Interfacing is a very useful material that enhances the finishing of a project, but due to the variety of types, it is difficult to choose for each specific project. So, in this article, I hope to help in this dilemma by sharing what interfacings I use along with the explanations for each type.
Interfacing is a woven or non-woven textile used on the unseen or "wrong" side of fabrics to make an area of a garment more rigid. Most commonly interfacing is used in collars, cuffs and facings.
Sew-in vs Fusible
Interfacing can be classified into two broad categories: sew-in and fusible. The sew-in types are the ones that need to be sewn onto the back of the fabric, while the fusible type is one that needs to be bond with ironing. The fusible interfacings have a grid of glue dots coatings on the wrong side, which would fuse with the fabric once heat is applied. Fusible interfacings do change the look and feel of the fabric, unlike the sew-in type, which does not change it. So, in the case of heat sensitive, texture or pleated fabrics, it is better to use the sew-in interfacing, while in the woven or knits the fusible interfacing would be a good choice. I can’t say for sure what is better between the two due to their different uses, but I do mainly end up using the fusible interfacing for convenience.
Woven vs Non-woven vs Knit
There are three main types of fusible interfacing which are, woven, non-woven and knit.
The woven: looks and feels like fabric. Cutting with the grainline is important as the bias will have a slight stretch.
The non-woven: has no grainline like felt or fleece, and the texture could feel akin to paper. And since it has no grainline, it does not matter if you cut in any direction, so this is likely the easiest and most used interfacing for beginners to have access to.
The knit: stretches in one direction and so is useful for interfacing knit or stretchy fabrics. This is particularly useful when used to extend the life and shape of a garment as it restricts stretches.
Now that we’ve looked at the big groups of interfacing types so far, I’m going to share with you what types of interfacing I use for what projects.
Since many people use Pellon interfacing, I will try to explain some of the Pellon interfacing types that most closely resemble the ones I use. I usually use a 2 oz (1.5mm) fusible interfacing among the non-woven fusible types when making bags. Based on my experience, Pellon's Style #987F Fusible Fleece, which is a low loft polyester fleece, was the most similar to this thickness of interfacing. This is a good interfacing for making most types of bags, including handbags and totebags. Personally, I found it was good for working with really small items, like little pouches or purses, because this fusible fleece isn’t so dense while at the same time it is also good at holding its shape. Often time there is very little room for bulk in these items, meaning this type of fleece is usual perfect for it. It can also be used for kitchen accessories, quilts and wall hangings. This interfacing is likely just a great interfacing for in general for most purposes.
[Pellon's Style #987F Fusible Fleece]
I think the Pellon TP971 Fusible Thermalon Plus is a good fit for home décor or large, rigid bags. This interfacing is an extra lofty needled fleece, so it is both thicker and denser than regular fusible fleece. You can easily add strength without a lot of patchwork. Items that might be cool to make when using the fusible thermalon are large bags, such as diaper bags, tote bags that are being used as bookbags, and fabric baskets for home decor. The larger the item, the easier it is to assemble with this fusible thermalon.
[Pellon's TP971 Fusible Thermalon Plus]
For the collars and cuffs, Style #PLF36 fusible interfacing is usually used. This is an ultra lightweight interfacing for light to medium-weight fabric. It is very useful for blouses, dresses, shirts, and is good to use with fabrics like crepe de chine, voile, and handkerchief linen.
In part 2 I’ll talk about some tips on how to handle the interfacing.