How to Use Fusible Interfacing
As Steve and I have been filling up the Indiesew shop (there are so many cool things coming your way) we’ve been keeping tabs on the sewing techniques that each pattern requires. Luckily, most indie patterns are geared towards beginner and intermediate sewists, so the list of techniques is fairly consistent. We see things like knit bound necklines and using bias tape over and over again...that’s why we blog about them. The other technique that is found in roughly 30% of patterns in our shop? That's right, you guessed it. Using fusible interfacing.
I did a little happy dance when I realized that a How to Use Fusible Interfacing blog post was next up on the docket. I love interfacing. The way it stiffens up collars and plackets...the way it fuses right to the fabric with just the touch of a hot iron. Fusible interfacing is basically the employee that works overtime, always does her best, and never begs for recognition. Once interfacing is fused and sewn in, you’d never know it was even there.
So today, folks, I’m starting with a very beginner primer on how to use fusible interfacing in your handmade apparel. For those of you who use interfacing in other sewing projects might find that your technique differs a bit. This post is geared towards someone who has never touched a bolt of interfacing before.
Okay, so let’s dive in. I’ll be demonstrating this technique on the under collar pattern piece of the Sugar Pop Top by Sew Caroline and I’m using a Nani Iro Double Gauze as my shirt fabric. Some other patterns that require interfacing in our shop are the Sparrow Top by Liola Patterns, the Alder Skirt by Imagine Gnats, and the Zippy Top by See Kate Sew.
What You’ll Need
To use fusible interfacing you’ll need the following:
1. A hot iron, with a dry setting that doesn’t emit steam. I use a Rowenta Pro Iron Steam Station that works wonders. I’m telling you, this iron is sent from above. The Steam Station has the option to use dry heat, without steam.
2. A press cloth, to lay over your pattern pieces when ironing them. I use a large piece of muslin. Do not use fabric that you love, covet or otherwise cherish. Over time, your press cloth will acquire some gunk from the interfacing adhesive that likely won’t wash out.
3. Sufficient yardage of fusible interfacing. Pay careful attention to the weight interfacing your pattern calls for. My go-to interfacing is Pellon P44F JAS, which is super lightweight and very affordable (around $0.99 per yard). I buy my interfacing by the bolt.
Prepping Your Interfacing
Identify the bumpy side of your interfacing; this is the side that contains the adhesive that will fuse to your fabric. If your pattern piece is not symmetrical, pay careful attention when cutting your pattern piece so that the bumpy side will face the wrong side of your fabric.
Gather the pieces of your sewing pattern that require interfacing. In the Sugar Pop Top, the only pattern piece that requires interfacing is the under collar.
Lay the pattern piece over your interfacing as instructed on the pattern piece. You’ll remember from this post, that at Indiesew, we trace all of our pattern pieces on to interfacing to make them easier to store. So here, you're seeing interfacing laid on top of interfacing.
Cut around your pattern piece with fabric scissors, just like you would with your fabric pieces.
Now, you should have two identically sized pieces, one fabric and one interfacing.
Fusing the Interfacing to Your Fabric
Make sure your iron is hot and ready to use. For this double gauze fabric, I set my iron temperature to the cotton setting. I find that the hotter the iron the better, since you’ll be ironing three layers of fabric.
Lay your interfacing piece on your ironing board so that the bumpy side is up, facing you.
Lay your fabric pattern piece on top of your interfacing, so that the right side of the fabric is up, facing you.
Now, carefully lay your press cloth on top of your fabric and interfacing, making sure not to shift either piece in the process. With light pressure, set your hot iron on top of one side of your pattern pieces for about a minute. Don’t move the iron back and forth, or you’ll risk the fabric and interfacing shifting underneath your press cloth. Lift and move the iron around until you’ve pressed the entire pattern piece. Remove your press cloth, and check to make sure that the interfacing has fused to the fabric everywhere. If you see parts that didn’t fuse, replace your press cloth and re-iron those sections.
Now you should have one pattern piece with the interfacing fused to the back of the fabric.
Lay your interfaced pattern piece right side up on a table and trim any edges where the interfacing extends beyond the fabric.
That’s it! You’re now ready to sew up the rest of your pattern!
Got a gunky iron?
Did you accidentally forget to put your press cloth down when fusing your interfacing? Or is your iron gunky from years of use? You can use EZ-Off or any similar iron cleaner to remove any starch, scorch, soil, and foreign residue from your iron.
Please note: I mention several brand names in this post, but Indiesew is in no way associated with any of these brands. We just love to share our favorite products with our readers!
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