Tear it Apart: inside a quality suit

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When you buy a suit, you want to get one that's going to last. So NBC12 took two to "Franco's Fine Clothier" and asked them to tear it apart to show you what to look for.

Franco Ambrogi began sewing at 5-years-old. After 61 years of tailoring, he knows what makes a quality suit. There are differences that you can see.

"Whether it's in the sleeve or the collar...the bottom of the sleeve or the bottom of the coat, it's all done finely by hand," he said showing us on a good quality suit.

But it's what you can't see that makes one suit better than another.

"This is all done by machine. There's not a single stitch done by hand in this coat," Franco showed us on another suit.

This coat has fusing to help the fabric hang better. "They just bar tack it on each seam. It saves a lot of time because the machine is like bam, bam, bam and that's it," he said.

The canvas on a nice coat goes all the way to the bottom to stabilize the front of the garment. The machine-stitched suit stops far short. The lapel on the finer suit was done by a blind stitch machine.

"The lapel will always roll nicely." Franco showed us on the finer suit. When compared to the machine-stitched suit he said, "This one's been fused, has no canvas, and has no balance whatsoever."

Franco has rescued machine-stitched suits that come back from the dry cleaner mis-shaped. "When it's fully canvassed, from top to bottom, the chance of bunching up is almost zero."

A high quality suit would have four different stitches around the sleeve, the canvas, the sleeve head and the lining.

"If I start ripping this the whole sleeve is going to come out. One machine stitch holds the whole thing together," he showed us on the machine-stitched suit.

If the lining is loose, it's been put together with one stitch. When it comes to the trousers, look at the waistband and the trimming.

"The machine sews it up in such a way, eventually it's going to fall apart," Franco explained. "It also has no body at all."

Look for pants with snug tack. It keeps the waistline from rolling.

Franco recommends developing a relationship with your salesperson who can show you in detail why one suit is better than the other.

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