We’re talking all about types of interfacing today.
Why? Because interfacing is one of the key elements to making all of your sewing better.
Also, if you go searching for types of interfacing, your head will soon be in a stew of numbers and manufacturers and confusion.
I’m not about that. By the end of this post, I want you to know what kinds of interfacing are out there, what they’re for, and where you can find them.
Sound good? Fire up your iron and let’s dive deep into the world of fusible interfacings (and some not fusible!).
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Types of interfacing for garments
When you’re interfacing areas in a garment, you want the fabric to keep feeling like itself. The interfacing is there to keep it from wrinkling, add some stability for things like buttons and zippers and some structure in collars and such.
Tricot knit interfacing I think is one of the most versatile interfacings out there. It has a little give, making it perfect for knits, but I often use it for wovens as well.
The thing I love about knit interfacing above all is that it doesn’t change the hand of the fabric. That is to say that after you apply it, the fabric feels the same on the outside as it did before. To be true, if I could choose just one interfacing, this would probably be it.
It’ll cut down on wrinkling and add just enough heft to make a thinner fabric feel substantial.
Where to buy knit interfacing
Knit interfacing tape
On the subject of knit interfacing, SewKeysE makes several knit interfacing tapes that are absolutely a gamechanger when it comes to hemming knits.
This tape being knit has a little give, making it perfect for fusing in a knit hem.
The tapes make pressing fussy knits into a nice hem, but also the tape gives some stability so that you won’t end up with a wavy hem.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by hemming knits and ending up with a wiggly, wavy mess, definitely try one of the tapes from Emma Seabrooke.
Silk organza is lovely lovely stuff. It’s sheer, incredibly lightweight and extremely stable.
Another nice thing about silk organza is that it’s breathable. Most interfacings, being mostly polyester do not have that same quality.
Silk organza is great for stabilizing necklines and armholes in nicer fabrics where you don’t want to add a lot of bulk. It lends a lot of structure especially for how lightweight it is.
How to work with silk organza as interfacing or underlining
For a silk jacket like this one with silk taffeta, you can underline all of the pieces with the silk organza.
To do that, line up the grainline of both, pin inside the seam allowances.
Hand baste all of the pieces to the silk organza. From there, cut out the silk organza along your pattern piece lines.
Notice I said hand basting and not by machine. There’s lots of sew-in interfacings that are fine to baste by machine, but I would not put silk organza in that category.
Silk organza is best with fabrics that are more delicate and deserve some special treatment.
You will never regret spending a few extra minutes hand basting your pieces.
Where to buy silk organza
I buy my silk organza from Dharma Trading. As a dye supplier, they have plain silk organza available for people that do silk painting with their dyes. Funny enough, I’ve never found anyone with a better price on silk organza! If you want to give something like ice dyeing a try, pick up some silk organza as you’re gathering dyeing supplies.
Bonus? Silk organza makes THE best press cloth. Because it’s very heat resistant and see through, it’s ideal to use as a press cloth for virtually all fabrics.
I would write songs about hair canvas if anyone would listen. This stuff is amazing.
Hair canvas is woven from goat hair and other fibers like cotton, rayon and wool.
It’s quite stiff but moldable.
It’s traditionally used in tailoring for shaping elements like collars. Here I have it on the inner guts of my husband’s 10th Doctor Suit. All that padstitching helps the collar roll properly on the neck.
My favorite part about hair canvas is the structure it lends. If you love to pop your collar on a coat, try hair canvas as your interfacing of choice. I also added it in this denim jacket and very much enjoy how the collar stands up.
You can find fusible hair canvas and also sew-in hair canvas. For sew-in hair canvas, cut out your pattern piece from hair canvas but trim off the seam allowances to cut down on bulk. Baste in the hair canvas by hand, then you’ll use your tailoring stitches to really hold it in place.
For fusible hair canvas, fuse per the manufacturer directions, and you can add shaping stitches after.
Where to find hair canvas
Hair canvas can be quite pricey ($20/yd+), but you can usually get several projects out of your hair canvas yardage unless you sew suits a lot.
The best two places I know are Fashion Sewing Supply and Wawak. I can’t say enough good things about the hair canvas from Fashion Sewing Supply. Her hair canvas is extra wide, making that $21/yard go very far indeed, and it’s of a fine fiber blend.
Weft interfacing is another great choice for interfacing jackets. It offers soft support and shaping. It’s recommended to use it in the upper collar and facings and sleeve hems of jackets.
You can use it on knit fabrics or wovens. I used it in the body of this linen coat. The linen was a little too drapey for what I wanted to create, but the weft interfacing gave the fabric some heft and support. I love the soft shaping on the collar.
Where to buy weft interfacing
Wawak also has weft interfacing you might want to try out.
Fashion Sewing Supply also has some excellent weft interfacing, though I’ve noticed it’s a little firmer the Pefect Fuse. It’s still lovely stuff I’d be proud to use in a jacket, just something to keep in mind.
Tie interfacing is a weird but good interfacing. You will find it in…ties.
Literally, if you cut open a tie, you’ll find a bias cut strip of this fluffy sort of woven interfacing.
Where can you use tie interfacing?
Tie interfacing is FANTASTIC for easing in the sleeve heads on jackets. You sew in a strip of it cut on the bias within the seam allowance. As you’re stitching in in place, you stretch the tie interfacing.
What this does is create a soft, beautifully rounded sleeve head that you can stitch in without using words that would make sailors blush.
Where to find tie interfacing
Easiest thing: go find an old tie that was fashionable circa 1992. Open up the seam and boom, you’ve got enough interfacing for a few projects.
Wigan is another specific sort of interfacing for hems.
It’s a rather stiff plain woven cotton tape that’s cut on the bias.
Baste or fuse wigan into bottom hems and sleeve hems on your jackets and coats and it’ll lend a lovely crispness to the edges.
I get my wigan at Wawak.
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Types of interfacing for shirts
I’m pleading with you.
Use nice interfacing when you make a button-down shirt.
Good interfacing on shirts will make collars that sit properly, cuffs that are crisp and worth rolling up and buttonholes that are worth admiring.
Use sad interfacing that’s all-purpose or kind of cheap and it’s just going to look a bit sloppy. I’m not telling you what to do now, but just once, sew a shirt with the good stuff.
Where to buy good interfacing for shirts
I have 3 favorites here.
- Pellon Shir-Tailor: moderately priced, a little stiff but this makes a respectable collar and cuffs.
- Pro Woven Light Crisp from Fashion Sewing Supply: lighter weight for a “lightly crisp” look.
- Pro Woven Shirt Crisp from Fashion Sewing Supply: the gem of all shirt interfacings. It’s designer quality and truly a joy to work with.
When it comes to types of interfacing for home projects, buckram comes to mind.
Buckram is a great interfacing choice for making curtains.
It’s a stiff woven tape that you stitch into place. Buckram supports the weight of elements like grommets. And because it’s quite stiff but moldable, buckram is also excellent if you want to make pleated curtains.
You can buy iron on buckram here.
Good types of interfacing for bags
All of the next several interfacings are excellent choices when you’re making bags. Bags are a bit different than sewing garments in that they need a LOT of structure, some padding and more bulk than you’d build into a garment.
We talked a little bit about non-woven interfacings in Everything you need to know about interfacing fabric.
Just to recap, non-woven interfacings are rather fluffy on the wrong side and tend to make the outer fabric feel a little more papery in the end.
While this is not my favorite feel for garments at all, non-wovens fusible interfacings are great to have in your supply if you make bags.
They give your bags solid structure which is exactly what you want in a bag.
The other good thing about non-woven interfacings (and everything made by Pellon) is that you can buy them in most fabric stores.
Good non-woven types of interfacing to try
- Pellon 71 F Peltex: Ultra firm and great for bags that need to stand up on their own. This is quite stiff, so cut it so that it only goes to the seamline of pieces that you interface.
- Pellon 809 Decor Bond: Love love love this stuff. It will stand up on it’s own a bit like a lamp shade, though it’s medium weight. This will give a bag structure without getting too bulky or hard to maneuver like some of the heftier bag interfacings out there.
Fusible fleece how I love thee. There’s so many small projects that are enhanced by a layer of fusible fleece. I put a layer of it in many of the ornaments inside of Fabulous Felt Christmas Cookies, and there’s a layer of it in the Pretty Up Makeup Bags in Knockout Zipper Bags.
It’s a little lighter weight than batting, but it gives some loft to your projects while remaining soft.
Because it’s fused into place, unlike batting it will not move around on you while you’re sewing with it.
Fusible fleece is magical, and you should absolutely get some if you like sewing bags at all.
You can buy fusible fleece by the yard at fabric stores or on Amazon. I rather like the Heat n Bond fusible fleece.
Canvas or duck cloth
Canvas should not be discounted. It is an excellent choice for interfacing bags.
I like that it still lets the fabric feel like fabric. So many bag interfacings can feel quite stiff, but canvas really lets the fabric remain feeling like fabric.
To use canvas as an interfacing, simply stack your pattern piece on top of the fabric. After that, stitch around both pieces near the raw edge with a long basting stitch.
Where to buy canvas or duck cloth
To be honest, I rarely buy canvas as yardage, though you can find it at fabric stores.
Look for old canvas bags at thrift stores. This can be a super cheap way to get some quality interfacing!
Fusible foam interfacing
This is another gamechanger interfacing for bags. Fusible foam interfacing adds a lot of padding to a bag, but it’s very easy to use.
I’ve made bags before where the directions recommended upholstery foam to which you got it in the bag with spray adhesive. Holy fumes Batman that was not a good experience.
Thankfully there’s no brain damaging fumes with fusible foam. You simply fuse it in place and you’re good to go.
Use fusible foam interfacing any time you’re making a bag that requires padding like travel bags or a laptop bag.
Pro-tip: trim out the fusible foam from the seam allowances to cut down on bulk.
Where to find fusible foam interfacing
So that’s a big rundown of 13 types of interfacing that’ll help you make sewing projects you’ll be proud of. What’s your favorite interfacing?
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.