In previous episodes of “The Making of a Coat,” we’ve seen the canvas and foreparts shaped independently. In today’s installment they are joined in a critical stage of construction called “canvassing off.” After carefully aligning the two pieces along darts and other points previously markstitched, Rory Duffy attaches them with four baste lines -- three down the front and one across the scye and chest -- carefully “cleaning off” the cloth as he goes in order to work a slight amount of fullness into the canvas.
Excess canvas is now trimmed away, along with excess haircloth and domette at the break line, where it would otherwise impede the natural roll of the lapel. A strip of straight-cut lining is then laid across the break line and draw-stitched in, gathering the chest to keep it close against the wearer’s body and help prevent a gap or break in the lapel. The fullness in this “bridle” is then shrunk away and the canvassed-off foreparts receive another thorough underpressing with clapper and chest board to lock in the desired shape.
Although the baste stitches used here are temporary, the relationship they establish between canvas and cloth is not. Both pieces will be permanently attached after the fitting and the baste-stitches removed as one of the final steps of construction.