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What Is Decovil? (+ Purse Tutorial!)

Now I love a big of bag making….and I am no stranger to many types of mega-interfacing that gives structure and stability to those types of projects that need to be flexible and durable. What I hadn’t heard of though was Decovil therefore many thanks to Minerva Crafts I got to test it out!Decovil is made by Vilene and comes in a light weight option or a ‘leather like’ version. The product is described as tear resistant, resilient, resistant to bending and fraying but still easy to cut and shape. Intriguing… When it comes to bags and purses, ‘leather like’ is the ideal texture so let’s give it a whirl. You can see here in the picture that it has a grainy texture and is folded like cardboard however in reality it is incredibly flexible. One side is rough and the other has a slight sheen of adhesive used to bind to your fabric.
I’m going to do a quick tutorial here on making a zip purse – an oldie but a goodie as they say. Also, an excellent project if you are a beginner to sewing. Lots of straight edges!Firstly, the ingredients. You’ll need some outer fabric, lining, fabric, Decovil interfacing and a zip (together with the usual scissors, pins and thread). You will see here that I used some excellent soft Canvas Fabric, also available from Minerva, which was left over from a previous tote bag project. 
My pieces here are 15cm x 22cm for the outer fabric, lining and Decovil interfacing. I’ve also cut some small rectangles which will be used to bind the zip for a clean finish. Happily, the dinosaur fit nicely into the frame!
Firstly, place the Decovil, adhesive side down onto the wrong side of the main fabric. Holding the iron and pressing down onto the back of the Decovil for approx. 10 sections at a time, move along the fabric in sections so it is all stuck down. Leave about 30 seconds to cool and voila! The Decovil stuck REALLY well – in fact the fabric and Decovil became one and it really was like the fabric had been made into a leather-like piece. Its bends nicely but it really did turn thick and sturdy.
On to the zip – take those little rectangles and fold the ends into the centre and fold again. These get placed over the top of the zip ends. 
In order to get really close to the zip stoppers, open the zip a little so that you can sew a line straight across the tab as close as possible to the stoppers. Trim any excess from the sides so the tabs are the same width as the zip. 
To the bag making! Flip that zip and place the top edge along the top right had side of the main fabric piece. You will see I have left a small seam allowance on either side of the zip tabs so ensure you have enough room either end to sew up your purse in the later stages. 
At this point you can baste the zip down to keep it sturdy or move straight to the next step, which is to place the lining fabric, right sides facing, on top. This creates a little zip sandwich. 
Use pins, or much better for bag making, binder clips, to attach all 3 layers together and sew straight across that top edge with a zip foot. I find the width of my zip foot is a good guide for how far away to stitch from the zip teeth. 
Flip your lining and outer fabric outwards so that it starts to look like a side panel. You can see here that although the Decovil was easy to sew, it really started giving some thickness when seams were created. At this stage you could topstitch the lining and main fabric down to squash those layers together. I chose not to as I was experimenting to see how all the Decovil bulk would look at the end. As it turns out, a strong press with the iron sorts it out no problem!
Repeat the above steps for the other side of the purse. 
You should now have all your pieces assembled! 
At this point. Open the zip! Trust me your future self will thank you.The next step is to flip the layers again so that the lining pieces face each other, and the main fabric pieces face each other. Pin or clip all away around the edge, leaving a gap in the lining for turning. Here I am going to sew all the way around, leaving a gap between the two pink clips on the right-hand side.
When you sew around the purse, make sure that the main fabric (Decovil pieces) have the seams at the zip, pointing towards the lining side. This allows the zipper tab to bump upwards towards the outer part of the purse as below.
Once you’ve gone around the edges, trim the seams back to reduce the bulk again. That Decovil really does get thick!
Now for the weird bit. Get your hand right up into that lining opening and pull all the layers through so that the right sides are now visible. This is where leaving the zip open comes into play as the whole thing has to pass through that gap. With the sturdy Decovil this was difficult! It has essentially set like rock, which is amazing, but a bit awkward to handle on this step.
This is where the Decovil was fabulous as even though I had man-handled and wrestled that stuff through the lining gap, it sprung right back into shape afterwards without having been damaged or ripped or stretched. Amazing!
After popping out all the corners as best you can (use a ruler or knitting needle for good corners), pull the lining out and stitch up that gap. You can hand sew for an  invisible finish, or just whizz a line across it on the sewing machine. Push the lining back into the purse and you’re all done!!
Now not to disappoint, of course I added a little tortoise to mine. You can find all sorts of fun things to put on zips, this is my preference!
I found the Decovil to be excellent and I would certainly buy and use it again. The purse has some serious structure to it, and had I made something with a flat bottom, it would easily stand-up on its own, unsupported and without sagging. The purse is rigid, but flexible enough to use well – ‘leather like’ is a very accurate description! Impressed.
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

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Toni Leggate said:

Thank you that was very interesting. I was wondering if you would share where you get your tortoise from? My granddaughter has a 'thing; for them and I would love to much her a pouch with one like yours. · 22nd Oct 2018 08:53am