In this Beginner’s Guide to Interfacing, we’ll learn what interfacing is, the different types of interfacing, and why you want to use interfacing.
There are so many different types and kinds of interfacing that it can be a little confusing and overwhelming. I mean how do you know what interfacing to use? And why do you even want to use interfacing?
Seriously. Is interfacing even “necessary”? Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to help you to discover in this guide to interfacing!
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A Guide to Interfacing
I think the best way to help you better understand interfacing is to answer some questions you may have. If after reading this guide you still have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll be glad to try to help answer them!
As we learn about interfacing, I think we also need to take a quick look at batting and stabilizers. Just so you have a general understanding of what battings and stabilizers are and how they differ from interfacing.
What is Interfacing?
Interfacing is a fabric which is used to make certain parts of a garment or project more stable. It is applied to the inside (wrong side) of fabric to add stability, shape, firmness, structure, and/or support.
Interfacing is most commonly used in the construction of garments, such as with collars, cuffs, buttonholes, waistbands, pockets, necklines, and even shoulder seams.
It is also used in craft and home decor projects where it adds structure, shape, or stability without the loftiness of batting, such as with bags.
The interfacing is applied to the wrong side of fabric before you start stitching. It is not visible from the right side of the finished project.
What are the different types of interfacing?
There are so many different types of interfacing. They vary in weight, stiffness, and even material used.
All these different types and weights of interfacing basically fall into three categories:
- woven interfacing – looks like stiff fabric and is made from woven fibers. Woven interfacing is typically non-fusible and is sewn onto the wrong side of fabric.
- non-woven interfacing – are made of compressed fibers with one-side containing an adhesive. These types of interfacing are called fusible and are ironed onto the wrong side of fabric.
- knit interfacing – has a stretch to it and is mostly used in the construction of apparel.
Interfacing can also be used alone with fabric in a project or combined with other interfacings. For example, you could use a thin fusible interfacing along with a non-fusible or woven interfacing to add extra stability or loftiness to a project.
Fusible Interfacing and Non-Fusible Interfacing
Interfacing can either be applied to the fabric by ironing it onto the back (wrong side) of the fabric – called fusible interfacing – or by sewing it onto or into the fabric – called sew-in or non-fusible interfacing.
What is Fusible Interfacing?
Like I said, fusible interfacing is interfacing that is ironed onto fabric. It is easy and super quick to apply to fabric. Fusible interfacing is very beginner friendly. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying fusible interfacing.
What is Non-Fusible Interfacing?
As you may have guessed, non-fusible interfacing must be sewn onto the fabric. It cannot be applied by ironing. It takes a little more time to apply as it is sewn into the project.
But there are times when you may prefer sew-in or non-fusible interfacing, such as:
- when your fabric is not suitable for being subjected to the heat of an iron
- when the fabric already has a lot of structure
- when you want a more lofty feel to the finished look of the project
What is Batting?
Batting is used as a middle layer between quilts. It is also used where padding is needed and is used to soften and insulate. Batting is usually thicker than interfacing.
I use cotton batting in my microwave safe bowl cozies and when sewing quilts. I also use batting in some bag making projects when I want extra softness.
Batting is always non-fusible and must be sewn into your projects.
What is Stabilizer?
A fabric stabilizer, or backing, is used in sewing and machine embroidery to support fabric during the stitching process. By using a stabilizer, you can keep the fabric from puckering and stretching while stitching. There are many types of stabilizers out there, each one categorized by the method of its removal.
For example, there is water soluble stabilizer that is removed by getting the stabilizer wet or washing. And there’s cut-away stabilizer, which is removed by cutting. And there’s tear-away stabilizer, which, as the name implies, is torn away from the fabric.
What Interfacing Should I use?
Interfacing comes in different weights – everything from very sheer lightweight to heavyweight interfacing. And, like we discussed, both fusible and non-fusible.
As a rule of thumb, however, you should never choose interfacing that is heavier than your fabric. So if you’re using a lightweight fabric, be sure to select a lightweight interfacing.
This little rule of thumb will help you select the best interfacing for your projects!
There are sooo many different types of interfacings on the market, but below are a few of my favorite:
Pellon Shape Flex 101
An all purpose, woven, fusible interfacing. It provides crisp support for collars, cuffs, yokes, pockets, facings, and other detail areas of a garment. Shape-Flex is intended for light to medium woven and knit fabrics, including oxford cloth, chambray, gingham, madras, tattersall, pin cord, flannel, and polyester/cotton blends.
Pellon Decor Bond
The decor bond irons on to the back of your fabric, adding strength and stiffness where needed. You can use it for everything from tablecloths to window treatments.
This one-sided, low-loft fusible fleece is made of 100% polyester. You can fuse it to fabric, cardboard, or wood, eliminating the need for pinning, basting and sewing.
What do I want you to know about interfacing?
Interfacing is your friend. It helps to add body, structure, and stability to your sewing projects. And it helps give items a more professional look and feel.
Just keep in mind:
- Fusible interfacing is easy to apply, but there’s also a place for sew-in interfacing.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to apply the interfacing appropriately.
I’ll be sharing more in the weeks to come on exactly how to use interfacing. If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
And be sure to pin this guide to your favorite Pinterest sewing board to save it for later or to share with others.