Sewing tools of note 8: woven iron-on interfacing (plus giveaway!)

sewing-tools-of-note

When I first started sewing bags, purses, wallets and the like, I was really in the dark about what kinds of interfacings I needed to use, and which brands and types work best and create the best finish. At first I used sew-in interfacing, but really struggled with the dreaded creep as I sewed lots of layers (as you sew along the seam, the layers of fabric gradually drift away from each other), especially as I hadn’t even heard of a walking foot.

After a bit of research, I rediscovered the existence (I think I used it in needlework classes at school) of iron-on interfacing and bought some to try in my bag making. But I was so disappointed with the finish – although it gave the fabric more body, it also made it stiff, a bit crispy-feeling, and it creased so easily. Ugh!

IMG_1038
Pouch made with Liberty lawn and blue spotty linen – the Liberty lawn is most definitely interfaced with woven cotton iron-on interfacing

Thank goodness, then, that I finally discovered woven cotton interfacing. As soon as I tried it, I was absolutely hooked, it is fantastic stuff, bringing extra strength, structure and body whilst preserving the touch and feel of the fabric. I use it in a myriad of ways – here are a few:

  • I always interface purse, pouch and bag linings because I feel it helps the lining sit more neatly in position.
  • If I am combining Liberty lawn with a very sturdy fabric, like linen or even denim, I like to interface the Liberty lawn to give the 2 fabrics more weight equivalence.
  • I like tote bags not to flop when standing on their base, so, I will often interface the bag outer, then add a layer of fusible fleece, and then interface the lining. This makes a really soft but sturdy bag.

I buy Vilene G700 (medium weight) and Vilene G710 (lighter weight) – I think Pellon SF101 ShapeFlex is the equivalent of the G700, but is less widely available in the UK.

I’m often left with little bits and bobs of G700 and G710, which get bundled away in a large bag. Because I am not a neat and tidy person, they tend to get rather creased:

Fixing crumpled iron on interfacing sewing tip
Before: crumpled iron-on interfacing – not much use for these purses, all cut out and ready to go.

That’s why I keep a supply of baking parchment in my studio. Put the interfacing sticky side down on a piece of baking parchment – press with a warm iron (not too hot) and you’re all sorted:

removing creases from crumpled iron on interfacing sewing tip

creases removed from crumpled iron on interfacing sewing tip
After: iron-on interfacing all nice and smooth, sorted and ready to use.

Another tip – if I have a lot of pieces of fabric to apply interfacing to, I cut a large piece and put several pieces of fabric on top of the sitcky side:

interfacing lots of fabric quickly

Then I cover the whole lot with the baking parchment (again), and use a hot iron to quickly and temporarily fix them in place, then I cut out the pieces and press properly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, to make sure the interfacing is bonded.

Finally – mistakes happen with iron-on interfacing, it’s a fact of life. I heartily recommend investing in some iron cleaner – I get mine from Lakeland.

hot iron cleaner sewing tip

Giveaway

I want to share the interfacing love with you, so I have one whole metre of Vilene G700 to give away to a lucky winner. Just leave a comment… do share your biggest, stickiest sewing disaster, if you’d like to. Although ‘pick me’ would be great too, if you’re too ashamed😉

Just leave a comment before Monday evening (5th September) to be in with a chance of winning. Happy to post overseas, so don’t let that put you off.

***

This is another in my series – Sewing Tools of Note… Hope you are enjoying reading as much as I am enjoying writing them.

54 thoughts on “Sewing tools of note 8: woven iron-on interfacing (plus giveaway!)

  1. I have used the vilene and SF101, I find the vilene is softer and a little nicer on the hand, so I especially like to use it when doing Embroidery. I get little wrinkly pieces as well🙂 glad to know there is a way to fix them up.

  2. My sewing disaster was at school. I made a cushion in the shape of lips (hey it was the 80’s!). Ended up looking like a hotdog. My mum, bless her, still displayed it with pride.

  3. I’m new to sewing and love reading all your tips and advice so would love a chance to win and try something properly : )

  4. I avoided interfacing for so long, simply because every time I used it resulted in an iron plate covered in burnt-on glue muck! For some reason, I just couldn’t get it right. Then I started doing the clever thing of using a light piece of sheet to iron on top of the interfacing and fabric……and haven’t had to clean the iron plate since!!

  5. I tried to make a purse a while ago out of an old sari. Beautiful fabric but extremely slippy. I decided to interface the fabric to help the pattern on it stay straight and level -lets just say I had to cut many pattern pieces before I had enough to make the purse. I had wonky pieces galore and even a big burnt patch on one piece where I was so caught up with keeping the fabric straight that I wasn’t paying attention to the iron! I went back to sewing cotton after…🙂

  6. Thank you for the tip about iron cleaner – definitely need to get some of that – I always seem to get the interfacing too big in places and end up with it stuck to either the board or my iron!!

  7. Thank you for your tips. I have tried various different inter facings and have sometimes used one that was not the right weight for the fabric or ended up with creases. It is always when I have no more spare fabric. Haven’t tried woven cotton so would love to win some.

  8. I finished a baby quilt on Sunday and was to gift it the next morning. Remembered just in time that I needed to take a photo… and the babys name written in the corner just under my woven label. A quick iron to set the ink, keep it off the label…..’Oh *&%$£&’….it melted. Fortunately the ‘plastic’ peeled off the cold iron and the label was easily replaced but the quilt still needs to be gifted.

  9. Ok, I admit, I have a love-hate-relationship with my iron. I never iron cloth, only fabric😀 One day I put the iron on the floor – still hot – and of course it fell with the hot side on the carpet! Polyester is fast melting and sticks nicely to the iron🙂

    Thanks for the tip with the interfacing.

  10. I haven’t yet used interfacing as I am a quilter primarily but I do have a liking for bags so please pick me and then I know I will have the right stuff!

  11. I haven’t had any iron on interfacing related disaster – yet….. Most of my sewing mishaps seem to consist of incorrect seam allowances, or stitching the wrong pieces together!

  12. I’d love to get my hands on this! I’m hankering to sew myself a knitting bag and this would make it perfect… As for sewing mistakes, I can say anything that doesn’t involve a straight line does it for me😀

  13. Loving this series Ali and love all these comments. I particularly emphasise with Jenny! Haha thanks again Ali x

  14. Thanks soooo much for the tip. I’m always struggling myself with interfering and have definitely learnt some new tricks!

  15. Hi, your Sewing Tools Info is great. Especially this last one. My biggest sewing disaster was with the dreaded interfacing. I made a long shirt ( it turned out so well, beautiful lemon
    dobby type material) and used interfacing on cuffs, collar and down the button hole and button facings as you do. On the final pressing the whole lot bubbled, it was iron on, ack!. I stopped sewing for a long while after that ha ha.

  16. Pick me. No major disasters but a tip for cleaning off your iron is to use a paracetamol tablet to clean off your iron, make sure the iron is hot and rub the paracetamol on the sole plate then wipe of with a paper towel.

  17. Hi, I love the stuff and especially that fleece can be glued on top, great for little coin purses and wash bags etc, pick me I need some more! I’m lucky that my local sewing shop does sell it though and in fact recommended it so its one of the first interfacings I used. Too many accidents to count though.. Baking paper it great idea re creases

  18. I have recently discovered iron on interfacing, but it does take a bit of getting used to. I have found it useful to place a silicone baking sheet (from the Pound Shop) below and above the item to prevent it sticking to board or iron xxx

  19. I recently used one of my husbands handkerchiefs as a pressing cloth when ironing on interfacing….ahem, it’s nearly all come off!

  20. I have many sewing disasters but thankfully I also have a short memory so I still keep on sewing. I am a great believer in the power of interfacing and iron on woven is the best.

  21. I only ever use iron on interfacing as it makes the job so easy. I couldn’t say what kind I use though as I just stock up in Boyes when I need some. They sell two thicknesses and I always have some of both around. x

  22. I’ve been trying for a long time to get more of the woven interfacing which was my mum’s favourite back in the 70ties when she taught me to sew clothes. No shops around me carries it and they look at me when I ask for it like I’m more than just slightly demented. Would you be good enough to share where you get yours?

    1. No major disasters but I’ve done it all in my time; ironing interfacing to the ironing board or to the iron, creases, wrinkles, scorching! Would be very interesting in giving this woven cotton one a go. Thanks!
      Teresa x

  23. I had a tragic encounter with some iron-on interfacing on a bottle caddy I was sewing. I’d drafted the pattern myself and figured out how to add a flap and a double-ended zipper and whatnot. In the final pressing of the finished project I began to see shiny lines on the dark navy exterior. I tried to iron it off using tissue paper, or scratching it off. Nothing worked and I feel slightly sick whenever I look at that project. My iron has gunk on the plate and the Oust iron cleaning pads haven’t made the slightest dent. I’d tried the vinegar and baking powder idea once but all that did was block the vents😦
    Sorry about the long post!

  24. I’ve not had much experience with interfacing, but I’m sure I would manage to have a few interesting disasters!!

  25. Wow, I’m very new to sewing if that’s what you call what I do. I’m attempting to make myself some project bags to carry my crochet projects in. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

  26. Hi Ali, I am quite new to sewing and have been making small bags which have been disappointing due to the interfacing I have been using. I asked advice in different shops but found the creasing and the feel of the finished bags have completely demoralised my confidence in my making skills. I would love to try something new which might help with this problem. Love your blog, thank you.

  27. Great info. I have MANY sewing mishaps mostly due to my impatience but the one that I never seem to learn from is when using a seam ripper. On more than one occasion I have made a nick (albeit tiny) on the “wrong” side of the seam allowance. (Hiding my face in shame)!

  28. Ooh, pick me, please! I’m usually super careful with ironing interfacing. Recently, however, I managed to iron some interfacing perfectly onto linen fabric for a bag, only to realise that I hadn’t ironed the fabric itself well enough first, and the interfacing just made the creases in the fabric look even worse. Grr.

  29. I’very been going through pellon 101 like crazy…just got some black on sale…and hope that works for me…. my biggest flub was not using it on a hassock type pillow…and getting lots of fluff fibers boarding through…

  30. I’ve not tried this type of interfacing but would love to give it a go. I tend to use the other iron on stuff which wrinkles like crazy, or a light weight fleece, which goes crispy when you iron it. LOL. 😃

  31. A great post, really useful, thank you. I haven’t heard of cotton interfacing until now, and would be very interested in giving it a try.

  32. Oh how I relate to your uncertainty over interfacings. I really thought I would never learn. But then I did. I am a big fan of woven interfacing as well. Love to win! Biggest sewing failure is probably related to seam allowances. I should really learn to ‘measure twice, cut once’, although I do get better at it🙂.

  33. I’ve totally ironed interfacing to my iron’s plate and the fabric cover of my ironing board. Some nights I just can’t seem to see the “shine” from the glue spots! Midnight sewing struggles are real!

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