Saturday, January 8, 2011

stabilize coat fabric: check

The fabric has been fused.  
The steam press arrived on Wednesday and I could barely wait for Friday night: fusing-party-time!  Reporting from the field, it is clear that a clam-style steam press does speed and simplify the  process.  I placed the steam press on a table so I could sit and press.  I had room to the right and the left for the fabric.  And, there is plenty of space at the rear of the press for fabric.

The upper plate is the hot part with little holes for the steam, just like a regular iron.  The bottom half is a plain old ironing board.   Afterwards, very faint spots were visible on the right side of the coating fabric.  They came from shots of steam.  I used a brush to lift the nap and remove the evidence of over-zealous steaming.  Even with brushing, the whole process only took a couple hours and it was a nice easy activity.
As soon as I can convince Pepper to move, I'll thread-trace (by hand) the stitching lines.  I should be machine-stitching by the end of the day.

Part of me is thrilled with the steam press (the speed) and part of me is aghast (you took a shortcut to real tailoring?  egads, woman!)
yes - this is some seriously NICE fabric in a dark olive color.
It was the only fabric available in the right color - thus the choice.
The fabric is a heavy-weight coating with a glorious nap that feels almost like a velour.  It deserves  full-blown hand tailoring treatment, doesn't it?  I think so.  But I can't let the fantasy get in the way.  I need/want to finish this fast.

What do you think about fusing vs. interlining and hand-sewing?  Aside from the the occupational hazards of fusing (blisters), what are the pros and cons of fusing versus hand-sewing an interlining?  How will it affect long term wear?  I am duplicating exactly what the manufacturer did, so it should be as good as a store-bought coat, right?

Enquiring minds want to know!
*happy sewing*


  1. I use fusibles whenever possible! Fusibles have improved immensely and they are so fast. I used to think I was cheating but when I considered that RTW jackets costing thousands of dollars are fused I got over it. Armani is a big-time fuser so I think he would approve of your doing the same.

    Personally, I think the four problems people have with fusibles are 1) buying inferior quality 2) not testing/using the wrong interfacing and 3) improper application 4) not preshrinking both interfacing and the fabric.

  2. I admire your press. I would use it! I am sure you would get blisters from hours and hours of hand- sewing.

  3. I'll add to Gigi's comment that RTW, especially high end RTW, uses much much more fusible interfacing than we would even think. They use it because it works. It adds value and life to the end product. Mfgrs can't afford to do anything extra just because it might work or it seems like a good idea. It must prove it's worth by generating $$$.

    On the press, I found myself leaving bits of fusible. Little bits, but nonetheless, bits that would then be picked up by the next garment. I tried using parchment paper purchased at the local grocery store. Which works. But a cheaper substitute is the cheapest, stiffest, paper towels you can find. I use at least 2 full sheets beneath and another 2 full sheets on top my pieces. When the fusing session is done, into the trash all 4 sheets go. No transference to the next project. Of course, you may not have the problem.

  4. Nice steam press :) I think this would be such a great addition to a sewing room.

  5. Armani definitely uses lots of fusing in his tailoring and it is some of the best and most expensive tailoring around. My feeling is as Gigi says, inferior fusibles has given home fusing a bad name. I also after reading Threads very good series on Armani tailoring use different weights and types in one garment.

  6. Well you have had some very knowledgeable commentators above and all I can add is that I have always interfaced all my coats, every last inch of them, and it improves the drape immensely. It makes everything so crisp, just like you want in a coat, without any stiffness.

    I have just finished underlining my first jacket. I wanted to see what the difference between interfacing and interlining would be. Because my jacket is silk dupioni I thought I had better underline rather than interface, because of its delicate nature.

    By the time I had cut the underlining, folded every double piece over a magazine to allow for turn of cloth and then hand basted the pieces together a couple of evenings were gone. Fusing is faster, that's for sure.

    What did I learn from this? I guess I'm a big fan of interfacing like the others.

  7. I'm a fusing fan too! Totally agree with everything Gigi says.
    I can't imagine many manufacturers these days doing anything else - the cost of hand-tailoring is affordable only for a few.
    I also think blockfusing enables a greater level of accuracy in both cutting and assembly.

  8. Looks great and why not - as has been said, many of the expensive RTW use it. The press is fabulous, what a great addition to your tools.

  9. OOOOH! I am so excited for my coat! Thank you thank you thank youuuuuu:)

  10. Soooooooo, as this is housed in Baltimore, I recommend you let me test it for you too! LOL. Seriously, I'm so excited you got one and can't wait to see it in action. I wish I had fused my entire coat, but I didn't have it in me :) Luckily, the next few items are already interface.

  11. I think Gigi is right, because I'm one of the people who don't fuse properly. I hate the process. A nice press like you have might make a difference! Don't think twice. Enjoy!

  12. Gigi is definitely correct. There is nothing wrong with fusing on a tailored jacket, provided you buy the right fusing for the fabric and apply it properly.

  13. I agree about the fusibles. Armani uses fusibles, the clothings lasts amazingly well. It is all in the quality of the materials and using them properly. Your coat will be fabulous.

  14. I bought a pattern and heavy wool melton for a coat. I was going to pad stitch with sew in hair canvas. What fusible are you using for your coat? Where did you purchase it? I am assuming you are using the fusible in place of hair canvas but you might be using fusible hair canvas. I'm in uncharted (for me) waters here. Thanks for the help.

  15. Brenda, I highly recommend the fusible interfacing sold at

    I have never had problems with it shrinking or bubbling.

    I have been disappointed with fusible interfacing purchased from JoAnn's.

  16. My Great-Aunt Marie-Thérèse had a press, not sure if it was steam but I was fascinated by it!

    Someone needs to invent a solar one so I can have the object of my childhood desires at last!

    Maybe on a trip to the States, I can come over and help you block fuse? Pretty please?

    And I wish you guys would stop taunting me with the coats and the wool. I'm this close to planning a winter trip just to have an excuse for a wool coat, LOL! Might have to do the fitting in a walk-in freezer but I know people so...


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