Tips for Sewing Interfacing

Sewing interfacing can make your projects look very professional.

Interfacing is an extra fabric that's used to give body and strength. You never see it because it's hidden between the outer fabric and the lining.

Even if it's hidden and may seem useless, your clothes and purses wouldn't be the same without it.

Have you noticed:

  • How stiff shirt cuffs and collars are
  • how buttonholes tend to be stronger than the rest of the garment
  • or that the edges of a zipper resist all the pulls?

This is all the interfacing's doing. Take a look in your closet and you'll find more examples. You'll see it in upholstery and fabric shoes too.

Notice how parts that get used a lot (zipper edges, seams, buttonholes, pockets, waistbands) are strengthened with this useful fabric. It also comes in handy when you need to give extra body to a light fabric.

Selecting the Right Interfacing

Interfacing is made in different colors, weights and weaves. Selecting the most appropriate for your fabric will make a big difference. The idea is to match its properties to the outer fabric's as closely as possible. There are several things you should look for when you're planning on sewing interfacing, let's go step by step.

1. Type of Weave

There are three different weaves.

    Knit interfacing: It's a knit fabric, making it perfect for fabrics that stretch. You cut following the stretch direction.

    Woven interfacing: This is to be used with woven fabrics. It has a lengthwise and crosswise grain. When you cut, pay attention to the selvage and arrange the patterns accordingly.

    Non-woven interfacing: It doesn't have direction and is suitable for any fabric. You can cut in any way you like.

2. Choose between Fusible or Sew-In

The three types mentioned above can either be fused to the fabric or sewn together with it. Let's see the difference between them.

    Fusible interfacing (also called iron-on)

    Sew In interfacing: Use it when you need to give more weight and strength but you want the outer fabric to preserve its drape.

    You accomplish this by sewing an interfacing layer between the outer fabric and the lining. Even though you can buy it, you can use any fabric for this purpose. Pre-shrink before sewing and make sure it doesn't show through to the outside.

3. Select color and weight

Then you have to match the color and weight as closely as possible to the fabric.

    Color: Interfacing comes only in light (white or beige) and dark (black, charcoal and gray) colors.

    It doesn't show on the outside, so there's no need to match it perfectly to your fabric. Just make sure that it doesn't affect the fabric's original tone. Select dark colors for dark fabrics, and light colors one for light ones.

    Weight: They usually come in light, mid, heavy and extra heavy weights.

    Match the weight to the outer fabric's to preserve its original properties. If you're not sure, it's always better to go down than up and to pretest. Choosing the wrong weight can affect the drape of the outer fabric.
Watch out for these little details when you plan on using it. Once you get the hang of it, you'll see it's not so hard selecting the best one for each project.

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