stiff waxy texture. Batik is a technique of wax resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired. Originally all the materials used were locally available to the Indonesians, cotton, beeswax and vegetable dye for the coloring. Experts say that despite the fact that batik techniques for cloth alteration were already done by the early Egyptians, the technique was most developed in Indonesia.

The process of making batik in Central Java, using canting and cap.


History

Originally all the materials used were locally available to the Indonesians, cotton, beeswax and vegetable dye for the coloring. Experts say that despite the fact that batik techniques for cloth alteration were allready done by the early Egyptians, the technique was most developed in Indonesia. A tradition of making batik is found in various countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Nigeria; the batik of Indonesia, however, is the best-known. Indonesian batik made in the island of Java has a long history of acculturation, with diverse patterns influenced by a variety of cultures, and is the most developed in terms of pattern, technique, and the quality of workmanship.

Because of the Dutch colonial ventures in 'De Oost' (The Dutch East Indies) eventually made the Indonesian style fabric travel from South-East Asia to Africa and even South-America. In Suriname, the Javanese contract-laborers brought their clothing and culture and in the Dutch-Surinamese colonial melting pot it became to be worn even by Surinamese Creole people in religious ceremonies. Where the saying goes that the spirits love the Jampanesi krosi (Javanese patterns). In the 19th century the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (K.N.I.L.) hired mercenaries from Ghana to fight a war on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. After finishing their duties as mercenary, the Ghanaian soldiers settled in Java. Some becoming plantation owners and gained local wives. Most of them eventually returned to Ghana. Until this day there is a neighbourhood in the capital Accra which is called Java Hill. It has been said you can still find the Javanese batik acculturated to the wishes of the West-African customer.

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Serdadu Afrika di Hindia Belanda (African Soldier in the Dutch East Indies) on the left with his local Indonesian wife and child, Ghanaian batik, a fashion show with Ghanaian Batik and the welcome sign of the Java Museum near Fort Elmina on the Ghanaian coast.


Do you also want to combine different worldly styles in fabrics, fits and patterns in your unique bespoke tailored clothing? Please visit De Oost and bring your favorite African or Asian fabric and we will make your piece clothing fit the need of what you want to feel and express with it.