Interfacing – Fusible Canvas

By | May 7, 2016
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Fusible hair canvas.

I want to take a moment to talk about a very nasty, very specific pitfall awaiting new sewists: fusible canvas.

Some commercial patterns out there will tell you that you need it for making a jacket and, hey, it makes sense. You use hair canvas interfacing to give a shape to a jacket. There are fusible interfacings out there so… why not fusible canvas?

It does exist. It’s about ten percent hair and the rest is cotton, vicose (a type of rayon) and wool. Despite having the word “canvas” in the name, it’s not a heavy material – the term is just being used in the same way it’s used in the phrase “horsehair canvas”.

 It’s used in a lot of craft applications, such as adding stiffness to a hat brim, or adding sturdiness to a tote bag. Apparently it does turn up in some sewing patterns, although I’ve yet to encounter it, myself.

Me? I don’t like fusible interfacings on principle – they change the drape of your fabric – but I suppose there might be a time that you have to use it. But, seriously, if you’ve acquired a commercial pattern – something by Simplicity or McCalls or whatnot – and it tells you to use fusible canvas, consider using a sew-in equivalent, instead. It’ll cost about the same, or maybe a little more, but it’ll look a lot better.

Do not, do NOT, do as a friend of mine did and buy regular canvas and sew it in. Canvas fabric is a heavy-weight fabric and way more than you’ll actually need. And definitely don’t try to create a sandwich of canvas, fashion fabric and Fabri-Tac glue. That’ll be too heavy, rather smelly and you don’t want your needle going through a heavily glued sandwich like that if there’s any way to avoid it.

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