What is Interfacing? And how should I use it?

There are some projects where it’s more than just fabric you need. Interfacing is a common material used in sewing projects, and there are several different types. I must admit, my knowledge on interfacing is pretty limited, so I’m thrilled to have my friend Rachael from imagine gnats here to tell you all about it!

There are a lot of kinds of interfacing out there. And there are lots of different reasons and ways to use them. That said, I must confess that I spent a lot of years using Pellon 809 Decor bond for everything. Did anything disastrous happen? No, of course not. But would I ever go back to that now? Not. A. Chance!

For disclosure’s sake, I am in a relationship of sorts with interfacing (I really do love it)… I’m a Pellon Projects Artist. It’s an easy gig, since I’ve always used Pellon products in my projects anyway. You can check out my free patterns and tutorials using some of my favorite Pellon products and read more about me in my profile here. You can also come visit me in my little corner of the internet, imagine gnats, where I share about my projects, family, things I love, and all things crafty. When I’m not at home, you can also find me touching fabric and blogging for sewn studio or wrangling social media for CraftFoxes.

The Artisan Apron: imagine gnats for Pellon

As part of Ros’s fab Back to {Sewing} Basics series, I thought I would answer a few of the questions I would have had about interfacing… had I known to have questions, that is. And I’ll also share with you some fabulous interfacing resources and references.

Why use interfacing?
Apparel: to shape, support, and stabilize detail areas
Crafts and Home Decor: to strengthen, stabilize, or aid in design
Embroidery: to prevent stretching and distortion while stitching
Quilting: add weight or warmth to the final project

What is fusible?
Interfacing that is fusible simply has an adhesive on one side (or both, in some cases) that is activated by heat and allows the interfacing to permanently adhere to your fabric.

Fusible sounds convenient… why use sew-in?
A fusible interfacing, since it is adhered to your fabric, will cause the fabric to behave differently (particularly if the interfacing is a non-woven, unlike your fabric). In some cases you may want the fabric to retain its ability to drape, pleat, or flow without taking on the characteristics of the interfacing. In this case, a sew-in (non-fusible) interfacing would be more appropriate.

Cathedral Window Pillow: My Go-Go Life for Pellon

How is a woven interfacing different?
The way that any interfacing in constructed will determine how it behaves when used in a project or adhered to fabric. Most interfacings are non-woven, meaning that they are made from fibers bound together (think particle board), rather than woven. A woven interfacing like Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex will behave more like fabric than a non-woven and therefore may be more appropriate in projects where retaining the character of your fabric is desired, like in the waistband of a skirt.

Can i use interfacing with knits?
Absolutely! A product like Pellon EK130 Easy Knit is designed to fuse to light to midweight knits in order to add shape or prevent show-through, while allowing the fabric to maintain stretch.

Interfacing information and resources:
Pellon 101: Apparel Interfacing
Pellon 101: Crafts & Home Decor
Pellon 101: Quilting
Pellon 101: Fusible Webs & Adhesives
Pellon 101: Embroidery
Pellon 101: Printable Reference Chart
Tuesday Tips from the Pellon blog

Embroidery-To-Go Bag: Sew Sweetness & imagine gnats for Pellon

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about interfacing! Email me here: rachael {at} imaginegnats.com or stop by imagine gnats. happy sewing!!

xo, rachael

Thanks so much Rachael! Such a great post (and heaps of info I didn’t know!) For more tips and tricks for beginners, make sure you check out the rest of the Back to Basics series!

6 thoughts on “What is Interfacing? And how should I use it?

  1. I have a few different types and need to learn more about what each one does. I do understand about using the fusibles, very stiff quilts, but I use it for small wall hangings so nice to have the stiffness in those.


  2. Thanks for your information! I've been sewing for about 44 years now and have used it all. That is…if it was made before 1995. I collected and hoarded so much that I'm planning an art retreat where the participants bring only their clothing and a toothbrush. Anyway…I'm appreciative to learn about the newer products.

  3. Thanks for this information. I've been teaching myself how to sew (and blogging about it) for the past six months. Eventually, I want to make some cute projects with interfacing, so I'm looking forward to visiting your blog more.

    Bonny @ thedomesticatedprincess.blogspot.com

  4. hi, i’m a doing a folder on woven fabrics, and i was wondering what is interfacing was made of? is it made of cotton or a synthetic material? thanks 🙂

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