08 March, 2013

Interfacing Guide for Bags

Interfacing for bags is as as important as batting for quilts; you can't make a quality bag without interfacing.

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!

Interfacing Guide for Bags

These bags below are made with Fusible Fleece - Fusible Thermolam - Batting - Timtex.
They add structure and strength to the fabric, making soft, flexible or stiff, rigid bags.

Interfacing guide for 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

My favorite for tote bags is Thermolam (it is needled fleece, denser than fusible fleece), fusible fleece works great on small purses like these ones, it makes them puffy.

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.

Because Timtex is not fusible, I use an adhesive spray to temporary adhere the fabric to it.

Then  I "quilt" the sandwich. With the fusible Peltex I would do the same. I use Jeans needles (size 100/16) and a good thread.

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!

Happy stitching,

Do you need inspiration for new bags?
Check out my bag patterns.


  1. Thank you so much for posting the Interfacing Guide. It is very helpful to me who is starting out with making bags. I am going to remember to put lightweight interfacing before the fleece. I like the crisp look. Your bags are inspiring me. I love your color combinations!!

  2. Wonderful informational! I've pinned this one to my tutorials! Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

  3. Great advice - thank you! Bookmarked for future use.

  4. Thank you for this very useful guide! A lot of work!
    I can't wait to make a bag, now!

  5. Thank you that you have shared with us so useful tips!

  6. Thank you for this helpful guide. Have you tried Soft & Stable? It's a fairly new product I found at a large show. It's wonderful!


  7. Thank you so much, great information.

  8. I have used Soft and Stable and it is a great interfacing. The bags really hold their shape. Another product sold by the yard here in the United States is called Headliner fabric (used on the ceilings of cars and trucks when refurbishing them) It performs just like Soft and Stable but has the lightweight knit fabric fused to just one side of the foam material which makes no difference when inside the bag. It was a bit cheaper than the Soft and Stable too.

  9. Geta, postul asta este genial, si vad ca la comentarii s-au mai adunat cateva informatii! Multumesc ca o persoana care a facut vreo 2 genti in viata ei si care poate va mai face vreodata, acum ca sunt atatea materiale la indemana. Cele doua gentute noi au iesit minunate. Duminica placuta!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Geta, thank you so much for helping to clear up what for me has been a very confusing issue. I have used the fusible fleece but haven't tried any of the other products. I will definitely know what I'm doing on my next bag that I make instead of just guessing. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience with us!

  12. This is so helpful! I have always had trouble with creases from poor batting choices in my bags. Thank you for making this information available!

  13. Love the bags! great DIY!

  14. Thank you so much for posting this interface information for quilted bags. I just tried a quick swatch {that only took 30 minutes) Wow!!! what a wonderful difference. I used a thick interface and wonder under both swatch pieces, high loft. Sandwich the loft, and used my walking for and followed you design idea. The piece holds a stiff flexible finish. Once again Wow!!!! I am using a fleece iron on batting for the final project. Thank you so much for taking the confusing out of making a quilt bag, making this project fun.

  15. Buna ... cam ce ne-ai recomanda aici in Romania sa folosim si unde as putea sa achizitionez? M-am confruntat cu problema si nu am gasit o intaritura termocolanta ... Multumesc de ajutor. Ligia

  16. Lovely inspiring quilting. I tried the wave thing and it did come out well. Can you tell me one thing. Suppose I am using medium weight cotton(soft quilting type/dress weight too). Then is it recommended to interface the fabric with light fusible interfacing then do the quilting.

  17. Yes, it's best to interface the lightweight fabric.



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