purse stiffener

topic posted Wed, February 8, 2006 - 9:56 AM by 
I have a great leather purse that I want to copy in vinyl. However, the vinyl I have is not nearly as heavy as the cut leather of the purse. What should I stiffen it with?

The leather of the purse is so heavy and stiff it needs no structural support [it is a short tote, 7" x12" wide rectangle, 2" capacity].

I normally would stiffen with Pellon interfacing, but that would require that I line it... Not wanting to add extra steps, there mus be a good stiffener that could serve as a lining as well.


posted by:
  • Re: purse stiffener

    Wed, February 8, 2006 - 10:54 AM
    if you're making it out of vinyl, wouldn't you line it anyway? why is the interfacing any more aesthetically pleasing than the reverse side of the vinyl? (don't mean to sound snotty....just asking!)

    i was gonna suggest the thickest interfacing you could find.

    or, could you make a wire frame for it? out of, like, wire hangers?

  • Re: purse stiffener

    Wed, February 8, 2006 - 2:09 PM
    You know, I was wondering the same thing. I've been thinking of making a couple of purses and have been wondering what people use to make them stand up--cardboard would fall apart, and plastic seems too slippery/noisy.
    • Jen
      offline 2

      Re: purse stiffener

      Wed, February 8, 2006 - 3:19 PM
      I've made knitted purses before, and used plastic canvas for making it more sturdy. I usually line my knitted purses with fabric because the knits get stretched out. If you cut plastic canvas to the shape of the purse, then put it between the knit part and the fabric part, it holds up very nicely. And it's not noisy! I put it in the bottom of the bag only, but you could do it with the whole thing. I think there is an example of this in Stitch and Bitch 2.
  • Re: purse stiffener

    Wed, February 8, 2006 - 4:46 PM
    You could use really thick canvas
    • Re: purse stiffener

      Thu, February 9, 2006 - 5:01 PM
      Trouble is, if your lining is stiffer than your outside, it may keep its shape like you want. I'm with Avi. I'd interface with pellon, so it's in the seams, and either line it, or live with the pellon inside. The inside of vinyl isn't so hot looking anyway and lining it would make it very nice. It might be worth the extra steps.
  • Re: purse stiffener

    Thu, February 9, 2006 - 5:13 PM
    it just occurred to me that maybe i could line it with a thin vinyl... stiffener and liner in one! what does anyone think of that?
  • Re: purse stiffener

    Thu, February 9, 2006 - 5:51 PM
    I make purses and I usually just put a stiffner in the bottom so that it sits flat. I use anything I have at hand that is flexible but stiff. I usually use template plastic and I cut it exactly the shape of the bottom of the purse after I've sewn in the seams. I do always line them.
    • Unsu...

      Re: purse stiffener

      Sat, February 11, 2006 - 2:51 PM
      There is some kind of plastic stiffener made for baseball cap brims. Clotilde sells it.
      In a pinch, I've used plastic needlepoint canvas for costumes that I knew were going to be brutalized. It's nice & cheap, too!
  • Re: purse stiffener

    Sun, February 12, 2006 - 10:06 AM
    You can also paint the pieces of vinyl with a product called Stiffy from Ailene's. It's actually for making fabric sculpture type projects but would probably work fine. I'd recommend trying a small piece to see if you need to water it down. (Might be too stiff). Do it on the wrong side, of course. I don't know what it would do to the vinyl - might make an interesting texture though if you did. Play with it.

  • Re: purse stiffener

    Sun, February 12, 2006 - 8:00 PM
    I would definitely suggest Timtex if you want a stiffer bag all around. This is a really heavy interfacing that is used in baseball hat brims and also in the fabric bowls and fabric boxes books. You can fuse that to a fabric lining with just about any fusible web, (stitch witchery, heat and bond, etc). And, you can sew through it. If you want it to be really stiff like thick leather, that's what I would use.

    Another option would be to fuse two pieces of heavy canvas together with a heavier fusible web (like Heat and Bond)... and use that for the bag lining. This would not be as stiff as the Timtex but with the vinyl would give a fairly stiff look.

    I hope this helps!
  • Liz
    offline 1

    Re: purse stiffener

    Sat, April 3, 2010 - 9:03 AM
    I make my own purses too. I like for them to be at least semi-washable so I typically use plastic canvas to stiffen them. As long as you don't dry them in a dryer, you can usually hand wash them and hang or dry flat. If I am making one out of a fabric, I have used heavy duty fusible interfacing too. Hand washing ensures that the fusible will not bubble. Making a simple lining for any purse/tote is not difficult. I use the same pattern pieces and a slightly larger seam allowance, i.e., a 1/2" s/a for the exterior and a 5/8" s/a for the lining. Simple, easy & fast. Since I draft my own patterns for these things, I don't like for anything to be harder than it has to be. For me, making the lining is the most difficult part since I usually add many special pockets for checkbooks, credit cards, cell phone, pens, etc. And I use various fasteners to secure each pocket, depending on its use. I like to make matching little bags for cosmetics, change, etc. I also usually add a special pocket or hanger for my keys. Once you get used to adding linings, you will find that they are much easier to do than you think. Also, they add additional security in case the outer seams come loose. Using a lining that is bright colored or a surprising contrast to the exterior makes any contents easier to locate as well. Good luck on your project.

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