But They Said To

I have fought with interfacing my entire sewing career. It has been a thorn in my side since the first time I used it and it continues to be today. I would love to just leave it out of my projects but I understand its importance in the wear and life of a garment. I have tried many different brands and types of interfacing over the years with a wide range of results. Sometimes it irons on perfectly and sometimes it destroys the project leaving curls and bubbles in the collars and facings.


Most recently I have been using Pellon SF101.  As with other interfacing, I get mixed results. I have read and re-read the instructions until I have them memorized. The question of whether to pre-shrink interfacing or not is one that I have debated about many times, but in the instructions for the SF101, in bold letters, it says yes you must pre-shink this interfacing by “putting it in warm water for a few minutes and then line dry it”. I can do that.  Next it said to “follow instructions for EK130”. Ok, I can do that. The EK130 instructions say, “Press firmly for 10 seconds. Repeat, lifting and slightly overlapping each time.” Fine, I can do that. So, I did and my end results were terrible.

Knowing the challenges I have had previously with interfacing, I tried to figure out where I went wrong over the next several months and projects. First, I thought that maybe I did not soak the interfacing long enough so that it shrank properly. So, I soaked it longer and tried hotter water, even boiling water. At first, this seemed to be the answer. A couple of projects came out without curls or bubbles, but on the next project the bubbles and curls were back. Next I tried a heavy press cloth, first dry, then wet, then soaked with mixed results. Next a thinner press cloth, dry, then wet, then soaked. Once again with mixed results. Now what do I try? I did samples before each project. Most times the samples would be fine, but when the full pieces were ironed on, the results varied.


Today, I stood in front of the ironing board with my pre-shrank interfacing and freshly cut out pieces for my new shirt form my new pattern, Buttrick B5503. I so want the interfacing to just work. I re-read the general instructions for the interfacing and I make note of the pictures that show you should slide the iron on the interfacing. But, the instructions say to lift and overlap. But, what do I have to lose? I can follow the same instructions as I always have and it may or may not work, or I can try something different. So, I place the fabric and interfacing on the ironing board, cover it with a damp thin  press cloth, and iron with a sliding motion this time. The results are perfect. Is this the answer?


I don’t know if this is the answer to the interfacing conundrum, but it worked this time. I need to try it again this way a few more times and see what results I get before I can say that this is the answer to life, the universe and everything. I sure hope that it is.



5 thoughts on “But They Said To

  1. I don’t know if this helps, but I have a certain way I work with interfacing. I always use Pellon, because that happens to be the brand sold at the nearest shop. I don’t bother with a damp presscloth, usually steam and heat are enough to set it. I lie the fabric facedown on the ironing board, then put the interfacing glue side down on top of it. I poke it lightly, lifting the iron, not sliding. Just enough to make the glue stick temporarily (if you iron right on the interfacing too much, it pills). Then I flip the fabric over and iron on the right side of the fabric like you would normally iron anything, steaming and pressing the beejeebus out of it. I don’t usually have a problem, and I’ve never preshrunk it. It’s polyester, it shouldn’t shrink at all. I’ve never even noticed that the instructions said to.

    Anyway, I know that was incredibly long but I hope it helps. I like your blog! 😀

  2. I think the problem isn’t with how you are applying the interfacing so much as it is with the poor quality of the pellon interfacing itself. The only fusible pellon products I have had reasonably good luck with are their knit fusibles (for some reason they seem to bubble less and adhere better). Even so, if I was constructing a garment, bag, etc., that I cared about, I would order quality interfacing off the internet, or use sew-in instead of pellon fusible. Pellon fusibles get a D grade from me.

    • In a different post here I mentioned that I washed and dried my SF101 interfacing and that it came out ok and was still fusible. Since doing that I have used it on a few projects and sometime it still wrinkles and other times it does not.

      Personally I would not think that SF101 is stiff enough for a cell phone case. I would use something thicker with more structure.

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