Make Your Bag Shape Up - All About Interfacings and Stabilizers

Lisa Stewart interfacing interfacing chart patterns pellon stabilizers structured

Bags are generally in three categories: Structured, semi-structured, and slouchy.

Structured Boronia Bag


Semi-structured Claire Shoulder Bag

Slouchy Tote Bag 

Most of the patterns at Kaya Papaya Design are for structured bags. In order to achieve that form, Patricia uses different interfacings and stabilizers. While there are several dozen products to use, she consistently has had great results with a handful and recommends them on each pattern's material list. 

All of our patterns call for SF101 Woven Fusible. Due to multiple problems with this interfacing, Patricia has switched to wovenFuse. particularly uses this on all cotton fabric, including canvas. It keeps fabric from becoming distorted, and gives quilting cotton the feel or weight of home decor fabric. It keeps pockets and zippers from sagging.

The fact that it is woven keeps the fabric feeling and acting like fabric - drape and movement. The woven grain is visible in the image above.

In the Penelope Crossbody Bag, Patricia's instructions are to layer it with Peltex for the flap.  

Also, in the Penelope, SF101 is layered with foam in the body of the bag. Note that the foam is cut smaller to keep the bulk out of the seam allowance. In this case, SF101 was applied to thin vinyl to give it more body.

FF78 Fusible Foam single sided was used in the construction of the Penelope. This stabilizer is not as stiff as Peltex, but your bag will still stand up. 

Peltex, an ultra-firm stabilizer is probably the next most used in our bag construction. 70 Peltex is sew-in; 71F is one sided fusible; and 72F is two sided fusible. Of the three, 71F is used the most in our patterns. It will make the bag very structured and stand up well. The Cici Tote Bag has Peltex in the entire body. Here is the bottom of the bag with SF101, and then Peltex cut short of the seam allowance. 808/809 has been applied where the purse feet are installed.

808 Craft-Fruse and 809 Decor-Bond are the same products. 809 comes in a wider width for decor projects. As seen above, it can be used to reinforce snaps, connectors, and purse feet. An iron-on stabilizer, it is great for places where crispness is desired, such as card slots. Not typically used on the body of a bag.

987F Fusible Fleece is used as a stabilizer where you want a little more slouchy structure. It can even be sandwiched between 2 layers of SF101, as shown here in the exterior of The Claire Shoulder Bag, to create a slightly more firm bag without the bulk of foam or the stiffness of Peltex:

Each Pellon product comes with an instruction sheet in several languages for proper application. Be sure to follow those instructions for the best results.

Often a bag maker asks us for an equivalent product for Pellon as it isn't available worldwide. It can be aggravating to have to try to find a suitable product when you're ready to get busy on a new project. While each of our patterns will state the Pellon product, we want to make it easy for you to quickly access the equivalent with Vilene and Legacy. We now have a Bag Making Stabilizers and Interfacings chart for your convenience. Click the chart below to access, print it off, share with your friends, post on your blog - just please make sure you give credit to Kaya Papaya Design. 

This chart will now be hyperlinked in all of our patterns to make it convenient for you to see what product you have accessible whether at home or for purchase to use. 

Here are links to the 3 companies mentioned in the chart:

PellonVilene, and Legacy

Do you have any tried-and-true stabilizers or interfacings that you love to use? How about any great sources to share with our pattern makers?

Join and share your makes on our Facebook Pattern Group. We'd love to see them!

Please feel free to comment, but be aware that Shopify doesn't offer a way for us to respond. If you have any questions, please PM through Facebook, or email us at We'd love to hear from you!

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  • Patsy Cobb on

    Thank you, this chart is just what I needed. Clarifies the differences between all the Pellon products.

  • Claret on

    Appreciate the article and glad to have info on the individiual handbags and their suggested stabilizers.

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