I don't know about brands.. but.. as for quality. Always buy the lightest weight 'woven' interfacing you can find. The woven part is most important. The cheaper 'bonded' interfacings are prone to shred in the wash or pull away from the fabric and give you the puckering you're worried about.
Also... I have read patterns which want you to put the interfacing on the outer collar or waistband. I think that's just asking for trouble... perhaps it was ok with sew in interfacings.. but with fusible interfacing always put it on the undercollar or facing or lining piece, where it'll be hidden when worn.
hope this is helpful.
Gosh, is interfacing a thing we need to worry about? I didn't know, I have been merrily using whatever comes to hand.
Tracy I use either bonded interfacing that I just got from the fabric shop or sew-in interfacing that I got from "freecycle" from an elderly lady who has given up sewing and gave away a big bag of it (ie old interfacing, I sometimes call it vintage, ha ha). I haven't, as yet, had a problem with either!
hope I didn't cause confusion with my terms - when I say 'bonded' v 'woven' I am talking about 2 different types of iron on interfacings. They are just made differently. The bonded or 'non woven' if you prefer... is the stuff that looks like a chux cloth and you can tear it easily. The woven looks like a fabric... and will hold up better to vigorous washing.
Of course the old sew in interfacing won't cause any dramas at all.
Interfacings - common brand in UK is vilene and is a non-woven material, it is available in lots of weights and can either be iron-on or sew in, despite being non-woven it still has a 'grain' to it (lengthways with the 'selvedge') which sometimes can cause a bit of a problem. Then there are woven interfacings again iron-on and sew-in and also a knitted iron-on interfacing. All available in different weights for different purposes.
The iron on variety can cause problems if you don't get it adhered properly, also after repeated washes the adhesive can break down and cause 'bubbles' to appear. Once this has happened your only solution is to rip the whole lot out as there is no longer any adhesive to work or put the garment in the rag bag. Putting iron-on into a garment, cut your facing (or whatever) in outer fabric & interfacing, trim the interfacing a smidge smaller all around and lay wrong side of fabric up and interfacing adhesive (shiny) side down. Next hover the iron over the pieces and steam, DO NOT PRESS AT THIS POINT! put your iron to one side, then lift the interfacing up and replace it into position, now you can press the fabric and interfacing together. If you watch the interfacing whilst steaming you will observe that it will sometimes shrink and buckle up, this is probably what has been causing the problems stated as it wasn't pre-shrunk.
Other posibilities for interfacings in collars and cuffs of blouses - you could use one or 2 extra layers of your outer fabric especially if a cotton. Personally I have used pre-shrunk medium weight calico for a shirt (trans. for USA readers - muslin), but it must be pre-shrunk. To do this I lay it out flat in the bath, put the plug in and pour over a couple of kettlefuls of boiling water then rub over it with a fish slice to make sure the fabric is soaked, allow to cool, then repeat a couple of times. I do it this way to avoid the creases which would result if put through the washer, and they are a nightmare to try and iron out! The shirt I did this on the collar still looks good 6 years down the line.
For a while I really gave up on iron-on interfacings as I had a run of rubbish results, and for collars and cuffs I still prefer to use a sew-in, but the iron-on when used in small areas for reinforcement can and are very useful. Like when shortening mens jacket sleeves you need a layer of iron-on along the fold edge. That said, when I am using it I tend to head for medium soft 'what have I got in the stash that will do?'
Can I define a few terms here? This may help to make your selection process easier:
interfacing: anything used to reinforce and shape the fashion fabric
fusible: any thing that is "iron on" or "bonded" are terms for the same process; a low melt glue has been sprayed on the back side of the interfacing fabric so it will adhere to the fashion fabric when it is pressed with a hot iron.
Pellon: this is a brand that produces a non-woven cloth that may or may not be fused to the fabric, they produce both types. They also produce a huge range of weights. Pellon has a form of 'grain' and is stable on grain, but may pull apart 'cross grain'.
Tricot: knit interfacing. This can be crisp or drapey, but both are light weight. Because it is a knit, there is a grainline that is stable and a cross grain that can stretch a bit. Most often this is fusible. It can be used on both knits and wovens. Armani pioneered this when he developed his feather weight tailored jackets in the 80's --revolutionary idea at a time when tailored garments were heavy.
woven interfacing: This type will have a grainline, and a bias, so it is often prefered in applications where drape is still important (collar roll etc) It can be fusible or not. Traditional tailored interfacings are woven, but sewn in, however they are available in fusible form as well.
block fusing: An industry process is to fuse the fashion fabric and interfacing together before cutting. This reduces time and prevents most forms of uneven adhesion.
Shrinking and pressing: yes, some fusibles can shrink, so it is advisable to steam it first so the interfacing pulls together before fusing it to the fashion fabric.
Weight: always test your interfacing on a scrap first to determine if the weight and drape are suitable for your design. It can help to pin your test scraps to your interfacings when you put them into storage, so you have an easy reference when you go to select one. Very soft fusible interfacings are probably the best choice for most current garment styles. Step it up a bit for tailored applications. Home dec and tote bags can go even heavier, crisper and stronger.
Adhesion: Read the instructions because temperature and steam can vary with iron on interfacings. You may need to press both sides of the fabrics to get the glue to totally melt and create a strong bond. Using a wet linen dish towel as a press cloth can really help if you need a good steam blast.
I also saw an article about interfacings in Sept 'Sewing World' (Traplet Magazines, UK), but didn't stop and read it all in the shop & didn't fancy the rest of the contents enough for buying.