If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve been testing foam stabilizers I use in my studio. When I found out Pellon released their own version (Flex Foam) recently, I knew it was time to order some and do a little testing!. So today I am sharing with you Part 1 of my findings and thoughts. I hope you enjoy!
If you sew handbags, you know that foam stabilizers are popular for creating structure to various parts of handbags while adding very little extra weight to the finished product. It is easy to cut and sew through, can be ironed (with material on top) and be squished through tiny openings when turning bags right side out with minimal fuss.
Foam has been a staple in my studio for some time now. I order larger rolls through my distributor maybe once a year and have it delivered to my home. Sewists unable to do this often order it online. If you are lucky you can find stores that sell it by-the-yard, but often it is sold prepackaged in various sizes.
This type of stabilizer also tends to be a bit pricey. But as someone who uses it daily I make sure I have minimal waste. Even those 1″ squares are saved for magnetic snap backings! You do this too? Ah, good. I’m not alone.
Before I share the three foam stabilizers in this test I must mention another option popular with sewists but not often mentioned:
- Automotive Headliner – Easy to find through local craft shops and at a reasonable price (coupons!) this is a solid option for adding bag structure. It is a bit thinner than the other foams and not as dense. It is sewn-in. It works great with bags having many pattern pieces as it doesn’t get as bulky. It is often darker tan or black in color in the stores too.
Foam Stabilizers I am testing:
Bosal In-R-Foam – Price Varies. A Google search showed me $6 for an 18″ x 56″ package all the way to $17 for the same package. They also sell foam in black, various size packs, and single and double sided fusible foam! Your best bet to purchase is to search Google in your area for stockists.
***Polyester, 58″width, able to be washed***
ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable – Can be bought directly through her site or through major online retailers, Etsy, etc. This was the first foam interfacing I ever tried and really got me hooked on the look. You can find it sold in various sized packs and in black and white colors. A search showed me an 18″ x 58″ pack is close to $9.99 and up.
*** 100%Polyester, 58″width, able to be washed***
Pellon’s Flex Foam (FF77)- This is the newest addition to the foam interfacing line-up! Pellon is staple in the sewing world, so hearing that they were coming out with a foam product was very exciting. As of right now, I’ve only seen it at my local JoAnn’s for $9.99 a yard (yes, I could use a coupon).
*** 100% Polyester, 20’width, able to be washed***
Once I was able to grab a few yards of the new Pellon Flex Foam I knew I wanted to do some sort of comparison test. It’s easy to look at all three and note the similarities and differences, but when it comes down to it I wanted to know how it makes a bag look!
After drafting a simple bucket shape bag, I stitched up three of them using a light-medium weight linen for the exterior and a lighter cotton (interfaced with Pellon SF101) for the interior. Each has a magnetic snap closure and three pockets. The only differences besides height are Bucket A has a shoulder strap, Bucket B has no strap/handle and Bucket C has criss-cross handles.
So let’s start! Bucket A Foam:
This was super-easy to measure and cut! It has a much softer feel to it than B and C and is about 1/4″ thick. The directions said it had soft fabric surrounding the foam, but it looked and felt more like the silky nylons you wear to work. That’s not a bad thing at all though! Visually, it is a cream color while B and C are both very white.
One thing I did notice with foam A was that after you cut it, there was a slight fraying of the ends. I played around with it a bit after I made the cut and nothing else happened so I continued on and finished sewing.
I’m going to stop here for the day. Make sure you check in tomorrow when I share with you the finished A bucket and my thoughts on this foam as well as how B and C foam and bucket turned out. See you then!