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Question Of The Day: How To Stabalize Tweed

Seamstresses, I need your help. Yes, even I need help. Over the past week or so, I’ve been doing my research on tweed fabrics – tips for sewing, how to stabilize, how to prevent unraveling, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah – for this project. Although the Internet and books are across the board as to how to stabilize the fabric, one thing is clear, this fabric needs stabilization! Problem is, I already cut my pieces. So I’m asking you for tips and advice on how can I stabilize this fabric and prevent it from unraveling. Some books suggest stitching vertical rows parallel to each other down the fabric, like trapunto stitching (because of the pattern and thickness of the yarn, the stitches will be invisible). Other books suggest interfacing entire pieces (can I still do this even though my pieces are cut?). Online articles suggest preventing the seam allowance from unravelling with 5/8″ strip of interfacing (my seams are 1/2″) or by stitching 1/4″ from edge. What do you think? Comments, links, etc… I want them all! And just as an FYI – the shorts will be lined with jersey and the lining will be free hanging at the leg opening, the top isn’t lined, and I’ve already bought weft interfacing.

This is my first foray with tweed and to thank you for your help, I give you some kisses…


  1. Reply


    Firstly, I would handle the pieces with extreme care. I would very carefully stay stitch just inside all the seam lines, as insurance to stop them warping too far out of shape. Then to stop the unravelling, I would cut bias strips of very very lightweight fusible interfacing slightly narrower than the seam allowance and fuse to the fabric on the wrong side.

    • Reply


      That’s what I was thinking. I’m
      glad someone can back me up on this.

  2. Reply


    I’m not consulting any books here (though I would highly recommend you check out whatever Claire Schaeffer has to say on the subject – would be in her couture sewing book or her fabric book) but off the top of my head – if it were me – I would underline the pieces with something like organza or batiste and either do the machine quilting stitching or baste it together by hand in a 1 – 2 inch grid. And then staystitch the edges. But this is only if you want the extra body too. You could also lay the pieces down on big piece of fusible interfacing and press them then cut them out of the fusible. But I agree with Worker-b – handle them very carefully and as little as possible at this point. 

    I have to say I am so excited for this pattern!! I really hope you make it available as a downloadable PDF because I would buy that shit so fast!!!

    • Reply


      And I meant for this to be an easy sewing project. Ha! Not so! I will check out Claire Shaffer’s book for sure. I’m sure she will have some good pointers.

      I really like the idea of underlining the top and short with a cotton batiste because it will give it nice body (not too much, not too little) but if I do this, how can I prevent the seam allowances from unraveling (since I can’t apply fusible strips)? An edgestitch maybe?

      I know I’m the slowest seamstess in the world but I like the process of learning and figuring things out. Plus, every other area of my life is chaotic and fast moving, so I like to take things slow with sewing.

      Thanks again! 

  3. Reply


    I haven’t ventured into tweed yet so I can’t speak from experience, the advice I could have offered you just covered on the post. I wish I could offer more. 
    But on a completely unrelated note, I love that set up with the ladder and lights! It caught my eye when you posted the Abigale top and I’ve been loving it ever since. 

  4. Reply

    Jacqui Pardue

    I’m no help Maddie… I tried to make a jacket a while back, and when the directions said to interface all the pieces, I was like, “what?! that can’t be right.”  and I didn’t.   And I have a flimsy coat.  (Burda pattern, poorly translated directions, so I didn’t trust them)  But it was a good learning experience 😉  I can’t wait to hear all about your project and glean some knowledge from you!

  5. Reply

    Erin Currie

    How loose weave is the tweed? You could flat-line the shorts with something lightweight yet strong (a synthetic lining fabric?) and still keep the free jersey lining that you planned. Can you put a strip of fusible seam tape along all the edges? As much as I steer away from all things fusible, they can be a lifesaver.

    • Reply


      The weave isn’t too loose – it’s like a normal tweed. I’m thinking adding strips of fusible tape to all the edges and then flat lining with a lightweight cotton batiste (the fashion fabric is a cotton tweed). I will then treat that as one ply/piece and add the waist/neck facing and turn up the hem. What do you think? It’s a lot of work but it will be a work of art when I’m finished. 

  6. Reply

    Miss Crayola Creepy

    Well, I can’t help you with the tweed, but I wanted to chime in and say that I LOVE that ladder. So clever!

    • Reply


      Isn’t it great? It’s my favorite piece in my whole apartment. And the best part is that the ladder is vintage!

  7. Reply

    Sewtell Trice

    Maybe use some Seams Great or make some strips of bias cut fusible nylon tricot. Some people used that in my tailoring class to keep the wool from unraveling, kind of wish I had too.

  8. Reply


    Seam tape from Clover. Or Vilene tape. Both are iron-on. I find with lose weaves it helps to machine-shrink the fabric before sewing. Make sure you don’t hot shrink it though-unless you want it to felt XD

  9. Reply

    Jessica Crapo

    can’t wait to see the finished!  I have been wanting to dive into tweed myself and haven’t yet…I should wait to hear what you did.

  10. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    Ooo…I’m sorry I don’t have any tips for handling tweed – every time I’ve tried to work with it without stabilizing it, that garment has gone into the garbage.   I’m excited to see what you are making with it!  I think you would look fab in a tweed driver’s cap, but I’m pretty sure you look fab in every thing 🙂

  11. Reply


    A French seam or flat fell seam should do fine.

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