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Alternatives to commercial interfacing?

Elisabeth | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I just fused some knit interfacing to a cotton and while it works fine it gives me the creeps! Why am I putting polyester and glue on a nice cotton?! It has been years since I have used fusible interfacing and I wasn’t too thrilled about it then either, but I thought I would give it try in case it was much improved. It works but I really don’t like working with it!

I use silk organza on silks for a soft touch and I like softer types of clothing in general, bias – my new favorite sewing, and drapey things without collars so there isn’t much need for crisp or structured anything. Now I am making some shirts for my son (since he is old enough to wear what I make him again) one cotton and one rayon in Hawaiian style. The cotton is fused already but I can’t make myself do it to the rayon. Does anyone have a favorite alternative to commercial interfacing to use with rayon?

Replies

  1. ElonaM | | #1

    It's not "natural," but you can use a well-behaved, soft, knit sew-in called "Sewin' Sheer." It looks a bit like a fine mesh, and comes in white, flesh, and black. Nancy's Notions has it, and probably a number of the mail-order businesses, too. I use it all the time for anything but the lightest silks. For cottons, I use cheap poly/cotton batiste from Joann's, etc., because it's nearly natural--but it doesn't wrinkle. You might be able to use this kind of batiste on rayon, because it's quite lightweight and soft.

    If you decide on Sewin' Sheer, and you want it to be even softer and drapier, just cut it on the bias.

    One caution, though: Sewin' Sheer, though synthetic, shrinks! So, I soak it in really hot water for 20 minutes, roll it in a towel, let it air dry--and then, I lay it on the ironing board and steam it with my iron, holding the iron about an inch or so away from the fabric. You can see it shrink a little more right before your eyes. After it's dry, I store it, knowing that when I pull it out, I'm not going to have any shrinkage problems.



    Edited 5/8/2004 4:01 pm ET by Elona

    1. Elisabeth | | #3

      Thanks for all the good advice! I'm ordering some Sewin' Sheer from Nancy's Notions and I can even take advantage of a free shipping offer this time. A little well-behaved nylon in small areas and without glue sounds ok. I had been thinking about batiste and how that might work and wondered about the shrinking. The poly blend is a good compromise considering the wrinkling factor.

      The cotton shirt is almost done and the fusible works very well with it. Now that I can't see the interfacing much I am almost able to forget about the glue. The rayon will get a different treatment though.

      Thanks also for the pre shrink information on the Sewin' Sheer. Not enough info comes with the products usually.

      1. ShannonG4d | | #4

        For the rayon, I'd recommend using another layer of the actual garment fabric as the interfacing.  The weight is right, and the shrinkage will be the same as the outer fabric.

        If you want to use non-fusibles and stick with natural fibers, try using lightweight linen (prewashed, then ironed) for collars and cuffs.  I will general cut this on the bias because I don't often have a use for stiff interfacings for myself.  It works beautifully.  You might want to keep on hand some silk organza for some uses.  With the linen and the silk, I'm in pretty good shape for most of my sewing.  For something that needs a bit more "oomph", I use two layers of the linen, with the bias cuts opposing one another (cut one piece on the bias in one direction, then flip the pattern piece so that the bias runs opposite).    If it needs to be a stiff collar (like a fine cotton men's dress shirt), the linen is cut in two layers, one on the bias and one on the straight of grain.

        However, I really use fusibles most of the time.  The quality of fusibles is so much better than it was even a few years ago.  And when you think about it, if it's good enough for Mr. Armani and Mr. Lagerfeld to use on their $100/yd fabric......well, it's certainly good enough for me!

        HTH

        Shannon

        1. Elisabeth | | #6

          Well, that did it, Mr. Armani uses it. Sigh, I must be some sort of extreme purist. I love "feeling up" Armani jackets at Saks, makes me want to wear tailored jackets. I'm going to work on my fusing phobia.

          Linen. That sounds familiar for collars etc. It's a natural for interfacing (no pun intended) with it's polite crispness. I do use silk organza with silks and I really like that. I think my rayon for this shirt is a bit on the flimsy side, something inexpensive from Hancocks, but I like the idea of rayon doing its own interfacing in a softer setting.

          I am taking note of the methods you outlined. Thank you for your help! I have learned a lot with everyone's replys here.

  2. lindamaries | | #2

    I get most of my interfacing from palmerpletsch.com.  They have a weft interfacing that is an iron on, but is tried and true.  Great stuff. 

    1. Elisabeth | | #5

      I'm reading the Palmer Pletsch page, lots of good info. I'll try this interfacing. The whole glue thing does not appeal to me but there are surely times when it is the best tool for the job. Thanks for the tip.

      1. lindamaries | | #7

        Pati Palmer use to work in the interfacing business.  Then the company that she worked for went out of business and stopped making the kind she sold and loved.  She and Marla Alto searched the world over looking for a replacement product, testing, and studying, and found the varity that they sell now.  Don't quote me on this, but I think they said that they found this weft stuff being manufactured in France.  These women aren't just giving a sales pitch.  They really know and are just passing along all their energies and trials.  It's kind of like make-up.  You spend a lot of money and time trying to find something that works decent.  Sometimes a person just has to trust what someone else is saying.  I have never had difficulties with the weft stuff.  The different weights...will give different hands to the fabrics.  I use mostly the light and sheer.   

  3. SewNancy | | #8

    If it can be fused I fuse it these days.  There are great new fusibles out there.  I do use silk organza for underling silk because it breathes, but waistbands and collars are easier and I get better results with fusibles.  I like a new one called sof knit, well new to me.  I got it from the sewing place in California,  They are on web but I am not sure of exact address.  They have all the new fusibles as well as good non fusibles. 

    Nancy

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