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What is interfacing and interlining?

Sarah Loughrey

A beginners Guide to Interlining/Interfacing

Interlining, also known as fusible or interfacing is a fabric that is used to add stability to another fabric. A simple example would be a facing or collar, where the fabric on its own does not have the structure to deliver the desired finish, so an Interlining is bonded to the fabric to form the collar or facing as required.

Fashion is moved along by innovations in textiles and Interlinings have evolved to follow suit. There have been huge innovations in textiles in the last 10 years.  Now interlinings can deliver many applications that were not possible even 5 years ago.

Before we get into the latest innovations (that is for another blog) let's start at the beginning.

What are Interlinings?

Interlinings can be divided into 2 categories

1. Fusible Interlinings - have an adhesive on one side

2. Dry Interlinings - also known as Sew-ins, do not have any adhesive

Fusible Interlinings

Fusible adhesives come in a variety of fabric bases and weights. Adhesives vary as a fine chiffon cannot be fused to the same Interlining as a heavy wool. The general rule is, the lighter the fusing, the lighter the adhesive.

A light chiffon will work well with fine adhesive glue dots. If the glue dots are unsuitably heavy they will strike through the fabric. Equally If a fine adhesive is fused to a heavy wool it will de-laminate as the glue will not be heavy enough to penetrate the wool. 

Fusible Interlinings can be divided into 3 categories

1. Woven

2. Non-woven

3. Knits 

Woven Fusible Interlinings

Woven Interlinings are constructed like a cloth with a warp and a weft.

They can have some stretch across the weft (mono-stretch) or across the warp and weft (multi stretch or bi-stretch) They can also have no stretch whatsoever.

Woven Interlinings are produced across a broad spectrum of fabrics and weights.

Generally the lightest weight starts at around 12 grams per square metre and usually does not surpass 100g per sq metre.

Non woven fusible Interlinings

Non-wovens like the description are not woven like a cloth but constructed like paper, as a mesh of fibres.

Non-wovens are the least loved Interlinings but there are now flexible non-wovens with much improved handfeel, although by no way comparable to a premium knit or a woven. They come in a variety of weights but nowhere near the variety available in wovens. 

Knits

Knitted Interlinings are produced to stretch and come in a variety of constructions and are no longer used exclusively with knitted fabrics.

Fine Denier knits give subtle bounce and flexibilty to light woven fabrics. In fact knitted Interlinings are extremely versatile, making them a great option across many fabric constructions.

They also come with a non stretch insert across the weft giving them a mono-stretch (only stretch one way) application.

Dry Interlinings / Sew-Ins

Sew-ins are generally made of non-woven materials and usually used for waistbands. I don't really like sew-ins as Fusibles are now up to this job and I find that fusibles offer a superior finish.  However sew-ins still do an amazing job on special applications (Look out for our next blog on this!)

How do I know which Interlining is suitable for my fabric ?

There is no longer any fixed rules with Interlinings. Whole garments can be block-fused to add form and shape. Jersey fabrics can be fused to woven Interlinings, transforming Jersey to a woven fabric. Soft Woven silks can be fused to light knitted Interlinings. Light weight wools can be fused to heavy weight woven fusibles, adding weight and thereby transforming the appearance and handle of the wool to a heavy weight wool.

As long as the adhesive is suitable to the fabric (the right size and volume for the fabric), there is reason to experiment.

Helpful Tips

Make sure you don't over-heat your fusible Interlining. Usually 2 dot iron is the maximum required to melt the glue.

Always use steam !

Ensure that you do not place your fusing down the wrong way. You do not want to get this glue on your iron.

Leave your fused fabric to 'cure' after fusing. Optimum results require time for the glue to set.

Always fuse-test a swatch of fabric. Some fabrics have a silicon finish and will not stick to any fusible. Testing is the only way to know if your fabric and fusible are going to work together. After test fusing try to prise the fabric from your Interlining -If it is a real struggle to peal off, then you know you are on the right road to fusing heaven.

Think of Interlining as you do your underwear; Don't match black with white.

Do not 'iron on' your fusible Interlining like you are doing the ironing. Place the iron down for about 6 seconds applying pressure without movement and work your way around until all areas have been fused. 

The glue will escape and make its way onto your iron and ironing board so use a lightweight muslin cloth to protect your iron.

I hope this has helped you to get started, If you have any questions, feel free to email us here at info@ragchop.com