As witnessed in my IG feed recently, one of the biggest challenges that people seem to encounter in bag making is understanding how to use fusible interfacing.  Patterns will gaily tell you to ‘apply interfacing as per manufacturer’s instructions’, but a lot of the time the instructions aren’t that obvious to the end user.  Now there’s a reason *why* pattern writers do this, because not all interfacing is created equal, manufacturer’s have different ideas, and really, we don’t want to be responsible if it all goes horribly wrong for you by us giving out the wrong instructions.  So basically, I’m going out on a limb here for you, I hope you appreciate it ;o)

Fusible interfacing is pretty much the same as sew-in interfacing, but with a layer of adhesive on one side.  There are quite the range of options out there too:

  • Gossamer thin options for use with certain types of fabric in garment making
  • Thin papery like versions, also for garment sewing
  • Heavyweight card like kinds for pelmets and certain types of bag making
  • Woven cotton varieties, used in bag making
  • Thick, foamy types, also used in bag making.

Regardless of which option we’re looking at, there’s a few basic principles that can be used in their application, the manufacturer’s variations being the heat and time you leave the iron in place for.

If you’re lucky, the instructions are printed on the edge of the interfacing, if not, there should be some paper around the roll, an insert in the packet, or instructions on the end of the roll (but that being the case you’ll have to note it down in the shop)

Translating the below, pop the iron on the 2 dot setting (medium), grab a damp cloth, and stick it on top of the interfacing before applying the iron 15 seconds at a time.  Do not underestimate the mind numbing amount of time it takes to apply interfacing to a whole bag’s worth of pieces, pop on a good film and get comfy!

And here’s how it goes on (with apologies for my revolting ironing board):

First, layer up the fabric, wrong sides up, and the interfacing, fusible side down:

Grab your damp cloth and place it on top.  I use a men’s hankie for this (that is exclusively used for this purpose), and keep a jug of water on the table nearby to refresh the dampness as I go:

Place your iron on top for the allotted time period, and leave it there.  No running the thing around all over the top, counting to 15, or whatever, and hoping that that will do the trick, leave the bloody thing alone!

After the time is up, pick up the iron and place it in the next unfused bit, and so on.  I flip the direction each time, since the iron is triangular, and it kind of tessellates:

You should be able to tell what’s fused and what isn’t, because your cloth will have dried on the fused part, while the rest will remain damp:

At the end you will have a nicely interfaced piece of fabric:

If you have several layers to apply, you will need to do it one at a time.  I know.  Suck it up ;o)

Everything should turn out beautifully smooth and bubble free at this point, even if you have quietly lost your mind in the meantime, I mean it, you need a good film!

Hope that makes sense, but if you have any questions, give me a shout…

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