Maw & Mo Sew Along: Interfacing

This is a continuation from previous posts:  part 1, part 2, part3.

Moxie Peeps, you might still be recovering from the last sew along post.  I wouldn’t blame you!!  As I was writing it, I realized there is so much more detail I could go into about many of those preparation steps and I might do that at a later date.  Topics like fabric selvage is positively mystifying when you’re first starting to sew (at least it was for me and I know Madelyn had lots of questions, too).  I remember asking Tessa when we were still living in Ann Arbor, “What the friggin’ heck is a ‘selvage’???”  (I’ll answer that question in a future post in case you are also wondering…)

Today, we’re going to demystify the practical application of interfacing.  Interfacing isn’t anything scary… it’s just a fabric-like stabilizer that helps reinforce your textile or give it structure.  It comes in different thicknesses and stiffnesses and in a variety of materials from synthetic fibers to actual fabric like linen.  I mentioned in my last sew along post that Gertie had written an excellent analysis of interfacing a while back.  Since then, I learned that I want to use higher quality interfacing (i.e., interfacing made from actual cloth, not the synthetic stuff) but I had accumulated such a large quantity of the cheaper stuff, that I’m still using it up.

For our sew along, we just needed some lightweight interfacing to help stabilize the silky fabrics we were working with.  Mo and I each used fusible interfacing, which has a gummy side that adheres to the fabric when steamed and ironed.  You can tell which side has the resin because it will have either little raised dots all over it, or in some cases there will be a smooth sheen.

fusible interfacing

When you purchase interfacing, it should come with some paper wrapping that tells you how it should ideally be applied to your fabric.  First, you need to have cut the proper pieces, which we did in the previous post.  I also mentioned that I typically do not cut notches for my interfacing because it’s not necessary.

fusing interfacing to fabric

You’ll notice that under my fabric and interfacing is a layer of plain muslin.  That muslin serves as my press cloth and when I steam the interfacing to my fabric, I will cover it with the other half of the press cloth.  I do this because nothing in this world is perfect and my interfacing often doesn’t line up exactly the same to my fabric.  If I press with my iron, the glue can end up on my iron plate and that would be bad because if I can’t clean it off completely, my iron can potentially damage future garments by re-depositing sticky materials.

steam iron and press cloth

Nothing is sewing is perfect!  Ever.  My interfacing often hangs off the edge of my fabric on any number of corners.  So, before I move on, I’ll trim off the excess so that I’m working with the proper shape and size of fabric that I cut from the pattern pieces.

inferfacing fused to fabric

trim off excess interfacing

I like to fuse all of my pattern pieces before pinning and sewing (unless otherwise noted in my pattern instructions).  I find that this helps me move through my project with greater ease and I end up only having to keep track of my fabric pieces instead of fabric *and* interfacing.

Some pieces will require a little extra care when applying fusible interfacing.  For the dress pattern than Madelyn and I sewed together, the skirt has a banded hem and the pattern piece is quite large in a difficult shape for fusing interfacing with ease.  This is where I whipped out my glass head pins, because when I use those pins I can press the interfacing and fabric under a hot iron and the pin heads won’t melt, unlike my plastic head pins.

glass head pins vs. plastic head pins

Here is a closer look at the glass head pins:

glass head pins

Compared to the ubiquitous plastic head pins:

plastic head pins

After lining up the interfacing with the fabric, I pined the two together with the GLASS head pins.

glass head pins in action

After using the press cloth and steaming process, being mindful with the pins to *press* rather than *iron*, I ended up with nicely fused interfacing on a very oblong shaped piece of fabric.

interfacing fused to fabric

Onward!  Up next, we’ll move on to sewing.  Finally!  I have some videos to post in which I showed and demonstrated for Madelyn how to edge finish the facings.  In the meantime, I’m curious to know from all of you if you have a favorite type of interfacing and how did you originally find it?

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  • Maw & Mo Sew Along: Facings, Edge Stitching, & Under Stitching : School of Moxie - […] like we’re on a marathon!  This is the next installment… see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part […]ReplyCancel

  • Russell Conte - Great instruction, kiddo! Interfacing – there’s as much to know about interfacing as there is to know about fabric. Like good construction on a house where one hopes the support structures and building materials are solid, secure, stable and long-lasting, you want the same from your interfacing. You can often get away with a fabric that’s not stellar in quality if you use a good quality interfacing. Woven or knit (tricot) interfacings are always best. Using the pressed fiber type as in your illustration is not going to provide good structure or support for any length of time, and is going to compromise the quality finish of your garment. My favorite for the type of garment you are sewing? Weft. Come by the shop, and I’ll be happy to show you. (Also, a quick note: any time you are purchasing interfacing, buy more than what the pattern calls for. It’s a staple you’ll always have use for, and if you purchase just the amount of interfacing required by the pattern, there’s typically a lot of waste.)ReplyCancel

  • Barbara munic - Russell mentioned weft interfacing…now there is a topic for another post. I don’t know what this is, as I usually use fabric.ReplyCancel

  • Maw & Mo Sew Along: Gathering & Sleeves : School of Moxie - […] there!!   The Maw & Mo sew along is more than half way done.  See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part […]ReplyCancel

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