What is fusible interfacing?
Fusible interfacing is interfacing which has tiny glue dots on the back which when melted by the heat of the iron bond the interfacing and fabric together. There are many types of interfacing available (see our beginner’s guide here) but this article will focus on fusible interfacing. Fusible interfacing can also be known as iron-on interfacing too. These are the same product, just different terminology.
Which interfacing should I use?
I prefer to use Vlieseline interfacings and fusible fleeces (disclosure: I am one of their brand ambassadors because I like them so much). They are good quality, they don’t come unstuck after you fuse them and they are available from most sewing shops. The interfacing used in this tutorial is F220 which is a lightweight iron on interfacing. I also included some fusible fleece in one photo, H640, this is my favourite because it has really good loft and is ideal for bags and quilted projects.
To find the correct interfacing for your project read our introduction to interfacing, or visit the Vliesline website. The heavier the weight of the interfacing, the more structure it will add to your project. So, for projects where you still want the fabric to maintain it’s natural drape (like dressmaking with light fabrics) you would use a lightweight interfacing, for projects that need extra structure adding like bag making, fabric boxes etc you would go for a heavyweight interfacing. For extra volume consider a wadding fleece or foam. Lightweight interfacing tends to be used with lightweight fabrics, and heavy weight interfacing with heavier fabrics.
Interfacings come in white and black so you can chose the colour which is least likely to show through your fabric.
Which side of the interfacing is fusible?
One thing you do not want to do is iron the wrong side of the interfacing or you could end up with glue on your iron or pressing cloth! The underside of your interfacing will have a bumpy texture from the glue dots, on a fusible fleece (see below) because the glue dots are bigger it’s easy to see, on a lightweight interfacing with small dots you may want to run your finger over it just to be sure. Some brands use a thin film of glue instead, it makes the glue side shiny so the shiny side faces downwards (against your fabric).
The dotty side/textured side should always be facing downwards, and will go onto the wrong side of your fabric. It’s best to use a pressing cloth then you aren’t likely to get any glue on your iron. I’ve photographed this tutorial without a pressing cloth as my cloth isn’t transparent and I wanted you to see the interfacing.
How to cut interfacing
You want your interfacing to be a little smaller than your fabric piece, half an inch smaller both lengthways and width ways, so it doesn’t add bulk to your seams (assuming you are using a quarter an inch seam). If you are using a lightweight interfacing it won’t add much bulk so you can cut it the same size.
You can use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut your interfacing.
If you are doing lots of small fiddly bits of fabric you might find it easier to fuse a large piece of interfacing to your fabric first, and then cut out your pieces.
How to apply fusible interfacing
If you are using Vliesline interfacings you’ll see that on the bottom of the interfacing edge there are instructions telling you what heat level to use, and how long to hold the iron in place. For mine (F220) it said 8 seconds on a medium heat. They advise you use a dry iron (no steam).
Whereas for the fusible fleece I use (H640) you want to press for 15 seconds at a time, and use a damp cloth (I tend to spray the front of the fabric with a little water first).
You can always do a test piece first if you are unsure.
You should use a pressing motion with the iron, placing it onto your fabric, keeping it still for the specified amount of time, then lifting it and moving it to another place. You repeat this until the whole piece has been pressed, melting the glue to bond the fabric and interfacing. If you sweep the iron across the fabric you risk moving the layers apart and can cause creases too.
Turn the fabric over and press on the right side as well. Leave the fabric laid flat to cool before using it. The manufacturer’s instructions recommend waiting 30 minutes, but in reality I don’t think many of us do that! Once it’s cool to touch I start sewing with it.
How can I remove creases from my fusible interfacing?
Using a pressing motion is much less likely to produce creases than if you use an ironing motion (sweeping the iron across the fabric).
However, if you do get creases or wrinkles in your interfacing or fabric the good news is fusible interfacing is re-positionable. Heat the interfacing again with the iron to melt the glue in the affected area, then peel the fabric from the interfacing, and reapply ensure you smooth out any creases in the fabric with your fingers before you then press the interfacing again to re-bond it.
You can also use the sweeping ironing motion to move creases off the edge of your fabric. Move the iron from the middle of the fabric towards the edge, pushing the wrinkle along as you go.
Also, your interfacing can wrinkle if your iron is too hot, try turning the iron down and see if that solves the issue.
I’ve also found some of the cheaper interfacings are more prone to creasing, or peeling off after fusing. It’s one of those products where you get what you pay for.
Where can I buy fusible interfacing?
Most sewing shops sell a selection of interfacings. Why not use our Sewing Directory to pick an online shop who can deliver it to your house?
Search The Sewing Directory
To find online shops who deliver throughout the UK
What can I sew with interfacing?
We have hundreds of free sewing projects to choose from, several of which require interfacing or fusible fleece. If you like dressmaking try our no pattern skirt, if you love bag making our messenger bag project is popular or these storage cubes are a great way to use heavyweight interfacing offcuts.