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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > interfacing a bag to add strength? ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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interfacing a bag to add strength?
making a tote and i need interfacing advice
lelliebunny
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lelliebunny  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/29/13 8:52 PM

hi all!

i am making a lined tote bag using high quality quilting cotton. i want to strengthen it up because it needs to hold ~20 lbs. somebody at a store recommended using timtex, but that could be a nightmare with seams. i read online that somebody else used 2 layers of craftfuse. what would you use? i don't need it to be stiff, i just want to feel confident that it won't come apart. would you fuse something to just the exterior or to both exterior and lining?

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it doesn't matter what type of sewing you do. you are sewing, and sewing is good.

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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Date: 5/29/13 9:29 PM

Is your goal strengthening the fabric or the over all stiffness of the tote bag? Timtex (or a similar product) will give you a very stiff bag, but is not that easy to sew, as you note.

You might try using just fusible interfacing, as for clothing, on the entire outside piece of fabric, before you cut it; just fuse the entire piece of fabric. If you also fuse the lining, you should increase the over all body to the entire bag a bit more, without the "crackly" stiffness of something like Timtex. The seams will be heavier with interfacing, but should still be manageable.

Fusible interfacing for clothing comes in various weights (light, medium, heavy, etc), but is not as stiff as Timtex, so you can "adjust" the drape of the fabric depending on which interfacing you choose. You can make some test swatches to see if a fusible interfacing gives you the added body you want, before you commit to fusing the entire piece.

Another option is to quilt the outer layer of the bag, with batting, to a plain muslin/other cotton fabric backing, then treat the quilted fabric as the outer fabric layer, and also use the lining layer of fabric. If quilting the outer layer sounds interesting, you might like Soft and Stable (By Annie product) that I've experimented with. It's a polyester foam layer. You can quilt the outer fabric directly to that layer, like batting, but no backing is required. It gives bags a structure, but it's crush-able, light and retains it's shape. Check out the videos on the By Annie web site.

CMC

lelliebunny
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lelliebunny  Friend of PR
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In reply to CM_Sews <<


Date: 5/29/13 9:47 PM

I just want to strengthen it, so I think interfacing will be my best bet. I have used soft and stable (a lot of it, actually), but I'm not going to be quilting it.

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it doesn't matter what type of sewing you do. you are sewing, and sewing is good.

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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In reply to lelliebunny <<


Date: 5/29/13 9:52 PM

What about a canvas or twill like material on the inside? I think that would be stronger than interfacing and give some body without adding stiffness. I have made bags out of both that carried loads of books and papers (I used to teach school). I reinforced stitching in key places. I never had a bag rip no matter how much I stuffed in it. HTH

utahliz
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Date: 5/29/13 10:34 PM

Actually, from an engineering standpoint, fusible interfacing will make the bag stronger than an underlining, because the fusible is attached everywhere, not just at the stitching.

Liz

lelliebunny
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lelliebunny  Friend of PR
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In reply to utahliz <<


Date: 5/29/13 11:58 PM

Do you have a type of interfacing that you'd recommend?

------
it doesn't matter what type of sewing you do. you are sewing, and sewing is good.

SandiMacD
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Date: 5/30/13 5:28 AM

You mentioned high quality strong fabric.
I have made simple lined totes without interfacing from strong cotton fabric that have sustained grocery loads of cans and gallons of milk for years now. I put a piece of cardboard in the bottom for support. They fold flat around the cardboard to store in the car.
I made another larger one and used headliner as interfacing to give it a permanent stand up shape. Its not stiff but stays upright and open. DH has used it the past year to carry books and electronics in every day.

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

lgrande
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In reply to SandiMacD <<


Date: 5/30/13 8:34 AM

Soft and Stable is great for bags. So is Stiff Stuff. I have also used Pellon fusible fleece in bags. These range in stiffness from stiffer to softer. Stiff Stuff is the stiffest of those that I've tried.
I think I would recommend Soft and Stable for what you want.

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Linda

Bernina 830LE - Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000 - Bernina B530 - Janome 6600P - Pfaff 1209 - Babylock Evolution - Janome 644 - Babylock Sashiko2 - Babylock BLCS-2

clt3
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Date: 5/30/13 9:20 AM

Try decor bond. Soft 'n stable is great also and does not have to be quilted.

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Singer 66-16. Singer 600e, Kenmore 158.1913 , Viking 1100, Brother 4000D, Brother Quattro, Bernina 930, White 634DE,
Babylock Evolve, 2 Featherweights ,Pfaff Creative Performance,Janome Coverpro 1000CPX






cocosloft
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Date: 5/30/13 11:26 AM

Hi. I suggest underlining both the shell and the lining of the tote. Then pay attention to your straps: if they go top to bottom, around the bottom, and back up to the top, they will provide oodles more support than any interfacing you put on the fabrics!

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Coco

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