Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bag Base Tutorial for Peltex or Fast2Fuse

I've been meaning to update this bag base tutorial for a while. Not only was the original hastily put together from a black & white pdf document (long story involving band width), but I've ever-so-slightly changed my method since it was written. (And colour is always nicer than grey, don't you think?).

This tutorial is for a base in any boxed corner bag (and it can be adapted for other bag constructions).

1. Measure the length of the base seam (above) and then the boxed corner seam (below).

2. Round both measurements down by around 6mm (1/4 inch). For example, on the boxed corner seam below, I'd round down to 6.5cm.

3. Cut a piece of Peltex (it doesn't matter if it's single-sided or double-sided fusible) or heavy weight Fast2Fuse to the (rounded down) dimensions of the base seams. (I find that a rotary cutter and quilting ruler are the business for this job).

4. Roughly cut a scrap of fusible woven interfacing large enough to wrap about 2 and a half times around the base piece - folding along the long edge. You'll also need a generous seam allowance (overhanging the Peltex/Fast2Fuse) at each of the short ends. No need to worry about accuracy here, folks!
5. Wrap the interfacing around the base piece and fuse it all together with a hot iron. The interfacing will stiffen as it cools. You can add further layers of interfacing if you'd like to make the base more rigid.
NOTE: If you use double-sided fusible Peltex or Fast2Fuse, you can use calico or fabric scraps instead of interfacing. (That's what I used to do before I discovered the benefits of layering up fusible interfacing).

6. Trim the seam allowances on the short ends to about 1.5cm (5/8 inch).

7. To make the base durable (through machine washes etc), machine stitch around the outside edge and through the centre to hold all the layers securely.

NOTE: Nobody will see this bit, so there's no need to worry about neatness.

8. Lay the base over the base seam of the bag.
9. Fold back the overhanging seam allowance at each of the short ends of the base and line up the Peltex/Fast2Fuse edge about 3mm (1/8 inch) from the boxed corner seam of the bag.

10. Stitch the seam allowances of the base to the seam allowances of the bag - about 3mm (1/8 inch) from the other side of the seam (towards the raw edge of fabric, rather than on the body of the bag). Look carefully at the photo below.

The base is attached with a little bit of movement to avoid accidentally making it too tight (which looks awful). When the bag is in use, the base will sit firmly and exactly where it ought.

When you turn the bag through to the right side, you'll see that the base creates structure but is flexible enough to not damage the fabric with wear and tear (as template plastic can). It's also comfortable when the bag is worn against the body.

Have you tried Peltex or Fast2Fuse as a base?
More free patterns, tutorials and sewing tips, are over here....


Nancy said...

thanks for the great tutorial... i hate the removable bottoms as they kind of slip around... i am going to try this...

susanne said...

This is Susanne, the Acquisitions Editor from Stash Books. I was hoping to link to your tutorial as your technique is perfect for our Lunch Bags! book. Would that be okay?

Bethany said...

Not only will this make me rest easier knowing it won't poke through the fabric--it's a great way to use up my Peltex pieces that are too small for anything else. Nice!! And thank you!!

A Peppermint Penguin said...

Genius. It's one of those things that is so obviously a better way of doing things, that you just can't believe you didn't think of it yourself before. Which is what we need you for, so I sooo didn't!!


Katherine said...

Brilliant. I love that it will add some structure without being too stiff and that it's washable!
Great tutorial, Nikki.

ambette said...

I love peltex as a bag base - I don't think I'd ever use anything else!

Depending on how stiff I want the base, I sometimes add more layers of the medium weight fusible interfacing until it feels right.

Oh, and Nikki - I got some of that vilene S320 from you the other day. I can see what you were raving about - I love it!!

KathyB said...

As generous as always with your tutes, thanks again Nikki.
Cheers Kathy

Fer said...

Great tutorial! In the past I've used template plastic glued to the base with spray adhesive, but this method is certainly worth a try.

Sandrine said...

Thanks for sharing your expertise and time Nikki!

Tanya said...

jolly nice of you to be the caring sharing sort xx

mrsjoanz said...

This is a wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much....what a dramatic difference this is for my bags! You are terrific!

SuperMomNoCape said...

What a great solution. I'm going to try that on the next tote bag that I make.

penny dearborn said...

love this! can you tell me where to find that rose fabric??

handbags online said...

I found your blog from a pin of one of your handbags on Pinterest whilst looking around for new designs and ideas for my site - and, well I just love your blog so will return from time to time - nice work (I don't get a lot of time to sew these days but may give your bag a try :) )

vshaynes said...

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to create this tutorial. I'm not sure exactly how I found it but I'm pretty sure Pinterest was somehow involved. Anyway, I've struggled to find a good way to do this and never been very happy with the results. I followed your directions, using 2 layers of Peltex since I'm making a book bag, and the results are just what I hoped for. TYVM!

Anonymous said...

Used this on a bag for my daughter in med school to haul around her "equipment". This gives such a nice solid but yet flexible base. So much better than the thin plastic I have used in the past. Your instructions were easy to follow. Thanks so much!