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It’s time for another fun round of Friday Favorites! Today I’ll be sharing with you my favorite interfacing and stabilizers and where/when/how to use them!
First things first…I bet you are wondering what’s the difference between interfacing and stabilizers??? Super simple: interfacing is meant to be sewn into the project, stabilizers are meant to be removed after stitching. Interfacing gets sewn “in,” stabilizers just stabilize the fabrics for the moment. Makes sense right??? So let’s look at some of my favorites and talk about which projects match.
The two most common interfacings used when sewing clothing (which is where the majority of my creativity lies) are woven interfacing and knit interfacing.
Woven Interfacing: Used for woven fabrics. This interfacing will not stretch. It comes in various weights and can be used for a variety of helpful reasons. Some woven interfacing can be adhered to the fabric before stitching, called “Fusible Interfacing.” Woven interfacing does have a grain line, just like woven fabrics, so be sure to cut the interfacing just as you cut the pattern pieces!
For collars: I use lightweight fusible interfacing to help give a little body to collars. I adhere the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the main collar piece before sewing to the collar lining. This will help keep the shape of the collar, but is lightweight so it won’t make the collar stick up.
For button plackets: I also use lightweight fusible interfacing to help my machine sew neat and easy buttonholes. I usually adhere the interfacing the wrong side of the main back bodice, about a 1″ strip the length of the button placket. The interfacing helps to stabilize the fabric while you sew the buttonholes, and also keeps the buttonhole from stretching out over wash/wear.
To hold fabric together: I use a thin strip of fusible web to set the main bodice and back bodice together when sewing an enclosed waist seam. The fusible web will adhere the two fabrics together and keep anything from shifting while enclosing the waist seam. No pins needed!
To keep zippers in place: My most favorite invention ever! After sewing a million Elodie dresses last spring, I would have been lost without my trusty Peel n Stick! You just peel off the amount you need (the length of the zipper), stick the adhesive to the inside of the garment, and then place the zipper on the tape (it’s double sided sticky!). Again- no pins needed!!! This keeps the zipper firmly in place while you flip the garment over and topstitch the zipper!
For free motion appliqué: I use a lightweight Ultra Hold fusible webbing to keep fussy cut fabric appliqués in place. This will keep the fabric from shifting while sewing with your free motion foot.
Knit Interfacing: Knit interfacing will have stretch and provide some structure while sewing with knit fabrics.
For hemming: Using a thin strip of knit tape on the hem of a knit garment will give enough stability to keep the hem from twisting or bunching, but will not affect the overall drape of the garment.
For sturdy seams: To keep waist seams from going wonky, to keep shoulder seams from stretching or slumping over wash/wear, I use knit stay tape. This provides stability over time but doesn’t add any bulk to the seam.
Stabilizers provide body and structure just while sewing, but then are removed (torn away or washed away) after stitching.
Tear Away Stabilizer: This type of stabilizer is stiff but is only a temporary stabilizer. I often use tear away stabilizer when sewing buttonholes on knit fabrics. I don’t want the stiffness in the knit after I sew the buttonhole so I don’t use an interfacing. Instead, a tear away stabilizer will provide that sturdiness needed for a buttonhole and then is torn away.
Wash Away Stabilizer: This type of stabilizer is thinner, gives some structure while sewing and then will dissolve when wet. I use wash away stabilizer when sewing with delicate fabrics like hemming chiffons, binding with chiffon or sheer fabrics when I don’t want interfacing to show, etc. You can also use wash away stabilizer to embroider really pretty lace appliqués!
Color Coding for Interfacing and Stabilizers:
I thought I would also share some helpful tips when shopping for interfacing and stabilizers at your local fabric store or online. You can buy interfacing and stabilizer by the roll, in the notions section. It will come prepackaged, usually about 10-20 yds rolled or in sheets. However, you buy interfacing and stabilizers by the yard as well.
Some products are color coded to help you select the correct type of interfacing and stabilizer you need.
Pellon: Pellon is a popular brand, carried at Joann Fabrics and other fabric stores.
Pink: Apparel fabrics
Yellow: Craft and Home decor fabrics
Green: Quilting fabrics
Orange: Fusible webs and adhesives
Blue: Embroidery projects
Heat n Bond (Thermoweb): Another popular brand of packaged fusible webbing.
Purple: lite adhesive strength
Red: ultra adhesive strength
Blue: iron on vinyl
Yellow: Soft Stretch (for knit fabrics)
Light Blue: Featherlight (super thin and lightweight)
Pink: Hemming (no-sew)
I hope that helps to kind of debunk any misunderstandings or questions about interfacing and stabilizers! Both can be super helpful in sewing apparel or other sewing projects. I’d love to hear which interfacing and stabilizers you use the most, and if you’d like any specific tutorials showing how to use any mentioned above!