Ask Kat: Can I Substitute Soft & Stable for Fusible Fleece


Here’s another question we get asked more and more frequently of late…

“Can I substitute Soft & Stable for the fusible fleece
called for in the bag I want to make?”

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First of all, let me be clear… Soft & Stable by Annie has been a game changer in the world of bag making! It’s an absolutely remarkable material that not only lends a more professional look to a handmade bag, but also enables a bag to maintain its shape regardless of the weight you are carrying in it or the punishment you inflict on it! But having said that, designing with Soft & Stable is considerably different than other materials for the following reasons; For one thing– Soft & Stable is a foam product & has a much greater “loft” than fusible fleece which can cause bulky seam issues, particularly in tight corners. And secondly– Due to the aforementioned ability of Soft & Stable to maintain it’s shape, it might not be the material of choice if the bag you’re making features a soft, drapey silhouette. For example, we decided AGAINST using Soft & Stable all-together when we were designing the Cosmo Convertible pattern!

So with these things in mind, here’s the stock answer we generally give when this question is posed to us;

CAN you substitute Soft & Stable for fusible fleece in your project? You can of course make any change that feel is right for you, but to be honest we’ve seen all too many unfortunate examples in recent years of changes that should never have been attempted with predictably unfortunate results. But having said that… you may in fact have the “skillz” it takes to pull off this substitution successfully, but being unfamiliar with your particular background & skill set, a full-on, one-to-one substitution is NOT  something we would generally encourage. As a matter of fact, it’s unlikely you’ll ever hear us recommending ANY type of change to one of our patterns unless it’s a change we’ve in fact tested ourselves.

So in conclusion, most every independent designer that I know takes the designing process very seriously and the materials they’re recommending have been thoroughly tested in every way imaginable, so unless you have a great deal of experience using the material recommended as well as the material you want to substitute, then I’d most likely advise against it.



  1. Karyn Breakspear-Purdy on December 2, 2021 at 8:08 am

    I am making an over the shoulder bag with 3 zippered outer pockets, 9 1/2 x 16. It calls for using Soft and Stable. Could I use instead of this Decovil LT, Decovil 526, Ultra Firm Stabilizer 71F, or Decor Bond 809.

    • Kat on December 2, 2021 at 8:32 am

      I would strongly advise no. Soft & stable is a foam stabilizer and it works just like it sounds. It provides body AND softness with pliability. Decovil and the other products you mentionwork in a totally different way. They provide body with firmness and making this substitution could greatly complicate the sewing process in terms of difficulty. There are many other products on the market now that are similar in nature to Soft & Stable and are now readily available in local stores. It used to be hard to locate these products locally, but thats not so anymore. Bosal for one makes a similar product and many I know even prefer it to Soft & Stable. I hope this helps. 🙂