Underlining with Fusible Interfacing
I think of underlining as the secret ingredient of sewing. It adds body, support, and durability to a garment; makes most fabrics easier to sew, and can often transform a fabric making it suitable for a silhouette or type of garment that, otherwise, would not have worked.
Traditionally, underlining is another layer of fabric that's cut from the same pattern pieces, basted to the wrong side of the fashion fabric, and sewn as one layer. Underlining is not a special category of fabric - many types of fabric (e.g. organza, batiste, flannel) can be used, depending on what is used in the garment and the desired results. I have found that, often, the best results are achieved using fusible interfacing. There are things to consider, however, before you choose one so let me give you a few tips I've learned by trial and error and introduce you to some products you might want to try.
There are basically 3 types of fusible interfacing: non-woven; woven; and knitted, but I only consider woven and knitted as suitable. For this post, I sampled five different products – two are knitted and three are woven. I've provided a list below. All are light, smooth, easy to apply, require no preshrinking, and are available in white, black, and natural. I don't think you can go wrong using any of these. But, there are many more products on the market as well and it's always important to make a test sample, similar to what I've done, using your fabric and the fusible you're considering. I like to keep a library of samples, on a variety of fabrics, so I can check them to narrow my choices before I start a project. My photos, of course, don't allow you to feel the changes in the hand of the fabrics and interfacings I've used, but I've tried to at least show how underlining affects the shape.
All the products I used are lightweight and fairly sheer.
Fusible underlining gives a two-way stretch knit added body.
Light, drapey silks hold their shape with added underlining.
1. Sheer woven, 36" wide, with a crepe-like texture and some crosswise stretch. It's available from Professional Sewing Supplies, 2623 Boylston E, Seattle, WA 98102 (206-324-8823). They don't have a website, unfortunately. This is a great product that adds subtle shaping and stability to almost any fabric.
2. Pro-sheer Elegance Couture, woven; Pro-sheer Elegance Light, woven; Pro-tricot Deluxe, knitted. Couture is the lightest; Elegance light has some crosswise stretch; and the Pro-tricot stretches in all directions. All three are 60" wide and available from Fashion Sewing Supply in Alden, NY
3. Fusible tricot (Pellon Easy Knit, HTCW FusiKnit) is slightly heavier than the others, 20" wide, and has good crosswise stretch with stability in the lengthwise direction. It's the most readily available in larger fabric stores.
Posted on in sewing, garment construction, All How-To, fundamentals, interfacing, fusibles, underlining