Sewing Tips: Defining & Using Interfacing, Fusible Web, Fusible Adhesive
Did you catch my most recent sewing tip for all of you just starting out on your sewing adventure? (or maybe you just need practice or a refresher??) In case you missed it, I posted a few tips to help with your basic sewing stitches, found here.
Hopefully that was helpful for some of you trying to get the hang of (or getting reacquainted with) your machine.
And just so you know, there are many more tips found in the Sewing Tips section, found here.
Have you been there in a while? (You can always find it by clicking on “Tutorials”, right under the header.)
. . . . .
As for today’s tip, it’s comes from a question I receive often.
And that is, “What in the world is interfacing and why do I need it?” So, I figured it must be something to add to the sewing tip section.
Plus a few more similar items that I use often.
I use interfacing pretty often and always have a stock of it. But I also always have some fusible web and adhesive. And I use them all for different reasons. So I’ll explain all of that.
Want to see more?
A bit about Interfacing:
- A textile attached to the “wrong” side of the fabric, which is the non-printed side or the side of the fabric you want hidden.
- It is used to stiffen up fabric, when it’s otherwise too flimsy.
- It comes in fusible (which means you iron it on) and sew in (which you have to hand or machine stitch in place). I generally only use the fusible kind. But you may need the sew-in type if you are using a very fragile or finicky fabric that shouldn’t be ironed.
- There are many interfacing weights available at the store. Usually you want to choose the weight of interfacing that closely matches the weight (or less) of your fabric. So if you have a super thin fabric, choose some interfacing that’s just as thin (or slightly thinner). A good way to do this is hold your fabric in one hand and then start feeling some interfacing in your other hand. Try to match it up as best you can.
When do I use it?
- making purses
- stiffening up totes
- stiffening up a collar or neckline
- making fabric coasters
- to stabilize stretchy fabric and keep it from stretching
- to help reinforce the area for a button holes
- and more…..lots more
Need a visual of a few projects using interfacing? (Click on the photo to go there.)
Now, let me show you how interfacing works. You’ll generally cut a piece of interfacing that’s the same as your pattern piece of fabric.
If you look at your fusible interfacing really closely (but not the sew-in kind) it has little bumps of glue on one side and is smooth on the other side.
You will place the bumpy side face down onto the “wrong” side of the fabric and iron it down in place. (I generally don’t have luck with interfacing if my iron is too hot and if I leave it on there too long. It kind of burns the glue off and then your layers won’t stick together. So keep that in mind.)
Now look at the difference a little interfacing can make.
Does that make more sense now? I hope so.
A bit about Fusible Adhesive:
- This is a 2-sided adhesive that sort of glues two layers of fabric (or other medium) together.
- I always buy a brand called ‘Heat n Bond’ but many people also use a brand called Wonder Under. From what I understand about Wonder Under (because I’ve never actually used it), these 2 brands are pretty similar.
- Be sure to purchase a SEWABLE fusible adhesive if you’re going to be sewing because a non sewable kind will gum up your needle.
- There is adhesive on one side and then paper on the other side, so make sure you never iron directly on the adhesive side……it’ll mess up your iron.
- I will often times iron this onto the back of fabric and then print shapes or letters as a mirror image off the computer and then trace them onto the paper backing. And then cut them out. Works great!
When do I use it?
- sewing on appliques
- sewing on lettering
- attaching designs to fabric in home decor
Need a visual of a few projects using Fusible Adhesive? (Click on the photo to go there.)
Now, let’s see how fusible adhesive works. This brand comes in sheets but also on a roll. So just cut what you need.
And if you look closely, you can see the adhesive on one side and the paper on the other side.
Now, you can cut the exact shape that you need or cut a piece that’s slightly bigger than you need and then cut your shape out afterwards. (I generally just cut a square shape because it’s hard to get the exact shape you need and then match it up exactly how you need it and then iron it, etc. Plus, the paper side gives you a nice surface to draw or trace the shape that you need. Great for letters!) So once you get that square (or other shape) cut out, place the adhesive side down on the “wrong” side of the fabric and iron it down, placing the hot iron on the paper side of the adhesive.
Then, draw your shape that you need on the paper side and then cut it out.
Then, peel the paper backing off………and the adhesive will stay adhered to the fabric. See how it’s shiny? That’s the adhesive. (If you peel off the paper and the adhesive didn’t stick to the fabric, you need to try ironing it on again.)
Now place the shiny side down on the fabric that you want to stick it to, and iron it down. (And as a side note, if you’re making an applique for clothing like this little heart below, you’ll then want to stitch around the edge of the heart, to secure it in place.)
Does that make better sense? Whew, you’re a pro now!
A bit about Fusible Web:
- This is a 2-sided adhesive that sort of glues two layers of fabric (or other medium) together, just like the fusible adhesive above.
- However, this webbing seems to glue things together with a bit more strength. I feel like this webbing is more substantial than the fusible adhesive I talked about above.
- It can really stiffen something up, so be careful what you use it with. (It could make a lighter fabric look terrible.)
- This variety that I use has a sticky back that holds the web in place temporarily. (think sticky like a sticker) So you don’t have to iron one side down first and then peel off the backing.
- Be sure not to let the iron touch any of this stuff……it will make a mess on your iron.
When do I use it?
- when I want to fuse felt on as a backing
- to applique thicker fabric, such as an upholstery type fabric
- while making a sole to a baby shoe/bootie
Need a visual of a few projects using Fusible Web? (Click on the photo to go there.)
Now, let’s see how fusible web works. Cut out the shapes that you need to fuse together (the blue fabric on the left and the felt in the middle) and then cut a piece of fusible web the same size.
Now, this variety has a sticky back on one side. So you just have to peel the paper backing off and it exposes the temporary adhesive that’s on one side. (Feels kinda like a sticker.)
Now, remember that this webbing stuff can be placed in the middle of your two layers without ironing one side first, like the adhesive shown above.
So just layer it between the two textiles that you want to iron together.
And then iron it together. When fusing felt to another fabric, it takes some time and some higher heat. So be patient. And then you’ll end up with a nice stiff piece of fabric with a felt backing.
And that’s it. Your rundown of interfacing and adhesive.
If you have anything I should add to each of these (or if I need to correct something), let me know. I’d love to add more info.