Blog, Sewing for Beginners

What Is Interface Sewing?

By Jessica Strohlson

Interface sewing is an excellent process to incorporate into your project when looking to stiffen the fabric you’re stiffening, as well as provide stability and strength to an area that is too weak. In doing this, you’ll give your product a good amount of shape, avoiding any sort of sagging in the fabric and the final product.

Interfacing is incorporated in the backside of the fabric that you use prior to starting to stitch. Therefore, by the time you finish the product, it won’t be visible to anybody using or looking at your creation despite the fact that it is often the backbone of a project.

This isn’t necessary for many projects, so it’s important to be sure that it’s necessary for what you want your product to look like.

What Projects Use Interface Sewing?

Since interfacing is used to stiffen fabrics, many sewists will incorporate it into their garment sewing, when pieces need a bit of extra shape and stability. For example, you may want to use interface sewing for shirt collars for body or buttonholes for strength. With knitting fabrics, interfacing is best used to prevent any sort of stretching or misshaping of the fabric that you’re using. 

Additionally, interface sewing is often an important factor when creating a bag. Most bags in purses are meant to have some degree of body, shape, stability and stiffness on the bottom and the sides.

Types of Interfacing

Before you incorporate interface sewing, it’s essential to know the different kinds and when they are beneficial. If you use the wrong kind, it may end up being detrimental rather than useful.

Fusible Interfacing

Fusible interfacing is equipped with glue on one or more sides that will be melted onto your fabric with the use of an iron.

While it may be unsettling to work with heat and adhesive at the same time, a pressing cloth will prevent the glue from leaking onto any of your sewing surfaces and keep your project clean. 

This is also considered the most practical type for beginners. However, you’ll want to avoid fusing on fabrics that are heat sensitive, such as sequins, metallics, and vinyl fabrics as it can result in melting. Additionally, this isn’t the best option for fabrics with extensive texture, as the adhesive won’t stick very well to this.

Other than that, most types of fabrics are compatible with fusible interfacing so you’re not very likely to run into much trouble.

Types of Fusible Interface Sewing

Lightweight Woven Fusible Interfacing

This is one of the most common types of interfacing or weighting that you’ll find when it comes to sewing. As it is lightweight, it is best suited for pieces like collars. A major plus is that its woven makeup makes it so that the quality will not decline as you wash and wear any clothes in which you’ve incorporated it.

This type is available in white or black. You’ll want to choose the color based on whether you’re working with light or dark fabrics. Additionally, you can work with either medium or heavier options. Heavier options are better when you need extra body.

Knit Fusible Interfacing

Knit fusible interfacing is best used for different kinds of stretch fabrics. This includes knit and jersey fabrics. It’s pretty lightweight while providing a decent amount of stretch and pull.

Like the last type, knit fusible interfacing is available in both white and black to fit your needs.

Fusible Tape

Fusible tape is completely nonwoven and can be fused on both of its sides, making it possible to place it in between two different pieces of fabric to bring them together into one.

Its purpose is generally ironing hems, and its ability to fit between to fabrics make this type of fusible interfacing for creating no-sew hems or patches.

How to Iron Fusible Interfacing

As mentioned before, the “fusing” of this type of interfacing is done with adhesive and an iron.

The first and one of the most important things you’ll need to do is put a pressing cloth on the ironing board. This will protect it from being hit with the adhesive. Now, the fabric can be placed down with the wrong side facing up so the interfacing won’t be visible. Then place the fusible interfacing on the fabric with the glue touching it.

A second pressing cloth is needed on top of the interfacing so that your iron won’t get stuck to the adhesive. Again, the pressing cloth is essential, but make sure not to move the pieces that are underneath it.

Use the iron at whatever temperature is necessary for your project. You may have to do some research for this. Next, place down your iron on the cloth and hold it for about ten seconds, using your hands to apply a bit of pressure while moving it in circles in one spot. 

Then, pick up the iron and continue in another section of the interfacing without shifting the pieces. Continue picking up and setting the iron back down in different locations rather than moving it back and forth, as this will disrupt the product. Once you’ve ironed the entirety of the surface area, peel your pressing cloth back. Check that it’s worked and the fabric has successfully bonded together and will stay put.

It’s vital to ensure that it is properly stuck, or the degree of stick will quickly decline and the interfacing will ultimately become separated from the product through wearing and washing. This should not happen.

Sew-in Interfacing

Similarly to fusible interfacing, sew-in interface sewing is meant to provide support and body to pieces of garments. However, the difference is in how it is attached to the fabric. Rather than being ironed into the fabric, it is sewed in, as the name suggests.

The best time to use this type of interfacing is in closed areas of a garment, such as inside of a tie or a collar, as well as in between layers of fabric and lining.

Also, if you find yourself with fabrics that are not compatible with fused interfacing, you’ll want to go with sew-in interfacing.

Types of Sew-in Interfacing

Lightweight Woven Sew-In Interfacing

This type of interface sewing is generally made up of a lightweight cotton that is made up of woven fabric, providing body and stability to weaker areas when creating garments. For example, this is an excellent choice to incorporate into collars, pockets, facings, and cuffs.

This interfacing can be inserted either cross or lengthwise when being cut. Both medium and heavy weighted options are available, so this is a viable option, even when you’re looking for extra strength and stability for your project.

Hair Canvas

Hair canvas is generally used when working on jackets and coats to make sure that they are stiff enough and have enough body for wear. They may be incorporated into parts needing extra support, such as collars, pockets, and cuffs.

Belt Interfacing

As the name suggests, belt interfacing is used when creating belts, particularly ones covered in fabric. The interfacing is what provides belts with the shape they’re known for having and the sufficient amount of stiffness for wear.

By folding the fabric over the belt and interfacing, the belt can be made into any shape that you wish to have. 

Woven and Non-woven Interfacing

Non-woven interfacing is incorporated through the bonding of fibers. Essentially, short fibers are mashed and bunched together. You’re able to cut this in any direction without any sort of ravel, making it incredibly simple. 

You can also use it on the majority of fabrics, with the exception of stretch fabrics and it is generally able to be used with most tasks.

Meanwhile, woven interfacing comes with both lengthwise and cross grain, and you’ll need to match the interface grain with the grain of the garment you plan to interface when cutting. This way, you can ensure that both fabric layers will be compatible with one another.

It can be a bit tedious to match the grain, so you may want to opt for non-woven interfacing. However, using this kind may be more beneficial when using fine fabrics, such as silk. Finer material requires natural shaping for the sake of preservation of the fabric’s qualities.

Knit Interfacing

Knit interfacing is completed through the process of knitting fibers together, resulting in a decent amount of stretch in the final product. This is best used in the construction of stretch fabrics, such as jerseys as it won’t cause a decline in the stretchiness of the fabric.

However, a downside of this type of interfacing is that it only has a two-way stretch rather than a four-way stretch.

Conclusion

Interfacing is an incredibly useful tool to incorporate in your projects and can make a world of difference in the shape, stability, and longevity of your product.

Now that you have the rundown on interface sewing and know when, how, and why to use it, you’re all set for successful endeavors in the future. In fact, you may find yourself stocking up on interfacing and reaching for it often.

Happy sewing!


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