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What’s Under the Bonnet of a Jeff Banks Suit?

Now, when you look at a modern-day motorcar, they all kind of look the same, so what is it that makes the difference? It’s what’s under the bonnet. And it’s the same with a suit, you can actually look at some suits online, or in a shop window, and they look pretty similar, sometimes the shape is better than others, sometimes the workmanship is better than others… but it’s what’s on the inside of a suit that actually makes it so different.

Now, I’m actually going to cut up a Jeff Banks suit, and I don’t do this very often – because it’s sacrilege – but I would like you to see what it is goes on under the bonnet of a Jeff Banks suit.

So, first off, I’m going to take a cut through the front – and that is going to reveal the inside of the suit, in particular, this element here – which is called a floating chest piece. So, this is floating, separate from the actual fabric of the jacket. This allows it to move, and stops the jacket from looking stiff.

On the inside of the fabric, you’ll see that there’s an interlining which is fused onto the back of the fabric to give it stability. It’s very light in weight – and has to be done one at a time, with a special heat control, so that it’s going to last forever. A badly fused fabric isn’t going to survive dry cleaning – the chemicals can eat away at it, it comes loose, and it gives what’s called an ‘orange peel’ effect to the fabric; we tend to be very careful about that.

We are absolutely stringent on the way we fuse our fabrics so that they remain stable.

You will see here, at the end of the chest dart are these tiny patches – which actually make sure that the end of the dart for the chest is absolutely smooth and controlled.

All of these are put on by hand.

When I look at the floating chest piece, and you can see the stitching here where this has been hand basted on, I can cut through the canvas, on the inside here – now, this is a travel suit, so we have a breathable panel , taken from sportswear technology, so – all of this is going on the inside of the chest.

I’m now going to look at the inside of the shoulder. Now,in here you can see there are layers of felt which is creating the edge of the shoulder and there are in fact two different felts going in different directions – and then there are two pieces of canvas which are cut on the bias, going different ways, that give this very soft feel to the front shoulder of the suit.

This is called a Rollino, so this is very soft felt – and all of these shoulder pads are made exclusively for Jeff Banks.

This here, the two cross-ply canvases allow for this very soft look on the front and then when I cut through the whole shoulder – behind the floating chest piece – the soft shoulder pad comes over the top and the back of the shoulder, giving this soft shoulder line.

There you can actually see the canvas from the floating chest piece coming onto the top of the shoulder, engaging that over there – and here is the underside of the shoulder pad which has got three layers of felt to it. All of that construction is actually holding that shoulder in place.

If you get this construction, even millimetres wrong, it ruins the whole hang of the jacket, so this is a critical part.

Through the back here, and across, you can see that there’s a bracing strap – this ensures that the neckline always remains absolutely constant, so again, this is a critical part, the measurement must be absolutely precise to keep the neckline of the jacket perfect.

And then finally, through the front of the jacket here, the lapel is basted onto the floating chest piece to make sure this remains absolutely stable.

Through this, there’s a strap which runs from the shoulder, down through the edge of the lapel – this is called the brace. It makes sure that the line of the lapel here remains absolutely accurate, because if this isn’t accurate, it doesn’t button up properly, and that brace is critically important.

So all of those factors are there under the bonnet of a Jeff Banks suit – and that’s what makes it so special.

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