Today we talk about interfacings/stabilizers.
Interfacing is an added layer between two layers of fabric to add support or to stabilize it. They range from sheer weight to extra firm. Usually the heavier the fabric, the heavier the interfacing needed. Interfacing can be non-woven or woven, sew-in or fusible. It can be fusible on one or both sides. Interfacing also comes in several widths. It can be on a bolt and be 18”-20” wide. Some is 40” for crafting purposes. It comes in packages that is 17” by 1+ yards. Some come is sheets of 9" x 11". The sheets will fit in you printer. This allows you to print out the shapes you a planning to fuse, instead of free forming the shape. There is also some that is ¼” wide and in a package of several yards. You can also get insulated interfacing/batting for potholders, table coverings (runners, hot mats, mug rugs, etc.).
Quilters mainly use interfacing for support on t-shirts, applique, very light fabrics, and holding fabric cut on a bias. Interfacing is used in clothing construction at armholes and necklines to give the curves support, behind buttonholes, and in waistbands. There are also many uses for interfacing for crafters doing applique (hand and machine), playmats for children, and other projects. Did you know you can fuse pieces of batting together to make a larger piece? It's "Frankenbatting". Marti Michele makes rolls of interfacing just to put batting pieces together (see above). It's easier than sewing leftover batting together. You don't want to put 22 pieces together for a quilt batting, but a couple or three leftover pieces work just fine.
The biggest manufacturer of interfacing is Pellon. Heat n’ Bond, Bosal, and C & T Publishing also make interfacings/stabilizers. Pellon’s interfacing item numbers are organized from small to large, sheerest to heaviest. If there is an F in the number, it is a fusible interfacing. We try to have both sew-in and fusible. Most of the interfacing we carry is non-woven. We do carry Shape-Flex which is a fusible, woven interfacing. We also have insulated interfacing/batting. We carry the firm interfacing for bags in several types of stiffness – medium to extra-firm.
The Pellon different color bolts identify different kinds of interfacing usage. Pink is for clothing. Yellow is for crafting and home décor. Orangish is fusible webs for bonding two layers together. It can be paper backed or just the web. Did you know you can fuse wood or cardboard with these? Blue is for embroidery. It can be tear-away or water soluble. Green is for quilting. These are usually batting and fleece, sew-in or fusible. Go to the Pellon webpage to see more that you ever wanted to know (but need to know).
Sewing through the adhesives isn’t supposed to be a problem. You can get Teflon drops to put on your needle to keep things from sticking. We also have non-stick needles with the coating already on them. If you are doing a complicated applique project, I’d recommend getting the non-stick needles!
When fusing the fabric, fuse first and then cut out the shape/piece. The sheets of 9 x 11 fit in your computer printer. You can print out the shapes you need, put the sheet on your fabric, then cut the pieces out. This keeps the adhesive off your iron and ironing board cover. If you are doing applique, read the directions on the fusible. If it says heat for 15 seconds, don’t do more. The adhesive will melt and then as it cools it sticks to the fabric. If you heat for too long, it remelts and unsticks. Many of the double-sided interfacings for applique are not permanent. They are meant to hold the fabric for you to hand or machine sew the piece on. They also do not keep the fabric from fraying. There is some permanent fusible available. If you do get adhesive on your iron, Bohin iron sticks work great to clean your iron bottom!
Final tip – don’t use fusible interfacing inside masks. The wearer ends up breathing in the adhesive’s fumes. Sew-in and t-shirts work great for an extra layer.
Last week was busy at the shop. Fabric has started coming in! There are blenders, 30s, novelties, and other collections. Solids are full, batiks are getting filled in. We received fabric from Moda, Northcott, Ruby Star, Michael Miller, Lewis & Irene, and Timeless Treasures. Spam is back - apron kits and fabric!
And don’t forget about classes. Beginner II – Half-Square Triangles and Flying Geese, Quick & Easy Curves, and Beginning Quilting are on the calendar, with more coming.
Come by and see all the new lovelies. There will be more arriving this week too.
Happy sewing everyone,
Phyllis and the QA staff