Interfacing – Choosing the Right Type and Weight
Interfacing is a material used to give additional strength, support or shape to sewing, quilting and crafts projects. It is not intended to be visible in the finished project but is either sewn or fused to the wrong side of a fabric. It is commonly used in sewing to reinforce button holes, stiffen collars and cuffs, and strengthen waistband. Interfacing can be used in quilting to apply an applique, stabilize a lighter fabric, and prevent fraying.
Types of Interfacing
Convenient to use as they there is a heat-activated adhesive on one side. This can be ironed to the wrong side of your fashion fabric, giving complete contact.
Is ideal for fabrics with textures or that can't be ironed. It is meant to be sandwiched between layers of fabric and sewn into place.
Created from warp and weft fibers interwoven together. This type doesn't have any stretch, and will work well with any woven fabric.
Resembles fleece or felt. There isn't a grain line, and you can cut it in any direction.
A stretchy interfacing to use when you are using a knitted fabric, such as jersey, ribbed, double knit, etc.
Interfacing typically comes in white or black, so it won't show through the dark or light fabric for your sewing project.
Feather or Lightweight is meant to be used with lightweight or delicate fabrics to add strength and durability.
Mid-weight works for a wide variety of projects.
Heavy is great for adding structure to purses or brims of hats. The thickest interfacing we carry is Timtex.
Generally, the heavier the fabric you are using, the heavier the interfacing you need. However, your interfacing should be slightly lighter weight than the fabric you are using.
How to Choose the Right Interfacing for Your Project
- If your fabric is one that can be safely ironed, and does not have decoration or texture that would be ruined by pressing, then you can use a fusible interfacing.
- The most important thing to consider when choosing interfacing is the weight of your fabric.
- Never use interfacing that is a heavier weight than your fabric. It should always be a slightly lighter weight, but stiffer than the fabric that you are using.
- Another thing to consider when choosing interfacing is the amount of stiffness you want and how big the area is that you are hoping to stiffen.
- Knit interfacings have the least stiffness and nonwoven interfacings have the most.
- It's a good idea to have on hand a few different weights of interfacing and make test samples to see which works best.
All interfacings should be preshrunk. Sew-ins can be preshrunk through a press steaming process. Fusible can be preshrunk by immersing in a bowl of very hot (not boiling) water and allowing to sit until the water cools to room temperature. Gently squeeze, then roll in a towel to remove excess moisture and allow to air dry.
How to use Fusible Interfacing
- Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for applying fusible interfacing.
- Make sure your fashion fabric is wrong side up and it is fusible side down. Usually you can tell the fusible side by the bumpy texture of the adhesive.
- Apply firm, even pressure with your iron for the amount of time recommended.
- Use steam or not, as recommended.
- Lift the iron and place back down in a new position, slightly overlapping the previous areas. Do not slide the iron across the fabric, as this can cause distortion.
- Once you've pressed from the interfacing side, it's a good idea to flip the piece over and repeat from the fashion fabric side to ensure a good bond.
- Be careful to protect your ironing board and fabrics from any excess fusible adhesive.
Projects & Techniques
For projects and tutorials using interfacing, visit ThinkCrafts.com!
About the author, Sandy Huntress
With over 30 years of sewing experience and more than 20 years of crafting I've rarely met a craft I didn't like, and have all the gadgetry to prove it. You'll often find me in my sewing and crafting room where I design and make garments, quilts, scrapbooks, cards, paper crafts, dolls, home decor and jewelry; just to name a few. I'm always interested in trying the next new thing and love to share my knowledge with others. For great sewing and crafting inspiration, ideas and tutorials, check out Keepsake Crafts.
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