ALWAYS use interfacing on any bag piece where the
pattern reads "cut [specified number] i/f". The facings
and the underside of flaps ALWAYS have interfacing, as these are
major structural pieces in the bag, and often carry closures such
as magnetic clips, buttons etc.
Interfacing creates structure if it is used on the
body of the bag - but is entirely optional here, and using it
depends on the weight of the fabric and the finished look that
By fusing interfacing to every piece of the outside
of the bag you'll add a lot more structure and "OOMPH"
to the fabric. Some fabrics won’t need it, but most medium-weight
or lightweight fabrics will benefit from it.
You can interface the lining if you want a stiff
lining, but it shouldn't be the main support in the bag. You don't
want a saggy bag that is caving in around a structured lining
(it's not a good look!). You usually only need medium-light interfacing
It's important to remember that by adding an extra
layer of interfacing to a bag piece, you are also increasing the
bulk of the fabric. Be careful when you are using heavy fabrics
(Eg. denim), that your sewing machine will be able to sew through
all the layers at points where several seams converge, or where
the seam allowances of the flap sit between the facing and bag
Sometimes it takes making up a bag or two in different
weight fabrics to understand the balance that has to be struck
between the look you require and the capabilities of your sewing
You need to match the type and weight of interfacing
to the type of fabric you're using for your bag. You also need
to keep in mind the finished look of the bag, and make sure there
will be enough structure or drape (whatever look you require)
in the fabric-interfacing combination to create this look. You
might have to also use a layer of wadding,
or a heavy interfacing such as Fast2Fuse. It's best to test
scraps of fabric with different interfacings if you're uncertain.
cotton iron-on interfacing suits the broadest range of fabrics
for most bags. It looks like a light cotton voile, muslin or lawn,
with a layer of fusible material (sometimes shiny, sometimes grainy)
on one side. The weave in the fabric of the interfacing supports
and gives the fabric a natural flexibility - basically, it turns
the fabric into a stable, heavier version of it's former self!
Woven interfacing is also very durable, and will withstand the
wear-and-tear that a bag endures.
interfacing comes in several weights. The heavier the interfacing,
the more heat and pressure required to fuse it to your fabric,
so don't use heavier weights on delicate or synthetic fabric without
the help of a RAJAH CLOTH! If you want to add more body to these
fabrics, use light interfacing and wadding, or follow the instructions
in the tutorial on How use sheer fabrics to make
A non-woven interfacing can be a cheaper alternative
to woven interfacing, but will give the fabric a stiff "paper"
look, and will not be as durable as a woven interfacing.
Iron-on (fusible) or sew-in wadding can give extra
structure to fabric bags, and are available in different weights
and thicknesses. FUSIBLE
WADDING is great for bag-making, because it sticks
to the fabric and makes the pieces very easy to sew together,
and it holds the shape of the bag beautifully, while being lightweight.
Like when using interfacing, by adding this extra
layer to your fabric you are creating more bulk. You may have
to check that your sewing machine will sew through several layers
of the fabric and wadding before you proceed with making up the
To use fusible wadding for bags, it is best to fuse
a layer of medium-fine interfacing to the fabric first, and then
fuse the wadding to the back of the interfacing. This smooths
out a lot of the bubbles and wrinkles that would otherwise form
on the surface of the fabric when the wadding is attached to it.
Experiment with your fabric, interfacing and different
wadding to see which one creates the look you require.
Among its many uses - it's the perfect thing for fusing
to the fabric of the bag where you're using purse feet
or magnetic catches. It can be used to stiffen the bag
itself and make "stand up" straps. It can be
also be used in a variety of ways to create structure
in the bag base.
Please request a free tutorial on how to add a
structured bag base to a two-piece bag (and other
tips for using this amazing interfacing) with your order.
Apologies for taking this tutorial
off this website - our monthly bandwith allowance won't
allow the amount of downloads it inspires. Our web hosts
keep taking us OFF THE AIR!!!
You can also attend
a workshop or course to
learn the finer points of using it to SHARPEN UP your
These will be in the next revision of the pattern
1. Go easy on the glue! (I've put this in the instructions,
but I have to emphasise it again in case you're
an instruction-skimmer!). Use a matchstick (or something similar)
to spread the glue around inside the frame. Don't let it form
"globs" or it'll ooze out on your fabric!
2. Just use a
clear-setting craft glue that will hold fabric and metal.
If you follow all the kit instructions for constructing the purse
and crimping the frame it will hold in place forever. I've read
about using very strong glues and NOT crimping the frame, but
are yet to try it and carry a purse for years to test it....
4. Follow all the "TIPS" in the instructions
for the easiest, best finished purse you can make. Read all the
instructions - don't just skim and look at pictures!
*NOTE: Some purse shapes require the use of purse
frame crimpers, but the 75mm to 200mm range doesn't. The new 300mm
bag can be made without crimpers if the hard base is put in to
the purse AFTER the frame is crimped.
Q: "...I was wanting to make an evening
bag with sheer expensive fabric with one of your patterns. What
would be the best way to go about it in terms of the lining should
I cut sheer fabric/interface it and then use iron on pellon? The
last time I tried this, the sheer fabric bubbled once I ironed
on the interfacing? What could I have done wrong? Is there a particular
type of Interfacing for Sheer fabric? I used a light weight interfacing..."
A: If the fabric is sheer, the best thing to do
is to layer it over the top of a more solid fabric, and interface
the solid fabric (a stable, woven fabric is best as a base for
sheer fabrics. You may or may not have to use the pellon. First
you iron on the interfacing to the back of the solid fabric, then
lay the sheer fabric over the top of the right side of the solid
fabric. Stay-stitch the sheer fabric in place all the way around,
and then make up the bag using the layered pieces as if they were
a normal piece of fabric...
Q: "...The bit that is still a bit confusing
… is the end part when you attach lining in the bag and
sew all around, it then goes on to say back stitch..."
A: It IS an awkward thing to do - that's why the
difficulty rating is level 4. Don't feel bad - feel clever for
being able to tackle it!
You have to backstitch the facing (and the top
of the lining of the gusset) to the seam allowances, working through
the opening in the lining at the bottom of the bag. It's easiest
if you leave the bag inside out, and just line up the seam/seam
allowance under the needle wherever you can see it most easily.
You wont be able to see the whole seam. As you start to sew, you
just follow the seam with the needle - keeping the seam allowances
to the facing side, and stitching 2mm from the seam to keep them
in place... until you come back to the point where you started.
It's a bit tricky, but just take your time with it and keep those
seam allowances facing in the same direction all the way around
and you should be ok.
HOW TO MAKE A ONE-PIECE,
CURVED GUSSET FIT PROPERLY
Q: Using a pattern from [a named book], I made
a bag with a long rectangle gusset that went around the sides
and bottom of a bag with rounded corners. It fitted to the front,
but when I sewed it to the back it was too short, and the bag
ended up looking twisted.
A: Y ou need to put registration notches (nicks) in the GUSSET
and the front and back BAG pieces to mark points where they should
meet, and check that your seam allowances are even and consistent.
1. On the front/back pattern, measure along the STITCHING line
(not the outside cutting line) and mark a point somewhere around
the bottom corner of the bag. Fold the pattern in half and trace
this notch point to exactly the same point on the other half of
the front/back pattern. Note the distance of this point from the
top of the bag (accuracy to the mm is important).
2.Now measure along the gusset STITCHING line the same distance
from the top, and put a notch at this point. Check that the rest
of the gusset pattern matches the rest of the bag pattern, and
notch the gusset on both sides (where it will meet the front and
the back pattern pieces) and at both ends (left and right sides
of the bag).
3. Sew the bag together at EXACTLY the right seam allowance depth,
carefully matching notches. If you vary the seam allowance, the
two pieces wont match. Watch that as the fabric travels through
the sewing machine that it doesn't stretch the top piece and gather
the bottom piece of fabric (this always happens to some degree,
but you can control it by pinning or holding the two pieces firmly
ADDENDUM FOR THE
BAGUETTE PATTERN (Pre-AUG 2007 Version)
When you're making the FLAP for the Baguette pattern,
you need to reduce the bulk of the seam allowances before you
turn it through to the right side.
After you seam the flap pieces together, you can
either clip away the seam allowances in little triangle shapes
OR backstitch the seam allowances to the underside of the flap,
and trim off the excess seam allowances. Very sorry not to have
put that in the notes.... If you're a "level 4" sewer,
you'd have probably worked it out for yourself by now....
Correction for 2009 version - Unless you cut the lining gusset on the crosswise grain, please allow 55cm for the lining fabric.