Are the types of interfacing making you confused? Here is an easy guide to choosing the right interfacing for your sewing project to help you on your way. Interfacing is a modern way to share a skill or communicate. You can interface on the computer, or you can interface on networks. AND…you can interface in the fabric world.
What is Interfacing?
Interfacing is a woven or non-woven fabric that is used to stiffen certain areas of garments and sewing projects. It is sewn or fused to the wrong side of the fabric to give structure and shape. Common places it is used include collars and cuffs, underneath buttoned areas, in waistbands, and in many home decor projects.
Interfacing fabric is predominantly white but can also be black or grey. It is very rarely colored.
Most types of interfacing can be purchased from your local fabric store or quilting store. If you need to shop online, don't forget to check Amazon and eBay.
Why do we use different types of interfacing?
Some of the most common reasons we use interfacing are:
- GARMENTS - It gives shape, support, and stability to the framework of garments. Interfacing is especially useful for different types of buttons plackets, collars, and cuffs.
- CLUTCHES - Clutches, purses, and bags typically need interfacing to give them some stiffness and body. It adds structure.
- QUILTING - Interfacing gives weight and warmth to quilting items.
- INCREASE THICKNESS - It gives body to some otherwise flimsy fabric.
- EMBROIDERY - It provides stability to the fabric that is to be embroidered.
- FINISHES - Interfacing adds to the professional look of a finished garment
Types of Interfacing
The types of interfacing fabric you will choose will depend on the weight of the fabric you are lining and the end result you desire. For example, for stiff fabrics and garments, you may use a medium weight interfacing. For soft fabrics, you will need lighter interfacing. Some fabrics will wrinkle if you use fusible interfacing, so that is also something to consider.
There are 6 main types of interfacing.
1. Woven Interfacing
This looks like woven fabric. If you look at the image below, you can see a definite weave in the fabric. Cutting with the grain is important as the bias will have a slight stretch.
2. Non-Woven Interfacing: (Bonded Interfacing)
Non-woven interfacing is bonded and has a texture that looks like paper. It does not have a grain and can be cut in any direction.
3. Knit Interfacing Fabric
This has a bit of stretch, and so is useful for interfacing knit fabrics. If you used non-stretch interfacing with a t-shirt, for example, the interfacing would stop the item from stretching, leading to wrinkles and a reduction in elasticity.
4. Fusible Interfacing (Iron On Interfacing)
Fusible interfacing fabric has glue on the back and can be pressed on with a steam iron which makes the interfacing adhere to the fabric. The side with the adhesive usually has a shiny appearance, while the non-coated side will be mat.
5. Non-Fusible Interfacing Fabric (Sew In Interfacing)
This can be woven or non-woven. If the interfacing is non-fusible, then it must be stitched in place. This type of interfacing can give a garment a freer look when completed.
6. Double-sided Fusible Interfacing
There is also a double-sided fusible type of interfacing that bonds with the fabric on both sides. I use this extensively when sewing appliques. It holds your pieces in place and stops the edges from fraying.
How to Apply Types of Interfacing
It is always advisable to read the instructions that accompany the interfacing fabric before you start to apply it to your material.
Step 1 - Pre-Wash
Pre-wash your interfacing and fabric. Soak it in some cold water, then dry it before using it in case it shrinks. You don't want your fabric or interfacing to shrink at a different rate after they have been fused, as this will lead to wrinkles on the outside of your item.
Step 2 - Test on a Scrap
Test the interfacing on a scrap of fabric to make sure the outcome and feel are what you want. Most interfacing can feel quite different when fused to fabric. They may be stiffer or softer than you expect.
Step 3 - Fuse or Stitch to the Fabric
Non-Fusible Types of Interfacing Tips:
Non-fusible interfacing will need to be stitched in with a basting stitch to keep it in place and then stitched with the garment. You may need to remove these stitches at the end if they are still visible. Use a contrasting colored thread to pull the basting stitches out easily.
Fusible Types of Interfacing Tips:
- Check that you are going to apply the shiny side to the fabric's wrong side and that your iron is at the right temperature.
- Ensure fusible interfacing will not cause wrinkles on the fabric.
- Always use a presser cloth to stop fusible interfacing from sticking.
- Wait for the fabric to cool before continuing to sew. This enables the glue from the interfacing to bond onto the fabric and dry.
- If you should get some interfacing on the iron, then let the iron cool before peeling off the interfacing that is stuck to the iron.
Types of Interfacing Weights
It is important not to use a weight of interfacing that is heavier than the fabric that you are sewing.
- Featherweight is light and durable for fine fabrics.
- Medium weight offers a wide variety of types of interfacing for most projects.
- Heavyweight is the stronger type able to add structure to purses and hat brims.
Interfacing Brand Names Available
Popular Types of Interfacing Brand Names Are: Pellon, Bosal, C+ T, Clover, Handler, Thermo-web, Sulky, Vilene
Here are some of the popular types of interfacing fabric:
- Peltex – 71F ultra-firm interfacing, which is great for bag making, crafts, home decorating, and quilting
- Decorbond 809 – crisp texture
- Shapeflex 101 – a woven type
- Fuse N shape – double-sided and firm
- Deco fuse 520 – thin but stiff
- Fusible fleece - I use this as lining for a lot of my clutch patterns. It gives a soft feel to the clutch while providing great body.
- Organza – this is a very fine, sew-in option for soft fabrics.
Types of Interfacing - In Conclusion
Now you have all the information on the types of interfacing, all you need to do is try out the suggestions and watch the finish of your work rise to new levels of professionalism.
Learn How to Sew More Fabric
Check out these other fabrics listed alphabetically.
- CHIFFON – Sewing Chiffon
- BATIK – What is Batik
- CANVAS – Sewing Canvas
- COTTON – Sewing Cotton
- DENIM – Sewing Denim
- FELT – Sewing Felt
- FUR – Sewing Fur
- KNITS – How to Sew Stretch Fabric
- INTERFACING – Types of Interfacing
- LACE – How to Sew Lace
- LEATHER – Sewing Leather
- RAYON – Sewing Rayon
- SHEER – Sewing Sheer Fabrics
- SILK – How to Sew Silk
- THICK – Sewing Thick Fabrics
- VELVET Sewing Velvet
- WOOL – Sewing Wool