Interfacings are necessary to give fabrics shape and rigidity. They are used for sewing, crafts, and quilting. You’ll commonly find them in sewing bags, collars, cuffs, and purses. But how are is interfacing attached to fabric?
Can you sew through interfacing? You can hand or machine sew through interfacing although not all types require sewing in order to attach to fabric.
Interfacing comes in two main varieties: fusible and non-fusible. Both types of interfacing can be sewn. Interfacing is also produced in varying thicknesses: lightweight, medium, and heavyweight. While the lightweight and medium types will be no problem for small-sized needles, the heavyweight type usually requires bigger needles to sew through.
Ready to get started with interfacing in your next sewing project? Learn key interfacing facts, differences, and tips about interfacing so you can choose the right type for your sewing project.
Choosing the Right Interfacing
Interfacing is a material used to make garments more rigid. It is usually sewn to the inner side of the fabric to give shape, strength, and support.
Interfacing is commonly used in collars, button plackets, waistbands, and cuffs. Interfacing can also be applied in sewing projects outside of garments such as adding thickness to bags or providing a sturdy backing for embroidery.
Interfacing comes in different types, and choosing the right interfacing can be important to properly finishing your project. Be sure to understand the different ways interfacing can be attached and the different textures available.
Interfacing: Fusible and Sewn-In
Fusible interfacing can easily be attached to fabrics. It usually comes with a fusible adhesive on one side. But in some cases, this adhesive may be on both sides of the interfacing. The adhesive is activated by heat.
Fusible interfacing is attached to fabrics by applying heat from an iron on the side without glue. If the interfacing has glue on both sides, it is placed between fabric before ironing.
The adhesive side of the interfacing many appear either rough or shiny. Be sure to read the instructions that come with the product as styles can vary by brand. Always ensure to confirm the sides with glue before ironing. If you place your hot iron directly on the face with glue, you might end up with a sticky mess.
- Makes adding rigidity to fabrics quick and easy
- Lowers the risk of shifting while sewing
- Reduces the flimsy appearance of fabrics
- Creases fabrics when cooling in some cases
- Sticks to or burns on the iron if the heated glue is completely covered
Sew-in interfacing, also known as non-fusible interfacing, does not have heat-activated glue or adhesive. You will need to attach it to your fabric by sewing.
Sewn-in interfacing is especially useful when working with fabrics that are not heat tolerant. When adding this interfacing to your project, attaching it with basting stitches before sewing it permanently can help keep the material in place. You can also align sewn-in interfacing with your fabric, pin, and sew all of your layers at the same time.
- Lowers chances of creasing fabrics
- Simplifies detecting and trimming excess seam allowances
- Retains shape and softness in lightweight fabrics
- Shifts when sewing multiple layers if not properly secured
Interfacing: Woven, Non-Woven, and Knit Texture
Woven interfacing is made of interwoven fibers and typically has a smooth or stiff texture. Woven interfacing has no stretch or elasticity and is compatible with various types of woven fabrics.
Since woven interfacing retains it shape, it usually ensures that your fabric and projects retain their shape, texture, and appearance. Woven interfacing also lowers the chance of creasing or wrinkling fabrics.
However, woven interfacing can cost more than most interfacing types. It also comes in fewer varieties and thicknesses, so be sure to choose the right type for your project.
Non-woven interfacing is made of small fibers compressed together to form material that feels like fleece or felt. Its pressed construction means there are no grainlines and can be cut in any direction.
Non-woven interfacing is available in a broad range of textures and thicknesses such as crispy, wispy, papery, stiff, lofty, and thin. If you’re on a budget, non-woven interfacing will cost less than other types and is more readily available.
While non-woven interfacing gives you more flexibility, it can change the feel and drape of your fabrics. It can also tear easily or increase chances of creasing compared with woven interfacing.
Knit interfacing is also called tricot. It finds application when you are working on a stretchy or knitted fabric. It helps to limit or prevent stretchiness in certain areas of said fabrics.
Knit interfacing is used to preserve the shape of stretchy fabric and make it last longer. You can use it on materials such as jersey and double knit.
Before you use any type of interfacing, you should preshrink it. Preshrinking helps ensure that the interfacing will not shrink after you add it to your garment or project.
To preshrink interfacing, place the material in hot water, and leave it in until the water becomes room temperature. Then, remove the interfacing from the water, dry it gently with a towel, and leave it to air dry.
Tips for Sewing with Fusible Interfacing
The adhesive layer of fusible interfacing can create challenges when sewing. Here are some tips and techniques to consider when sewing with fusible interfacing.
- If you intend to sew through fusible interfacing, use non-stick Teflon needles.
- If you use a regular needle, clean it immediately after sewing to avoid adhesive build up.
- Before joining fusing interfacing to your fabric, test it on a piece of scrap fabric.
- Use a lift and press motion when using an iron to apply heat. Try not to move your iron side to side to avoid fabric movement and wrinkles.
- Ensure that the interfacing is cool before you continue working on the fabric.
- Confirm the heat setting on your iron is compatible with the temperatures your fabric and the interfacing can tolerate.
- Use a pressing cloth between your work and your iron to protect the iron from collecting adhesive.
- Make sure your pressing cloth covers the interfacing and fabric completely.
- Wait for your iron to cool completely before you attempt to clean any adhesive from it.
How to Properly Apply Fusible Interfacing
New to working with fusible interfacing but ready to get started? Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific interfacing package. Here are the basic steps to properly apply fusible interfacing:
- Place the fabric on your ironing board with the inner (or wrong) side up.
- Place the interfacing on the fabric with the adhesive side facing down toward your fabric. You may also place a pressing cloth on top of your project.
- Plug your iron into a power outlet and set the heat to the highest temperature your fabric and the interfacing can tolerate.
- When the iron is hot enough, place it on the interfacing, and apply pressure. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for how long you should apply heat to activate the glue.
- Lift the iron and place it on down on another area of your project.
- Repeat this until you have pressed the entire area with interfacing. Apply even pressure as you move from section to section.
- When finished, flip the fabric over and iron from the other side.
- Allow the interfacing to cool completely before you continue sewing.
Tips for Preventing Interfacing Wrinkles
Sometimes after applying interfacing, you’ll find wrinkles in your fabric. To prevent wrinkles in your finished work due to interfacing, keep these tips in mind:
- Iron at a lower temperature to avoid puckering or warping the interfacing.
- Do not glide the iron or move it side to side over the interfacing. Press the iron on the interfacing instead.
- Preshrink the interfacing before using it.
- Iron your fabric before attaching the interfacing to it.
You can sew through interfacing that you add to your fabrics. But be sure to consider the different types of interfacing available so you can make the right choice for your project. Factors such as type and texture can affect how the you should apply the interfacing. They also determine the compatibility of the fabric and interfacing and the final look of your project.