What is interfacing in sewing? 8

What is interfacing in sewing?

Interfacing in sewing relates to adding a layer inside of those parts of the garment that need to be stiffened. You can use it on a collar, plackets, cuffs, etc.


there are instructions on the pattern where you should use it. For me, it is the most annoying part of sewing.


it makes all the difference in the appearance and functionality of a garment. That’s why it is a step that you don’t want to skip.

You might’ve noticed that interfaced fabric details look and feel different. For example, it can eliminate stretching where you don’t want it.


it can add some stiffness to parts of the garment like armholes and neckline.

What type of interfacing are there?

There are different types of interfacing. It differs in the way of attachment, the color, weight and the material it is made of. Therefore, making the right choice can really influence the result, you are going to get. When you buy interfacing it should come with instructions how to use it. Those instructions include: should you use steam or not, what temperature to set the iron on, etc.

Fusible and Sew-in interfacing

Fusible interfacing is applied with an iron. It has small dots of textile glue on one side and it is smooth on the other. When it is steamed or heated with the iron, those small dots melt and the interfacing gets glued to the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure to use a press cloth to prevent glue sticking on the iron table or any other pieces of the garment. Also, check for wrinkles on the fabric why applying the interfacing, because they are not going to be removed easily later.

Fusible interfacing can be woven and non-woven. The woven one looks more like fabric. It has a grain line, so make sure to apply it accordingly.


there might be unwanted consequences like stretching or wrinkles on the face fabric.

The non-woven one looks more like paper and it has more delicate structure. You can apply it in аny direction.


How to attach interfacing?

Sew-in interfacing is attached by sewing it in the seam allowance.


I prefer to use only fusible interfacing in my projects. It adds stiffness to the whole surface of the detail that is attached to while the saw in leaves some space between the fabric and itself. This can lead to wrinkles on the face fabric. Of course, if you get better results and find it easier to work with the sew-in interfacing, go ahead and use it. 

There are some other types of interfacing on the market like fusible fleece and some very hard and thick ones. They make the interfaced fabric very rigid like a cardboard. This makes them suitable for upholstery, bags, and purses. For fabrics I typically use in my designs (like rayon, cotton jersey, spandex, woven fabrics for apparel), I prefer those three types shown in the picture below. For more advice on how to work with knits, read this article.

What is interfacing fabric?

Interfacing is found in many forms on the market. You may choose to buy it pre-cut, on tapes with different width and color or on bolts like fabric. I prefer to use tapes with the appropriate width for slits and cuffs. And fabric-like for collars, stands, and waistbands.

It is fine to buy only the fabric-like one and cut it in any form. I like to buy the same types in black and use them on darker fabric. You can use only white in every project of yours.


How do you use fusible interfacing and how much?

This is a dress I made from a very lightweight rayon jersey fabric. I prefer to use white non-woven fusible interfacing for a couple of reasons:

  • the fabric I used is very light and transparent. Any thicker interfacing would look and feel unnatural to the other parts of the garment;
  • this fabric doesn’t have any lycra added, but it stretches a bit. The fusible interfacing eliminates most of the stretching into interfaced details.

How to apply interfacing to fabric

I used a hot iron. Due to the use of For the collar and the collar stand, I used the fabric-like interfacing. For the slit, I used a tape that has the same width as a half of it. I always interface just one of the faced details or a half of the slits. This way they don’t get too rigid. After the glue dots stick to the wrong side of the fabric, I cut them out and continue with sewing.

On the picture below is the result I got from using interfacing. It is much more distinct when the garment is nicely ironed (sadly I didn’t take a picture).


 What can I use instead of sewing interfacing?

Not every sewing project requires interfacing, so I would recommend investing a little money into it. Use it instead of any substitutes – it has specific qualities that influence the results you are about to get.

If you don’t have an alternative, you can use some piece of rigid fabric just as you would use a sew-in interfacing.

Where can I buy fusible interfacing?


interfacing can be found in any local sewing shop. You can buy it many places online, too. It requires an investment, but you are going to use it for a long time afterwards.

Do you find this tutorial helpful? Or perhaps you have a question? Don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comment section below.

Related posts:

  1. What is a coverstitch machine and how to use it?
  2. How to sew an elastic waistband
  3. Ten most asked questions about a serger (overlocker)
  4. How To Learn How To Sew (and why)
  5. How to sew with knits

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