I have been working with interfacing a lot this week. I had started to write what quickly turned into a long, overwhelming rant about interfacing. Interfacing is a very personal preference type thing, but it also helps to know the basics when deciding which to choose. So considering that, I might approach this differently and a little bit at a time. Interfacing is important. It can help stabilize stitching, stiffen fabric and help achieve a different look or feel for your final project. If you want your bag to stand up or have a padded look or if you want your straps to be sturdy and not flimsy, the right kind of interfacing can make all the difference.
There are 4 main types of interfacing:
Stays in one place and does not shift.
Stabilizes the fabric and make it easier to work with.
Makes the fabric thicker or stiffer (if this is your intended effect – which it often is in “craft” sewing.)
It can drastically change the drape of the fabric (sometimes this matters, sometimes not so much.)
It can wrinkle or dimple *even* if you fuse it flat and correctly.
Adds thickness, stiffness and stability to the fabric without completely changing the behavior of the fabric.
Does not leave wrinkles or dimples like fusibles can.
Easy to go back and cut excess interfacing from seams to reduce bulk.
Does not make fabric easier to feed through the sewing machine.
You will have more layers to keep track of and line up, oh and pin. (I hate pins…)
Why choose a woven vs. a non-woven?
If you click on this picture and make it bigger you can see the difference between the woven and non-woven. Woven is just like fabric. Non-woven is more like paper.
Moves and drapes in the same way as your fabric.
Fusible version is easy to fuse, easy to remove if you mess up.
Less wrinkles and dimples
Cost & Availability
Typically only available in a few weights/thicknesses
Available in lots of weights and thicknesses
Fusibles can wrinkle, crinkle and dimple, especially on curvy parts of your project.
May drastically change the look and feel of the fabric
May tear more easily than woven
In general, I prefer woven interfacings to non-wovens. They have a more natural look and in the case of the fusibles, are easier to fuse. However, there are fewer choices for woven interfacing. Unless you live somewhere that has a massive craft and sewing culture, you are going to be limited by what you can easily find at the Big Box Fabric Store, the LQS (Local Quilt Shop) and online. (Which doesn’t always have the selection you would expect!)
You are typically only going to be able to find a single woven fusible from each manufacturer. In the case of Pellon, this is SF101. I like SF101. The only time SF101 would not be my first choice is if I need something significantly thinner or thicker and my only choices are non-wovens. There are also parts of projects were it doesn’t make sense to “waste” the good stuff, especially things that are going to be very flat and not have curves. Wovens are going to give your darts on a curvy purse a more natural shape, but on a flat pocket, especially a flat INSIDE pocket, no one is going to notice a difference.
My favorite woven sew-in is by HTC. I bought this whole bolt at my LQS, and apparently it had been around for years since before the current owner even bought the place, but I do believe it still exists. If you can find it, buy some! And please come back and tell me where you got it! This stuff is soft but once sewn into seams it really holds it’s shape. But since this is a single thickness, rare and was not cheap, I often turn to non-woven sew-ins.
More to come on this subject!