Buying Guide: Interfacing
What to Know When Buying Interfacing
What is interfacing? It is the inner construction material that lies between layers of fashion fabric. It adds shape, strength, and body to every project and many garments require some type of interfacing. You can find it in collars, cuffs, waistbands, lapels, necklines, button holes, and any opening that needs additional stability or support.
There are three different types of interfacing non-woven, woven, and knit. These types come in either fusible or sew-in applications and come in different weights and colors. A rule of thumb to follow when choosing interfacing is to always choose a weight that is the same or slightly lighter than the fabric you are using. Let’s take a closer look at the three types and applications of interfacing.
Woven interfacing has a lengthwise and crosswise grain just like woven fabrics. Matching the grain of the interfacing with the grain on the fabric is a crucial part to make sure the two layers work together properly. Due to the matching grain requirement of woven interfacing this may have to be cut on the bias. This tends to be stronger and more stable than non-woven interfacing. Woven tends to be used for more tailored garments.
Non-Woven interfacing is made of bonding or felting fibers together, creating a mesh without visible direction and therefore has no grain. This type can be cut in any direction, it won’t ravel and is very easy to use. The only fabric that can’t be used is a stretch fabric, like jersey knit.
Knit interfacing is usually soft and flexible with a stretch crosswise, but minimum lengthwise stretch. This type is suitable for garments using jerseys and other stretch fabrics as it will stretch with the garment and not hinder it. Knit interfacing can be used on woven fabrics when you want a softer shape or when you want to maintain stretch in the fabric after the interfacing has been applied.
When it comes to the application of interfacing there are two kinds; sew-in and fusible. All three types of interfacing are offered in both applications. Knowing the type of fabric being used will help to select the correct application of interfacing to give the shape and body that is needed.
- Sew-in interfacing is sewn on to the main fabric just like another normal layer of fabric, and is held in place by the stitches. This can also result in a more natural shaping and drape as there is less “stiffness” to it. Usually lace, mesh, very textured and napped, and fabrics that are heat sensitive, sew-in would be recommended. For the beginner sewer, this type of interfacing isn’t recommended.
- Fusible interfacing is backed with an adhesive that melts with the heat of an iron, bonding the interfacing to your fabric. This method is very popular because it’s fast and easy to apply and great for the beginner sewer. Testing the interfacing on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure the finish product bonds to each other and the degree of stiffness it produces is correct. When using this type of interfacing, let it completely cool prior to handling.
JOANN also carries specific interfacings for certain projects. When working with draperies or accessories using a craft or home decor interfacing is recommended. There are interfacings specific to select quilting projects. Fusible web bonds two fabrics together. This is great for appliques and other craft projects. For those that embroider there are special interfacings to help stabilize the threads.
- Verifying the weight of the fabric against the weight of the interfacing is important.
- When selecting an interfacing, if the fabric is a dark, then dark interfacing should be used and vice versa.
- Every bolt of interfacing has a sheet in the center that will provide you with instructions
- Always test a swatch of fusible interfacing, before using it for a project. Iron temperatures can vary, so a test will help determine the proper setting to use. Use a press cloth.
- If the fusible test swatch looks wrinkled the fabric may be shrinking. Wash fabric again or use a lower fusing temperature. If the interfacing is too heavy, try a lighter weight or use a sew-in style.
- Fusibles are meant to be permanent. If you want to remove a fusible interfacing from fabric, & it is not completely fused, reheat the area, pressing lightly. While warm, gently peel up.
- To remove fusible residue from fabric, iron with a dryer sheet or use a spot remover made for glue & adhesive.
- Use a hot iron cleaner to remove any fusible residue on the iron. Follow package directions.
- How to tell which is the fusible side: Most products have a dot adhesive. You can see or feel small dots on the rough side. If the product has a coated adhesive, the fusible side will be shiny.