Friday, June 26, 2009

Sewing Tip - Interfacing - Don't be lazy ----- What ME LAZY?

Here's the deal I'm LAZY - and - I say that with all the love and capital letters I can muster because I want you to understand I'm serious- deep in my bones is the need to move my body as little as possible, leave my house only when absolutely necessary, think only as much as I need to for self preservation and sleep a lot.

"I don't believe it!" you may be saying to yourself -- but I swear it's true.

I've never let my deep inner-self win, although, it's been pretty darn hard and pretty darn close sometimes. Now you know that, you need to know there are things I give in to occasionally -- like not doing my dishes ALL the time, not getting laundry put away and making my kids fish their clean close out of stacks in their laundry baskets (although, now they're a little older I make them put their own clothes away and so this doesn't happen so much but you get the idea), and lastly following the manufactures instructions while applying INTERFACING on any sewing project.

And, that's what I'm really going to write about today.

For years I did the bare minimum while applying my interfacing and I'm here to tell you it's not worth the lazy --- it's so worth the extra 30 seconds or so to do it right. Believe me! Learn from my mistakes, PLLEEAASSSE!

Lets go back and talk about interfacing.

Interfacing is a fabric or textile used on the "wrong" or unseen side of fabric to make that area more rigid.

Interfacings can be used to:
Stiffen or add body to fabric, like in a shirt collar or the waist band on a skirt.
It can be used to strengthen a certain area of the fabric, for instance where buttonholes or snaps will be sewn.
Interfacing comes in a variety of weights and stiffnesses for different purposes. Usually, a light fabric will call for a light interfacing and a heavy fabric a heavy interfacing. Read the back of your pattern for more specifics or just think about what you want your fabric to feel like in your project and then use the appropriate interfacing.

One important thing to keep in mind when you're using interfacing, it really does make your material thicker, if you will be sewing through it and especially multiple layers stacked together it could get hard to sew through. If that's the case use a thinner interfacing, and go slow with your sewing machine when you get to that area - you may even need to ease the needle into the fabric using the round thing on the side of your machine that manually moves the needle (can't think of the name of the thingy) so you don't break your needle.

Believe me you don't want to break your needle --- it's a pain to change needles mid-project, it's loud and will scare you half to death, and a piece of it could fly out and smack you in the face (hopefully not the eye) and it stings --- I'm speaking from experience here. If it does break IT'S okay - change the needle and keep on going.

My favorite interfacing to use has heat-activated adhesive on one side (known as "fusible" interfacing) but you can also use the kind you sew or baste in place.

So this is what you'll need; your iron, a pressing cloth, a squirt bottle, your material (cut to desired pattern) and interfacing (also cut to desired pattern shape but 1/8" less all around).

A great place to get a press cloth is from an old white dress shirt. Your husband, father, uncle, brother, neighbor, thrift store should have at least one old one lying around. Cut the back of the shirt along both side seams and along the top just below the shoulders, seal edges by surging, applying "Frey Check" (subject for another posting), zig-zagging or don't seal edges, completely up to you. Now you have a great pressing cloth.

Lay your fabric face down and lay your interfacing on top with the bumpy side down, facing toward your material. You can see in the photo that my interfacing is slightly smaller than my material because when I iron it on I don't want any hanging over and fusing to my ironing board.

Now, here's the part where I usually get lazy - but this is the thing - if I've done the work to get to this point I might as well do the work to get it done the rest of the way....the right way....RIGHT?

The manufactures instructions say to set your iron on High heat - Wool setting - No Steam, Cover material and interfacing with a damp press cloth, Place iron on press cloth and let it set for about 10 sec. Pick up your iron and reposition and place again. Don't slide your iron around - pick it up and place it slightly overlapping where your iron just was so there aren't any missed edges (I'm paraphrasing- naturally)

My problem was always my ironing board wasn't close to a sink so who wants to keep going back and forth to the sink to get your press cloth wet once it gets dried out from ironing. So, I'd just use the steam setting on my iron because I figured that's be hot enough to get it to bond --- WRONG!

It needs the heat and it needs the time. The last interfacing I bought said 10 sec. but make sure you read the directions on what you buy it could be a few second less or a few seconds more.

Here's my solution!!! A squirt bottle! When my press cloth dries out I squirt it really good - a lot -a lot...and press again. Brilliant I know!!!

Now your interfacing is perfectly bonded to your fabric and you can move on with your project.
Like I said only 30 seconds or so used up from your life and you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it right and your project is going to turn out AMAZING!!!
Now go forth and apply INTERFACING and pat yourself on the back because you're NOT LAZY!

*PS. Don't judge my ironing board cover it's old and ugly I know - BUT- it does the job....


Lauren said...

I looove that flower material!
Thanks for the help on interfacing.. I too am lazy..

Lindsay said...

Gosh! Great post!
So funny and pretty good instructions.
Sometimes the fabric shrinks after interfacing - about 1 cm. Did it ever happen to you?
Anyway, I'm a lazy girl who struggles to follow instructions and steps as well - I totally understand you! :P
And oh yeah, breaking a needle sends shivers down my spine too. :-o

Cheers and thanks for so helpful tips!!! ;)

Carol said...

Lindsay, I can't say I've ever noticed my fabric shrinking from applying interfacing but it absolutely does when I apply fusible vinyl.
Thanks so much for your kind words.