Thank you, you Lovely Ladies for your kind congrats on my new craft ventures. It makes no difference whether I'm at home blogging in my slippers or quaking in my (not very high) heels giving a talk or a workshop - I'm always grateful that you're out there egging me on :)
So, why am I writing about interfacing again? Well I asked folks on my FaceSlap what bag making advice they'd like me to write about and the 'inter of the facing' is what cropped up over and over again.
I do understand why this stuff is such a mystery. It doesn't help that the products are called different names here and across the pond, it ain't cheap and new fangled products are coming to market all the time. For those reasons alone I'm sure that interfacing will remain a hot (yet confusing) blog topic forever more.
Here is a general round up of tips and comment on the seemingly unfathomable interfacing!
Why spend as much as you can afford on interfacing?
Yes I know that (to look at) interfacing isn't particularly sexy (compared to fabric anyway!) but this stuff is where a lot of the magic starts. Much of bag making is about making cool looking 3D shapes out of a material that given the choice would rather lie flat. Interfacing strengthens fabric and it can give it structural capabilities such as the ability to stand up by itself; be soft and spongy, be firm or even all 3 at once. Interfacing not only adds 'beefs up' your fabrics it also helps protect it from the rigours of being used and abused! So it stands to reason that the better the quality of interfacing you use; the better your bag will look and feel and the longer it will last. It is for this reason that I never ever use non-branded interfacings. You might be saving a bit of cash, but that is because the adhesive and the structure is very likely to be inferior (I've been there) so it won't be long before your beautiful bag will age before it's time.
Oh Bubble Off!
I've also written in my book how to apply interfacing sans bubbles.
Here are some tip-ages:
- Always thoroughly iron your fabric before applying interfacing onto it.
- Pay attention to the manufacturers recommended heat settings. If you are unsure, begin at heat setting 2 before moving on up the dial.
- When applying interfacing to fabric you should use the ironing in pressing motion rather than a sweeping motion. So, press the iron to the interfacing for 8-12 seconds on each part before moving onto the next part and repeat. When moving on to the next part it's a good idea to overlap parts so as to avoid missing areas out - which leads to bubble making!
- I know it's tedious, but for best results you should lay a clean damp cloth over the interfacing when ironing. This will get you some hot steamy action going. It is the steam combining with the heat that creates a good bond. Iron the interfacing onto you fabric from centre to outside edge. Lay and smooth the interfacing onto your fabric. Place your damp cloth on top and place the iron in the centre, press and move to the next section in a outward direction toward the fabric edges.
- This is a little wasteful, but this tip gets you good crisp well bonded pattern piece edges (and the edges is where interfacing is most likely to begin peeling away). Iron the interfacing to the fabric BEFORE cutting out the pattern pieces. Cut out your fabric a little bit bigger than your pattern pieces, then cut out the interfacing slightly smaller than the fabric you have just cut (so you don't end up ironing interfacing to you ironing board), now iron on the interfacing to your fabric. The beauty of this tip is that you now don't have the bother of having to match up the interfacing pattern pieces to the fabric pieces to iron 'em togther.
Whew! One hot n' steamy sole. Heh! Heat isn't enough to ensure a good interfacing bond we need to build up a good head of steam too.
My fave Interfacing
In my bag making I tend to use 3 different products, often in combination with each other. I'm going to try avoid using product names rather I'll explaining the properties of the product:
- Woven fusible interfacing - What it looks like = woven cotton muslin with a dotty texture on one side (the dots are the iron-on adhesive). I use this stuff on whatever fabric I'm using. It's great on most anything from silk to canvas. As this is woven it doesn't disturb the drape and movement of the fabric. In other words your fabric will not look crunchy or crease in an unexpected way and it will retain it's flow and drape. It also provides great support without adding bulk. This stuff is more pricey, but that is because it's simply superior to it's non-woven cousins.
- Extra Firm Fusible - What it looks like = this stuff can be thick and a bit spongey or it can be thin and crisp with a dotty texture on one or both sides. This stuff is extra rigid and it is what you need when making firm clutches or bags that stand up by themselves. Always choose stuff that is flexible as well and being firm. It should iron out well if it gets creased and it should not bend like cardboard (unless you purposefully crease it). When using this stuff I like to apply some woven fusible onto the fabric first before applying extra firm to the woven fusible (because extra firm can feel too hard directly behind fabric).
- Fleece - What it looks like = thickish felt, but not as densely knit as felt. I like thicker fusible and non fusible fleece for all of my bags. I tend not to use thinner interlining unless I'm using thick fabrics for both my exterior and my lining. Fleece is adds softly padded 3D support. Thicker fleece instantly give your bag and purse a nicely padded quality feel, it prolongs the life of your fabric and gives protection for your handbag essentials.
Still here? Here's yet more info on Interfacing.
- Interfacing & Interlining De-mystified.
- Choosing Fabrics & Interfacings
- How to Stregthen your Bag & Purses
- U-Handbag Interfacings & Interlinings
So what are your fave interfacing products?