Oliver + S

Using interfacing on pattern pieces

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    buttonup @buttonup

    When cutting interfacing for a pattern piece, do you cut off the seam allowance on the interfacing before applying to the piece? If you do not take away the seam allowance does it make the garment to bulky? What is the correct way or how do you apply the interfacing.

    Maggie @Maggie

    No, one does not cut off the seam allowance. I like to trim the pieces slightly so I dont get any stickiness on my iron or ironing surface.

    Usually only one piece is interfaced in a seam. The bulkiness is minor. If two interfaced pieces meet, generally one is instructed to press the seams open. I haven’t found bulky seams to be a problem. I don’t use very stiff interfacing for general sewing.

    Is there one pattern causing concern?

    Lightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    Often Liesl will instruct you to trim away the seam allowance from the interfacing before attaching it, usually for collars. If I remember, I like to draft a second pattern piece without the seam allowance and cut the interfacing out with the seam allowance already removed. I guess the fabric scrooge in me finds it painful to cut out a piece of interfacing and then discard half an inch all around!

    I use iron-on lightweight interfacing. I’m sure it wouldn’t make much difference if I didn’t trim the seam allowance but, the trimmed interfacing edge then makes a good guide for stitching.

    Sew the collar pieces together with the interfaced side up and you can follow the interfacing edge to get a good (or perfect if you’re lucky) smooth collar line.

    buttonup @buttonup

    I am interfacing a collar piece and my general sewing book states the weight of the interfacing should be in relation to the weight of the fabric and if a regulation interfacing is being used to cut away interfacing at corners 1/4″ beyond seamline to eliminate bulk. The book also states for press-on to cut 3/4″ smaller than all the collar edges, so it will not be included in any of the seamlines. I have not seen pattern instructions that tell you to do this. So I was wondering how others sewing apply the interfacing to collars and other pattern pieces that require interfacing and what is the correct way.

    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    Unless Liesl states I never cut away the seam allowance, and the only place I’ve seen it done is on the sketchbook collar. I just cut it as per the pattern piece and fuse it on, I only trim seams at corners or as recommend in the pattern.

    Nicole @motherof5

    It is something I see in my vintage patterns.

    I think it is necessary if you are using a thick old fashioned interfacing but not so important with the excellent sheer flexible products available today (McCalls sheer weft spring to mind).

    If you do trim back, those scraps needn’t be wasted, I save them and use them to stabilise shoulder seams.

    Seriously, the instructions you find in the oliver+s patterns are second to none. I think you can safely follow them and be quite confident that it is the correct way.

    Enjoy your sewing, ‘rules’ are great if they help you sew a fantastic garment but there is nothing wrong with sewing ‘off road’ if it saves some time and gives you just as good a finish.

    I sew pretty well all of my children’s clothing. I need it to last, wash well and look good. Often I will machine stitch or add top stitch when traditionally hand sewing would be the required finish. Its possibly not the ‘proper’ finish but it works really well.

    So, to answer you actual question, I do trim the interfacing if i feel the piece needs it ( a soft voile collar or cuff) but as a rule, no.

    What are you sewing? Don’t forget to share it in the Flickr group when you are done.


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