One of my steepest learning curves has been the labyrinth that is interfacing/interlining/fusible fleece, and from a number of comments on my Facebook page it seems i'm not the only one who found (and still finds!) this all rather confusing. So I thought I'd share my thoughts on the issue and some tips on how I make my bags.
I've always preferred making more structured bags, like these messenger bags.
I use two basic materials. Iron-on interfacing of the kind you can buy pretty cheaply in almost any haberdashery and fusible fleece.
I try and keep a range of interfacings in stock, of three different stiffnesses (is that a real word!?) - but I long ago stopped worrying about whether it was woven or not (I still have no idea of the difference). Just as long as it is iron-on - sew in interfacing just doesn't do the same job.
Fusible fleece is not so easily come by - especially in the UK - and is much more expensive. But there really is no substitute and it's a key area not to scrimp on in my opinion. It comes in two thicknesses - the thinnest version is best for most bags I find, otherwise it looks a bit too 'quilty' and bulky.
And that's it - I use those two combined in almost all my structured bags, with the occasional addition of something like peltex (which is a super firm interfacing used to make pelmets - but makes for a good sturdy bag bottom!).
|Even these cosmetic bags use the same layering technique|
I try and build up the structure of the bag in layers. First I use a lightweight interfacing (iron-on of course!) and then a layer of fusible fleece (I skip the interfacing if i'm using a heavyweight, upholstery type fabric).
I then add a layer of firmer interfacing to any areas where I want a more rigid structure - like the bottom, gussett, sides or part of the flap for a messenger bag. Different combinations give a different feel. And I add interfacing as I go if I think it needs more structure.
The interfacing keeps it flat and even, and the fleece helps to soften, so you end up with something like this....
|The finished messenger bag - firm but soft!|
Oh, and if you have any tips on interfacing then please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your tips too.