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Thread: What do you use to stiffen the bottom of a tote/purse?

  1. #1
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    What do you use to stiffen the bottom of a tote/purse?

    I am about to make a tote bag for my DD and a purse for an upcoming trip for myself. My question is -- what does everyone use to create a flat, nonbending bottom on their bags? I don't want to put all the work into piecing a nice bag and have it droop.

    In the past I have used plastic needlepoint canvas. I've always liked it because you can cut it very precisely to any size, but it is not quite as stiff as I would like. Any ideas?

    Many thanks to anyone who cares to share.
    "Accomplishment is a consequence of effort" -- Michael Crichton

  2. #2
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    What about doubling the plastic canvas ?
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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I sewed two pieces together with the top one being larger to make a D. This works great.
    Name:  purse bottom end view.JPG
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    Nancy in western NY
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    Super Member icon17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gramma nancy View Post
    I am about to make a tote bag for my DD and a purse for an upcoming trip for myself. My question is -- what does everyone use to create a flat, nonbending bottom on their bags? I don't want to put all the work into piecing a nice bag and have it droop.

    In the past I have used plastic needlepoint canvas. I've always liked it because you can cut it very precisely to any size, but it is not quite as stiff as I would like. Any ideas?

    Many thanks to anyone who cares to share.
    I made My Dog Lilys Bag and wanted it Stiff too! I used some Plastic Binders I found at Goodwill, Not the ones with cardboard inside them But the ones Made of Solid Translusent plastic. PS: to Cut it I used a Xsacto knife

  5. #5
    Senior Member ksdot417's Avatar
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    I make a fabric sleeve and insert a piece of foam core board and then sew it shut. It fits great in the corners and can be removed if you need to wash it. I've also used the plastic canvas.

  6. #6
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I like nans suggestion. you can also use a piece of plastic. like a ruler maybe. I would do like ksdot says and make a sleeve for it that you can take it out of. the bag so it can be washed.
    when life gets you down go and talk with a little kid. They will help you work out even the worst problems with their simple logic.

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    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    I recycle lids from old plastic packing crates. It cuts easily with my old rotary cutter and is machine washable. Very stiff, no sag and lasts longer than the fabric.

  8. #8
    Super Member joysewer's Avatar
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    I use foam core board. I round off the corners a bit so you don't have that sharp point wearing on the fabric.
    Gloria 

  9. #9
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I use self stick floor tiles two put together. Cover with a sleeve that matches the inside of the bag.

  10. #10
    Super Member wuv2quilt's Avatar
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    I had the DH to cut a piece of acrylic and put it inside a removable "sleeve"....this way you can remove the acrylic and toss the rest in the wash as needed.
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  11. #11
    Super Member pattypurple's Avatar
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    If you have a sign shop nearby go in and ask for their scraps. The corrugated plastic, like campaign signs are made from, is very lightweight but strong. I got an armload of various sized scraps for $10 and have been using it for almost a year (and I make lots of purses/bags). I've tried foam core, but it bends. Plastic canvas isn't strong enough to suit me.
    I use an old rotary cutter to cut the plastic. Make fabric sleeves to put it in and leave one end open so it can be taken out when the bag is washed.
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    Senior Member Earleen's Avatar
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    I used a fabric sleeve and DH cut a thin piece of luan panneling with rounded corners.
    Earleen The best helping hand is at the end of your arm.

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    Senior Member quiltin chris's Avatar
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    Nancy's Notions has something called Shape & Create and also Bag E Bottoms---these items are specially made to keep the bottom of your bag from being droopy.

    Chris
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  14. #14
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    I use template plastic or use those thin cutting boards you can get from dollar store.
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    Junior Member traveler53's Avatar
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    I have used the heavy template plastic and also put it in a fabric sleeve.
    Traveler53

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  16. #16
    Senior Member gellybean402's Avatar
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    I use coreboard which I purchase at Joann's, cut out the size I need, and then I sew together a pillow case to fit the coreboard in. I don't sew one end so the coreboard can be taken out and the pillow case washed the same time the purse is washed.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kacklebird's Avatar
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    wuv2quilt,
    My hubby cuts me out the acrylic bases too
    Kathy

  18. #18
    BMP
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    2 layers of plastic canvas works for me !!

  19. #19
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Our Walmart sells a heavy Pellon , that I use.

  20. #20
    Super Member Central Ohio Quilter's Avatar
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    I have some old clipboards that I have cut to make the bottoms of bags. Nice and sturdy, and will not sag. I cut them with a jig saw and sand the corners a bit rounded.

  21. #21
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
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    I've used the plastic cutting boards and the corrugated plastic. Both work great, but I'm definitely going to try the self stick tiles mentioned above. What a GREAT idea!!

  22. #22
    Senior Member pinkberrykay's Avatar
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    This is a great idea and can be found at the dollar store or Goodwill.


    Quote Originally Posted by Central Ohio Quilter View Post
    I have some old clipboards that I have cut to make the bottoms of bags. Nice and sturdy, and will not sag. I cut them with a jig saw and sand the corners a bit rounded.

  23. #23
    Super Member Wunder-Mar's Avatar
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    Stiff Purse Bottom Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    I sewed two pieces together with the top one being larger to make a D. This works great.
    Name:  purse bottom end view.JPG
Views: 9414
Size:  158.5 KB
    This is what my friends do - they found that foam core bent permanently when they carried something too heavy (in one case) or when someone banged into them/their purse at an odd angle at a quilt show (the other case) - so they came up with this double-plastic canvas idea, but they covered it with fabric for each removal (but if forgotten could still go through the wash).

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  24. #24
    Super Member kuntryquilter's Avatar
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    I use mat board that is normally used by picture framers. My daughter is a professional framer and she gives me all her scraps. I cut them to the size needed, glue 2 pieces together, for strength, make a sleeve, to fit, from the purse lining fabric, slip the mat board inside and then it can be removed to wash the purse. If you have a frame shop close by ask them for their scraps.

  25. #25
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    I haven't tried this yet, but I've had friends use worn out cutting mats. Cut out the good pieces for purse bottoms. I haven't worn out any mats yet.
    Alice the quilter

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