My first bags were made out of home decor fabric. As I have many beautiful quilt weight fabrics, I started to use them for bags too . And I love these bags; you can pair the fabric with different types of interfacing, for different types of bags.
Adding interfacing to a piece of fabric creates more bulk. Before you start making up your bag you might want to make a test to see how your sewing machine sews through thick fabrics.
So let's talk about the interfacing I use with the quilt weight fabric.
First I want to say that because I am a quilter, I make quilted bags. And I don't quilt only on batting!
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They add structure and strength to the fabric, making soft, flexible or stiff, rigid bags.
1. Pellon Fusible Fleece 987F or Pellon Fusible Thermolam Plus TP971F. (Vilene H630, H 640)
The fusible fleece or Thermolam could be fused directly to the wrong side of the fabric. But I don't like the look of the fabric because of the loft of the fleece. This is why I first fuse a layer of a light fusible interfacing (woven or no-woven, like Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex, Craft Fuse or Vilene S320, Vilene G700), it makes the fabric crisp. Then I fuse a layer of fusible fleece or Thermolam , which adds body to the fabric.
|left: only fusible fleece |
right: interfacing + fusible fleece
2. Thermolam versus Quilted Thermolam
After the interfacing is fused on the back of the fabric, I like to quilt through all the layers.
It doesn't take much time, but the benefit is huge:
- the stitches keep the layers together better and help avoid the "fused crinkly" look of fabric;
- after washing, you don't need to iron the bag (we don't iron the quilts); and even if the bag has to be pressed, the stitching makes it easy.
Below there are 2 bags - one with fused Thermolam and one with quilted Thermolam.
Usually I don't make fancy quilting .
This is the easiest one, made with a walking foot; while stitching, I just move the fabric to the left and to the right.
This one is quilted following the fabric design.
3. Timtex is a thick and stiff interfacing. It gives a professional finish to a bag and makes it stand on its own. The bag will be rigid .
Timtex is not fusible. A product similar to Timtex is Pellon Peltex-it is fusible or non-fusible and not as thick as Timtex.
Decovil (manufactured by Freudenberg in Germany) is thicker than Timtex but flexible; it's great for large bags (travel bags); it seams there is a new version, thinner; if I will try it, I will update this post.
If you are new to bag making, it is not the best idea to make your first bag with a stiff interfacing. It is easier to work with fusible fleece.
4. Quilted Bags
If you don't have fusible fleece or other interfacing at hand, you could use any regular batting, a felt-like batting (cotton) is the best. The batting +backing add structure and body to the bag, but the bag will be flexible.
To heavyweight (home decor) fabric add batting/ batting+ lightweight backing, it depends by how thick the fabric is. Use adhesive spray to keep the layers together.
For quilt weight fabric, fuse first a layer of lightweight interfacing then add batting/backing and quilt. The backing must be a heavyweight fabric, like cotton canvas/duck cloth.
Another product I want to try in the future is "Soft and Stable". The package label indicates that this new interfacing is lightweight, maintains its shape, consists of polyester foam with fabric on both sides and is easy to sew and washer/dryer safe.
Add interfacing to the lining too, at least to the lightweight one.
Add interfacing to the lining if you are not happy with the structure of your outer bag.
I hope this helps some of you. With so many beautiful fabrics, it's very tempting to start a new bag right now!