I is for Interfacing

A to Z of Machine Embroidery and Quilting

I is for InterfacingPellon Shape-Flex is my favorite interfacing to use for most of my machine embroidery and quilting projects. Why would you need to use interfacing for a machine embroidery and/or quilting project?

In a nutshell,
interfacing is used to support the fabric.

These are the times when I like to use interfacing:

  • If I’m using white (or any other super light color) for the background fabric, I usually apply interfacing to the back of the background fabric to prevent show through. The reason I like Pellon Shape-Flex is because it’s a lightweight, 100% cotton woven fusible interfacing – it doesn’t add a significant amount of weight to the fabric even though it does make a significant difference.
  • If I’m using white (or any other super light color) for the appliqué shapes, I always apply interfacing to the back of the appliqué fabric to prevent show through of the background fabric. For some reason, yellow fabric is especially likely to start looking “muddy” on darker background colors. Interfacing on the appliqué shapes will eliminate the muddiness, keeping the color clean and fresh.
  • If there are a lot of bias edges in my project, interfacing can minimize (or maybe eliminate completely) stretching, especially when piecing.
  • For fabric which have an uneven weave, such as jacquards, interfacing can eliminate a lot of heartache. The Heather Feather quilt uses a gorgeous fabric – Robert Kaufman’s Marbleous Jacquard. I was pretty new to quilt making at the time, and didn’t know a thing about interfacing. The finished quilt top looked great – until I had it laid out on the batting and backing. The borders, which looked perfectly straight when I cut them and stitched them onto the body of the quilt, turned out to be VERY wibbly. There was no way that the quilt was going to lay flat. Interfacing (and my friends Judy and Judy) to the rescue. The original borders came off and new borders – all interfaced – went on. The quilt now lay perfectly flat. This was a pretty expensive mistake – 5 yards of fabric needed to be replaced – so now that I’ve made it, hopefully you won’t have to!
  • If I’m using silk in a quilt, I interface the silk before doing anything else. Silk can be slippery as a fish. The interfacing makes it much easier to handle, and will also significantly reduce the amount of fraying.

One last thing about interfacing… if you need to use interfacing on your appliqué fabric, apply the interfacing FIRST. You will still need to apply fusible webbing on top of the interfacing, BEFORE cutting your appliqué shapes.

Daily Deal

From 12:01am on July 1, 2017 until 11:59pm on July 3, 2017, enjoy 20% off the Infinity Collection

Use promo code “A2Z-I” at the checkout

Add to CartInfinity Collection $60.00
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)


What I love about this collection… The Infinity Collection is all about circles. 3″, 4″, 5″ and 6″ circles that can be used standalone in all sorts of places, or in the Infinity Collection motif.

The 6″ circles in the Infinity Collection can be used to create a beautiful 36″ x 36″ wall hanging – perfect for a contemporary home.

The Infinity Quilt by Sarah Vedeler Designs

Stitched on a BERNINA 830 featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 wt thread

The 3″ circles in the Infinity Collection can be used to make the Infinity Lap Top Sleeve. I love to use mine (the pink one below!) to protect my MacBook Pro while traveling.

The Infinity Laptop Sleeve

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 wt thread

The Infinity Collection works super well with the Transformation Quilting Collection (shown in the wall hanging above and in the green laptop sleeve). Quilt the background first and then add the embroidered appliqué.

I love the detail in the stitching in the Infinity Collection circles. The circle below is 3″ diameter.

The Infinity Collection

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 wt thread


  1. I have been using appliqued triangles in quilt making. There is always a problem in tacking down the bias edges. I have used a similar product in bag making so will now try this with the quilting projects. Thank you.

  2. Great Ideas and tips

  3. Great tip!

  4. Thank you for the daily news I for interface sounds good to me. So much to learn but getting the grip of thing now

    Thank you so much

  5. I used dupioni silk, which ravels a lot, on a quilted wall hanging. I interfaced with Shape Flex and floated an extra layer of tear away stabilizer under the hoop because the design was very dense. The embroideries came out perfect.
    Thank you for these daily tips. I’m really enjoying them!

  6. I am learning a lot. Thanks so much!

  7. I’m learning a great deal.

  8. Thank you for all the great information There is always so much one can learn.

  9. And more to learn! This idea of daily tips and tricks was a MARVELOUS one! Thank you, thank you!

  10. Great advice, Sarah! I’ve been quilting and embroidering for years and have never used interfacing for those – only use it in garment making! Thanks SEW much!

  11. Thanks I didn’t realize that interfacing the borders would be a great idea for straight lines

  12. Thank you for all the tips…the pelion is my favorite stabilizer. No more puckers!

  13. I agree with you interfacing can eliminate a lot of heartache, I use it all the time with silk. I will try your preferred interfacing, I love the information you are giving us. PS, I never heard the word “Wibbly”

  14. I love this great tipi on Interfacing .. especially for appliqué.. thank you

  15. Excellent. Thank you.

  16. OMG!! This is great information. At least now I have a clue as to why things aren’t straight even though I know I cut them out straight.

  17. Nadine Bukovic

    Thank you Sarah!

  18. Thank you for more great tips. I love these!

  19. Love the idea about borders to be interfaced. Will try this the next time I make a quilt.

  20. What a great tip using interfacing in the borders. Thanks so much!

  21. Sharon Krulitz

    I learned about the shape flex from you in Spokane. It is really nice to work with.

  22. Hi Sarah – Thanks for all the great information. Question – The Design Notes in the Infinity Collection call for stabilizer wider than 20″ – up to 36″ wide – for some of the projects. I have only seen it as wide as 20″. Where do you find stabilizer wider than that?

    • I join pieces together. Tape works – but sometimes it’s better to do a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine to join it with edges overlapped

  23. Do you preshrink the shape-flex?

  24. I have just finished a baby memory quilt so have used interfacing behind all the stretchy baby fabrics..not possible by me otherwise. Good tip about use of interfacing behind yellow and white fabrics. Thanks

  25. I am learning so much! One quick question, but it’s not about interfacing. When you use your Cameo Silhouette to cut out shapes, how in the world do you keep the Heat and Bond Lite from sticking to that crazy sticky mat and coming off the fabric? I’m about to go crazy with that sticky mat! Have you ever tried cutting fabric shapes without the mat? HELP!!!

    • Leave the backing paper on! The first thing I do with a new cutting mat is put it sticky side down on the carpet – or a piece of flannel. That gets it a little bit linty, enough to make it not so sticky that it’s impossible to get the backing paper off, but still sticky enough to do a great job.

  26. I agree. Pellon shapeflex 101 is the greatest. I also apply to Appliqué fabric before cutting pieces. Will not stretch or fray while stitching.

  27. Excellent information! Your collections are exquisite and beautiful. Love your color selection!

  28. Thanks for the information on interfacing. I’m going to try it on some silk scraps!

  29. Just bought some Shape-Flex yesterday for the pillow I am making. Thanks for this fun A-Z.

  30. Jennifer Swenson

    I really like this tip for using interfacing. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us

  31. Thank you so much for showing me how easy things can be with the right tools.
    I love your patterns, the heart one was my first purchase and with my new cut n scan, it’s going to work out just fine. The pointers about interfacing are just in time to “save me ” from making a couple of timely mistakes.

  32. Thank you for this info on interfacing. Your instructions are so clear. Loving this series.

  33. I used to think that interfacing was to be used only in clothing construction. However, I now use it, as you have explained in much of my machine embroidery and applique work. Thank you for all of your wonderful information.

  34. Kimberli Burnett

    I love reading all of your fabulous information!

  35. Nadine Hogrefe

    Thanks for all these wonderful tips!

  36. I love the laptop sleeve! any chance you’ll make that stand-alone project to buy?

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