Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Topic of Discussion: Interfacings

After receiving a comment/question about interfacing's, I thought I'd make a blogpost about it.

First of all, what is the difference between interfacing and facing?

We call the "white stuff" you glue on or sew on, to stiffen an area, "interfacing" and we also call the little pieces you attach to a bodice neckline "front interfacing" and "back interfacing." =) Maybe that is normal or we're just a little confused here.

And to answer your question, Alexandrea, a "rule" I go by in my own sewing, ie, for myself: "If I can do without, I won't do it."

I generally don't use interfacing, ie. in this case "the white stuff" (even though the pattern calls for it). Now if the fabric I was sewing with was lightweight, I may consider doing a strip where I'd be doing the buttons-holes to give them some strength, but other than that, I wouldn't use it.

For instance, a dress that I'm working on called for "the white stuff" on the neckline interfacing's, on a button belt, and maybe in a couple other places, but since the fabric I am using is already on the "sturdy" side, my thinking is, "why use it?" =)

So do you (my readers who sew) use interfacing?


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the VERY quick and most helpful response!! I am making butterick B4939, and they say to have 2 1/2 yards!! Where would you put all of that?? I wouldn't WANT anything stiff on a nightgown, who would want to sleep in that! Would you recommend putting it in the collar though? I think that I'll probably end up using some for the button-holes like you recommended. How did you become such an amazing seamstress?? I am trying to teach myself... but sometimes it is a little overwhelming! Plus, you have to have a second job to provide for all of the materials you need! ;) I have so many projects going on right now between quilting, knitting, sewing, I get a tad bit overwhelmed at times! I told myself that I wouldn't buy another pattern/material until I've made all the projects I have... BUT I've already broken the rule! Thank you again for your great help! You are amazing!


Rachel said...

Alexandria, I think it's typical for seamstresses to have far more fabric/projects on hand than they can reasonably sew up. ;) I just made a jumper that I've had the fabric for...for I don't know, 4 or 5 years?

About the interfacing, I use it for facings for necklines (and anywhere else that needs a facing). It seems to help things lay a little better, though that could be debatable. :) I don't use it everywhere the pattern says to.

Cheri said...

You're most welcome! =)

Goodness, I can't imagine either where you'd put so much interfacing/facing in a nightgown. Yes, you could put it in the collar so it wouldn't be "floppy." I do that every no and then. What a cute pattern by the way!

LOL, I am no amazing seamstress by any means. I do sew quite a bit, so I am constantly making mistakes, but learning from them. =)

I had to laugh about not getting any more patterns/fabric. My sister and I are always saying that (such as Erin who told herslef that while out in PA, she wouldn't get any fabrics andher she came home with seven...) Never works. ::winks::

So Rachel, when you say "facing" do you mean the white fabric you glue on? I never have added it for necklines. Maybe I should start doing that. Your clothes always look so nice and professional.

Cheri said...

Oops, sorry for all the typo's! Hopefully what I wrote made some sense!

Lauren Christine said...

Sometimes I run out of interfacing and leave it completely out of a project :) But... I most always put it into the waistbands of my calico or cotton skirts- I find they hold their shape ten times better with some sturdy interfacing!

Laura said...

Cheri, I refer to the stiffening fabric as "interfacing" and the fabric that acts as a partial lining as "facing." I found an excellent definition here: "Facing: Fabric sewn on the raw edge of a garment piece that is turned under and serves as a finish for the edge as well."

I do usually use interfacing when it is called for, just because I like to follow directions EXACTLY!!! (Although I'm getting better at winging it.) :)

Anonymous said...

interfacing is the "white stuff" as you're calling it. ::grin::

facing are the pieces of material that the "white stuff" (aka interfacing) is ironed (or sewn) to.

Yes, I do use interfacing. My mom has taught me well to use it! And on the rare occasion I haven't used it, something doesn't hold right. And sometimes if I don't have it thick enough (like a neckline) then it sags sort of (especially a shaped neckline)

I totaly recommend the iron-on interfacing - it is much easier to use!

Interfacing helps skirt waistbands be stiff and hold their shape better, collars to hold their shape, underneath buttons and buttonholes for stability etc,..

Also, Alexandrea, I looked at the pattern on, and it only says 1/8 or 1/4 a yard of interfacing. They probably only have it in the collar, and a strip under the buttonholes.

Ok, that's just what I do! I find it helpful.

Thanks, Ruth Ann

Michelle said...

I usually don't use them. I actually avoid interfacing like the plague. If I'm making a corset or something that NEEDS to be superstiff, I'll use it, but most of the time all I manage to do is get it glued to my iron or on my ironing board...

Rachel said...

Cheri, I generally go by Laura's definitions: facing is the actual fabric piece, interfacing is the white stuff. I do use the white interfacing on my neckline facings; I think it helps them to lay better.

Using interfacing for waistbands on skirts is a great idea. Sometimes I've even used two layers (applied it twice, one on top of the other) to keep things from folding over.

Dana said...

I always use interfacing (the iron on stuff) when it's called for. Things just seem to look nicer and hold up better when it's used. I learned to sew in 4-H and in 4-H you sew EVERYTHING by the book! I do a lot of winging it, but never skimp on the interfacing. I buy it 3-4 yards at a time so there's always some on hand.


Cheri said...

Thanks Laura, for the definition! That helped.

I had to smile when you said that you like to follow a pattern "to the tee" since I have a sister that way. I think some of my influence has rubbed off on her though in a few areas. =)

And thanks to all the other ladies who gave their imput. =)