What is interfacing in sewing? Types and uses

In the universe of cutting and sewing, there are many materials and tools that allow us to carry out our projects in a more professional way. Among the materials that exist for sewing, we find interfacing.

In this article, we will talk about what is interfacing in sewing, how it is applied, in which projects it is used and I will give you some tips that I learned from my experience.

This user guide will help you avoid mistakes and get it right on the first try.

What is interfacing in sewing

What is interfacing in sewing?

To answer the question “what is interfacing in sewing?”, an interfacing definition could be the following:

Interfacing fabric is an additional layer applied to the inside of garments or other sewing projects, in certain areas only, to add firmness, shape, structure, and support.

In other words, interfacing will give your fabric additional stability needed for the optimal use of the product.

Interfacing is always applied to the back of the fabric before you start sewing and is not visible once the project is finished and although it is usually white, there are also colors.

It is used in collars, cuffs, waistbands and pockets and to stabilize shoulder seams or necklines, which might otherwise hang limply.

Different types of interfacing

Now that we know what is interfacing, it is necessary to know the types of interfacing that are most used. There is a wide variety of interfacing that vary in weight, rigidity, materials used and use. However, the most used are:

  • Woven interfacing:

    This looks like woven fabric.
  • Non- woven interfacing:

    Non-woven interfacing has a texture that looks like paper and can be cut in any direction.
  • Knit interfacing:

    This has a bit of stretch and is useful for interfacing knit fabrics.
  • Fusible interfacing:

    This interfacing has glue on the back and can be pressed on with a steam iron which makes the interfacing adhere to the fabric.
  • Double-sided fusible:

    It has glue on both sides to stick with the fabric.

What do I choose for my project?

Your choice will depend on the weight of the fabric you are going to cover and the end result you want.

  • Light Weight Interfacing:

    Provides minimal support. It is used on light fabrics.
  • Medium weight Interfacing:

    Provides more stability than the previous one and is perfect for collars, belts, cuffs, etc.
  • Heavyweight Interfacing:

    Use for heavier or thicker fabrics. You can also use it if you are trying to make a loosely structured fabric more structured and firm.

Here are some tips for your choice:

  • Medium-weight interfacing is used for rigid fabrics, while lighter weight interfacing is used for soft fabrics.
  • Note that some fabrics wrinkle if you use fusible interfacing.
  • On highly textured fabrics the glue will not adhere well to the fabric.
  • On sequined or vinyl fabrics, the heat from applying the fusible interfacing can melt or distort the fabric.
  • Non-woven interfacing can be cut in any direction and will not fray.
  • Non-woven interfacing cannot be used on stretch fabrics.
  • The weight of the interfacing should generally be the same as the fabric, or a bit lighter.
  • Use non-fusible interfacing when your fabric is not iron-safe.
  • To apply a fusible interfacing you don’t need to baste, just iron it onto the fabric.

How is the interfacing applied?

This is a general guide on its use, but it is always recommended to read the manufacturer’s instructions.

Before applying the interfacing, you can do a test to see if you have chosen the correct weight and type of interfacing. Do it on a small piece of the fabric you will use.

Also remember to always pre-wash the fabric and interfacing before starting your project, you just need to wet them with water and then let them dry.

If you think the interfacing type is right, identify which side of the interfacing has the adhesive. If you’re using a woven interfacing, match the grain of the interfacing to the grain of the fabric.

Next, cut out the necessary pieces of fabric and interfacing and take them to the ironing board.

If using a fusible interfacing, place the main fabric wrong side up on the ironing board and on top place the fusible interfacing with the adhesive side down.

Cover the fabric and interfacing with a damp cloth and press the iron onto the fabric for about 15 seconds.

Do not slide the iron so that the fabrics do not change position or wrinkle.

Once you’re done, test by lifting a small corner of the interfacing to make sure it’s adhered properly. If it still hasn’t stuck, apply pressure and heat with the iron again for a few more seconds.

On the other hand, if you use a non-fusible interfacing, you will need to baste the fabric to the interfacing before sewing to keep it in the right place. Once you have finished sewing, remove the basting stitches.

Is it necessary to use interfacing in my projects?

It is not necessary, if you prefer you can skip this step. In general, sewing patterns tell you if you need to use interfacing, what type and what weight.

However, using interfacing on your sewing projects will give them a more professional finish and make them look better.

Interfacing can help you better shape a piece and add firmness, structure and support to even the flimsiest of fabrics.

In conclusion…

Using interfacing can be a bit intimidating at first, but it pays off to make your garments look professional by giving them more stability and strength.

Now that you have all the information in a single article, all that remains is for you to put it into practice by trying out interfacing on fabrics of different weights.

I hope you have learned what is interfacing in sewing and how it is used. Lastly, keep this guide handy when creating garments with interfacing.

Here is a tutorial to learn how to make your own stuffed animal, where you can also put into practice what you learned today about what is interfacing in sewing.