Fusible Interfacing: What Is It and When to Use It?


The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives forever as many of us have lost, or have been furloughed from our jobs, and those of us that still have work find ourselves working from home rather than commuting to an office.

Our social lives have also been severely curtailed as no longer can we meet in large groups, and indeed, it is often difficult to see our own family that we don’t live with.

This has all meant that we have had to find new hobbies to pass the time, and one of the most popular activities that people have taken up is sewing. As money has become tight, what better hobby than one that allows you to make your own clothes?!

The basics of sewing come easily to many people, but when you get more advanced there are many different techniques and materials that you need to be aware of.

One of the most important is fusible interfacing as this is the technique that adds stiffness to collars and cuffs, which will really finish off any piece. If you are looking to learn more about what fusible interfacing is and when to use it, then read on, as we will explore everything that you need to know.

What is Interfacing?

In order to understand fusible interfacing, we must first take a look at what interfacing is. At its simplest level, it is adding an extra layer to the inside of garments to provide rigidity, firmness, shape and structure and it can also be used as a stabilizer around seams so that the material does not hang in a limp fashion.

There are two different types of interfacing: fusible, which we shall take a look at in this article, and sew-in interfacing which does what its name suggests.

There are many things to consider when you are buying interfacing, from whether it is lightweight or more heavy-duty, to whether you are looking for woven, non-woven or even knit interfacing, so it is important to understand what you need it for.

What is Fusible Interfacing?

Fusible interfacing has an adhesive on one side which when bonded to fabric with an iron will remain permanently, thus making it the easiest form of interfacing to use.

It can be used with most common fabrics but must be avoided when using fabrics such as velvet or fur, or anything that is heat-sensitive because the ironing process will ruin the fabric.

If you are intending to use these types of fabric then it is much safer to use sew-in interfacing as there will be less damage to the material and it will provide more natural shaping than the stiffness that you sometimes get from fusible interfacing.

At the beginner’s level, though, you will be absolutely fine using fusible interfacing as it provides the essential fabric backing that you need, without having to go through the process of sewing multiple layers together.

This can be tricky for a novice, so it’s much better to use the easier option when your fabric choice dictates.

What Are The Different Types Of Fusible Interfacing?

Now that we have discovered what fusible interfacing is we need to look at the different types, and when they can be applied.

Non-woven interfacing is the first type and the easiest to use because the fibers are bonded together without grains, so it can be cut in any direction and will not ravel.

It is suitable for all materials except those that stretch.

Woven interfacing is similar but it has grain.

This means that you must be careful which direction you cut it, and it must be aligned with the fabric that you are ironing it on to so that the two fibers can work in harmony.

The third type of interfacing is knit interfacing, which, as the name suggests, has knitted fibers. This means that the interfacing has stretch in it and can be used when making items such as sweaters which will naturally be stretched.

If you do not use knit interfacing with this type of garment it will become rather stiff and you run the risk of ripping it with any sharp movements.

What Weight Interfacing Should I Use And Does The color Matter?

Fusible interfacing comes in many different grades and weights. You are looking for a weight that is no greater than that of the actual fabric that you are making your garment from, and ideally, it should be a little bit lighter.

A great rule of thumb is to match the interfacing with the weight of the garment and you won’t go far wrong, in fact with ultra-lightweight garments you can even use your main fabric as backing fabric, which saves you shelling out on interfacing.

From a color point of view, you will generally find that interfacing comes in a very dark or very light shade. You should simply match it to the fabric that you are using so that it blends in and does not dominate your main color.

How do I Apply it?

Fusible interfacing is very easy to apply with a little bit of practice. First, check that you have the right side of the interfacing with the adhesive on it, and then cut it to shape using your main fabric as the template.

Take care with the grain if you are using woven or knit interfacing. You then need to place your main fabric face down on the ironing board and then place the interfacing with the glue side face down on top.

Ensure that you cover the fabrics with a damp cloth or towel and then press the iron down for 10-15 seconds over each piece of fabric. The steam from the damp cloth will interact with the two materials creating a bond.

You must not glide the iron as if you were ironing clothes as the two fabrics will slip and you will not have an even bond.

Once done you should find that the interfacing is fixed firmly in place, but if not you can lift it and repeat the process until you have a strong bond.

As we have learned, fusible interfacing is an extra layer added to garments to improve rigidity, structure and shape.

It comes made from different materials which must be matched to your fabric of choice, and it can easily be ironed on using a damp cloth to set off the adhesive. Make sure the weight is less than your main fabric, and also that the color is lighter so that it doesn’t affect the overall tone of the garment.

Follow this guide and you will be well-placed to make any garment that takes your fancy.

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