What is Interfacing Fabric?

Interfacing, also known as “wrong side” in sewing, is thick, sturdy fabric that is applied under a garment to provide support. Interfacing is required to stiffen fabric in order to maintain garment shape and tailoring. Interfacing fabrics are usually white with a weave texture. However, you can also find interfacing fabrics in other colors and weights. The interfacing fabric you need to support your item will be thicker if it is heavier than the garment. Fusible and sewn-in interfacing fabrics are the two main types.

Sew-In Interfacing vs. Fusible Interfacing

Fusible interfacing has an adhesive layer on one end and bonds to a garment by heat and steam. On the other hand, you can apply sew-in (or non-fusible) interfacing to the edge of fabric by sewing it into the garment’s borders.

Fusible interfacing should be applied with an iron. This interfacing is not recommended for thin garments or heat-sensitive fabrics such as vinyl, velvet and fur. These delicate, textured, heat-sensitive fabrics can be used with sew-in interfacing. Non-fusible interfacing can be applied to the fabric using a sewing machine or manually sewn into it.

Six Uses of Interfacing Fabric

Interfacing is required for projects that require support or body. Interfacing is required for common patterns pieces like:

  1. Bag Linings: Interfacing is used in some bags such as purses, backpacks and totes to give them a unique shape and extra support. Interfacing is a layer that you add to your bag. This will ensure the bag’s sides stand up and maintains your design.
  2. Buttonholes: Interfacing helps to stabilize buttons and keeps them in place. Interfacing helps to secure the button by preventing it from expanding.
  3. Pockets: Interfacing helps to preserve the shape and form of pockets. Interfacing is used to improve the durability of pockets in pants, skirts and dresses.
  4. Quilting: An interfacing layer acts as a stabilizer when you attach an applique to a quilt. It holds the fabric in place. The interfacing prevents fraying at the edges of the quilt.
  5. Interfacing for shirt collars: A shirt collar lined with interfacing prevents the collar from falling off the neck. This gives the shirt a professional look and a strong neckline.
  6. Waistbands: To keep their shape, waistbands require reinforcement. Interfacing supports the weight of lower garments by stiffening the fabric layers and supporting their shape.

There are three types of interfacing weights

Fusible interfacings and sew-in interfacings can come in different weights. The weight of the project should be indicated in your sewing tutorial or pattern.

  1. Light: This type of interfacing works best with lightweight fabrics such as lace and voile cotton. Lightweight interfacing is best for delicate fabrics. Heavy materials can cause the garment to lose its drape or structure.
  2. Heavy: To support thick fabrics such as purses and hats, heavy interfacing is required. These types of projects require interfacing that is heavy enough to support the fabric.
  3. Medium: Use medium interfacing for mid-weight fabrics such as velvet, poplin cotton, denim and jersey knit.

Three types of interfacing weaves

Match the weave of the interfacing to your fabric for the best results. These are the three main types interfacing weaves:

  1. Knit interfacing is made up of knitted fibers: It’s more flexible than non-woven or woven interfacing. Knit interfacing is used when working with stretchy fabrics such as knits or jersey fabric.
  2. Non-woven: This interfacing is made of bonded fibers. It does not have a grainline so it can be cut in any direction. The edges won’t fray. Non-women sew-in and fusible fabrics are suitable for all fabrics except knit and stretch fabrics.
  3. Woven interfacing: Similar to regular fabric but with a grainline. If you are working with woven fabric cut along the grainline. Match the grainline of the interfacing with the fabric’s grainline.

Use Interfacing Fabric: Tips

These are some sewing tips to help you add interfacing in your sewing projects.

  1. Select the right color. The interfacing will not show through fabric if it is matched with the garment’s color. Use light-colored interfacing for lightweight fabrics or loosely woven.
  2. Make sure to test your interfacing. Test your interfacing on a scrap of fabric before attaching it to your main garment. It doesn’t matter if you are using fusible interfacing or not, this will help you to determine the fabric’s weight. If the scrap fabric is too stiff for your garment, the interfacing may be too heavy. If the garment is too fragile, heavier interfacing will be required.
  3. Fusible interfacing can be applied to a cloth using a press cloth. To protect your fusible interfacing fabric from heat, you should use a pressing cloth. Place your garment flat on a surface such as a table, ironing board or table. Then, place a pressing cloth on top. This stops glue from seeping through the fabric and staining it.