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LindaFaye | Posted in General Discussion on

I call myself an advanced beginner because I’m just starting over after a long, long vacation from sewing.  The pattern I’m using now is McCalls’s M5113.  I love the look on the pattern envelope, not because I look like that any more but I use to and I want to again some day.  The envelope calls the pattern a Palmer/Pletsch Classic fit.  I was advised to jump right in and start with the jacket (because it would be the hardest and take the most time).  The entire jacket front/side front, back and side back are interfaced.  I can’t ever remember making a jacket that the entire back and front was interfaced.  Can someone explaine this to me.  Linda Faye


  1. JGFLO | | #1

    Use iron on interfacing and interface the pattern pieces before you cut them out. I like to use a very soft lightweight interfacing. This is a common practice now. It gives more body to the garment without stiffness.

    1. LindaFaye | | #2

      This is a great idea.  I think the interfacing that I used for the jacket I'm making now is a bit stiff - I used medium weight.  Maybe next time I will use the light weight for the next jacket I make.

      I am not completely sure I understand what you mean by interfacing the pattern pieces before I cut them out.  When using the iron on type do you mean ironing the interfacing onto the fabric and them pining the pattern pieces - and them cutting???

      1. JGFLO | | #3

        Yes, interface your fashion fabric first with the iron-on interfacing. It is much easier than cutting out both interfacing and then cutting out fashion fabric. Since pattern pieces are placed so close you don't really lose very much interfacing by doing this and it is much faster. I am all about quick and easy with great results.

        1. ctirish | | #4

          What a great idea and so easy.   Interfacing the fabric before cutting out the pieces. 

          I am making an outfit with Ponte knit and now I am wondering about interfacing the skirt or top?   I am also thinking about the sleeves and shoulders?   The pattern I am using is Pamelas Patterns #104 - and it is for a T-shirt but I thought a little more structure might make it look more professional.  I am doing three quarter length sleeves.  I have used this pattern for T-shirts and it looks and fits great - so I thought  if I add to the length and make it into a tunic top - make a skirt with the same material - add a little embroidery and it should look great.


          1. JGFLO | | #5

            There are specific interfacings for knits. However, I only interface facings, pockets, colars etc. when sewing with knits.

          2. ctirish | | #6

            Do you use something like fuisknit for interfacing? 

          3. JGFLO | | #7


        2. LindaFaye | | #8

          This is a great "quick sewing tip"!  I will be using it on my next sewing project for sure!  Thanks again for sharing.

        3. fabricholic | | #9

          That is the best idea. I never thought of that when I interface collars. Awesome!Marcy

        4. Pansy | | #10

          Unless you have an enormous ironing surface, I would NOT recommend fusing the interfacing to the fabric before you cut it out.  You could very easily run into problems keeping the grain straight on both the interfacing and the fabric.  It will take more time to cut each piece out twice, but it will be well worth it. 

          1. mem | | #11

            I cut out rectrangles and squares which I then interface and then cut out the pattern . Its a bit hard though if tyou have only just enough fabric as you can loose the opportunity to do some squeezi9ng in of pattern pieces.

          2. JGFLO | | #12

            I do exactly the same thing. Pin the pattern to the fashion fabric to get grainline correct.

  2. zuwena | | #13

    I'll just jump in with my two-cents for what it's worth.  I recently took a tailoring course and we did not interfacr the entire jacket.  I would say, however, that the weight of the fashion fabric, the styling of the jacket, and the look you hope to achieve are the basic factors to consider in whether to do a total interface.  But, in any case, for most jackets, the front--across the chest, the lapel and down to the hem line should always be interfaced, along with the hemline of the jacket and the hemline of the sleeves.  The front interfacing supports the jacket, and the hemline interfacings support the hems and give a clean finish.  Hope this helps.  Zuwena

    1. JGFLO | | #14

      Well said--right on!

    2. LindaFaye | | #15

      Thanks for the good information on interfacing my jackets!

      1. LindaFaye | | #16

        Well, the jacket is finished!  Finished it last week along with the matching pants.  I really did re-learn some things with this.  My next project WILL NOT involve as many pieces, probably only 6 or 7 pieces, and that will be a big help. 

        Right now I am sewing to expand my work wardrobe for the fall/winter season and I need things that are going to go together quickly but fit really well.

        Thanks for all of the help shared here, I am sure I will be back for more help!


        1. twoimps | | #17

          This is a little late but might be helpful for future projects.  Several things need to be considered when interfacing a jacket: the drape of the fabric, how fitted is the garment, is it tailored or unstructured, and is it lined.  More than one type of interfacing can be used - a light to medium weight fusible to provide more stability for facings, lapels, etc. and something like fusiknit for the body of the garment to maintain the drape of the fabric.  I agree that the interfacing should not be fused to the fabric prior to cutting out the pattern pieces because the interfacing should not extend into the seam allowances as it will create excess bulk and stiffness.  When a fabric has a soft drape and a fusible interfacing will alter the drape too much, it can be underlined instead.  Although the trend is towards unstructured jackets, it's still helpful to read about the basics of tailoring to know general construction techniques.  Threads has had several very good articles over the years on jacket construction basics. Good luck!

          1. LindaFaye | | #18

            Your reply is very helpful for the future-which is actually now.  I am not familiar with fusiknit, can you tell me about it? 

            Secondly, this might sound dumb but are you telling me that interfacing should be trim so it is does not extend into the seam allowance?  I have always cut the interfacing (I always use the fusible type) the same size as the pattern pieces; never knew to do it otherwise.  But then I haven't taken a sewing class in years.  I can see how it would make the garmet less bulky.

            I guess I really should read up on tailoring cause I really don't know anything about underling. 

            I think I know what the term unstructured means but I am unsure; can you explain what it means?



          2. twoimps | | #19

            I've been sewing since I was 10 and really enjoy it and would love to help you.  I've never taken classes so keep that in mind.  Tailored or structured refers to full linings, interfacings, shoulder pads, etc.  Men's suits are tailored and women's suits have various levels of tailoring depending on the price range and style.  Unstructured is a softer look, less interfacing, smaller or no shoulder pads, but not necessarily less fitted. 

            There are two good Threads articles on jackets - one details the construction techniques used in an Armani jacket and another shows a techniques for "bagged jaket linings" - a fast way to attach linings using your machine instead of hand sewing.   The Armani techniques are good because it minimizes the tailoring involved without sacrificing the quality of the construction.  There's are also issues that detail the construction of Dior and Chanel jackets.  All styles are very different but all good.

            The problem with commercial pattern instructions is that you can have several patterns for an identical style jacket but all the instructions are different and not always good.  I suspect this is why so many people give up on sewing.  I recommend the Singer book on tailoring.  It's an excellent reference on techniques, materials, and tools.  Even though you may never sew a fully tailored garment, it addresses many techniques and materials you will use.  The basic construction techniques apply to all garments and once you understand those, you'll find that sewing is much easier than when you had to decifer the instructions. 

            About trimming the interfacing. Whether using sew-in or fusible, you cut the interfacing using the pattern piece.  Sew-in is sewn in the garment and the seam allowance excess is trimmed after.  The seam allowance on fusible should be trimmed before fusing it to the fabric as you can't trim it later.   When sewing multiple layers together, especially when more than one is interfaced, the added stiffness of the interfacing will make certain areas too bulky in contrast to the fabric of the garment - for instance where the collar and jacket lapels intersect, which is already a difficult area to sew properly.  Also, the type and amount of interfacing also depends on the fabric so don't be afraid to deviate from the pattern instructions.

            Fusiknit is a lightweight fusible knit which is good for both wovens and knits as it will provide just enough body and stability without changing the drape of the fabric.  Underling is used when you don't want to fuse an interfacing to the fabric, when it's a light color and you don't want the seam allowances to show, and when the fabric is soft and or lightweight the underling gives it just enough body so it can be used in a jacket.  The local JoAnn and Hancock fabrics don't carry many specialty items so look online for the products you see referenced in the Threads articles.

            A good way to learn about fabrics and construction is to look at expensive ready to wear garments and see how they're put together.   Of course you can't open them up, but you can feel the construction as well as see how they're put together.  A good example is to compare ready to wear waistbands to the instructions given in patterns. 

            I don't usually sew fully tailored jackets, but I do incorporate techniques as needed.  For instance, I'm small busted and the upper bust area on a jacket doesn't lay flat - it collapses in above the full bust.  To avoid that, I use the appropriate interfacing for the fabric to add just enough stiffness that it lies flat before curving down over the full bust.

            It sounds as though you enjoy sewing and I hope you find this information helpful. 



          3. LindaFaye | | #20

            NANCY, NANCY, NANCY;  you just won't believe just how helpful your reply is to me.  I can't believe you never took a sewing lesson!  This information is extremely helpful, as I am a jacket person.  I Love them!  Jackets make me feel dressier.  When I have a jacket with matching pants, i.e. the same color (which I call a suit) I can actually get out of the house quicker in the morning and I feel better dressed.

            I do love to sew and use to do a lot of it but I started a business and it took up all of my time so I got away from sewing for too many years.  With the information you shared in your post I already feel more confident and will incorporate some ot the tips in the jacket that I am making now (my second since starting to sew anew).

            I do have an old, old singer sewing book that has information on tailoring.  I guess the information is timeless so I will review that book in more detail even though it is an old, old one and I do mean old.

            I just bought my first issue of Threads last month.  I think it really is a great magazine.  To bad I didn't know about it when it was first published.  I have looked at back issues on ebay, but there are just too many for me to purchase.  I am going to subscribe though.

            Thanks again and again for the info and I really mean it.

            Linda Faye

          4. twoimps | | #21

            You're welcome and good luck in your sewing.  Nothing's more fun than when a sewing project turns out well and when you get compliments on it when you wear it.  It means so much more than if you'd bought it ready made.


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