A cautionary tale of fusible interfacing

Fusible interfacing is so easy to use. Right?

I bought the fusible interfacing for Felicity’s winter coat that I am making in Sherry’s sew-a-long the other day, and the helpful assistant at my local fabric store reminded me to prewash it. Today I pulled out a silk blouse I made last year, and that reminded me what happens when you don’t prewash or treat the fabric or the fusible interfacing in the same way.

You go from this smooth, albeit extravagantly long, cuff….

to this, after just a few washes..

The collar is awful too. Ironing does not help.

Not the nice smooth silk look I was hoping for!

How to stop this happening to you.

Ann from Gorgeous Fabrics has a post about prewashing sew-in interfacing, and prewashing fusible interfacing has been covered by others in blogland too. Using a dryer is not recommended for fusible interfacing……

Other bloggers* have recommended blasting with lots and lots of steam just a few cm above the interfacing when it is placed on top of the fabric just before lowering the iron and fusing. I’ve used this technique and, so far so good, but it’s a bit hard to be sure the steaming is enough to shrink the interfacing and prevent it shrinking upon further washing.

* I’m cross I can’t seem to find any of these posts to link to, but I’ll be crosser if I don’t get back to my sewing machine soon so I’ve stopped looking for them…

I have learnt my lesson. Five metres of fusible woven interfacing has been through the washing machine and is now enjoying late afternoon sun.


What pattern is this (ruined) blouse anyway?

This is a franken-pattern.

I used the sleeveless blouse from BurdaStyle 07-2007-119 and the sleeves from BurdaStyle 02-2010-119. I love those extravagant long cuffs!

I had made the sleeveless blouse previously and liked it, apart from the gathers on the bodice being a bit low. So, for this version, I moved the gathers up so that the gathers were more in line with my bust than my belly button. I should have also moved the button placement so that the second to the bottom button was in line with my bust point. It’s loose so no gaping occurs, but, it’s not quite right.

If I were to make it again, I’d also forget the packet and just make a normal front button band that goes all the way.

Here’s the sleeveless version

10 thoughts on “A cautionary tale of fusible interfacing

  1. Awesome, thanks for the long-cuff inspiration, I think I’ll use that on my upcoming scrimshaw blouse…

    You know, I think it’s more than just pre-shrinking. Even when I pre-shrink religiously (submerge the interfacing in hot water, let it sit for 10-20 minutes or overnight if I forget, then hang dry) I still get that with non-woven fusibles. I do not, however, get that with woven interfacing, whether fusible or not. I use a lot of types of interfacings, and I can tell you that’s the main difference in wear. Sometimes for blouses I use pre-washed silk organza as interfacing, or often a self-fabric and that doesn’t happen any more.

  2. Excellent point. This particular disaster was a stiff non woven interfacing. Puckering like this hasn’t happened for a long time for me, but I don’t usually use non wovens. Perhaps I didn’t need to wash all that interfacing for the sew-a-long..

  3. ..and, Steph, the long cuffs are awesome (or they were pre puckering). I wore this blouse with a 3 quarter length sleeve jacket and felt piratical and Victorian, all at the same time! The downside is that pushing your cuff up to check your watch is challenging.

  4. Any sewer who’s done her time has a sad tale or two to tell about interfacing. When I bought some cheap stuff and preshrunk it all the beads on the back floated away in the water and so I was left with non-fusible interfacing. These days I just pay the money and buy quality. Then I don’t have any problems at all, or maybe its just because I’m laundry shy.

  5. True, all sewistas have stories of interface shrugged when it was due. Learn the lesson once and not to repeat the same mistakes is a challenge for me. Love the large cuffs of the sleeves.

  6. HI, so is there a solution for your wrinkled cuff or did you have to throw it again? I’ve just made a skirt and didn’t realise you had to pre-shrink the interfacing (its fusible), now its caused wrinkles in my waistband but i don’t want to throw the shirt away. How can I remove the wrinkles? thanks

    1. I never found a solution to the wrinkles.
      I unpicked the collar thinking I could reverse it and put it back on. The sleeves came off too, with plans to make it sleeveless. But my previous trimming of the seam allowances made it tricky to put the collar back on, and I gave up.
      Funny you should post and ask; just a week or so ago i cut a facing for another garment out of the leftover sleeves.

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