Thursday, August 19, 2010

Combining Interfacings for bag-making

Interfacing is key to creating the right structure in handmade fabric bags. Often, we're using fabrics that were designed for drape or softness, and we need to make them have rigidity or at least a bit more body. For flexible (rather than rigid) structure, the combination of interfacing and wadding can be the answer.

Lighter fabrics need to be "flattened" with interfacing before a "plumping" layer of wadding is applied, otherwise the effect is merely puffy (the fabric is still floppy).

Sometimes this means that you'll be spending at least as much money on your interfacings as you have on your fabric. It really is worth the investment if you don't want to cheapen the look of your good fabric by using inferior support materials. (You can tart up cheap fabric with good interfacing and you can equally ruin good fabric with bad interfacing - the fabric takes on the properties of the support).

Through many trials and errors, I've learned a few interfacing combinations that work for me. I'd really recommend that you try a few as well - the more you test, the more you'll understand, and the better your ability to guess the likely outcome of any interfacing choice in the future.

When I want to add a bit of extra body to quilting weight cotton fabric, I use the combination of either medium-light or medium-heavy interfacing and light fusible wadding. The interfacing is fused in place first, followed by the wadding.


When in doubt, test both combinations on the same fabric....
You'll see and feel the difference and be able to choose which you prefer.

You may prefer the stand-up structure of the heavier (640) fusible wadding - combined with either of the above interfacings, and you may choose different interfacing combinations for different components of the same bag.

Another combination I truly, deeply love.... (I know, I'm gushing again...) is Vilene S320 and H640 (medium weight) fusible wadding.
The Vilene S320 fuses like a dream and gives a really flat finish but remains very flexible.

With a layer of 640 wadding, it holds its shape beautifully, yet is still light and flexible. I tried to show the flexibility in photos, but it didn't show it..... so I did a quick little amateur video (complete with a tripod-bumping incident) to demonstrate.





For the rest of the bag, I used different interfacings in different combinations....
Medium-light interfacing and light wadding on the strap, Vilene S320 (no wadding) on the facing and medium-light interfacing on the o-ring loops.

Of course, all this would be different on a different fabric and bag. It's really a matter of using the interfacing that will create the properties you want on each individual bag bit.

 

15 comments:

Zura said...

Great tip! I never thought about combining 2 types of interfacings, will try this soon.

One question, which iron setting is best for fusible wadding? Steam or no steam? I always ended up frying the wadding (obviously polyester) when the iron is on high. But if I lower the temp, it just won't stick to the fabric, very frustrating. I'd appreciate any tips from you, thank you :)

Anna Bartlett said...

Thanks so much for such and educational post. I'll definitely refer back to it when needed. And you have a lovely voice!

Ooty said...

Thanks!! This is much help =)

Fer said...

Thanks Nikki! You're always a regular font of expert knowledge!

Nikki said...

Interfacing is magic! I am continually amazed at what a difference it makes. Thanks for sharing your knowledge... lucky us!

Tania said...

I'll be referring back to this post for the rest of my interfacing days, I reckon. And I knew that Vilene S320 would rate an enthusiastic mention! One of the two things you'd take with you to a desert island perchance?

aracne said...

I arrived at the same conclusion, bags need support and plumping.
I am experimenting since here in Italy it is difficult to find all the variety of interfacing and wadding that you are speaking about (and what can be found is very expensive).

Sophie said...

I agree with the S320 and the fusible wadding combo.... it gives a fantastic looking result!!!

Mrs. Joanz said...

Love your post on combining interfacing and wadding, thanks so much! However, I'm new at the term "wadding". What's the difference between wadding and interfacing?

clare's craftroom said...

Very informative and clear , even for me ! Thanks very much .

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Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Your posts are always so helpful and educational. I love it! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Nikki said...

Re: Wadding. It's the generic name for what some people call Pellon (which is actually a brand name and the stuff I prefer ismade by Vlieseline).

And to fuse it, it's best to use a pressing cloth and steam. Heat setting shouldn't be higher than COTTON.

I think there may be another blog post in the works on this subject....

Nikki said...

Oh - in the US, wadding is called "fleece".

Tammy James said...

Hi Nicole, I think I love you! Not in a crazy stalkerish way, just in a you are amazing for so generously sharing this information with us to help us on our bag creating journeys! I missed out on your great discount but will be book marking this post and making a purchase soon.