V8307: The secrets of underlining


My fabric has made its attitude loud and clear: TOUCH ME AND I WILL FRAY.

I had planned on underlining the fabric to stabilise it as well as giving it some body – it has quite a bit of drape and is rather light weight – not really a first choice for a tailored jacket. But when I started cutting it out, it frayed and moved about so much I had to re-think my strategy and decided to interface it as well.

I bought some wisperweft, as according to the McCall’s website (the producer) its ideal for light and loosely woven fabric. Much to my annoyance – when I preshrank the interfacing, all the glue granules fell off! I took it back to where I bought it, and the Store Manager there told me McCall’s must have had a bad batch, as several people had brought theirs back with the same issue. I swapped it for a German equivalent (that didn’t need pre-shrinking) which worked a treat.

I’m using silk organza as the underlining layer, as its crisp and easy to work with, not to mention being super useful when it comes to catch-stitching the seam allowances down. Cotton batiste is also a good underlining fabric if you happen to have some lying around – it’s also a far less cost-intensive option!

Underlining is really very simple – you cut out the exact same fabric pieces, sew them together around your seam lines and treat the joined panels as one single piece:



I’ve also added in some basting stitches, and used the overlocker to join the two fabrics around the edges. In this case my basting stitches won’t shown through due to both the interfacing and thickness of the fabric. I’ve done this using a matching apple green silk thread, as its smooth and strong. If you were doing this on a tightly woven fabric, it also has the benefit of not showing through or leaving marks/indentations if/when you iron your fabric.

You can see how much the silk organza underlining (and interfacing) affect the body of the fabric in the photo below – on the right is the fabric by itself, and on the left is the fabric thats interfaced and underlined:



As I’m not after this kind of body in my sleeves, I’ve interfaced and underlined the bodice of the jacket, and left the sleeves interfaced only. I will be adding a strip of the silk organza to the cuffs though to stop them from flopping about too much.

Underlining vs Interlining
You may have heard the terms underlining, interlining and so on before – well what’s the difference you say?

Interlining is solely to add warmth and bulk to a garment, say, if you were making a coat for a really cold climate you would interline, as opposed to a between-seasons coat which doesn’t need the extra insulation.

Underlining stabilises your fabric, prevents the seams showing through on sheer fabrics, is great at hiding any hand stitches you might include, and adds bulk to your fabric.

I’ve spent most of the week cutting, joining, basting and overlocking all the pieces for this jacket, now for the fun part – putting it together!

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