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replacement for fusible interfacing?

 
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I don't like fusible interfacing because of the smell.
Also, I forgot to get some.

What can I use instead?  Could I use a layer of fabric or something?  Maybe tack it to the cloth then take the tacking stitches out when it's sewn into the seam?  

Or is there a better option?  
 
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Sewn-in interfacing works, as long as it doesn't form a wrinkle while being sewn. It's pretty much what you describe, just an extra layer of fabric, usually something thick. No need to undo the tacking, just put it far enough into the seam allowance that it doesn't show.
 
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You got it right girl. If possible, use a fabric lighter in weight than your main fabric.
 
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Interfacing has two main purposes which are like a Ven Diagram - to reinforce for strength, to stop an area from stretching out of shape, or to do both at once.

Personally, I don't ever use fusible interfacing because if the visible fabric stretches or shrinks, the fusible interfacing will cause it to look puckered.

Regular interfacing is a non-biodegradable material which is formed in such a way that it is strong in all directions and won't "stretch on the bias" as fabric with a warp and weft will do. This is less critical in the "reinforce for strength" situation such as behind a row of buttons where a strong, fine fabric will do the job and I will often use scraps of cotton to replace interfacing in this role.

However in a situation where you want to prevent the fabric from deforming due to forces that will tend to stretch it on the bias (usually neck lines where there may be force all around), substituting regular interfacing is a reasonable option particularly for a new sewer using mechanically produced fabric. Sewing one's own clothes in a way where the style and product will last 10 times longer than what passes for "fashion" from a store is 2 levels up on the Wheaton Eco Scale in my opinion. So let's not make "all home-grown, home-processed organic" get in the way of "far better than the current norm" to the point that people give up.

If someone *is* in the position of going further, I see two options:
Sashiko stitching as a re-inforcement: I didn't quite get the point when I saw an acquaintance struggling to learn this 40 years ago in Japan, but she was not doing the "decorative" version, but was using these running stitches to join an extra panel of fabric invisibly to the outer fabric of a lovely jacket she was making. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sashiko ) The fact that the lines of stitching go in different directions gives the same "can't stretch out of shape" effect that regular interfacing gives. You can bet this will take a bunch of practice to get good at!!!

The other option is something I haven't tried, but I plan to do so at some point. It's the concept of "felt". Felt is made by having the animal hair fibers mat together and generally keeps it's form and strength through thickness. I want to try to card wool and layer it in thin layers with the wool lengths in different directions to produce on a home scale, thin but strong felt. I suspect it would still be too thick for a cotton "interfacing" but  was thinking more of using it as a reinforcing edging on a loom-woven fabric that would be looser than commercial fabric. R Ranson is more likely to know if this idea has any merit than I do, so this is a good spot to state the concept!
 
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Depending on the purpose - just giving the fabric some body, holding a piece stable, etc., you may be able to substitute other fabrics. My mom couldn't always afford the commercially available interfacings. The trick was usually to find something lightweight, but a bit stiffer, that wouldn't show through outer fabric. I remember her using sheets, muslin, plain white (or matching color) cotton, etc. And, hers always turned out beautifully.
 
r ranson
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"far better than the current norm"



That's my goal.  

Homegrown is lovely - but for the future.  First I have to learn how to sew.
 
r ranson
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I haven't bought the pattern yet, but it's a button blouse.

I'm guessing the interfacing is the collar and the button / buttonhole bands.  But there might be more.  

Maybe I have some scrap cabbage that will work?  
 
Jay Angler
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r ranson wrote:Maybe I have some scrap cabbage that will work?  

In a perfect world, I would try to use material with the same (or close) materials. So if your blouse is 100% cotton, I'd choose from your scrap cabbage bin something that is mostly or all cotton.
I always wash and dry my fabric before cutting (it's pretty much the only time I use an electric clothes dryer - I call it "my fabric shrinking machine"!) for two reasons 1) to shrink it because fabric often shrinks a different amount along the warp vs the weft which could change the shape of the finished garment and 2) because many fabrics are treated with chemicals that I'm sensitive to.
However, if you use scraps and don't know if those scraps will shrink at the same rate as your visible fabric, that can be a problem. Interfacing by it's nature will not shrink, but that's actually another reason for the sewer to pre-shrink their fabric before cutting!

So the short answer is yes - I often keep the edges of cotton bed sheets as the top wears, but there's often about a foot from the sides that gets far less wear. This is a great source of material for projects like this!
 
r ranson
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When the cotton sheets started to wear out, my grandmother would cut them in half and sew the outer edges together in some way that wasn't lumpy.  So the outside became the centre and the centre outside.
 
Jay Angler
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I've read about someone doing that during WWII in England - we've got soooo.... far to go to get back to "waste not, want not"!
 
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