Monday, 20 October 2014

What's the difference between facing and interfacing?

Our sewing classes in Colchester and Felixstowe  Fabric8 have been a  great success. We have covered all sorts of subjects such as patch working and how to follow a sewing pattern. I always find it fascinating to find what people struggle to follow. Paying attention to these things makes us  better teachers as well a guiding all our staff on how to help people new to sewing in our shops.

One such issue is that of interfacing and facings. Due to the similar names people seem to get the two mixed up, not helped by the fact that in many patterns ask you to interface the facings! So what are they?


What is a facing?

Here the facing extends a little into the garment
and ends with a  straight edge to make finishing easier. 
Facings are not something you buy they are a feature of a garment. The facing of a garment is normally a piece of the outer fabric on the inside of the garment. Whilst a lining is effectively a duplicate of the garment the facing extends only a little inside the garment. Sometimes a garment only has a  facing, other times the facing the joins a traditional lining.

What is a facing for?

Here the facing joins the lining.
Often a facing is used for cosmetic reasons. By having some of the outer fabric on the inside of a garment people do not see flashes of the wrong side of the fabric or the lining on the opening of the garment or at the arm holes. A facing will sometimes be used to add stiffness to a garment if it  has been interfaced (more on that later) or to avoid raw seams or to prevent you having to use a fined seam on a tricky part of construction, such as on the arm holes. The facings themselves can be shaped so if they have to be finished neatly then the edge needing finishing will be straight and easy to hem.


What is interfacing?

Interfacing is normally a special fabric you can buy from your sewing shop, occasionally a pattern will show you how to make your own. It comes in 2 main sorts, "sew in interfacing" and "fusible or iron on interfacing".

What is interfacing for?

Interfacing is attached to the wrong side of the fashion fabric to add body and stiffness to the garment.

How do you use interfacing?

Your sewing pattern will tell you what shape to cut out, normally it's the same as one of the pattern pieces. To use sew in interfacing simply lay the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric and press with an iron, lining up the edges. Then using a basting stitch (a long stitch) sew around the edges of the fabric and interfacing within the seam allowance.

To use fusible interfacing lay the side of the interfacing with the glue (the shiny side) onto the wrong side of the fabric and pop a damp cloth on top. Then press through the cloth with an iron set on setting 2 for 12 seconds or so. Start from the middle and work your way out to avoid creases.

When things can get confusing.

a contrasting facing used in a lapel 
Sometimes a facing is made from a different fabric than the outer fabric. In these cases they TEND to
be lapels of a jacket or something similar that are contrasting with the fashion fabric.

Sometimes the only part of a garment that gets interfaced is the facing, If the patterns says that don't worry you've not misunderstood, some garments are just like that.

Sometimes a facing IS a complete lining. This is rare and normally happens in children's' clothing where it's possible to cut out a lining from the left over fashion fabric. Again if the pattern says to do this don't panic, you haven't misunderstood.

And so there you have it, a brief guide to the difference of facing and interfacing and a little of the terminology used by patterns. If you ever find yourself struggling with a pattern just pop into your local Fabric8 shop or find us on twitter. We're always happy to help.

1 comment:

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