Heeeere’s Hazel! (aka ‘interfacing experiment deemed successful’)

(The colour is a bit darker in real life than this bright daytime photo suggests.)

(The colour is a bit darker in real life than this bright daytime photo suggests.)

My lack of a home printer deterred me from using pdf patterns for a long time. The first time I bought one, I waited weeks and weeks to use it until visiting my sister so she could print it out for me! So while staying with family over Christmas, I decided to make the most of my temporary printer-access to print off two patterns I had my eye on for quite some time: the lovely, simple Sorbetto by Colette (blogged about here) and the very pretty Hazel dress by Victory Patterns. I like that pdfs offer the possibility to reprint all or some of your pattern if needsbe, but on the other hand, it would be better to print on a much lighter weight paper than standard letter paper because the inflexibility of the paper made it a bit trickier to cut the fabric.

I’ve been contemplating using comprehensive interfacing as a form of underlining on a garment for a while now, ever since I heard Gail Yellen talking about it in her Craftsy class. Well, this project seemed like the ideal opportunity for two reasons: 1. this burgundy-coloured silk georgette wrinkles if you so much as look at it, which I find mania-inducing, and, 2. this fabric is basically see-through. Which is fine if that’s the effect you’re going for and I have a few very light tops that I love but I reckon if I had a full see-through dress I’d just never wear it, or be plagued by an inability to find/make a suitable slip.

So, I attached a very lightweight iron-on interfacing. Clearly, this affects the drape of the georgette but I figured that, in this case, the trade-off was worth it. And (happily!), I really like the feel of the interfaced fabric, it’s much more substantial than the georgette would have been, even if it had been lined or underlined. I should point out though that I did not use interfacing on the necktie as I was worried it would make the neckline really bulky and make the ties too firm, instead of nice and floaty.

And the awkward from-the-back pose...

And the awkward from-the-back pose…

I’m really, really happy with this dress, especially as I don’t have anything like it already in my wardrobe. I’m definitely on board for making another one, though I’ll probably opt for the floaty lightness of a non-interfaced version for a more summery feel. You can see in the photo above that the sleeves are a tad tight on me at the back when I raise my arms so my next version will be amended somewhat there (if I can figure out how to do it…!).

Adjustments: Fusible interfacing throughout instead of lining the skirt as per pattern instructions. I initially thought I’d do the lower half of the sleeves without interfacing for a different finish, but thought it all looked a bit odd once I pinned it to check. In the end, I decided that the dress (in this case) looks better with a shorter sleeve.

Skills learned: Attaching a tie-neck collar, flat sleeve insertion

Recommend pattern?: Yes! I love the finished dress and found the directions very clear. I’ve had trouble attaching collars before, but this worked out fine. The only thing I would say is that I could have done with a photo or a couple of illustrations of how the neckline looks with the ties open (so I’ve put one below) – there aren’t any in the instructions and it made it a bit harder to work out if it was all going according to plan or not. Otherwise, a great pattern, albeit probably more suitable for a beginner who has a few projects under their belt already (eh, no fashion pun intended…).

With the necktie tied...

With the necktie tied…

...and untied.

…and untied.


Comprehensive interfacing versus lining: any tips?


When Craftsy had a ‘holiday sale’ recently, I took advantage of the half-price drop to enroll in a couple of sewing classes I’d had my eye on for a while. I have some really good sewing books that are invaluable as reference material while sewing, but I definitely find it much easier to learn by seeing a technique in practice and am really enjoying the Craftsy experience. Plus, it’s great to hear the tips that the tutor mentions aside throughout the video.

I’m about halfway through the first class I enrolled in, 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know. One of the tips the tutor, Gail Yellen, mentions is that she likes to fully interface every pattern piece when she’s working with certain fabrics, such as linen, because it can help them to keep their shape and prevents creasing.

When she said it, I had one of those ‘of course!’ moments: there are some dress fabrics I’ve been reluctant to use because their weight and transparency means  either wearing slips underneath or else fully lining them. I’d love to hear from other sewers about their experiences with this – have you tried fully interfacing something before making it up? How did it work out?