Monday, 7 October 2013

Sewing Class Review - Understanding Interfacings

Does anyone else wonder if there's a better way? If there's a better interfacing to use instead of the one you have in your stash? Do you get overwhelmed at the fabric store and don't know what's what? I do.
I've been waiting for this class to reappear on Pattern Review. Sarah Veblen is a fantastic teacher and her courses are very well thought out and give heaps of technical information.
Sarah's courses are usually run with a kit. This interfacing kit was quite a revelation to me! It includes 22 large samples of interfacings from fusible to sew-in, light to heavy, drapey to quite stiff. There is also a length of crepe de chine and one of medium weight wool, with sufficient interfacings for two small scale bodices.
The course has a few videos, but is primarily delivered in PDF format. There's also the class discussion board, and 2 chat sessions. In the course notes each interfacing is described in detail. She gives information on manufacturers, fibre content and construction, available colours, laundering tips, suggested fabrics and uses.
I also learned about hand basting. I have never hand basted an interfacing before. Is that bad?? Should I admit this in public? The woven interfacings I have used have always been machine stitched on to the facing. I think I might be persuaded to hand baste in the future.

The real learning began with sewing the bodices. The interfacings included are a soft fusible knit and a stiff woven sew-in. Sarah suggests you use one on each side of each bodice front so you can see for yourself the difference they make.

I'd never sewn with silk crepe de chine before, and have been mainly sewing with knits for years, so this was an adventure in itself. This bodice taught me that a soft, light interfacing can be perfect to give just enough support and shape without being obvious. The side with the stiff woven was just wrong. It was pulling the bodice down because it was so heavy in comparison.

In yet another first, here's my wool bodice! What a difference. The stiff woven interfacing was just right for this garment. If I saw this product in the shop, I would have thought it was too stiff, but with this fabric, it worked really well. The bodice is supported at the front and back neck. The side with the softer fusible interfacing is drooping, so it is not getting enough support. I learned something!!

For me, this course was fabulous. I went to my two local chain stores and checked out their interfacing stocks with a more educated eye. My local Spotlight had a better and more varied selection than Lincraft. I also now know that there's much, much more available, so I don't have to settle for an almost right. I can look further afield, knowing what to search for.

With the kits, these classes are not cheap. However, the kits are such a valuable resource to keep and to refer to again and again. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and am looking forward to her Underlining class which begins tomorrow.


  1. I AM overwhelmed when I go and look at all those facings! I always have black and white knit facing and light and medium weight in iron on. I think way back in junior high I used some stitch in interfacing in my skirt waistband. Now I am lazy and iron in! Definitely looks like a good, informative class to take. ~Laurie

  2. It sounds as though you got a lot out of this class Leonie. There is so much to learn. I stick with fairly tried and true interfacings, but do have a selection on hand for other jobs where I want a different interfacing. If I have a garment that has to be thrown out (too well worn even for the op shop) - I'll often cut it open to see what was used inside :)

    1. That's a great tip SarahLiz. I'll try to remember to do that.

  3. I do use the appropriate interfacing, I used to always use fusible when I was alot younger, but when I went to a sewing class in the early 90's they converted me to sew in.

  4. Good post. I never thought about interfacing much as long as the outer fabric got the support I was after. Thanks for sharing.