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Using Peltex Stabilizer

Posted by Linda Matthews on March 26, 2013

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Working with Peltex

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Peltex stabilizer which is a heavyweight stabilizer, and I love to use it in lots of different ways …

As a base structure to help hold the shape of my art bags

art bag

As a base structure for three dimensional art

art bag

And also for fabric embellishments.

art bag

I used to use Timtex many years ago until they stopped manufacturing it. Timtex was the first heavyweight stabilizer on the market and when it went away I switched over to Peltex because this was the only equivalent on the market at that time.

Timtex was resurrected by Interweave back in 2008 and you can read the story about it’s resurrection here. I did buy some Timtex when it came back on the market and in a moment of madness I bought a whole bolt of it, but I never really fell in love with it again and I still have most of the full bolt taking up precious storage space (sigh).

However let’s have a look at both Timtex and Peltex and how they stack up against each other ..

Timtex

Timtex is thinner than Peltex by about a half and feels like flexible cardstock. It comes in only one type which is sew-in.

There is a product called Fast2fuse which is supposedly the fusible type of Timtex. I purchased the “heavyweight” variety, however it’s really nothing like Timtex and I found it to be too soft with not enough support for how I like to use this type of stabilizer. In fact it’s quite thin and mushy compared to both Peltex and Timtex.

Timtex appears to be manufactured by fusing layers of different types of stabilizers together, with a thin covering on the top and bottom and a rigid core in the center. However after inspecting the bolt that I purchased, both the thin top and bottom layers are separating in places from the rigid core which results in small lumps and bumps in places. This might not be problem if you are using it for general purpose projects, but could prove to be a problem if using it for quality products. (One of the reasons I don’t like it)

Timtex

Peltex

Peltex has a consistent thickness and is manufactured using one thick layer, so there can be no separation of layers like I discovered with Timtex.

Peltex

It comes in three different flavors – 70, 71 and 72 – which are all similar in thickness but with the following differences:

  • Peltex 70 is a sew-in heavyweight stabilizer and although thick and firm, it’s also quite soft and more flexible than the fusible types.
  • Peltex 71 is fused on one side so it’s a little stiffer than Peltex 70. This type is about equal in stiffness to Timtex.
  • Peltex 72 is fused on both sides and it’s the stiffest of all. This type is stiffer than Timtex.

Why I love Peltex

Although Peltex and Timtex are both similar in type and are a rigid type of stabilizer that can be sewed through quite easily, I love using Peltex because it’s thick and has a spongy feel to it and my stitching always seems to look better compared to when using Timtex.

Peltex is very flexible and you can easily cut, shape, and sew it. It’s easy to work with because it doesn’t matter how much you scrunch or distort it while you’re sewing it, it always bounces back into shape and looks fabulous after ironing it or using a shot of steam.

It can be made more rigid by fusing additional layers of light, medium or heavy-weight stabilizers to it but it still retains easy sewability.

Things to look out for when using Peltex

Although Peltex is my favorite thick stabilizer, there are a few things to look out for when using it, but once you know how to work with it, it’s a dream to use.

It does not have a grain which means that you can cut it in any direction, however I’ve found that it does in fact have what I call a “rolling grain”. When used for curved or rounded applications it seems to roll much better when rolled in the direction that’s it’s wound on the bolt …

Peltex Stabilizer

… as opposed to rolling it from one side to the other which causes quite noticeable ridges.

Peltex Stabilizer

Peltex is also quite thick, which means that you have to pay special attention when using it as a stabilizer for bags and purses because the extra thickness can easily distort the lining causing it to bunch up and pucker. I’ve found that if you trim 1/8″ off each side and the bottom of the lining pieces, and then ease in the lining pieces when sewing them in, they fit just perfectly.

And one final tip …

Although this is not a tool I use every day, for certain applications I need to grade or shave the edges of my Peltex pieces, and I found this tool which is used in leather craft to be just the perfect thing. It’s called a safety beveler and it’s really just a very very sharp blade with a long handle. It takes a little practice but it works like a charm.

Peltex Stabilizer

Oh and PS

I’ll be talking more about Peltex in the coming weeks because I have three new purse patterns just about ready to be published and they all use Peltex as a base structure. I couldn’t settle on one design, so I’ve put together three to suit all skill levels – beginners (nice and easy), intermediate (a little more challenging) and advanced (woo hoo! – I can’t say it any better). More coming soon. I’m excited.

Categories: Fabric and Thread
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17 comments




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17 Comments

  1. Linda, It makes a great base to bead on and you can also get interesting dimension in your work by using it as one of your stitching layers.

  2. I’ve used both Peltex and Timtex as the batting layer for small quilts that I mount on a stretched canvas. It’s much easier to satin stitch the edge of a quilt with one of these than one that has a more traditional batting. Even if Timtex is less stiff, it will do the job for this purpose. Of course, you’ll need to make a lot of small quilts to use up 10 yards!

    Floris

  3. I agree with the other comments. You can use it for so much including home decor. Some people I know have made cuffs with it, fabric and beads. I have 75 yards of it, 5 ft. wide. I got it a few years ago and I have used it and used it. You can make fiber scrapbooks with it and so much stuff.

  4. Fabric Postcards – backing for wall quilt (small ones) – inside guts for boxes (you make the entire shape and then hand stitch the edges… find a nice art teacher for art in elementary school…eeekkkk 10 yards. I have not tried Peltex in either size. I have Decorbond that I use for bolstering up the sides of my tote bags without having them stand at attention. Good luck with that.

  5. I’m with you! I ONLY use Peltex 72
    Suggestion to use up the other stuff — The bottom of tote bags — light weight, keeps things on the bottom from getting lost in wrinkles. you can cover it, make the bottom a pocket during instruction, or just cut it to fit perfectly and just place it there — but I would probably, minimally stick it to the bottom. Good luck,
    b

  6. Hi Linda:’
    I use it as a base for embellisher pieces. It felts even tightly woven cottons well. Right now I am working on a piece that is completely felted with the embellisher– it’s lovely, bright colours, and next I am beading it. The beading needle passes through quite easily– to my surprise. Its stiffness helps the beads to line up smoothly.
    Judy Weiss

    • Thanks Judy, that’s a great idea! I’m always looking for good base materials for machine needle felting.

  7. I bought yards of it a few years ago and made bowls with it, these can be as embellished as you want them to be.

  8. Years ago I purchased 2 rolls of what was like TimTex on Ebay. The thing is these rolls are 4 ft. wide and contain at least 25 yards of thick “TimTex.” I am still using one roll, the other roll is in the attic, all wrapped up in plastic like when I purchased it.

    It is great stuff and the size has been convenient for some projects.

  9. never used Peltex, thanks for sharing, I can see an enormous range of applications. I wonder if I can get it in the UK whilst am visiting, hope so, cos am sure I wont be able to get it in Spain.

    • Diana, I think it’s called Vilene in the UK. Do a check online before you go.

  10. Linda, What a great blog post! Thanks for clearing up some of my confusion over these products.

  11. Thank you very much!

  12. Great informative post Linda! I saw Peltex on the shelf at Walmart Saturday and I had seen it listed on some patterns that I was interested in purchasing, but didn’t know if it was a local product. When I felt it the thought was Ohhh! I’m making a guy tote for my man for Christmas and wanted to stabilize the bottom. I put “Ways to use Peltex” in the search engine and found your article. I’m looking forward to reading more of your writings, learning from you, and seeing what you have to offer in patterns. While I’m here I’ll sign up to get your post. Thank you for sharing this information. Blessings to you!

    • Hi Jennifer, I’m glad you found your way here and I hope you find some inspiration with my tutorials and articles. Enjoy :)

  13. Oh yes!!!! Mery Christmas to me this month!! The Inked Cloth eBook! Am I excited NOW and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I took some great garden photo’s this month which you can see on my gardening blog (http://homesteadgardening.wordpress.com/) and have been looking for a resource to learn to print on fabric. I went the long way to print on my hubby’s manly tote. I traced his logo with a tracing wheel and colored it in with a permanent marker. Sounds tacky but looks awesome because I used chocolate duck cloth and black marker so it looks like suede. Thank you!!

    • I’m sure you’ll enjoy printing on fabric using your own lovely photos – it makes everything so personal.

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