Two or more layers of fabric joined together with a bonding agent. Also, a nonwoven fabric created of fibers held together by a bonding agent.
Bonded fabrics come in 2 main forms: non-woven textiles, and layers of woven and non-woven fabric joined by means of a bonding agent like fabric glue.
In the non-sewing world, bonded fabrics, also known as engineered fabrics, are created to perform certain functions, often single-use. These fabrics include insulation, backing, filtration, medical garments and masks, water barriers, and hygienic products such as diapers.
In the sewing world, fabrics such as craft felt, web or fleece, and some interfacings are examples of engineered fabrics that are non-woven.
Woven or knitted fabrics that are joined by a connecting thread or a glue-like substance are also described as bonded fabrics. These, however, may be knits that have a backing bonded to them for stability, or some double-faced fabrics. They are conventionally woven or knitted; then joined to create a double-layer fabric.
Where can you find bonded apparel fabrics? Look in the outerwear and knits sections of the fabric store. You will come across non-wovens in the interfacing section. And try the upholstery section for bonded fabrics meant for furniture and draperies but also suitable for some apparel. If it's fleece you're looking for, be aware that fleece is often a knit or on a knit base.
A current ready-to-wear example using bonded fabric appears in the ASOS collection online. The fabric for this skater dress is bonded and described as "an easy-care stretch poly fabric." The backing is 100% polyester.
Characteristics of bonded fabric include the following:
- Bonded fabrics are stronger and more durable than their non-bonded equivalents; this is especially true of sheer or loosely woven fabrics.
- Bonded fabrics can be made reversible. Bonded-face fabric refers to the side of a bonded fabric used as the face, or right side.
- Bonded fabrics are used primarily for upholstery and as underlay for carpets. Some bonded knits are available for apparel.
Problems may include separation of the layers because of abrasion and wear, uneven shrinkage through the laundering process, and dissolution of the bonding agent in the dry cleaning process.
Tips & Tricks
Select bonded fabrics carefully, as they may be lower-quality fabric "upgraded" with a bonded backing.
Use care in laundering or cleaning bonded fabrics, as uneven shrinkage may occur.
Bonded fabrics may separate with wear and laundering or cleaning.
Choose patterns with straight seams and few or no darts, as the fabric may be too bulky for a pleasing finish.
Consider lining your garment to prevent bagging.
Bonded fabrics do not hold sharp creases well.