Saturday, March 17, 2007

That Timtex Thing

I don't tell you often enough how much I love to read your comments. It's so much fun to log in periodically and see what you have to say, and it's one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much. I'm sorry it's so difficult to reply via email, but I will try to reply directly in the comments themselves. So if you ask a question, be sure to check back later for an answer (or attempted answer). And thank you for writing!

As promised, here is my little Timtex trick. I can't really call this a tutorial because it's not very involved and doesn't require many steps, but it's worked really well for me. I hope it does the same for you.

For anyone who wonders what Timtex is, it's a VERY thick interfacing that's often used for bags and containers. It helps them keep their shape. The trouble is, it's thickness causes extraordinary bulk in the seams, which can cause oddly shaped results. The solution? Here goes:

I'm demonstrating the Timtex I used for the bottom of my Bucket Tote design (by the way, there's still room in the class for this bag, which starts on Tuesday night. Anyone? Bueller?). This is my process:

1. Cut a piece of heavy interfacing (non-fusible) the same size as the fabric/pattern piece you're using.

2. Cut a piece of Timtex the same size as the fabric and the heavy interfacing. You now have three different materials, all cut to the same size.

3. Add 1/8" to the width of your seam allowances and trim that amount from all sides of your Timtex. For example, my seam allowances for the bag were 1/2", so I trimmed 5/8" all the way around the oval Timtex piece. By cutting 1/8" more than your seam allowances, you're making the Timtex slightly smaller than the finished panel once it's been sewn. By the way, I like to use a clear plastic ruler with grid lines (see #4 with photo) to mark the distance I'll be trimming before actually cutting it. The 1/8" grid lines make it really easy to measure precisely.

4. Place the Timtex on the heavy interfacing and center it so that equal amounts of interfacing are showing on all the edges. Pin the Timtex into position, and then stitch the edges of the Timtex onto the interfacing. I've used an edgestitch (straight stitch 1/8" from the Timtex edge) and an overlapping zigzag stitch both with the same good results. For this example I used orange thread so you can see the zigzap stitching.

5. Now you can treat your Timtex/interfacing piece as a single piece of interfacing. You're removed all the bulk of the Timtex from your seams and saved yourself much frustration/swearing/throwing of small objects/stomping of feet/etc.. You may still want to trim the seam allowances for the heavy interfacing once you've sewn the seams, but that's nothing compared with trimming the Timtex and trying to get those seams to lie flat!

(By the way, jokes comparing the above photos to certain feminine hygiene products are not allowed. Just so you know.)

Questions? Bueller?


  1. thank you so much, this is a perfect tutorial and so, so helpful.

  2. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Awesome, thanks so much! I look forward to avoiding the Timtex misery in my next project.

  3. Now I feel comfortable using Timtex! You're awesome!

  4. Anonymous7:53 PM

    Great tip! I actually dislike working with Timtex, but this may make me want to use it in my next project. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous8:23 PM

    I am so glad that you showed this. I have been wanting to make a bag. Do you share where we could get this patern? I love this bag.
    Thank you.

  6. thank you *so* much for this! i just made my first timtex project and the seams were driving me mad. this is perfect.

  7. Very Clever! Thanks for posting.

  8. Thank you for sharing this!

  9. "Danke schön, darling, daaaaaanke schön..."

  10. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Such a great idea - thanks for sharing! Wish I had read this before I started my Weekend Bag. I am going to keep this in mind for my next project.

  11. Anonymous12:56 PM

    kicking myself for not thinking of this -- you're the best. thanks

  12. That's what I call a quality tip. Thanks for share it with us.

  13. Anonymous7:25 PM

    Thiss is wonderful advice. I am thrilled to learn it before starting my next purse. It is the generous sharing of tips and tricks that makes your blog so much fun to visit.

  14. ohmygosh, that's brilliant. i had given up on timtex b/c of my sad wonky results. must try it soon. thank you!!

  15. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Thelma (Australia)
    I am about to use timtex for the first time & do not have a lot so do appreciate the advice so I do not mess it up.Thank you .

  16. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Seriously, I thought of asking you but then 2nd-guessed myself. And the storming, stomping of feet part - yeah, that was no exaggeration.

  17. Thanks. Great tip.