Interfacing for bags is as as important as batting for quilts; you can’t make a quality bag without a quality 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!
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.
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.
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) comes in two weights – lightweight and heavyweight; the heavyweight one is great for large bags (travel bags); the lightweight interfacing is perfect for everyday bags and it is my favorite interfacing of all.
A small trick!
When working with a non- fusible interfacing, use an adhesive spray to temporary adhere the fabric to it.
Quilting on interfacing
After that, usually I “quilt” the piece.
I quilt even when working with the fusible interfacing (the quilting will keep the layers tegether better).
I use Jeans needles (size 100/16) and a good thread.
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, still the bag will be flexible.
Recommended reading: How to sew quality quilted bags
Don’t forget about LINING
If the lining is a lightweight fabric, fuse interfacing to the back. Do this especially 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 sewing bags!