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Interfacings

Overview

Published: 03/30/2009

by Jo-Anne Coleman

Photos

Interfacing is an essential part of garment construction. Using the correct type of interfacing in the right areas of the garment makes all the difference in the finished look of a garment.

Why interface fashion fabric?
- to reinforce, shape, support, define, control, and form
- to add body, stability, crispness and strength

Interfacing helps create a professional looking garment while adding longevity to it. The interfacing chosen should not change the characteristics of the fabric nor should it overwhelm it, but rather it is meant to enhance it. The end result should look crisp and controlled. Always test a sample of the interfacing on a scrap of fabric before using an iron-on type. Test a woven interfacing, feeling all layers of the fabric with interfacings in between.

What types of interfacings are there?
There are three basic types to choose from: woven, non-oven and knit. These are all available as a sew-in or iron-on interfacing. Interfacings may be made from cotton, rayon, wool, polyester, nylon or a blend of fibres.

More types of interfacings and their characteristics:
Woven - Lengthwise and crosswise threads are woven together for strength and stability, best used in wool or linen that has a loose weave and needs more strength in areas such as necklines or pockets
Non-woven - Synthetic fibres bonded together by heat or chemical treatment, most are preshrunk for convenience but do wash before using.
Knit - Thread or yarn which is knit or looped together, and is soft and flexible, use on knits that require a little give in areas of stress such as the neckline on T shirts or soft fabrics that need a bit of ease.
Weft Insertion - Additional crosswise yarns knit together to alter the stretch as in tailoring – this is a cross between woven and knit with more crosswise give.
Warp Insertion - Additional lengthwise yarns knit together for strength used for soft tailoring, good on suede surfaces with give in every direction.

***Each interfacing has a purpose so testing your samples first is the best indicator of which type to use in specific areas.

Where is interfacing used in a garment?
Interfacing is used on collars, cuffs, buttonholes, pockets, pocket flaps, lapels, belts and waistbands, neckline areas, armhole facings, plackets and depending on the fabric weight and drape perhaps even hemlines. At times you may even wish to interface an entire piece of fabric prior to cutting. For example, I interfaced a soft wool crepe that needed support in the garment design I had chosen, to give the fabric more body. The key to where to use interfacing is often given in the pattern instructions. Interfacing is always applied to the wrong side of your fabric and should never show through so it is best applied to the facings of the garment.

Designer Tip: If your fabric is sheer and the interfacing might show through try using another layer of the fashion fabric as interfacing. That is use 3 layers (right side, interfacing and facing) cut all from Fashion fabric. The colour will be perfect and there will be no show through.
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***This is a partial excerpt from the article by the same name appearing in the Spring 2009 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine, which can be purchased by calling toll-free at 1.866.969.2678 or online at http://www.aneedlepullingthread.com/bi.html.