How Do You Use Reinforcement Tape?

Armhole Reinforcement Tape

I treated myself to some of this armhole reinforcement tape recently. Only one problem. I’ve never used it before!

I’ve draped it on the outside of my make, so that you can scrutinise. I take it I can use around necklines, too. I’m not going to be arrested and thrown in the Crimes Against Sewing Cell, am I? (Wibble, tremble…)

Have you ever used this type of tape before? Any recommendations on usage? I assume you fuse on the seam line, sewn edge on the seam line, fusible bias inside the wrong side of the bodice? Let me know if assumptions are wrong!

I bought this from English Couture, which is where I always buy my fusible interfacing. They’ve updated their website so that it’s much easier to navigate. I’d love to attend one of their courses, but they tend to be during the midweek day when I’m at work. Does your need to earn a living get in the way of your sewing? And with no realistic retirement plans in sight for most of my generation, will this ever change? And what does that say for the future of the ‘hobby’ concept? Will hobbies become more or less important? Gargh, my brain’s about to explode!

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30 Responses to How Do You Use Reinforcement Tape?

  1. Never used the stuff but it looks really useful. Work does encroach terribly on my sewing tme as I have to travel a lot. Upside is that I sometmes get a coule of hours wherever I am and I always try to find a sewing shop. I think that most people just flop onto the sofa when they get home. The lure of TV (which I hate). Maybe there is more interest than there used to be. I used to get stared at like I had two heads when I told people I sew, now they just ask me if I will teach them. Hope you get some more sewng time!

  2. Can’t help you with any advice for the reinforcement tape as I’ve never used it. I was retrenched over a year ago and we’ve been hobbling along. My sewing mojo hasn’t been high but I’ve been rescuing quite a lot of stuff – that’s what we call mending here or it would never happen – but does work get in the way? The idea of it certainly does! I’m supposed to be job hunting (the government requires that I do even if our finances didn’t). Actually, I am. But today when I had a phone call about something that sounds a little more likely, my first thought was, What? Work? Commute for hours daily? No more quality time at home with the family? And no more time to pick up my knitting as and when I will, or sit down and sew if I choose? Yuck, I thought. That’s not an option at all. 🙂 [Better time management is probably the answer, I think; but I’ve never been terribly good at that.]

  3. I’ve used that tape for shoulder seam reinforcement. It does the job, but I find that the twill part of it comes away easily from the fusible stuff.

  4. jen says:

    Never heard of it either..but be sure to try it & let us know! My work is looking after my five kids & they most certainly stop my sewing cos i am usually too knackered! But i study clothing production at night & work for a designer one i still manage to get my sewing on too 😉 xx

  5. Nilla says:

    I love that stuff! Just bought some this winter, because for some reason I couldn’t find it in any fabric stores here in Finland, but I found a Finnish company that sells it online. Mine looks a bit different, the stitched line is in the middle of the strip. It’s true that the edges don’t stick very well, but since it’s narrow and you sew over it anyway, I don’t find that to be a problem. I use it for all curvy edges on stretchy fabric. It’s so fast! Can’t believe that for years I cut out short pieces of the normal fusible interface stuff and pieced it together to achieve a curved line… the most frustrating thing ever!

  6. Fooniks says:

    I’ve used it in lots of places, armholes, necklines and sometimes even to stabilize the shoulder seam. The sewn strip goes indeed on the seam line. I’ve put the tape so that the interfaced side goes into the seam allowance(basically the mirror to what you’ve done). It’s a magical-magical thing and it saves A LOT of time(especially when making mens jackets.

    • I do the same – the strip gosea alogn seam line and the wider part goes into the seam allowance just because when you finish neckline, if the wider part is outside seam allowance, it might be also outside of the finish. It is something I’ve just learned while sewing my last pieces (of course my tape is sticking out…)

  7. Michelle Pye says:

    English Couture Company.
    To use our stay tape you turn the tape around to the way you have it pictured so the narrow edge of fusible is on to the garment. The stay tape is just on to the stitching line. When you stitch the seam line the tape & most of the fusible interfacing is in the seam with the narrow side of the tape into the garment.
    You can use this on necklines shoulder seams & anything else which needs stabilising. Thank you for buying this tape from us. I’m always happy to offer help with our products.
    If I want to sew I have to make time. We make time to do the housework & cooking meals. So why not make time in your weekly schedule to sew. Join us in our World Cup sew along. Whilst the men watch football we sew.

    • Carol Henderson says:

      Would this work when you need to stabilise a knit fabric hem – ie using a twin needle?

      I’ve made several knit items recently which needed stabilising and couldn’t find anything called stay tape sold in the UK?

  8. Agree with Mother of Reinvention…..used to have the same experience ie people would say ‘sew? Are you serious?’ Now they just say “you’re lucky you can sew”. Also sew at night instead of watching TV…….getting to the sewing machine is my inspiration for getting all my domestic jobs done as efficiently as possible.

  9. I’ve never seen that combo (narrow strong looking tape + fusible lighter-weight tape together) before… am now coveting it 🙂

    I use the Fine Fusible Stay Tapes (Produced by Emma Seabrooke of Sewkeys E.) she has woven and knit tapes. Sunni at stocks them – they are fab. Super lightweight and easy to use.

    I use them for my shoulder seams (back-piece only), armholes, and necklines.

  10. Janet says:

    I have no helpful suggestions for using the tape – but I am looking at ir and wondering if you have given me a possible solution to a popper problem I’ve got. I need to find a way of reinforcing jersey so the blasted poppers don’t tear through it leaving a nasty hole (can you sense my frustration?). Does your armhole stuff look like it might do the job better than the iron on interfacing I’ve tried? I hope you don’t mind the shameless plea for help, but maybe someone reading this will have some advice!

  11. Adrienne says:

    Hey thanks for starting this discussion about hobby. I definitely think that there is a rise in leisure time with technology allowing for gains productivity. However, we have yet to see whether or not these gains will be spread equality within society or will only benefit only a few. If the latter, we will need to be extra concerned about saving for retirement, yes. But I the rise of the share/free economy might have something to do with it as well, I feel, in the sense that it maybe allows to lead a full and rich life in spite of lower income? So that we don’t need to have such a high income to maintain our lifestyle.

  12. I did a class making sweaters where they used this tape primarily on boucle knits to stabilise yokes and some odd-angled seams. Gave it a light amount of stability to keep it’s shape without rendering it completely immobile. I’ve bought some but haven’t used it yet.

  13. helen says:

    Can help you with the tape but my need to earn money does impact on my sewing time! I work 4 days as week and have two young children. I tend to sew in the evenings and don’t watch much TV anymore. I’m also into knitting socks and I like to have a pair on the go for when I do sit down in front of the TV.
    I’m making a dress at the mo and tonight I’m adding patch pockets to the front. These have curved bottom corners and whilst I’m at work my mind is focusing on how I’m going to do this to get a smooth curve, what’s the best method etc….

  14. S says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this tape! You always have such fun with your entries. Work definitely cuts into my hobby time, as I have a pretty intense job. I’m thinking of a plan though in which I can retire early with a reduced pension and then work at something I like but for less money. I definitely would trade money for more time if that were possible, although any kind of retirement is a long way off for me (I think, although I agree with Adrienne that there is something afoot, at least among a minority, that is encouraging reduced consumption lifestyles and more active making and trading/sharing). On the other hand, I’ve actively prioritized my hobbies in recent years, cutting out spare time activities of low value to me such as watching tv or going to parties and social events just to be courteous to others. It has to be something that I really want to do to get me out of the house and away from my favourite hobbies (painting, sewing, knitting), so at least that’s something.

  15. Newribena says:

    I have used a similar vilene bias tape with great success on armholes and necklines.

  16. LinB says:

    I’ve had such horrid results from fusible anything over the past four decades that I would never, never, never choose to use anything fusible again. Regular old twill tape, or seam binding, or hem tape, or the selvedge from a firmly-woven smooth cotton, or sewing around the seam twice or more, would be my reinforcement of choice.

    I do not foresee a time when my husband and I will ever be able to retire. From the little depressions during the 1980s and 90s, and the great depression put into motion in 2007, we will never recover enough money to stop working for a living. Saddens me, but I am heartened that I have something to do to engage my brain in positive ways, around the edges of scrabbling for food, housing, and medicine.
    Too, both my grandmothers died very young, so I may never have to think about taking care of myself in old age. There’s that. I’ve lived past 49, but 57 is looming on the near horizon. Thus my urgency to at least finish sewing up the projects I’ve already cut out and marked and pinned.

  17. Clio says:

    That looks like the Vilene bias tape that BurdaStyle is always calling for and was near impossible to get for the longest time in the US. I used it 5+ years ago when I ordered some from Germany and, now that I think about it, both the garments I used it on are still in my wardrobe and going strong. What Fooniks said is how I used it.

    Yeah. If only I could quit my job, then I could really devote myself to sewing! I think that hobbies for some will become more important and for others it will remain an “if only”, which is sort of the way it is now anyway. I think that most people have time for something besides work in their lives – whether it’s family or hobbies or watching their favorite sports. I think the divide between those with and without hobbies in most cases has more to do with priorities and drive than anything else.

  18. Fleur says:

    I took 2 classes with Michelle back in 2010/2011 just before I left the UK: bra making weekend and the corselette course. They’re really good classes, taught very clearly and she certainly knows her stuff. She also has experience in adapting bras for women who have had mastectomies, so they can sew a comfortable bra to ‘even out’ their chest.
    The shop itself is a colourful treasure trove of the highest quality notions for lingerie and bra making too! It’s the only thing the Garment district can’t rival here in NY.

  19. Jen (NY) says:

    I’ve used the Vilene brand tape that looks very similar. I like found it most useful on knits that need a little soft stabilization, like the edges of a wrap top. It’s also good for shoulder when you want something less bulky than clear elastic. I suggest positioning it so that the wider part is in the seam allowance & the thicker part is caught in the seam. At least with the Vilene, I haven’t had any problems with it de-fusing itself. I like it, but it is difficult to find in the US.

  20. Emmely says:

    No advice on the tape. If your work gets in the way of your sewing, there’s a simple solution: work less. I actually did that a year ago. That extra day a week to spend on a hobby really makes a difference.

  21. Maria says:

    Argh, I know exactly what you mean about working getting in the way. Whenever I hear of craft groups. or sewing classes etc, they are always when I’m at work. What are us poor workers supposed to do?? Throw us a bone!! I can’t help regarding the reinforcement tape, as I am only soon to embark on my clothes-sewing adventure, but I will be sure to keep tuned to anything you learn about it!

  22. Sandra says:

    I’d love to work less and sew more as I have a long commute but I love my job and it pays the bills!
    No idea about the tape but keep us posted and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  23. Darn I have to find something like that. I have been sewing with knits a lot lately and the neck and arm holes stretch out of shape so quickly. That looks not too light, nor too heavy.

  24. Angela says:

    I haven’t used (or seen) that particular tape, although it looks like it would work great. I discovered knit stay tape (which I buy here in the US from Londa’s Creative Sewing: I use it to stabilize any seam that needs it on knits — hems, bias, etc. It is fantastic and makes sewing with knits so much easier.

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  26. Philippa says:

    I’ve never seen this tape before but it looks like good quality stuff. I too struggle to find time for any hobby, but I think hobbies will become more important rather than less as we all work more. Probably we will become super selective about what we spend our spare time on.

  27. michelenel says:

    Hi, Work definitely is getting more in the way of our hobby – especially when you consider that more people are sewing much better quality clothing to replace the shop bought items so it technically is essential work! Anyway, just happened across an email from that may help solve your sewing course problems as it probably covers quite a few of the subjects you would be interested in and is by an English teacher – take a look here….
    All the best

  28. karen shaw-jones (wannabsewing) says:

    I love this stuff, use it on knits esp good on wrap/cross over necklines works a treat. I’ve just restocked from MinervaCrafts, black or white colourways.

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