Interfacing…De-Mystified

  If you have ever experienced problems like those below…the ‘culprit’ is your lack of knowledge regarding INTERFACING!

  • wobbly, stretched out garment edges and buttonholes
  • collars that just refuse to press out properly
  • bubbling of certain areas on garments –shapeless, stretched out necklines..garments that look ‘tired’ after just a few washings
  • show-through seam allowances, interfacing edges, etc.
  • hems that ripple, and aren’t properly ‘weighted’
  • inner body details that sag – like buttonhole slot pockets

I’m sharing below some valuable highlights of my full 27 page PDF including EVERYTHING I KNOW about interfacings.  

The full PDF:  “Interfacing De-Mystified” is available for just $5 HERE.  

Always preshrink BOTH interfacings and fabrics!!!

Always preshrink BOTH interfacings and fabrics!!!

What IS Interfacing?    Why do we use it?

Interfacing is defined as a 3rd layer of fabric that lays between the facing and outer layer of a garment. Interfacing provides firmness, shape, or ‘body’to a fabric, and strength and stability to edges. It is meant to add these qualities without adding bulk. Interfacing may also serve to conceal inner construction from showing through to the outside of a garment.

Think of a body: Interfacing is the “bones”. It is what gives a garment some structure and endurance. Too often, to march to the “Sew it Tonight…Wear it Tomorrow”drummer…interfacing is completely left out of patterns –even the very best patterns by top designers. In my opinion, this is a mistake. Just because a pattern does not call for interfacing is no reason to omit it. I am responsible for the end product that I am creating –and only I know the specific fabric I am using. Don’t let any pattern dictate your interfacing choices –learn all you can, ask for opinions, test and keep those test samples, and do what YOU feel is correct for your specific situation.

Regarding KNIT GARMENTS – this is an entirely different situation, and though interfacing is often still important, I’ve found that in the relaxed styles of 2015 – that aside from stabilizing shoulder seams and hems, and an occasional jacket collar or facing when more conventional sewing techniques are used, that we see less interfacing in Knits.

Nonwoven interfacings can be torn - SEW...are they going to hold up in your garments????

Nonwoven interfacings can be torn – SEW…are they going to hold up in your garments????

During my college education, I had an instructor who did a graduate level research project on Interfacings and how the different types held up over the life of a garment (maybe that is why I have such an interest in the topic?). Her study showed that the non-wovens eventually just fell apart, rendering an inferior garment.   That has stuck with me, and hence my warning as stated above.

 These non-wovens NEVER enter my personal garment interfacing stash. I know they are the most commonly used interfacings in most RTW, and also what you will be shown if inquiring at most chain fabric stores.   Regrettably, the word “Pellon” is a term associated with non-wovens, though Pellon is a manufacturer and also makes great interfacings that are woven or knitted.          

There are some definite ‘tricks of the trade’ to working successfully with fusible interfacings!

I personally feel that Pre-Shrinking is necessary!  YES- I ALWAYS pre-shrink ALL interfacings before they can get to my sewing ‘studio’…even fusible interfacings.  Here’s how…

1. Run HOT water into a tub or large basin – make it as hot as possible from the tap.

2. Loosely fold the interfacing and immerse into this basin of HOT water. Let it remain until the water is cooled off.

(I’ve forgotten it overnight – and no problem!)

3. Roll interfacing in a towel (beach towel works well) to remove excess moisture, and lay it out to dry. I use my spare guest bedroom bed, or the dining or living room carpet. Beware of household pets clawing on them, however. Note, I said LAY – don’t hang. It is my opinion, that even for stable woven fabrics, the weight of water on the fibers if the interfacing is hung, could cause the fibers to stretch out again. Most often you will find cautions regarding hanging to dry only for knit interfacings.

Cut interfacing a bit smaller than the garment piece yet large enough to get caught in the seam stitching.  Palmer/Pletsch gives a GREAT technique for this in their Perfect Fuse Interfacing instructions.  Here is is below…

A quick way to cut interfacing smaller is to cut along one edge and side, them move pattern over to cut the remaining edge and side.

A quick way to cut interfacing smaller is to cut along one edge and side, them move pattern over to cut the remaining edge and side.

Never fuse over ‘bumps’ (as dart folds) or seam allowances, but rather split the interfacing and slip it underneath as shown in the picture below.

Never fuse OVER seam allowances, rather split interfacing and place below seam allowances.

Never fuse OVER seam allowances, rather split interfacing and place below seam allowances.

Interface outer, upper, ‘public’ sides.  For example:  interface the Upper Collar, the Upper Cuff.  Doing so will give the ‘public’ side the crispness and stabilization for topstitching needed.  On light colors, it will give an opaqueness to keep seam allowances (pipings in the photo below) from showing through to the right side.

Crisp details AND opacity to hide different colored details. See how nice the right collar half looks compared to the half at the left?

Crisp details AND opacity to hide different colored details. See how nice the right collar half looks compared to the half at the left?

Though Fusibles are wonderful there are still garments in which I PREFER ‘sew in’ interfacings.  Example, for a shirt that might see weekly washing and machine drying – as in a spring/summer ‘camp shirt’, I would opt for a Woven Sew-In Interfacing such as this one I carry:  http://www.londas-sewing.com/shop/product/woven-sew-interfacing/.

 

 Consider the Flex Factor.  Collars, French Cuffs and the like that fold over themselves and/or around a body or body part require 2 way flex.  In woven and weft insertions, this is on the bias.  In tricots and all bias interfacings, this is the crosswise directions.  Even though the fashion fabric may be cut on the lengthwise grain, the interfacing should most often be cut on the crosswise grain.  Buttonhole areas should be given a reinforcement with a stable grain fusible in those specific areas.  Details that have no flex as pockets, flaps, welts, front facings, etc. do not need stretch or ‘flex’ in the interfacing, therefore cut them on the straight of grain.

I carry in stock my 4 favorite interfacings at www.londas-sewing.com.  Find them listed below.

  •  French Fuse – Fusible Tricot 60wide 100% poly Beige $6.25/yard

Click HERE to order

  • ArmoWeft Fusible   24wide   60% poly 405 rayon White $4.25/yard

Click HERE to order

  • 8-Way Stretch Fusible20wide 100% poly   White $5.50/yard

Click HERE to order

  •  Woven Sew-In 20wide 55% cotton 45% poly White $3.25/yard

Click HERE to order

The full PDF:  “Interfacing De-Mystified” is available for just $5 HERE.  

 

 

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