#Dakotasewalong: Interfacing and preparing our pockets.


Today we have a bit of prep to do. I personally love prepping everything at once as it makes the sewing seamless. We start by talking a little about the use of interfacing. Interfacing is used to reinforce stress points, create a crisp look, stops fabrics being stretched and so on. There are a variety of weights and types generally divided in 4 categories {from very light to heavy}. You will find it available in different colours to suit both light and dark fabrics.
For your reference, during the sew along I am using viline softline iron-on (H410) due to is shape-retaining and stabilising qualities.  Iron on types are the easiest and most recommended interfacing for beginners.
Read more about interfacing on this comprehensive beginners guide or this guide by Amy Butler if you need help choosing the most appropriate for your fabric. Very important ok!

* Updated: Handy Chart for fusible interfacing inclusive for knits.
A small note on applying interfacing: Each type of interfacing requires an specific method and care so please refer to manufacturing guide. Mainly there are two methods: Dry heat or Damp cloth.
A bit self explanatory: one use a dry pressing cloth and the other a lightly damp one. The iron settings also change from wool to cotton.  Pressing time varies generally from 8 to 12 seconds.
If you don’t have instructions to follow, test it with a small scrap of your fabric.

Lay your fabric wrong side up on your ironing board. Check the glue side of your interfacing, that is the fusible side, is facing the wrong side of your  fabric. Is easy to spot as is like a file and a bit shiny, whereas the non-fusible side is soft.Depending of the method used (damp or dry pressing cloth) Press the iron down. Pressing movement is different from ironing. It is literary pressing down and lifting the iron. My preferred method is overlapping the position where I just pressed with the new position. That ensures an even and nice interfaced surface. Please don’t glide it. If you glide the iron, will move and/or stretch your fabric or worst, glue the interfacing to your board.

Please, never press without a cloth or with the fusible side up.  It is an ugly mess! Pillowcases and dish cloths that are 100% cotton work a treat. If you have a pressing cloth under your fabric beyond the one on top, not only will be protecting your ironing board but you will improve the result of your fusing.
Silk organza is an amazing pressing cloth but with an average of £12 per metre, I prefer to leave it just for pressing seams. Cotton pressing clothes can be washed at high temperatures and the glue is removed.

Marie will cut all the pattern pieces with you besides the cuffs (piece 8), placket (from Threads), pockets (piece 10), pockets flap (piece 11) and the collar facing (piece 12). The reason is that we will interface a large piece of fabric first and then cut the individual pieces after.  Saves time and trimming.If you prefer to interface each piece separately, you can. I find block interfacing easier for beginners.

Pocket prep: 
The pattern doesn’t consider pocket lining. It asks you to fold the seam allowance all around and press in place. Since I like my pockets to be used and hard wearing, lining is a much nicer finish so for the sew along we will line our pockets. Feel free to skip the step if you want and just press your pocket seam allowance.  Please cut extra pockets (piece 10) to act as lining.
How to sew a lined patch pocket:
The dakota has 2 pockets so you have cut 2 fashion fabrics and 2 lining fabrics. The fashion fabric was cut on the interfaced fabric.
Place the fashion and lining fabric right face together, and sew around the pocket leaving a small gap. I left 3 cm (1 1/4 in).
Trim the excess seam allowance
Turn the pockets through the gap making sure the points are nicely in place. Slip stitch the gap closed.
Press. Now repeat the process for your other pocket.
How to sew the Dakota pocket flap:
A A flap consist of the fashion fabric (that we interfaced) and the lining. Place the two pieces right sides together.
Leave the upper edge open and stitch the pocket flap along three sides, using 1 cm seam allowance. Trim away to remove bulk being careful to not cut the stitching line. Clip the curves
Turn the flap though to the right side. Push out the point. Press. Topstitch if you please.

Yeahhh… Now both your pockets and flaps are read to sew at the skirt stage.

  • I used “Vlieselin”, I don’t know how you call it in english, but you apply it with iron. If I had to redo this, I won’t interface my fabric. I had so much trouble during the sewing : my fabric is a strong jersey but with elasticity and interfacing it made it loose it’s elasticity. So when I had to sew the collar, I had to sew two pieces with different elasticities… A nightmare, it waved under the collar, it’s awful, BUT it’s hidden under the collar… Mmmhh…
    Rachel, did you have this trouble ? for my next Dakota, I’ll probably add a layer of fabric for the cowl, to strenghten it.
    It was easier for the small pieces, because of their small size.

    • Hi Sandra, looks like you used a woven interface instead of a knitted one. For knit you must get the appropriate interfacing that also stretches with the fabric. If doubt you should always do a test patch with the fabric.

    • Also different interfacing act different, light weight normally don’t change the fabric characteristic where heavy weight would …

    • Thank you Rachel ! I’ve heard from this kind of interfacing but I had no idea where to find it. When I talked about my troubles in a big haberdashery (I live in a big city), the lady looked at me as if I was an alien and told me I was crazy to interface a jersey knits… 😀
      So I figured out this kind of interface didn’t exist…
      I’ll probably find it on the internet, Thank you I’ll keep it in mind for the time 🙂

    • oh dear, can be very disappointing when you staff aren’t well prepared. Another name for knit interfacing is tricot. A well know brand is Pellon Easy Knit Fusible Tricot