Jacket Construction and the Options Proper Cloth Offers

A deconstruction showing the canvas inside the jacket shell.

The construction style of your custom jacket will affect both its formality and the way it drapes and forms to your body over time. With each construction option we offer, details like the canvas, shoulder padding, and sleeve head change to help achieve your desired look.


Canvas refers to the intermediate layer of material between the outer jacket fabric and the inner jacket fabric, which together are known as the “shell.” The purpose of canvas is to provide structure, enhance fit, and allow the shell fabric of the jacket to drape cleanly over the body. Proper Cloth’s canvas is loosely stitched by hand to the shell, providing structure and preventing strain on the garment. The canvas will mold to the wearer’s body over time and provide an even better custom fit that lasts.

With Proper Cloth you can choose a fully-canvassed construction, a half-canvassed construction, or a construction with no canvas. Fully-canvassed construction is a truly premium choice, with the canvas extending from the shoulder down to the bottom of the jacket and throughout the lapel. It provides the best drape and the most structure. Half-canvassed construction extends the canvas from the shoulder down to the midsection and throughout the lapel, primarily adding shape to the chest. A construction with no canvas provides no additional structure to the jacket, and is a popular option for more casual sport coats.

Shoulder Padding & Sleeve Heads

Shoulder padding and the sleeve head affect the drape of the fabric at your shoulders and upper sleeve. Shoulder padding will add structure above the shoulders, and will visually add volume to the upper torso. The sleeve head is a thin layer of fabric around the shoulder seam where the shoulder meets the sleeve that helps prevent dimpling at the armhole, and provides a clean drape over the upper arms.

Proper Cloth’s construction options offer different combinations of canvas, shoulder padding, and sleeve head. The following is an explanation of our five construction options: Mercer, Hudson, Allen, Bedford, and Waverly.

Fully-Canvassed Constructions: Mercer vs. Hudson

The Mercer construction is our most structured option. Mercer jackets come fully canvassed with a medium-weight canvas, shoulder padding, and a medium weight sleeve head. This is our most formal option, and is most appropriate for suit jackets worn in a business environment.

The Hudson also features a medium-weight canvas, but differs from the Mercer in that it has no shoulder padding, and a lightweight sleeve head. Though it is a more relaxed style, the Hudson is a versatile option, and recommended for sport coats worn in business-casual or casual environments.

Half-Canvassed Constructions: Allen vs. Bedford

The Allen construction is our go-to recommendation for a business suit jacket. It features a medium-weight half-canvassed construction, shoulder padding, and a medium-weight sleeve head. With canvas throughout most of the torso and padded shoulders, this option is reliable and ideal for your workhorse office garments.

The Bedford construction is our go-to recommendation for a sport coat. It is also half-canvassed, but using a lightweight canvas, no shoulder padding, and a lightweight sleeve head. This option is ideal for business-casual and casual sport coats, with its softer details and lighter weight.

No Canvas Construction: Waverly

The Waverly is our most casual construction option. This style features no canvas, shoulder padding, or sleeve head. Due to its lack of structure, its best for jackets made from heavier casual fabrics that have a clean drape. It is more ideal for casual wear, and less suited to business environments.