The Results of Washing & Interfacing
Hey guys! I’m baaaack! :) I’ve concluded my third trip in 2 weeks and needed a bit of down time to get refreshed and get motivated to begin a new sewing project.
Today’s post has a funny blog title, but it’s really perfect. This topic is quite text heavy and has lots of my thoughts and experience with interfacing. What’s kinda funny is that I feel like this is only the tip of the iceberg, with regards to interfacing. So let’s dig in!
She was asking me if my blouse looked all wrinkled/wonky coming out of the wash since I didn’t use any interfacing. Truth be told, this is my first blouse where I didn’t use interfacing so I wasn’t 100% sure how to respond.
I do have other vintage blouses that don’t contain interfacing, but funny enough I haven’t washed them. I have washed some vintage cotton dresses that did come out wrinkly, but most of my items do wrinkle that aren’t made of knit fabrics, so I find myself ironing after washing no matter what.
I never thought that interfacing is used to help the garment withstand wear & washing. I’ve only used it where the garment needs some *omph* aka structure or stability. That’s not to say, that this isn’t a portion of the intended purpose of interfacing. As a result, I thought this was a topic worth exploring: washing garments & interfacing.
I pre-wash all of my fabrics, and in this particular case, my fabric is a basic mid-weight cotton that has a bit crispness, but is soft & breathable like a nice cotton should be. I’d think of similar to a kona cotton, but perhaps a degree softer. It was pre-washed one time on a cold setting since I wasn’t sure if it the colors would run. Afterwards I threw it in the drier on a cotton setting with the rest of my laundry. I then ironed the fabric on a lower-cotton setting with steam to get the wrinkles out. (The wrinkles were a bit stubborn.)
I wash all of my cottons with my apartment building’s washers & driers. They’re nothing fancy, and they sure don’t have special settings. So all of my cottons get thrown together in the normal wash & dry cycles. (I have to pay $1.50 per load to wash and another $1 to dry, so everything gets combined for the best cost savings.) Lights on either warm or hot settings and darks/colors get a cold setting.
After wearing my scalloped blouse on a (few) hot days, I decided it needed to go for a wash. It went in the cold cycle. Similarly, my white, light-weight, cotton violet blouse was in need of a wash so that went into the warm cycle. I thought I’d document both blouses for you all.
Both are cottons: one drapey, light-weight fabric with light-weight, iron-on interfacing (Violet) and the second is mid-weight with no interfacing (Scalloped).
As you can see, this blouse is quite wrinkly. (I’ll reserve the rest of my thoughts until after showing the scalloped blouse images.)
Scalloped Blouse Post-Washing:
This looks pretty wrinkled. The neckline scallops are caving inwards as are the sleeve hems.
But the front button band doesn’t look too bad.
Insides: Everything is a bit squished in, on itself.
Seam allowances need to be sorted out but the main, flat fabric sections aren’t terribly wrinkled, actually.
Overall, my scalloped blouse is wrinkly, but it’s not quite as bad as my violet blouse. I was a bit frightened at how crumpled my violet blouse became after its first washing, especially the collar and collar facing pieces.
The violet blouse fabric is certainly more prone to wrinkling than the mid-weight cotton. And even with incorporating the light-weight fusible interfacing, it doesn’t look any better than the main fabric sections.
I’ve learnt (the hard way) to select the interfacing that best complement’s the fabric’s structure. If your garment is light weight, you certainly should NOT use a medium-weight interfacing. So the failure of the garment to remain crisp after laundering is not due to a poor interfacing, but is primarily due to the nature of the fabric, which is as it should be.
My 50’s scalloped blouse does look wrinkled, but it’s not terrible. The buttonhole placket has held up better than the buttoned-side of the blouse because the holes themselves have provided a bit of structure to the neighboring placket area. Would it have looked crisper after washing…. maybe. But I’m not 100% certain that it would.
What I think the more important question is: How does the garment look after being ironed?
Violet Blouse Post-Ironing:
This light weight fabric is quite easy to press, but it wrinkles up faster than linen. Well… nothing wrinkles faster than linen but this one comes in at a close 2nd.
I was able to press the fabric out but what’s bad is that all of the places where I interfaced, I couldn’t get the stubborn wrinkles out. Can you see the 2 long vertical fold lines on the button bands? On the left, with the button holes there is a fold to the left of the button holes and on the right, there is a fold happening down, between all of the buttons.
You can see the vertical creases easier on the inside of the blouse. What was also stubborn is the facing. I got it mainly wrinkle-free but it doesn’t want to lay flat at all.
Detailed view of the violet blouse:
See the vertical folds now? They wouldn’t go away no matter how much I pressed it. Ugh!
The small surface wrinkles on my Violet blouse came out quite easily, but there is no hope for the deeper folds unless I resort to starch or the dry cleaners. It’s not bad enough for me to not wear it, but I was surprised that the most stubborn wrinkles appeared where I had put in iron-on interfacing and won’t come out.
Scalloped Blouse Post-Ironing:
It doesn’t look too bad, just like a normal blouse.
Below, is a close-up of the scalloped peplum. There are some stubborn wrinkles that I was not able to get out along the edges of the scallops but they aren’t too bad. The fabric print itself helps hide the minor wrinkles which is nice.
You may or may not be able to see from this image, but the edges aren’t very crisp on this blouse and are somewhat wavy at points.
I threw this one in as proof that there is a center back seam. :)
Overall, this blouse ironed up pretty decently with no major issues.
The fabric doesn’t press as crisply, as I would have liked but I knew this going in when I was first pressing the fabric before cutting out my pattern pieces. What’s good is that the blouse doesn’t seem to be affected, in the least, by omitting the interfacing on the neckline or button band facing pieces.
Some of the surface wrinkles were stubborn on the scalloped blouse, which is what I was anticipating since they were also stubborn after I had pre-washed the fabric. This blouse could benefit from a light spray starch to get a nice, crisp look. But I myself am not a fan of that look unless it’s on a ‘gent. All in all, I think the scalloped blouse held up quite nicely, sans interfacing.
As I was telling Sara, if I were making version A on the scalloped blouse (with a separate, folded collar) I believe I would use interfacing that is suitable to the fabric to give the collar structure. But I wouldn’t add interfacing just to help the garment be crisp after washing.
I didn’t use any starch nor did I treat the two blouses any differently than I normally would. I used the same cotton setting on my iron with steam, to avoid any bias of one blouse to the other. Since I wear these to work, I do aim to get them as wrinkle-free as possible, but I’m not doing anything special.
My final opinion/conclusion:
There isn’t ONE way to do anything with sewing (as it is with most other crafts), and you should make your decisions on a case by case basis. I think the fabric, first and foremost should dictate the type of interfacing to use. But it’s the project combined with the style/look you want to achieve which will tell you if you want to use interfacing in the first place.
Would I have done anything differently now, after I’ve seen it washed & pressed? No probably not. My violet blouse needed the interfacing since the fabric was too light to support the buttons and button holes. But I was surprised that the deep folds wouldn’t press out after washing. I was also quite happy that my scalloped blouse held up nicely without the interfacing. I took my first gamble to go sans-interfacing and the blouse doesn’t seem to be affected (negatively) one bit.
Thoughts on interfacing or any washing woes? Or do you have any good tips to get out those stubborn wrinkles on my violet blouse?
My fav line from Sara:
Now that we’ve talked it out, I can see how a shirt that has a neckline that doesn’t have a separate collar, might need only a good ironing.
Mind you I only wrote one response to Sara about why I use/don’t use interfacing. So her last line came across really sweet since she was doing most of the talking. :)
Thanks Sara for sharing your thoughts. I hope you like my post dedicated to your comment.