I have found in the last 18 months or so (read: Covid pandemic!) that my sewing time has become more limited and, consequently, more precious. I’m not sewing as often, so I end up deliberating for days over what to sew next, determined that it should be 100% the right project and the right outcome. When I finally sit down to make something I want to achieve the best fit and finish that I can, so I’ve really been taking my time to do things that contribute to that outcome. I make toiles, I use swatches, and in this post I’m discussing something else that can make all the difference – fusible interfacing!
In this week’s YouTube video I’ve demonstrated a technique for testing a swatch of fusible interfacing on a sample of your intended main fabric.
The technique is one I picked up from a book called “Tailoring: The classic guide to sewing a perfect jacket” (I do like this photo illustrated guide).
I also shared three quick tips:
1. Use samples!
I keep samples of different types of interfacing, together with notes on the types of fabric for which they are recommended, the weight and type of the interfacing, the fusing instructions and the care instructions/washing temperatures. I find my little swatch folder really useful for times when I have a random remnant of interfacing and need to be able to identify which interfacing it actually was in the first place, and also when I need to get a sense of which one might work best for a given sewing project.
2. Choose carefully.
There’s often a wealth of information available when you are buying interfacing. Your sewing pattern will typically tell you which type and weight of interfacing you need, so that should help you narrow it down. In many cases the manufacturer or retailer will share fabric recommendations on the interfacing’s product page on their websites, which can help you to identify which of the lightweight interfacings is best for your viscose blouse, for example. Aim to select an appropriate type, weight, and colour of interfacing for your project.
After a while, you do get a bit of a sixth sense for whether interfacing A will work for fabric B, but I still recommend testing a swatch of interfacing on a scrap of your intended fabric if you’re in any doubt. In particular for projects like coats and jackets where you will be interfacing large sections of the garment and where you really want the interfacing to fuse well to increase the longevity of your garment, I think it’s worth taking a little extra time to test your interfacings. Equally, a quick test might save you from spoiling the look of a lovely dress or blouse with a too-stiff facing.
What to look for when you’ve fused a test swatch
In the YouTube video I explain in a bit more detail the 5 things I normally look for when I’m assessing a fused interfacing swatch:
- Drape / weight
- Colour (effect on the main fabric’s colour)
- Smoothness (absence of bubbles, puckering or ‘orange peel’ surface textures)
- Ridges/edges (visibility on the right side of the fabric).
How do you feel about testing your fusible interfacing?