Selecting Interfacing

Grainline Studio | Selecting Interfacing

I’ve gotten a few questions about how to select interfacing for the upcoming Alder Sew-Along so I wanted to take a minute and direct you to two older posts I’ve made on interfacing. This first post, Selecting and Applying Interfacing, talks heavily about using silk as the self fabric but the same premise applies for any garment. You want to select an interfacing that generally has the same drape as your garment. If you’re doing a collar you can go a bit stiffer, but what you really want to avoid at all cost is having your fabric look like you stitched it to a bit of plywood. I always recommend going with either a woven or tricot (knit) interfacing and stay away from the bonded stuff. It’s made in a way similar to the aforementioned plywood with fibers running every which way, and as such, has little to no drape no matter how thin of stuff you get. I think that bonded interfacing is best left out of your fine garments and reserved for craft type projects.

Grainline Studio | Selecting Interfacing

The second post I’d like to refer you to is My Favorite Fusibles. This post is just that, the fusible interfacings I use in pretty much 100% of my projects. I’ve tried a lot of interfacing over the years, through this site, hound, and my pattern work and these are the ones I like the most and continue to reorder bolt after bolt. No hard glue, sticks through as many washes as I’ve thrown at my garments, never shrinks, beautiful hand/drape, and not plasticky like some of them can occasionally feel at large box stores. Just really great stuff in my opinion.
So that’s my fusible advice, hope you found it helpful!

9 replies on “Selecting Interfacing

  • Nina

    Hmm, I really have a strong dislike for iron-on interfacing. It could just be because I’m always using the weird bonded stuff… But what are your thoughts on sew-in? I often use ordinary cotton muslin (that’s UK muslin, maybe gauze to you??) or another plain woven cotton, depending on the weight. But I haven’t made a proper button-up shirt before, so maybe iron-on is really necessary for this? What did they do in the old days?

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    • Jen

      I honestly really never use sew in interfacing, I just like fusible much more. If that’s what you find works for you though, you should run with it. The most awkward part will be the button bands, as only part of them is interfaced so you may find it difficult to sew that part in. Other than that you’re fine with sew in if that’s what works for you.

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    • dpcoffin

      Following what I found in top-quality manufactured shirts from the old days (and currently), as well as my personal preference (I’ve just never warmed up to fusibles either, Nina!—on lightweight wovens anyway), I’ve never used a fusible on a woven shirt, nor indeed any interfacing in a button or buttonhole band. If it needed more layers in front I’d just add an extra fold, or slip in a layer of muslin or some other useful weight of plain cotton if the self fabric’s pattern would show thru, and these wouldn’t be sewn-in beyond getting caught in the buttons/holes and topstitching, plus in whatever edge finish you’re doing if there’s a free edge involved. But I can’t recall the last time something DID need an extra layer there; one or at most two folds has always done the trick for me. I’ve seen a lot of old dress shirts with no band interfacing (cuffs and collars only), and quite a few RTW sport shirts that aren’t interfaced at all anywhere. In wool or linen, the absence is generally undetectable, but I can see how one might want or expect some more permanent crispness on some parts of a washed cotton garment. And I suspect overall I’m at a somewhat extreme end of the Interface/Don’t Interface continuum!

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