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Hopsack Question

DrewMill

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Hi, all. I wasn't quite sure where to put this one.

I'm looking to have a MTO suit made for summer in a navy hopsack. I've narrowed it down to Spier & Mackay and Suitsupply's new system. S&M uses a hopsack from Hardy Minnis and SS uses one from VBC. The price is relatively the same, the details are relatively the same. The fabric is the only noticeable difference in the product. Does anyone have any experience with either or both of these fabrics? Would one be any preferable than the other? Any feedback would be helpful!

Other issues include that the S&M suit will take 7-8 weeks, but will fit out of the box, while the SS suit will take 2-3 weeks, but need a few alterations.
 

aristoi bcn

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Without details of the precise cloth to be used it's not possible to help you. Minnis has a hopsack in the Classics II range that should be fine for a suit. I hope you refer to this one. VBC may have hopsacks in their suitings ranges but if you are going to use their jacketings hopsack I would advise against it because it's a jacketing cloth not intended for trousers.
 

Despos

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Don’t know those cloths.
Get the suit that won’t need alterations
 

DrewMill

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Without details of the precise cloth to be used it's not possible to help you. Minnis has a hopsack in the Classics II range that should be fine for a suit. I hope you refer to this one. VBC may have hopsacks in their suitings ranges but if you are going to use their jacketings hopsack I would advise against it because it's a jacketing cloth not intended for trousers.

Thanks for the advice! The Minnis fabric is the Super 120s suiting fabric, 280g. The VBC fabric item 561.201/10 and I think it might be a Super 130, 240g? I don't believe it's their jacketing cloth.
 

rjkabk

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I'm not sure what SS "new system" is, but they fit me relatively well off the rack, except for fabric bunching up behind my neck because I have very square shoulders, which is a problem I have with all non-custom suits. If you know SS fits you well, I'd go with them, they have good suits for that price range and this is coming from someone who has spent $3k suits. As for S and M, are you sure it will fit right out of the box? I have done online made to measure and in person made to measure and none have ever fit me exactly when I first got them. That's why when you do custom there are multiple fittings. Unless you are either lucky, or have done enough suits with S and M that they have your pattern nailed down to where you like it, it will require alterations too. If that is the case, then go with the suit you won't have to get altered at all.

From my experience once you get to the named brand fabrics, which Minnis and VBC are, there isn't a huge difference in quality if the fabrics themselves are similar (weight, weave, super number, etc.). The fabrics as you report seem similar, I'd expect the Minnis fabric, at a slightly lower Super number and slightly heavier weight to be a little more durable and wrinkle less, but that is just a generalization. Fit to me should be your number 1 concern. That is the reason I pay $3k for a suit, not the fabric. I have had fabrics last 10 plus years in suits in the $800 to $1000 price range.
 

DrewMill

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I'm not sure what SS "new system" is, but they fit me relatively well off the rack, except for fabric bunching up behind my neck because I have very square shoulders, which is a problem I have with all non-custom suits. If you know SS fits you well, I'd go with them, they have good suits for that price range and this is coming from someone who has spent $3k suits. As for S and M, are you sure it will fit right out of the box? I have done online made to measure and in person made to measure and none have ever fit me exactly when I first got them. That's why when you do custom there are multiple fittings. Unless you are either lucky, or have done enough suits with S and M that they have your pattern nailed down to where you like it, it will require alterations too. If that is the case, then go with the suit you won't have to get altered at all.

From my experience once you get to the named brand fabrics, which Minnis and VBC are, there isn't a huge difference in quality if the fabrics themselves are similar (weight, weave, super number, etc.). The fabrics as you report seem similar, I'd expect the Minnis fabric, at a slightly lower Super number and slightly heavier weight to be a little more durable and wrinkle less, but that is just a generalization. Fit to me should be your number 1 concern. That is the reason I pay $3k for a suit, not the fabric. I have had fabrics last 10 plus years in suits in the $800 to $1000 price range.

Thanks for the help! I am confident about the S&M suit. It would be my second one, and the first fits very well. So I think I have my measurements down. I worked off my RTW suit with alterations and took the measurements from them.
 

rjkabk

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Thanks for the help! I am confident about the S&M suit. It would be my second one, and the first fits very well. So I think I have my measurements down. I worked off my RTW suit with alterations and took the measurements from them.
Then that is what I would go with if you are happy with fit. There is only so much alterations can do for you. I'm not saying you wouldn't like the SS suit, but if you are happy with the fit on the S and M, then there isn't much reason to go with SS. I don't personally have experience with S and M, so I can't say anything about construction quality, but that would be the only other reason to go with SS. If I didn't have fit issues with my shoulders, which is the most important and difficult to alter part of a suit, I'd never pay more than around $1,000 for a suit. But even after alterations I have never got the fit in the shoulders that I want with off the rack or MTM, so that is why I go full custom.
 

DrewMill

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Then that is what I would go with if you are happy with fit. There is only so much alterations can do for you. I'm not saying you wouldn't like the SS suit, but if you are happy with the fit on the S and M, then there isn't much reason to go with SS. I don't personally have experience with S and M, so I can't say anything about construction quality, but that would be the only other reason to go with SS. If I didn't have fit issues with my shoulders, which is the most important and difficult to alter part of a suit, I'd never pay more than around $1,000 for a suit. But even after alterations I have never got the fit in the shoulders that I want with off the rack or MTM, so that is why I go full custom.

One more question if you have a moment. Do a light hopsack and full canvas work well together? Or is the full canvas too heavy?
 

rjkabk

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Full canvas is fine for a light hopsack suit. It will add a little weight and structure, and supposedly full canvas improves durability although I have never noticed that personally in my suits as they have worn out in areas other than where the full canvassing would extend to. I have never had a hopsack suit, although I have had a hopsack blazer and it was half canvas and held up fine, it just didn't fit me well as I have aged and my proportions changed so I donated it. While a hopsack suit can work just about anywhere today, I still think of them as a bit more casual than your typical plain weave worsted (hopsack is a variation of the plain weave) or twill weave worsted, so I don't think they need the structure to look their best, and I don't think getting it full canvassed will do much for you, so I certainly wouldn't pay more money for it which I'm sure you will have to. Having said that, nothing wrong with getting it full canvas, so if you want it get it.
 

DrewMill

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Full canvas is fine for a light hopsack suit. It will add a little weight and structure, and supposedly full canvas improves durability although I have never noticed that personally in my suits as they have worn out in areas other than where the full canvassing would extend to. I have never had a hopsack suit, although I have had a hopsack blazer and it was half canvas and held up fine, it just didn't fit me well as I have aged and my proportions changed so I donated it. While a hopsack suit can work just about anywhere today, I still think of them as a bit more casual than your typical plain weave worsted (hopsack is a variation of the plain weave) or twill weave worsted, so I don't think they need the structure to look their best, and I don't think getting it full canvassed will do much for you, so I certainly wouldn't pay more money for it which I'm sure you will have to. Having said that, nothing wrong with getting it full canvas, so if you want it get it.

Much appreciated!!
 

pasadena man

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Without details of the precise cloth to be used it's not possible to help you. Minnis has a hopsack in the Classics II range that should be fine for a suit. I hope you refer to this one. VBC may have hopsacks in their suitings ranges but if you are going to use their jacketings hopsack I would advise against it because it's a jacketing cloth not intended for trousers.
I am not familiar with the fabrics I question; I would echo aristo's point. The open weave of hopsack can leave pants more susceptible to snagging and wear. It sounds like you have done your research and that these fabrics probably work for suits.

I can't recall if I had a hopsack suit in the distant past. I have an Oxxford navy hopsack blazer with half lining that I quite like for warmer weather. The open, highly textured, weave differentiates it from the standard navy blazer and helps it to "pop" in an appropriate, subtle, way for such a staple item.

Over decades, I have moved away from more varied colors and patterns towards a narrower grey/blue continuum on suits, differentiating them more by fabric quality, fit, and texture. Hopsack is a great fabric towards achieving the latter objective.
 

FlyingHorker

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Depending on what you're looking for, but I'd pick the one that has the chunkiest weave/most texture.

I've seen some hopsacks and some look indistinguishable from a worsted wool. I personally wouldn't want that if I was going towards hopsack.
 

Bromley

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There are hopsacks that are appropriate for suits, and there are hopsacks that are appropriate for jackets. They rarely overlap. Choose a finer, more tightly-woven hopsack for a suit. Choose a chunkier, more loosely woven hopsack for a jacket. "Jacket hopsack" won't hold up well as pants.
 

Davidos

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I’ve actually ordered a suit from SS in the exact same VBC cloth. I haven’t received it yet, but I hope it isn’t a “jacket” cloth that won’t work well on pants. I assume the sales rep should have told me that when I ordered it then. The only concern I have is that the weave will be to see through, I hope not...
 

emptym

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One more question if you have a moment. Do a light hopsack and full canvas work well together? Or is the full canvas too heavy?
Full canvas is fine for a light hopsack suit. It will add a little weight and structure, and supposedly full canvas improves durability although I have never noticed that personally in my suits as they have worn out in areas other than where the full canvassing would extend to. I have never had a hopsack suit, although I have had a hopsack blazer and it was half canvas and held up fine, it just didn't fit me well as I have aged and my proportions changed so I donated it. While a hopsack suit can work just about anywhere today, I still think of them as a bit more casual than your typical plain weave worsted (hopsack is a variation of the plain weave) or twill weave worsted, so I don't think they need the structure to look their best, and I don't think getting it full canvassed will do much for you, so I certainly wouldn't pay more money for it which I'm sure you will have to. Having said that, nothing wrong with getting it full canvas, so if you want it get it.
Full canvas isn't necessarily heavier than half. Half just means that the jacket has a layer of fusible (glued) material. @Despos could explain better than I.
Full canvas has all the parts stitched rather than glued. In fully fused or half canvas/partly fused jackets, the glue can come loose from too much heat and steam when cleaning or pressing, causing puckering. That's the durability issue. It isn't about abrasion or number of wears.
 

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