How to stiffen handmade handbags

Written by kittie mccoy
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How to stiffen handmade handbags
Handmade bags can sometimes be too soft. (Photo courtesy of ImmortalGoddezz; Wikimedia Commons)

Handmade handbags are simple to make and a great way to always have a handbag to match your outfit, regardless of your budget. Unfortunately, many beautiful fabrics lack the durability and stability that handbags require. There is a way to add this stability to your handmade handbags and stiffen the sides of them so they will last longer and hold their shape during use.

Things you need

  • Fusible web
  • Scissors
  • Iron

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  1. 1

    Cut two pieces of the fusible web 2.5 cm (1 inch) smaller than the pattern pieces of the external sides of the handbag. For example, if the sides of the handbag are 20 cm by 25 cm (8 by 10 inch) rectangles, cut the fusible web into 17.5 cm by 22.5 cm (7 by 9 inch) pieces.

  2. 2

    Lay the fabric pieces that will become the external sides of the handbag right side down on an ironing board. Centre the piece of fusible web on the fabric, paper side up, and iron the fusible web to bond it to the fabric. Repeat with the other piece of fusible web and the other pattern piece of the handbag. Now the fusible web will be attached to the wrong sides of the outside of the handbag.

  3. 3

    Allow the fabric to cool completely before removing the paper from the fusible web.

  4. 4

    Finish sewing the handbag together. The fusible web now has bonded to the fabric and will make these pieces stiffer, giving the finished handbag more stability.

Tips and warnings

  • Fusible web can be found at craft shops and supermarkets. Heat'n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive is a good example of a fusible web that will stiffen handbags.
  • The reason for cutting the fusible web slightly smaller than the pattern pieces is because if the fusible web covers the entire piece, it will be sewn into the seams. Sewing through fusible web is difficult and will cause the needle to become sticky, and the thread will break often.

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