I want to remind you all, I haven’t followed any classes and am totally home schooled by myself, youtube and some books. So every once in a while I stumble upon a technique I have never seen, read about or tried. This is very exciting but also terrifying at the same time… What if it goes wrong? What if I do it completely wrong? What if I ruin my project? The answer will always be, “you will never know until you have tried”. I tend to turn the internet inside out to find all the information I can find, but in this case, I was completely left in the dark. I just couldn’t find any information on this matter. How do you structure a bag with bag stiffener?
I used to wonder, ‘how does everybody make such sturdy bags but made of the most souple kinds of leather, almost thinner that paper’. That’s when I learned the term ‘structured bag’. Since not all the leather will have the structure you want you can stiffen it up itself or use a bag stiffener in between the layers.
All right, so now we know what we need to use but where do we buy it… In this case, I hopped into every fabric shop, searched online but I found it so hard to know what you need when you don’t even know what it looks like. Eventually, I found a shop in Amsterdam with an employee who knew what I meant. I left the shop with two different kinds of bag stiffener to create a completely different type structure. A real stiff one and a more flexible one. I didn’t know at the time what look I wanted to pursue so took a little bit of them both.
As you might have seen on my Instagram story I continued with the ‘LADIES BAG’. If you missed the first part of the making off, you can find it here. It was the first time I have tried the bag stiffening but let me try to explain what I’ve done and maybe you can use it for your own projects.
Step one – Trace the design
Since I have made the outside of the bag of one piece I traced it onto the stiffening paper. You can also use your mall for this part. Luckily for me, I figured out just in time (before I glued it all to the leather) that it should be 0.5 cm smaller than the two pieces you stitch together. You do want them to be fully stiffened but you also want some room to stitch and finish your edges.
Step two – just think for a moment
Alright, another just in time-saving thought… I do want to have a sturdy bag but I also want it to be a bag… with folds to create a flap, sides and bottom. That isn’t possible with this kind of bag stiffening. So my second step was to cut all the parts separately also with a 0.5 cm ”marge”.
Step three – Glue glue glue
It was time to start with the scary part… If it would go wrong, this was the moment. A little cheap hack as glue brush, use a silicon/plastic spatula, cut the top at an angle and it will work like magic! First, a layer of glue on the bag stiffener and on the bag. Next, wait for it to dry and eventually stick it together.
Step four – check and next!
Make sure everything is lined up correctly since it will be hard to correct it later. If you are OK, continue to the next one. The final result should look something like this and it actually worked perfectly!! Phffffoee, that’s a relief. I already love the shape of the bag!! Right now, on to the next part, finish the interior.
How do you ladies stiffen a bag? Something like this newbie did haha? Love to receive your advises and comments.