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Stabilizer (or batting for handbags)

ElenaYDesigns | Posted in General Discussion on

I am still looking for the perfect stabilizer for using in making hard sided handbags. I have heard of timtex, but i think it it too costly. I have tried Peltex and am not happy with the results. (It creases). I recently tried something called firmflex that I purchased from a sewing guild friend. It worked okay but was quite heavy, making it difficult to turn the bag right side out. I am not interested in double sided bonding which this was and I can’t seem to find an internet site to get further information on this product. I have also seen something on the internet called Stitch N Shape but have had no luck contacting the dealer who has this site, so that I can get more information and perhaps find out where I can purchase this product.

Would appreciate any help or information.
Ellen Younkins


  1. sueb | | #1

    I believe that stitch-n-shape is essentially the same product as timtex so you're results will be about the same.  Have you tried ebay for buying timtex - I just picked up a 10 yard bolt for less than $1 a yard.  I agree it's pretty pricey to buy it by the small package or even by the yard at a lot of the retailers but if it gives you the results you need then it may be worth the price.  Another option for a stiff sided handbag that I've seen used (I've taken apart some commercial made bags to see what construction methods they've used) is to use a piece of fabric covered stiff cardboard that's slid into the space between the lining and the outside fabric.  I've even heard of some people using plastic canvas to stiffen a bag.  I've always had good luck with heavy duty iron on interfacing used on both the ouside and the inside fabrics.  All my bags stand up on their own using this method.  I only use the timext in the bottoms for the base.

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    I know some people use that plastic needlepoint "canvas" to stiffen bags--it's lightweight and won't be damaged by water or folding. You'd have to plan to insert it between the outer fabric and lining at some point after they've been sewn and turned, though, since it's probably too stiff to turn the bag once it's in there. If you get it placed properly, I'm guessing it wouldn't even slide around that much.

    I think if I were using plastic canvas, I'd also interface the purse's outer fabric with something fairly sturdy, just to add some strength and durability.


  3. DONNAKAYE | | #3

    I don't think you'll get any better final results than with timtex or Perfect Solution or similar products.  The secret in turning the bag is that you steam a small section at a time as you turn it right side out.  My sister-in-law has been making custom handbags for years and they turn out fabulous.  She does use two layers of plastic canvas for the bottom of the bag, stitching them together before insertion.  Hope this helps....

  4. Tess | | #4

    I don't know where you live. Nor do I know about the brand name materials you have tried. But I work at a unique sort of place where we get unusual industrial products. We are a not-for-profit resourse for scraps from all over Southeastern Michigan. There are people who shop at out "store" who make hand-bags. Some buy self-adhesive foam sort of materials. Some buy foam sort of material w/o adhesive. Sometimes we have other materials. Describe again what you are looking for?


  5. trotter | | #5

    My home made handbags tend to be cheap and cheerful. I use spray adhesive to meld canvas and fabric prior to stitching. If a firm base is required, I cut a piece of flexible plastic (milk jug?) and insert. They may not last forever, but they do last long enough to get a reaction. Cheers Kate

  6. Josefly | | #6

    I've used the plastic canvas in the bottom of bags. I make an "envelope" of the lining fabric, or even of the fashion fabric, and slip the cut-to-size plastic canvas inside, then insert it into the bottom of the finished bag. This works for reversible bags, since the stiff bottom is flexible and easy to remove for turning the bag. The envelope can be tacked to the lining once in place. This would not work for the sides of your bags, though. Do you need something that rigid for the sides? - Joan

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