A Tale of Two Interfacings

Well, actually three interfacings but first we’ll discuss the two different brands of fusible hair canvas that I bought.

Hair canvas, two kinds.

I know it would be helpful if I knew which brands these are but unfortunately I didn’t note that down! The top one is more grey in colour and also more expensive at $15.99 per metre. I bought that one at Dressew. The bottom piece is a lighter colour, slightly heavier in the hand (but that’s mostly due to the beads of glue on the back) and cost $12.98 per metre at Fabricana (Richmond, BC). Both types were around 20 – 22” wide, so quite narrow as fabrics go. Per square metre they are more expensive than my main fabric. Even the cheap one.

Now comes the truth! The first more-expensive one was easily and successfully fused to the coat fronts and the collar pieces. It held the roll lines really nicely when I allowed it to cool and dry into shape. Just as if I had actually spent time pad stitching the shaping in as you would for a non-fusible but way less work! I had planned to also interface the facing pieces which on this double-breasted style are quite wide and could use good support. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the original type of canvas so when we went out to Fabricana where I bought the weft-insertion interfacing (because Dressew didn’t have any) I picked up another metre of whatever brand of hair canvas it was that they had available there. I used the exact same fusing technique that I did on all the other interfacings but this stuff did NOT want to stick to my wool blend melton cloth. It bubbled badly and you could not only feel it but see the pimpling when I tried to fold the roll line. Didn’t hold its shape either. Grrrr….

Obviously not the same product at all! And a complete waste of my money. How can you know these things though unless you test them? It’s not like the store will sell you a tiny test square of each kind! The only upside was that it peeled off my facing pieces without damaging them. Much too easily in fact because I didn’t even need to use the iron to soften the glue. Boo. Binned. So now what? I decided to use the weft-insertion interfacing on my front facings instead.

Suitmaker 602 weft-insertion fusible interfacing

I did manage to remember the name of this one! I also like it a lot. The 602 is the heavier version. (There’s also a lighter weight 601.) The fibre content is 78% viscose/22% polyester and this is the “black”. It’s much darker IRL but not really completely black. It fused easily with lots of steam and pressure for about 12 seconds and didn’t leave any glue on Chi-Long’s foot. The results are a thicker, non-stretchy but still flexible fabric. You can’t even see a line from the front where a partial interfacing piece ends. This is good stuff. Luckily I bought 4 metres (at $7.25 per metre if you’re keeping track) and I’m glad I did because I don’t have all that much left now. This peacoat is seriously interfaced out the wazoo. Did I mention how much I love Chi-Long, my new iron? He is so steamy!

Fusing the back stay

I was also working on the front pockets. I basted and hand-stitched around to tuck in the lining so it wouldn’t show at the edges.

Slip-stitching the pockets

Hey, my nails are pretty clean compared to what they look like in gardening season! Which is coming up soon. When it stops snowing. But I digress. I also topstitched the patch pockets using the triple stitch and regular thread. I tried some heavier topstitching thread but because I couldn’t get a good colour match it just didn’t look right. I may be using it for the hand-stitched buttonholes however. Not thinking about that right now. Anyway, the pockets and the flaps are on and looking pretty good. I’ll really show you the lining as soon as I get to that point. It’s very manly. Heh.

But next? Some actually assembly perhaps?

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Deep Coat

Oh. My dears. I am down and dirty with this Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat for Thom. This beast is armour tough! Seventy-gabillion layers of interfacing: hair canvas, fusible weft insertion. Roll-line stay tape. Lining. Basting. Tailor’s tacks, for crying out loud! I feel as if I’ve been cutting out pieces for an eon. Fusing…

Let me tell you right now – do not believe interfacing bolt labels that state “No need to preshrink”. They are very wrong.

See the white paper showing? That’s how much the fusible interfacing made the front shrink.

I don’t think it was the fault of the dark olive green melton cloth fabric (a wool blend) because I ran it through 3 separate steam cycles in a hot dryer to preshrink it. When I fused the whole front pieces with the weft-insertion interfacing, they shrank again approximately 1/2” in length and 1/4” in width. I can work around this but luckily it didn’t shrink any further after I added another layer of fusible hair canvas to the top and front sections and yet another “chest shield” piece to the shoulder area. Whew. Major construction zone here! I also fused bias cut hair canvas to the collar pieces but they only shrank about 1/8” in every direction. I haven’t completed the front facings yet but I’m expecting some shrinking there too. Note to self: next time preshrink all the damn interfacing in hot water first! Roll in a towel to remove extra moisture and air dry. Easy peasy, right? (Coulda-shoulda-woulda-didna!) I ended up using 3 metres of the hair canvas and over 2 metres of the weft insertion in this thing. This is not a trivial part of the construction obviously. However, notice how I managed to avoid pad stitching? Fusibles are useful that way.

So even though I’m feeling as if I’ve spent forever on this coat so far, I’ve only gotten this far:

It’s backless!

Yes, Debbie Double is wearing Thom’s peacoat. Well, the front anyhow. We’ll pretend she’s not adding any chest bumps, okay? He actually has almost the same chest measurement as I do. Heh. I have wider hips though! The collar is just sitting there. And I pinned one of the pockets on to check the placement. I had to imagine the roll-line placement where the collar and lapels fold back since this pattern didn’t include it. I pin-basted the under collar on and tried it on Thom to see where it naturally broke. I marked both the fronts and the collar and hope I got it more-or-less in the right place. It looks a lot stiffer here than it will be after the seams are stitched and pressed. I hope. I really do want this coat to have some shape anyway though. No slouching on my watch!

It’s been a really hard job figuring out how to do all this “correctly”. I guess not traditionally correct because of the fusible interfacing but functionally correct. After all this work I’d like this peacoat to look good, fit properly and wear well. Hopefully that’s not too much to ask?

Meanwhile I haven’t accomplished much else. The socks are up to the heel turns finally. The Grey Coopworth has nearly a second bobbin full. Haven’t touched the Deciduous Pullover or the Fernwood yarn at all. The weather has gotten a little warmer and some of the snow has melted in the rain. We had sun today too which helped a lot in the studio to see what I was doing. I almost didn’t need the lights on. Walking outdoors isn’t pleasant right now in the sloppy mixture of ice and slush so I don’t feel too bad hanging out inside sewing instead. More Goldstream Peacoat details coming soon.