Noni Q&A: Cutting Stiffener to Fit & Putting Bag Feet On The Bag. . .

I mentioned in a recent blog that Fridays would be Noni Q&A. Any questions you have about the Noni Flowers, or finishing a bag, or making a bag. . . bring them on. I invite questions in the comments. If you are a bit shy, you can always send questions to my regular e-mail or through  Please do.

I recently received a question about bag feet. I first posted about this a bit ago, and then preparations for a trip, a bad storm (spectacular storm, in fact, with garden consequences, trees down all over, and massive East Coast power outage including in my neighborhood (and my house) and the neighborhoods of family and studio, the actual travel, etc., caused me to miss a week of Noni Q&A. I have since added to the original post, both in content and pictures.

Question: I purchased the stiffener you recommend and I have my bag feet, but the prongs on the feet are too big to go through the stiffener. Do I just put the prongs through the felt and then open them? What is the best way to do this?

Answer: I recently developed a new and improved way of putting the bag feet through the stiffener and it works for most bags.

You will need the following materials:

  1. Size 6 double pointed needle (only 1) If you have size 7 or 8 or 5 these will also work. In other words, use what will do the trick.
  2. Paper hole punch (handheld)
  3. Ruler (possibly but don’t go hunting for one)
  4. Noni Extra Stiff bag stiffener
  5. Scissors
  6. Noni 24mm (or, for smaller bags 12mm or 16mm) bag feet in nickel, antique brass, or gunmetal

Here’s a picture with the bag feet but without the ruler. . . I couldn’t seem to remember everything in one picture!

Here’s what you do:

The first step in putting bag feet on your bag is to cut your stiffener to fit the bottom of the bag nicely and snugly. This is easier than it looks. I always begin by holding the stiffener up to the outside of the bag.

The outside of the bag is larger than the inside, so if you cut the stiffener to fit the outside, it will necessarily be larger than the inside. Shave the stiffener a square at a time until it fits within the ‘slot’ formed when the side of the bag and the base come together.

If you feel the bag body of the bag bottom curving around the stiffener then the stiffener is too large or small respectively.

Perfectly fitting stiffener makes the intersection of bag bottom and body feel perfectly crisp, a sharp corner. Use the holes in the stiffener to guide your efforts for straight cuts.

Once the stiffener is the correct size, use the hole punch to punch holes in the stiffener.

I have found that 3 – 5 holes from side and end is optimal (that is, instead of using the ruler you didn’t hunt for, count the holes in the stiffener: count 3 – 5 holes from end and 3 – 5 holes from side and you’ve got the perfect corner). I punch the end/corner holes first on both ends. Then gently fold the piece in half to get the midpoint and punch a hole in the middle (both sides).

I now have 6 holes, 2 on each end, 2 in middle.

When all 6 holes are punched (I really think 6 bag feet is usually best, but your taste trumps mine, so pick your number according to your preferences!), then put your stiffener in the bag.

NOTE: Usually, a bag should have 2 layers of stiffener for a nice crisp shape AND allows you to line the bottom even when you have bag feet. . .SO, if you want 2 layers, use the first layer as a pattern to cut the second. Saves going through all that figuring again.

You may want to tack the stiffener down with big ugly sewing stitches/running stitches to hold it in place while you put the bag feet in. If the stitches show on outside, take them out later, or simply tack with invisible stitches from the get go.

From the inside of the bag, with stiffener in place, poke your size 6 double pointed needle through the little hole you made with the hole punch (needle as straight as possible), until the point is visible on the outside.

THEN, pull the double point to the inside of the bag and follow it with the prongs of the bag foot so bag foot prongs go through felt and then through small punched hole in stiffener. Once the bag foot is in place and you like its placement, then open the prongs on the inside.

I often “set” one bag foot first and then place the rest, see if they all look good, and then set the rest. This ensures that they all are in the correct place with no foot in some crazy off line place. Let’s imagine, however, that one foot is off, you didn’t notice until you set it.  Simply fold the prongs back up, take the foot out, and re-do.  The felt will close over the first hole you have made and no harm will be done.

Continue to set feet in the same manner as above until all are set.

Questions?  Bring them on!

9 thoughts on “Noni Q&A: Cutting Stiffener to Fit & Putting Bag Feet On The Bag. . .

  1. Wow! I love how you shared the instructions. Very clear and easy to do!
    And the little bag is gorgeous! What is her name?
    Love the color and the handle !

    Thanks for sharing with us your tricks!


    • Hi Dora,
      The little bag you see there is named “W” and will be released, along with another bag that uses the same frame, at the beginning of next month. Glad you like the Noni Q&A! N

  2. Any suggestions on how to cover the stiffener with fabric so it makes for a prettier inside bottom…I am beginning the lipstick change bag….love it…
    Could I just cover/glue fabric on stiffener after it been cut/fitted to the proper size? Then punch holes and proceed?

    • Here’s what I have done to line only the bag bottom in the Lipstick and Change bag: Cut 2 pieces of stiffener that fit perfectly in the bottom. Holes in the first piece and then tacked inside. Second piece you can cover in this way: use purchased felt to cover both top and bottom of piece. Then cut a piece of fabric just about 1 – 2 inches larger than stiffener piece–that is, large enough to be folded around the stiffener piece. Glue the felt in place lightly with fabric glue so the two felt pieces are somewhat glued to each other through the stiffener holes. Only as much glue as you need.

      Then wrap the fabric around the stiffener piece, making sure you have at least 1/4 to 1/2 overlap on the back side, cut corners a bit for pretty folds. Glue each rough edge lightly on back. Or, if you prefer to sew, tack using invisible stitches.

      For a very pretty, feminine look, I like to make a ruffle out of the same lining materials (use a 2″ long strip, fold in half with pretty side out, press, use long running stitch on raw edge and then pull tight enough to make fabric ruffle and allow a perfect fit around little stiffener bottom. Sew ruffle around bottom edge (pretty side up) using invisible stitches.

      Sorry it took me SO LONG to reply! I don’t know how I missed this comment! Nora

  3. Do you use a sewing machine to sew the lining to the top of the bag?. Making the medium carpet bag and using soft lining material for the inside.

  4. Pingback: The Medium Sized Carpet Bag – Free Pattern! | The Noni Blog

  5. Pingback: Noni’s Iconic “Lipstick and Change” Purse: The Story Behind the Design and a Free Pattern! | The Noni Blog

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