Selecting the interfacing you should use in your project can be a challenge and feel intimidating. We’ve put a variety of information into this post in our Sewing Journal to help you choose the right interfacing for your sewing project.
Why do I need interfacing?
Interfacing adds structure and stability to your fabric. You can use it to create structure in cuffs, collars, waistbands, etc. It is great to provide stability where you want to have buttons & buttonholes, or zips. You can even use thicker soft interfacing that has a pile to add warmth to a garment like a coat.
- Interfacing is sometimes referred to as interlining as well. But not really the same thing. Interlining is layer(s) of material put between the fashion fabric and the lining fabric (perhaps for warmth, to create lustre or create weight).
- Interfacing is often called fusing, because there are two types of interfacing and one is fusible.
What is fusible/non fusible, sew in/iron on?
- Non-fusible, means you will need to sew-in/baste it to your fabric pieces.
- Fusible interfacing irons on. One side is covered in tiny “glue” dots.
One is not really better than the other, it will come down to your own personal preference. Fusible interfacings are a more recent invention.
- Non-woven interfacings – won’t have a grain line.
- Woven interfacings – do have a grain line and you need to line this up with the fabric’s grain line.
- Knit / stretch interfacings – needed when you are sewing with knit fabrics to maintain the fabrics stretch.
- You can even get your hands on wash away and tear away interfacings.
Interfacings come in a variety of weights (unfortunately, the colours are on the other hand are limited to white and grey/black).
In most circumstances you want to match the weight of your interfacing to the weight of your fabric. But also consider what you want the interfacing to achieve for you; is it a waistband on a denim skirt? You will probably want mid-to-heavy weight. Is it a peter pan collar on a delicate voile blouse? You should look at light weight interfacing.
Weights in a nutshell:
- Medium to heavyweight – if it is loosely woven, it will suit tailoring in heavy weight jackets and coats.
- Heavyweight Firm – if it holds it form like a cereal cardboard box, you should keep it for crafting projects. Or perhaps you are looking to create a super structured garment that will maintain your personal space for you.
- Light to medium weight – Suitable for collars, cuffs, jackets.
- Light weight – Suitable for dressmaking blouses, dresses.
You should always do a pre-test on a small sample of your fabric. Some fabrics may not accept fusible interfacing and you’ll need to switch to sew-in / non-fusible interfacing.
- Start with low temperature (your iron’s wool setting) with no-to-low steam. The heat required to fuse interfacing varies, if yours didn’t come with instructions to guide you, slowly increase the heat until you are achieving fusion.
- Sometimes a little steam will help you activate the glue, but don’t go overboard, you are ultimately adding water to glue which will make it weaker.
- Use a pressing cloth to protect your iron and your fabric.
- You can use a damp pressing cloth and a dry iron.
- Put the glue side of the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. Press from the right side of the interfacing.
- Fuse each area for 5-10 seconds, overlapping your iron to avoid missing areas.
- To avoid “heat shock” which causes puckering, you should pre-heat (just a little ironing will do the trick) the fabric then fuse.
- Heavy fabrics and heavy interfacings may need a combination of high heat and a damp pressing cloth with a longer fusing time (up to 30 seconds). Additionally, you may need to follow up by fusing from the right side.
- If your pattern speaks about Block Fusing, it is directing you to fuse the interfacing to all of the fabric before you trace off and cut out your pattern pieces.
- It there are only a couple of pieces requiring fusing, you will cut out the pattern pieces in both the fabric and fusing and apply directly.
- Let your pre-test guide you on what will get you the best results.
- In a pinch: you could baste another piece of the fashion fabric to pieces requiring interfacing. The success of this will totally depend on the amount of structure you want/need.
Some pattern envelopes will list interfacing by brand name, if your favourite store doesn’t carry the brand, ask the to help you find an interfacing that will work for your project. Here are some brand names of interfacings you may come across:
- Sheerweft – fine knit and ultra smooth. Ideal for semi-sheer fabrics, whites and light colours because it has a fine texture which will not shadow through.
- Textureweft – fine textured knit with crinkly fusing surface. Ideal for interfacing loosely woven fabrics as it adds soft body. The crosswise stretch makes it suitable for texturised knits with moderate stretch.
- Whisperweft – medium weight with rayon. Idea for light to medium loosely woven fabric that require more support. It is best suited to fabrics with high natural fibre content that are hand washed or dry-cleaned.
- Armoweft – Heavier weight with dense rayon yarn. Idea for use under collars, cuffs and jacket fronts. Ideal for heavier fabrics like wool flannel, tweeds and coatings. Best used on garments to be washed or dry-cleaned.
*Much of this information has been compiled from McCall Australia’s Interfacing Fact Sheet.
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