Sunday, January 18, 2009

Troubleshooting Interfacing Woes...

OOPS....This is what happens when you press delicate interfacing with a searing, steaming, linen-setting iron. It shrinks and bubbles - rippling the fabric up. If you do this in the EARLY stages of cutting and fusing you can rip the interfacing off, press the fabric and fuse a new piece of interfacing on. When you're half-way through making the bag up you just have to try to fix things up as best you can.

(BTW - My fashion industry friend did exactly the same thing when we were sewing yesterday. We laughed about the habits of industry-trained sewing types who - no matter what the fabric is - always have the iron set on linen and high steam. Good to know I'm not alone in the steam the bejaysus out of everything camp!!).

If you use good quality woven interfacing IT CAN BE FIXED!! .... a bit. (If this happens with non-woven interfacing you're in a spot of trouble. It's hard to resurrect shrunken synthetic fibres).

Step 1. Turn your iron back to COTTON setting.

Step 2. Press and STRETCH out the fabric to flatten out the puckers and wrinkles. Press down REALLY HARD with the iron. Smooth it with your hands (as much as you can without burning them on the hot fabric) and hold it flat until it cools.

The pic below shows the same piece still on the (sleeve) ironing board - nice and flat.

Step 3. Once you take the fabric off the ironing board and move it around you might still see small ripples, but it won't be too bad - not visible on most fabrics from a few feet away. (Unfortunatley most people look at my samples REALLY CLOSELY!!!).

Treat the bag kindly and press it back into shape as required. It'll always be prone to a bit of wrinkling.

NOW.... This is what I SHOULD have done before I started the bag....What is it that I tell everyone who asks me an interfacing question.....? TEST IT ON A SCRAP OF FABRIC FIRST!!!!

HINDSIGHT IS A WONDERFUL THING.... If I'd tested a few options I would have discovered that the Medium-heavy interfacing (above) was the one I needed. It would have given the fabric the structure I wanted and it can take any amount of heat (in fact it NEEDS a super-duper hot iron to set it!). This particular bag needed lots of pressing and I should have thought that out before I put in an interfacing that likes very LITTLE pressing.... Having chosen the wrong interfacing, I wish I'd checked that the iron was on an appropriate setting.... and I wish I'd had a manicure before I took that photo....

Oh no - but I thought I knew it all...

I have a quote from the fabulously ironic Jane Austen pinned to the wall (above the iron!) in my studio. "Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!.."

Vlieseline have a search function on their website to help you choose the right interfacing for the job. A bit of research and a bit of testing can save a lot of pain. But in the absence of forethought, please refer to the tutorial, above....

11 comments:

willywagtail said...

Thanks for this information. This must be why I have given up using interfacing on my bags because I only had non woven interfacing in my cupboard. Cherrie

JodieMo said...

I don't think I'll ever understand why interfacing is such a pain. It is pickier than my two year olds. It's nice to know that even the pros mess it up sometimes too. :)

thornberry said...

That is so funny Nikki and your hints on how to fix it are so useful. I too always have the iron on full bore with plenty of steam (could explain why I get those wrinkles more often than I'd like...) - love the fabric by the way and I don't seem to have any of it in my stash. How can that be?

Columbia Lily said...

I did that today too. I usually screw up on the LAST STEP. I have been having a lot of trouble with interfacings lately, especially the sew in kind. Sigh....Made three bags today, not totally happy with any of them.

Jodie said...

uggh, interfacing is the bain of my life!!! and I always have the iron on full steam ahead.....

Dorothy said...

I place a layer of flannel underlining (cut at seam line)on top of fabric before I fuse interfacing to the bag.

This leaves a soft look to the fabric
and the interfacing is really only
adding body.

Hoppo Bumpo said...

You know with my woeful ironing history (think linen setting/steam setting on velvet!) that I am sure to be using this information sometime in the very near future. Thanks for the great tutorial Nikki!

our shabby cottage said...

Yep, I have done that too! Great hints though, thanks, Kathryn.

Jennifer said...

I have never been able to find actual woven iron-on (or even sew-in!) interfacing in the store. :(

One trick I've used on occasion when I'm not sure and I don't have a scrap to test on (or I'm in too much of a hurry!) is to hold the iron about a half-inch over the interfacing, with the steam going full-blast, and just sort of hover it over the whole piece of interfacing like that for a few seconds. My attempt at 'pre-shrinking' the interfacing! Then go ahead and iron it on as usual. It SEEMS to go better with way less wrinkling that way, anyway...

Nikki said...

Thanks for sharing those tips, Jenny and Dot.

Jenny - I can't seem to send a reply to you. Just letting you know that (surprise, surprise) you can buy the interfacing from my online shop!!! ;)

Louise said...

Oh yes, linen and full steam here - always on everything!!