Monday, February 04, 2008

Interfacing - To Be or Not To Be

Marji asked a very interesting question yesterday about the interfacing I use (and have recommended, although I am not affiliated with the business in any way. NAYY.)

I don't want to sound like I'm advertising here, but I was asked, and I am always glad to know about someone else's favorite inputs and their sources for finding them so I hope you'll take this in the spirit in which it's offered.

Marji's question was:

I'm intrigued by the link for the interfacings. Would it be really an imposition to ask how each available interfacing compares to the standards available: Angel weft, Armoweft, Easy-knit, Sof-knit? It's challenging that they put their own name on each.

I use mostly interfacing from Pam's Sew Exciting Sewing Supplies along with a good supply left from before the Pendleton Outlet near here closed. Pam started selling interfacing after searching for what she wanted to use for her own custom sewing business, and being unable to find the high quality she demanded, and I was lucky enough to know her through the internet at that time.

As I understand it, the main difference between what she gets manufactured vs what is generally sold to home sewers is the application of the fusible onto the base fabric, as well as the fusible itself. Pam's fusible is flexible, so it moves with the fabric and with its own base fabric. Most interfacing fusibles are sprayed on, and are not consistently applied, thus leading to inconsistent results. Pam's interfacing has the fusible rolled on, and you can see the difference when you have the interfacing in your hand. She also spends time making sure her base fabrics are the best available for each type of interfacing. Her knit fabrics are more flexible than the widely available interfacing fabrics, and combined with the flexible fusible, they're just really great products. Be sure and check the different widths of interfacings from various sources as well, as they can vary from 20" to 60" depending on type, and on the seller.

To compare individually:

Pro-Tricot would be used in similarity to either Sof-knit or Easy-knit. It's been a while since I used those particular interfacings, but the Pro-Tricot is very nice and soft, and doesn't make itself obvious in the garment.

Pro-Weft is what I use in place of what was Textured Weft. I believe it's extremely similar to ArmoWeft and Angel Weft (although I haven't used Angel Weft) simply because of all the chatter about what people were getting to sell as a replacement for Textured Weft when HTC went bankrupt.

Pro-Woven Standard now comes in 2 weights, and I've only used the lighter, #1. It's a very nice, stiffish sew-in.

Pro-Woven Fusible is my choice for cuffs and collars on shirts. It's very firm and is great for things where you want to add body and not just support a fabric as is.

Pro-Tailor Fusible Hair Canvas is very similar to other fusible hair canvas types, such as Acro, but it's perhaps more flexible.

I think we're all looking for the lighter, Armani-style tailored garments, and interfacings are so important for that look and that feel, as well as for every garment we make. It's rare that there isn't at least one tiny bit of interfacing or stabilizer in every non-lingerie garment that we make, even if it's just a bit of selvedge in the shoulder seam of a Tee. There's nothing nicer than having a range of choices for all of our components. We rarely make the same garment twice, and almost never in the same fabric. Each fabric and each garment has its own perfect combination of thread, interfacing, lining, etc. If not all of them, some of them, and it's up to us to find the right combination. My combination might not feel right for you, and vice versa. Thank goodness we have many choices, especially in this age of the disappearing local fabric shop. I'm certainly not asking you to do as I do, and if you do I won't gain from it, but I think it's important to be aware of another choice that's out there.

I felt it was important to write this from my own knowledge gathered over time, and I want to extend my apologies to Pam for any mistakes I am promulgating here, and of course those mistakes are all mine.


Nancy JC said...

Thanks for your brief tutorial, Liana. Sometimes when I have been away from sewing for too long, all that I have learned seems to have flitted from my memory (along with HTC!) so this is a great new resource for me. Today I cut out the new skirt pattern from Shermane Fouchè!

I had an opportunity to knit for several hours Monday night on my mom's Valentine's Day couldn't knit yesterday because my wrist hurt so much. BUT! the sox are almost finished!

Elle said...

Hi Liana, I recently ordered these interfacings from Pam, and they are terrific. One can see the care that she puts into every aspect of her work, by just looking at her men's shirts. After seeing her work, I felt confident ordering her interfacings, and they more than met my expectations. And to top it off, she is very helpful. I wasn't sure about which interfacing would work best for one of my projects, and we had a nice long chat about it (and other projects, too).