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Fusible Stabilizing Tape
Judy Barlup, Unique Techniques



A straight grain fusible stabilizing tape can be used to improve the fit of many garments. On jackets and coats with lapels, it holds the lapel area snug to the body, prevents the bias area from stretching and encourages the lapel to begin its roll. On cardigan-style jackets or vests, the tape holds the garment snug to the body in the chest area and prevents the bias area from stretching. It can also be used to prevent stretching of V-necklines, slant pockets, patch pockets and shoulder seams. 

The tape from Japan, available from Unique Techniques, is extra fine, 3/8" wide and comes in 22 yard rolls in white and black. It is easy to apply with an iron, requires no preshrinking and holds up in laundry and dry cleaning. It can be applied over stitching lines without adding bulk.

 Using stabilizing tape as a roll line tape: As demonstrated in the video Japanese Tailoring by Judy Barlup, this method is used in conjunction with fusible interfacing. It works best with natural fibers, which allow the fabric to be molded and shrunk by pressing. If synthetic or densely woven natural fiber fabric puckers, remove the tape and apply a new piece easing in less fabric.

1.   Interface the garment front with fusible interfacing. Trace the roll line from the pattern onto the interfacing. If there is a neck dart, stitch the dart, slash and press.

2.   Place the garment front wrong side up on the ironing board. Pin the end of the fusible tape to the garment and ironing board at the neck edge about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch from the roll line away from the lapel.

3.   Gently lay the tape parallel to and 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch from the roll line. Keep the tape even in a 1:1 relationship with the roll line; don't stretch the tape. Mark the garment and tape at the same point at the breakpoint (point A). Use pins or marking tool. (The breakpoint is where the stitching line and the roll line intersect at the top buttonhole.)

4. For styles with the breakpoint near the waistline, place another mark on the tape 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch above the first mark (point B). Use 3/8 inch for an A or B bra cup or for a man's jacket, 1/2 inch for a C or D bra cup, and 5/8 inch for larger cup sizes. For a higher breakpoint (that is a shorter roll line), use a lesser amount.

5.   Shorten the tape by lifting the tape and the garment and matching the second mark (B) on the tape to the mark on the garment (A). Pin the tape to the garment. It is important to ease the garment to the tape; do not stretch the tape. Press each end of the tape for about an inch to secure the ends. Remove pins. Cut the tape even with the front edge. 

6.   Use your fingers to ease the excess fabric to the tape, placing most of the ease in the bust area. For a man's garment, place the ease higher in the chest area to accommodate a hollow chest.

7.   Fuse the tape in place. Press again from the garment right side.


 Using stabilizing tape to hold in the front edge of a cardigan jacket or vest: Follow the method above but apply the tape over the stitching line of the facing's bias area . This makes the facing shorter than the garment. To ease in the excess fabric, stitch the facing to the garment with the garment against the feed dogs.

 Using stabilizing tape to prevent stretching: Place the tape on the fabric evenly (make the tape the same length as the seam or the area to which it is being applied). Press it in place over the seam; then stitch.

More information on Unique Techniques

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