The Right “Under Garments”

This new and revolutionary foundation material is PURRFECT for handbags!


this is a subject I’ve been giving consideration to for quite sometime now. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually sat down and started to write this post several times over the past year, only to set it to the side for another day.

Why, you might ask? Well, let me answer this question by describing for you a typical situation that happened this week, which was actually an instant replay of similar such situations over the past few years.

A customer sent me a picture of a bag she had made from one of our patterns and she was SO proud of it. And here’s the deal… I could tell from first glance that she had chosen beautiful fabric, the hardware was pretty and she had even used a couple of our fabulous black & white striped zips. And not only that… upon closer inspection it was obvious to me that she had sewn up this bag up expertly. The topstitching was even and straight, it was well-pressed and the curves were smooth and flawless but sadly, there was also something else that was immediately apparent to me…

This customer had NOT used foam stabilizer as was called for in the pattern.

How could I tell? SIMPLE!  Because even in the picture, the bag was floppy, lifeless, and sagging in on itself. Bags made with foam stabilizer stand up on their own, they keep they’re shape even when overloaded and in general just look SO much more professional!

I could half understand why folks did this especially back in 2011 when foam stabilizer was a brand new product and sometimes difficult to locate. Stores weren’t familiar with it, and worse, didn’t understand what it was or what it could do. Heck, I even had a hard time procuring all that I needed. This was the primary reason that we started carrying it ourselves on our website in sizes specific for our particular designs. We wanted to make sure that ALL of our customers had equal access to this wonderful product since we were now designing our bags with foam stabilizer in mind. As far as I’m concerned, foam stabilizer was and still is a game changer!

But let’s face it! It’s 2019, and now there’s not one but SEVERAL different brands of foam stabilizer on the market. It’s everywhere. Even JoAnn’s carries a brand of foam stabilizer now so I’m totally mystified as to why a customer would substitute fusible fleece or interfacing for this terrific product! It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and quite honestly it reminds me of something my Mom used to tell me when I was a young girl. She’d say, “Never scrimp on underwear! Save money elsewhere, but a cheap, ill-fitting bra is NEVER a bargain!” I remember thinking it was a rather comical thing for her to say but you know what… she was right!

Just imagine this for a moment… a beautiful full-figured woman walks into a room in a stunning designer-made jersey gown, but here’s the thing, she made the unfortunate choice of going braless, so what do YOU think people will be whispering about her entrance that day? Will they be trying to guess who she’s wearing? Will they scrambling to try to duplicate her look online? Or will they be discussing her “lack of support”? My Mom probably would say it a little more graphically but you get the point, right?

All this to say…

The same is true for bag-making! Foundation materials REALLY matter! When a particular design specifically calls for certain foundation materials, it’s very important to pay attention to that! I can promise you that most designers (and especially THIS designer) spend a good deal of time figuring out just what materials to use and where & how to apply them. It just makes sense that if you want your bag to come out as expected… then you should try to use the products recommended on the pattern envelope. If for any reason you want or need to cut your expenses, then I would rather see you shop the fabric sales or go online and look for less expensive hardware or zippers than to scrimp on foundation supplies.

Bottom line… please remember that when you go it alone and substitute other materials than those recommended by the designer, there’s a really good chance that you’ll be disappointed in the outcome. You may have difficulty sewing because of bulky layers of fabric or you may end up with a bag that while beautiful, cannot support the weight of it’s own contents.


And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts about using products other than those that are suggested on the pattern back. And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.


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