This article will explain all about how to use interfacing for beginners. Interfacing is one of those handy additions to your sewing resources. Once you have used interfacing, you will never want to be without it. It will enhance the shape and structure of your garment or any sewing project you have in mind, as well as supporting collars, cuffs, necklines, and waistbands. In fact, it is a handy addition to almost any aspect of your sewing journey.
How to Use Interfacing Tutorial
What is Interfacing? Definition
Interfacing is a specialized fabric used between layers of fabric in sewing projects in order to reinforce or give shape. Its function is to stiffen different weights of fabric, and therefore the weight of the fabric is taken into account when choosing the type of interfacing.
Interfacing may come in different weights - lightweight, medium, and heavyweight. The medium weight is more substantial, and the heavyweight, as the name suggests, has more body and makes the article it is used on stiffer.
Interfacing may be woven or non-woven by bonding or felting fibers together. The bonded interfacing has no particular grain and will not fray or unravel.
Interfacing is always applied to the back of the fabric.
When to Use Interfacing
Interfacing is used when you need to add stiffness to part of the garment you are sewing. Collars, cuffs, necklines, and any area needing firm backing benefit from the addition of some interfacing.
Projects like bags and purses may need extra stiffening depending on the fabric used. Likely, these will use a heavy weight interfacing. Most dressmaking projects using lightweight fabrics use lightweight interfacing. Always refer to your sewing patterns for the recommended weights.
How to Choose the Right Interfacing
Choosing the proper interfacing depends on the area to be interfaced and the type of fabric.
Here is a breakdown of the different types of interfacing:
- WOVEN - Woven interfacing looks like a piece of cloth because of the way it is made.
- NON-WOVEN - Non-woven interfacing is made of compressed fibers, giving it a paper-like texture. This is one of the main types of interfacing.
- FUSIBLE FLEECE - This is a soft but thick type of non-woven interfacing which is popular for smaller craft and sewing projects.
- KNIT - A knit interfacing is used when you need some stretch to go with the fabric you are using.
What is Fusible Interfacing vs No-Fusible Interfacing?
An additional choice of fusible or non-fusible adds to your decision.
- FUSIBLE - The fusible side is ironed onto your fabric. The interfacing will have a shiny side showing where the fusible element is layered onto the interfacing, ready to be ironed onto the fabric on the wrong side. Fusible interfacing is greater for cotton fabric which can be pressed.
- NON-FUSIBLE (Sew-In) - Choosing non-fusible interfacing is a matter of personal preference. It is helpful to have the non-fusible when the fabric you are stiffening is not suitable for an iron-on technique. Non-fusible interfacing must be sewn to the fabric.
What are Interfacing Colors
The standard colors for interfacing are white, black, and sometimes charcoal. Interfacing rarely comes in other colors because it is used on the back of the fabric and therefore does not show.
The best way to choose your interfacing color is to use white for light colors of fabric and black for dark fabrics. Grey will look best on the middle tones of fabrics between the black and the white tones.
Trying a test run of the interfacing to see how it will react to the fabric you have is a good idea, especially with lightweight, delicate fabrics.
Where to Buy Interfacing
Interfacing can be found in the haberdashery department of most sewing shops and fabric suppliers. It can be sourced through the internet and found on various marketplaces selling and supplying fabric, fabric supplies, and haberdashery.
How to Use Interfacing Instructions
The simple way to view interfacing is to see it as an enhancer to stiffen fabric and to use it on the wrong side of the fabric. Dressmaking patterns will show the pieces of the pattern that need the interfacing.
When you cut out the pattern pieces in fabric, you cut out interfacing simultaneously.
- If you are using fusible interfacing, fuse the interfacing on first. Then continue to sew as usual.
- Interfacing that is not fusible will have a different method to attach it to the garment. It will need to be stitched.
Further details in this article explain the differences in sewing fusible and non-fusible interfacing.
How to Cut Interfacing
Cutting out interfacing can be approached in two ways.
1. Piece Fusing
You can cut the interfacing directly from the pattern pieces ready to fuse or sew them onto the piece of fabric to be stiffened.
The piece is cut to allow the fusible side to face down onto the fabric if you use fusible interfacing. Cut the interfacing on the fold if that is how the pattern instructions are set out.
This is an easy method but the disadvantage is that the interfacing may stretch out during the process.
2. Block Fusing
Another method is to fuse the small piece of fabric with the interfacing first before cutting out the pattern piece.
Fusing the interfacing first using a steam iron and a presser cloth ensures a strong bonding of the fusible interfacing to the fabric. Cutting out the pattern piece from the bonded interfacing makes the cutting process easier to handle.
How to Use Fusible Interfacing (Iron-On Interfacing)
To use fusible interfacing, you will need:
- Ironing Board
- Pressing Cloth
Start by deciding if you will block fuse or piece fuse your interfacing. Once you have decided how to fuse the facing, the method of getting the interfacing to adhere to the fabric is the same.
- Place the interfacing with the adhesive side facing down onto the wrong side of the fabric.
- Cover the interfacing with a presser cloth and then press the interfacing with a warm iron.
The secret to having a smooth, wrinkle-free experience is not to iron the interfacing from side to side. The iron-on motion is to press down firmly and then lift the iron. Then press in the next spot to allow the heat of the iron to make the fusible part of the interfacing warm and stick to the fabric permanently.
Do take care not to let the iron touch the fusible interfacing directly. The fusible coating will stick to the iron, and you will have some extra cleaning to do.
When you have finished the process, let the fabric and iron on the piece of interfacing cool before starting to work with it. Have a good look at the pieces to see if they are fused all over. You want to avoid bubbles or puckering on the interfacing.
How to Sew Interfacing
Sew-in interfacing is also known as non-fusible interfacing because it does not stick to the fabric when it is ironed on. It is best for heat sensitive fabrics such as vinyl, silk, velvet, fur, sequins, polyester and nylon. These fabrics may melt or distort when heat is applied.
- Cut out the sew-in interfacing to the exact same size as the pattern piece you plan to stiffen.
- Pin the interfacing in place on the wrong side of the main fabric, ready to sew. Pin carefully to avoid any wrinkles or slipping of the interfacing.
- Stitch with a straight stitch around the piece on the wrong side to stitch through the fabric and the interfacing. You can do machine or hand basting stitches. It is essential to note the stitching line of this part of the process must be smaller than the seam allowance. This is because you will trim away the excess interfacing so it will not be bulky in the finished seam.
When your interfacing is sewn on, and you have trimmed away the excess, you are ready to sew up the interfaced fabric and the piece of fabric it will be attached to for added support or stiffening.
- Place them right sides together and sew on your regular seam allowance.
- There will be two rows of stitching visible on the wrong side. One attached the interfacing, and the other stitched the two pieces of fabric together, including the interfacing.
How to Use Interfacing for Knit Fabric
A stretch version of interfacing makes all the difference to a stretch fabric because it can give and take the stretch with the fabric.
There is a 2-way stretch interfacing that stretches diagonally, up and down, and side to side. The one-way stretch only stretches crossways and is less stretchy.
The 2-way stretch version of interfacing should only be used for parts of the garment that requires more stretch stiffening. Do not use 2-way stretch interfacing on buttonholes, eyelets, or button plackets where stretch is to be avoided. It is best to use the 1-way stretch in these situations. Another option for necklines and sleeve openings is a fusible bias tape.
Fusible interfacing for stretch does not need a heavy steam iron. A warm iron pressed down firmly and not ironed side to side is the way to tackle stretch fusible interfacing.
If you are new to using fusible knit interfacing, try it out on a scrap of the fabric you intend to use. f the fabric you want to fuse onto is delicate and needs special care, then practice on a scrap of that delicate fabric and avoid damaging your ready-cut garment.
How to Use Interfacing FAQs
Interfacing is a very valuable and helpful aid to many sewing projects. Dressmakers and crafters use it, but often questions arise about how to use interfacing and what to expect from the product. Here are some answers to questions you may be asking about what is interfacing.
Does woven interfacing shrink?
The answer is yes, some interfacing can shrink. The best advice is always to test a new product for shrinkage, just as you would fabric before using it to make a garment.
Fusible interfacing can be pre-shrunk by gently soaking it in medium heat warm water for thirty minutes. Do not scrub or squeeze out the interfacing. You do not want to damage the fusible coating. Then hang the interfacing out to dry. Let it drip dry in a protected area away from strong sunlight. When it is dry, do not iron the fusible interfacing until you are ready to use it.
Stitch-on interfacing is not as delicate as fusible interfacing. Still, a pre-shrink will always be a good idea to ensure the interfacing will not shrink on your delicate fabric.
A block fuse method of interfacing will help with testing both the interfacing and the fabric simultaneously. Block fuse, soak in water, dry, and cut out your pattern piece.
Is interfacing fusible on both sides?
Yes, purchasing interfacing that is fusible on both sides is possible. It is often used for applique to set a design onto fabric.
The appliqued design receives the interfacing on one side, and the paper backing prevents it from sticking to anything else. The paper is peeled off, and the second side of the interfacing can be ironed onto the fabric because of the double-sided adhesive.
Which side of the interfacing am I supposed to use?
The answer to this question depends on the type of interfacing you use. Non-fusible is stitched onto the wrong side of the fabric. This type of interfacing does not have a marked wrong or right side.
Fusible interfacing has a side that is shiny or treated with a coating of adhesive. This would be the side to place down onto the fabric. It is also placed on the wrong side of the fabric, with the shiny side facing down. A presser cloth is placed over the interfacing, and a hot steam iron is pressed onto it to make it adhere to the fabric.
Does interfacing make fabric stiff?
Yes, the purpose of interfacing is to stiffen the fabric. There are different thicknesses of interfacing to use. The thickness of the interfacing will determine how stiff the finished project is. Choose your interfacing carefully in accordance with the sewing project.
Can interfacing be machine washed?
Interfacing can be washed. It can be pre-washed to prevent shrinking, and it can be washed in a normal wash cycle for a washing machine. It is best not to squeeze or ring out the interfacing; therefore, a gentle machine wash is an excellent way to wash fusible interfacing.
Do you have to sew fusible interfacing?
No, it is unnecessary to sew fusible interfacing because it is treated with a unique adhesive and ironed onto the fabric with a hot iron or a steam iron. A presser cloth helps to iron the interfacing smoothly and no stitching is required.
Do you apply interfacing to the lining or the fabric?
Your decision really depends on the part of the garment you want to make firmer or add stiffness to. Interfacing is added to collars, cuffs, neck facings, and specific parts of a garment.
The lining tends to fit inside the garment, add support, and neaten the wrong side of the garment. The answer to this question would depend on the pattern pieces to complete the dress. Bags and other projects needing stiffening would probably be better with the interfacing attached to the fabric, as that is the outer area of the finished bag.
Can non-woven interfacing be washed?
Yes, but it is a delicate 'fabric' because it is not woven. It is compressed. Gentle submerging of the non-woven interfacing is the best way to wash this fabric.
Do you put on interfacing before sewing?
Yes, it is wise to fuse the interfacing before sewing. It is easier to press on the fusible interfacing to the fabric before the seams and facings are sewn in. Adding the fusible interfacing is easier while each piece of fabric is flat.
Do you need to wash the interfacing before using it?
It is a good idea to gently submerge the interfacing in water to ensure the interfacing will not shrink. The process must be more of a gentle rinse than a heavy wash.
Does fusible interfacing wash away?
The answer to this question depends on how the fabric and interfacing are treated. If it is a delicate enhancer to the fabric, very light interfacing is more likely to wash away over time.
However, the interfacing is usually inside the garment between two pieces of fabric and protected from direct washing. Washing and scrubbing directly onto the fusible interfacing would cause unnecessary friction and could lead to the interfacing being washed away.
How to Use Interfacing - In Conclusion
Interfacing, especially fusible interfacing, is a modern innovation that adds stiffness and structure to your sewing projects. Is is a commonly used sewing fabric that all levels of sewers will use again and again.