On the Inside: How to Use Interlining, Lining, Facing and Interfacing

Details like interlining, lining, facing and interfacing can be overlooked in the garment construction process, but they make a huge difference in your finished product. If you’ve ever been confused as to what to use when, or how to address a particular construction challenge, read on to learn how to use interlining, lining, facing and interfacing.

How to use interlining

Interlining is a layer of material between the outer fabric and the lining. It’s usually included to give a garment additional warmth, but can also be used to change the garment’s drape if you need to add more body. Interlining can be removable (a good example would be a winter jacket that has an outer shell made from thicker fabric and then an additional layer that can be zipped in and out), but can also be a permanent part of the garment. It’s an easy way to make a pattern or fabric work for you if it’s not quite warm enough, since interlining can be added even if the pattern does not call for it.

Sewing interlining

To sew interlining, cut your pattern pieces (usually just the main parts of the garment, like the body and sleeves, not the smaller details, like a collar) from the interlining fabric. Examples of synthetic interlining include Primaloft and Thinsulate. Flannel, fleece, cotton batting and chamois can also be used. Baste the interlining pieces to the main fabric before proceeding with construction. You’ll probably need to trim out the interlining from your seams to reduce bulk as you sew.

How to use facing

Facing is fabric applied to the garment’s inside edge. Like lining, it can serve several purposes: to provide contrast, decoration or strength. Facing gives the garment a clean look, since it hides the raw edge between the wrong side of the fabric and the wrong side of the facing. They are usually used in place of a full lining.

Sewing facing

Facings are usually cut from the same fabric as the rest of the garment, typically from different pattern pieces. Facings are often interfaced, to help them keep their shape or to provide a little extra stiffness. Necklines and armholes are areas that are commonly faced.

It can be helpful to stay stitch the facing before sewing it to the garment, especially if the facing is not interfaced. After the facing is sewn on, you will need to clip into any curved areas for the facing to lie flat. Understitch the seams to the facing, close to the seam line. The bottom edge of your facing hangs free and will need to be finished — this can be done by pinking, turning up the edge and topstitching, or applying bias tape (although this option will add the most bulk).

Finishing the bottom edge can also be done before sewing on the facing. When pressing the garment, you will want the facing to roll a bit to the inside of the garment so that the seam does not show on the outside. Pressing the garment well is important to get a crisp edge. Topstitching the facing to the garment is also an option.

How to use interfacing

Interfacing is an incredibly helpful sewing notion. It’s applied to parts of a garment to add extra body or rigidity, usually where a little extra strength or crispness is needed, like on a shirt collar or a button placket. It can also prevent seams and curved areas from stretching out. There’s even knit interfacing for use with knit fabrics.

Sewing interfacing

Interfacing can be tricky to work with because there’s a lot of potential for error (at least with fusible interfacing). For more information, see our tips for using interfacing. Just like with sewing interlining, it can be helpful to trim out the interfacing from your seams to reduce bulk.