Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Interfacing Comparisons

You may or may not remember that I posted about Pellon brand substitutes for the Vilene products that I use.  Since talking to the nice folks at the Bosal stand at Quilt Market in May, I've had every intention of doing something similar with their products.  Today was the day.
I started with the woven interfacings, and I really like Fashion Fuse.  It's a lot like Pellon Shapeflex, and looks a lot like the Vilene medium-weight woven fusible interfacing that I use and supply. 
That's the Fashion Fuse on the left (below) with my medium-light, medium and medium-heavy interfacings on the right.

Fashion Fuse fuses easily, and although it looks as opaque as somewhere between the Vilene medium and medium-heavy weights, it gives a smooth but slightly softer structure (equivalent to somewhere between the medium-light and medium weight Vilene interfacings). 
Whatever, it would be a perfectly fine substitute for medium-light or medium-weight woven interfacing, and would be a good interfacing for hats and bags and purses.

There's also a product called Craf-tex, which is similar to Timtex or Peltex.  It would work as an internal textile bag base, fused with interfacing.   

If I was looking for something along these lines to use in the body of a bag, I'd probably still go for Fast2Fuse by C&T Publishing.  Above, you can see Fast2Fuse top right and Peltex bottom right, and see the how much finer and more compressed the Fast2Fuse is.  It's much smoother when it's on a curve, and it is fusible on both sides.
This stuff intrigues me.....
...but I haven't played with it yet.
I had a look at a few fusible battings as an alternative to the H640 fusible wadding that I love so much.  This is Bosal's fusible batting on the top, The Warm Company's "Warm Fleece" in the middle and Victorian Textiles' fusible fleece on the bottom layer.
The Warm Fleece is very similar to Pellon's fusible batting.  It's a bit like felt, in a thickness that falls between H630 and H640, but it's a bit weightier than H640 and gives fairly solid structure.
The Bosal fleece feels a bit smoother and denser than the Warm Fleece and creates a slightly (ever-so-very-slightly..) thicker effect. Any of these would work as an alternative to H640
I found the Victorian Textiles batting to be a little loose and light, and is probably best suited to projects where it's pressed only once or with less heat that you'd use on a bag made with cotton fabric.  I found it shrank more easily than the others.
There's also a light Fusible batting from Bosal, which doesn't appear to be the case with the other companies.  This lighter weight batting is a good substitute for Vilene H630  light fusible wadding, although it's a denser structure and you'd need to be more careful about removing it from seam allowances where bulk might build up.  I really like it.

At Quilt Market in May, I discovered Soft and Stable by Annie.  It isn't fusible, but it has the effect of interfacing and wadding/fleece - the smoothness and the loft - that is so useful in bag-making.  I had every intention of putting it to the test as soon as I got back, but the last 4 months have seen me doing everything but testing it.

Has anyone used this... or the Bosal equivalent (which also comes in fusible form)?

It has a foam centre and a sort of tricot fabric bonded to both sides. 
In the photo below, the Bosal product is to the top and Soft and Stable is below it.  The fusible version fuses nicely and holds a smooth shape.  Using it, you'd have to be sure to remove it from seam allowances and topstitching, edge-stitching and under-stitching would be essential to hold it in place and create sharp, smooth seams and edges. 

As a substitute for Vilene S320, the closest I can find is Bosal's Shirt Fuse.  Like S320, it's a non-woven that is embossed with a texture that gives it a flexibility to emulate woven fabric. 

It also fuses well and remains flat and stable.  The main difference is that it's much softer (creating less structure) than S320.   In the photo below, S320 is on the left and Bosal Shirt Fuse is on the right.

Shirt Fuse would be a good substitute for S320 as a support for a zipper facing, but where the stiffness of S320 is needed, you might have to bring in some bigger Pellon Craft Fuse or Bosal Dura-Fuse (below).  Neither of these have the embossed texture (and therefore drape like cardboard) but they both have the lightweight, stiff structure of Vilene S320.
As with all interfacings, the best thing to do is to TRY them.  Test them on scarps of fabric.  Test them in combination with different wadding, fleece and other interfacings to see what they do.  And keep an eye out for new interfacings and support products.  The possibilities are endless and changing.


Breakfast Jo said...

Thanks for all this info. l am pretty happy with the products l am using but its good to hear about alternatives and it gives me some direction to experiment. What are your favourite uses for S320? I use it in zip tabs, over the back of mag snaps and some zipper gussets and zip facings. where else do you recommend?

Shula said...

So many! Where are you sourcing all these from? I got dizzy just reading it…. fascinating though, I really need to work the fusing thing out more…. I've ruined a couple of garments lately from wrong fusing….

Katy Cameron said...

Good round up! I know Sara from Sew Sweetness has been obsessed with the ByAnnie's S&S, and has used it in a few of her more recent patterns, but I suspect she has a fairly heavy duty machine, because I wouldn't really want to have made one of them that I did recently with all that bulk in the SA (I used H640 instead, what can I say, I love it too lol)

Nikki said...

Jo - check out and and and on and on and on.... S320 is one of the best interfacings EVER!

A Peppermint Penguin said...


geek heaven innit!

I came across the ByAnnie soft and stable on a blog (someone used it for a sewing machine transport bag) and watched some videos. I'm interested, but I don't think it's sold in the UK and looks rather spendy.

I've never been able to find a supplier that has all the interfacings I use at once, so I can just pay the one lot of courier fee!

pbtajr said...

I don't have access to the vilene products so hearing what products are similar is really useful. Thanks.
I love soft & stable and have used it in lots of bags. It is not for every application but great for a bag you want to stand on its own & is easy to sew through. I am a big believer interfacing makes all the difference in bag making & I definitely think s&s has a place.
Btw I love your patterns, you r one of the few designers that teach great finishing...have a lovely day.

(pbtajr on Flickr which has some photos of bags with s&s)

Afroditi Kat said...

Wonderful post!Your blog is lovely!!!! Would you like to follow each other on bloglovin' ? xxx
Gleaming Spire // Bloglovin'

Samantha said...

Hi Nicole, I've never heard of Bosal, so this is a great post! Could you possibly pass on to Peppermint Penguin who commented above that I'm in the UK too and she can get ByAnnie's soft & stable here: HOWEVER....what everyone needs to know is that car headliner fabric is exactly the same (but comes in different thicknesses), and is about half the price. Car headliner is available on ebay.

Thank you! x

Jessica said...

I'm lucky to have access to most of your faves, I noticed recently that Spotlight even has H630 & H640. Thanks for sharing all this info though, your blog is my go to when I have interfacing & fusing questions!

Brenda Miller said...

I use the foam stabilizers like Soft and Stable and Bosal's In-R-Form in most of my bags. I like it so much I sell the Bosal on my site. I do not trim it out of the seams as it compresses nicely. I use an 80/12 needle to sew it on my home sewing machine. I think it's lovely!

Mary Mekelburg said...

Soft and Stable by Annie's and the Bosal In-R-Fuse are equal in quality. It may not be available in Australia as such but check with your local auto body shops, it is the same product they use for headliners.

Mary Mekelburg said...

Same source in UK

Anonymous said...

Instead of "Soft and Stable" by Annie, you can use headliner material that is sold at Joanne Fabrics...same stuff, only cheaper.