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What is interfacing?
Essential ingredients in professionally finished garments, interfacings add shape,
support and stability. Selecting one may be confusing at times. Interfacing is the
inside material that supports and reinforces the outer, or fashion fabric. Interfacings
can be woven or non woven, sew in or fusible. Interfacings that are too light will
not provide the required support. Interfacings that are too heavy will distort the
shape of the garment. Interfacings are applied in a facing, collar, cuff, placket,
pocket, flap lapel and waistband.
Although the choice between a sew-in and a fusible interfacing is usually a matter
of personal preference, the fashion fabric may be the determining factor. Certain
fabrics, including rayon and acetate velvet, fake fur, synthetic leather, open work
lace and mesh. Vinyl, rainwear, textured brocades and heat set plisses may not be
suitable for fusing. Some fabrics with water repellent or stain resistant finishes
may also reject the fusing process.
Sew-in interfacings are basted in place and the permanently stitched into the garment
during the construction process. Fusible's have a shiny resin on one side that causes
them to bond to the fashion fabric when you apply the manufacturers recommended combination
of heat, steam, time and pressure. While most interfacings bond when ironed at the
wool setting, several new ones designed for sensitive and super fine fabrics will
bond at the lower silk setting. Fusible's are necessarily faster than sew-ins because
time at the sewing machine is exchanged for time at the ironing board.
With a sew-in, drape the interfacing and the fashion fabric over your hand and observe
how they interact. Performing a fuse test is the only true way to determine the interaction
between a fusible interfacing and your fashion fabric. If you are considering a fusible
and a sew-in that appear to be the same weight, then one might create a slightly
more crisp affect than the other.
Conduct a fuse test by bonding a small piece of interfacing to your fabric. Let it
condition (dry undisturbed) for about an hour, then drape the fabric over your hand.
Its helpful to keep several yards of a verity of weights and types of interfacing
on hand. In the long run this is more economical than the wasted yardage that occurs
when you by interfacing on a project by project basis.
Interface like the pros:
Ensure that the interfacing requires the same care as the fabric. For example a permanent
press interfacing does not belong in a silk blouse and dry clean only hair canvas
is a poor choice for a jacket that will be washed. Select a dark interfacing for
dark fabrics and a white or beige product for light coloured fabrics. This avoids
interfacing show-through, this also prevents any chance of contrast along the cut
edges of a buttonhole and gives the inside of a garment a more pleasing appearance.
Save an interfaced square of each garment and label it with the name of the product.
These squares will provide a quick reference for future interfacing decisions.
Sandwich aluminium foil between your ironing board and its cover to serve as a heat
Anchor tricky areas where fabric and fusible may shift by positioning the materials
with straight pins into the fabric and the ironing board.