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Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics: Part 2

Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics Part 2 - Andrie Designs

Welcome to part 2 of our series about working with difficult or unique fabrics! Today we are going to cover the real sticky stuff and strap webbing types! Let’s hop right in and get into these tips!

If you missed Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics: Part 1 check out the post to see the tips regarding needles and sewing machine feet!

Clear Vinyl

Clear Vinyl comes in a variety of thickness and colours. When choosing the type of clear vinyl for your project, keep in mind where it will be used and how. This vinyl really likes to stick upon itself when you are turning bags so be prepared for a little battle of your patience! You will need to use a nice sharp needle to pierce the vinyl when you sew. Using a longer stitch length and a thinner needle will help prevent the edges from perforating apart and will help keep it sewn together. If your vinyl has any large wrinkles or indents, you are able to carefully press them out but you MUST use a pressing cloth over top. Use a lower heat temperature and move quickly to ensure you don’t melt it. Allow it to cool completely before you begin sewing it. Clear vinyl is fun to use but is definitely something you want to play with before you add it to a project!

Bonus tip: With clear vinyl, you cannot pin it in place so instead you need alternatives such as Wonderclips. Clips can sometimes leave indents so my bonus tip is to use tape! Be sure to use washi, painters or masking tape because regular clear gift tape will stay on forever 😉

Clear Vinyl Stitching - Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics Part 2
Needles used Left to right: Denim, Leather, Microtex

Strap Webbing

Strap webbing comes in a variety of different types and thicknesses. Nylon is the most popular but you can also find it in cotton as well. The beauty of strap webbing is that you save so much time not having to make a strap! It comes in a variety of colours and even textures so you can truly have fun with your straps! If your webbing has any large wrinkles or indents, you can carefully press them out but you MUST use a pressing cloth over top. Use a lower heat temperature and move quickly to ensure you don’t melt it. Allow it to cool completely before you begin sewing it.

Strap Webbing Stitching - Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics Part 2

To finish the end of your strap webbing you have a few options. For nylon (plastic) webbing you are able to melt the ends (I just use a lighter!). This gives you a nice smooth finish but you must use extreme caution and melt SLOWLY as too much heat at once and it will melt, drip and burn you or your surface beneath you! For cotton webbing, you do have to fold over the end twice to hide it in a “seam”. Another option is to cover the ends with bias tape. The ends of cotton webbing will fray so they do need to be covered!

Bonus: If you want a fun and colourful way to cover the ends of your webbing beautifully, check out the Double Sided Strap Tutorial!

Oilcloth/Laminated Cotton

Oilcloth is generally a cotton fabric that has the print side covered with a vinyl/waterproof coating. Nowadays it comes in a variety of prints and it can even be thicker outdoor canvas fabric too! When adding interfacing to Oilcloth, you want to be sure you are pressing on the interfacing side with a pressing cloth to ensure the waterproof side doesn’t melt. Also be sure that your ironing board is free from any little bits and don’t use a terry cloth towel because the textures will show in the coating! To sew oilcloth fabric you will want to use a non stick foot. Some can be extremely sticky! Your needle thickness will depend on your project. For bags and the like, use a denim, leather or Microtex needle so it can handle the layers!

Hang About Toiletry Bag Sew Along - pattern by two pretty poppets (www.twoprettypoppets.com)
Laminated cotton for the lining of a Hang About Toiletry Bag

Cork

Cork comes in many, many different colours, textures, prints and thicknesses. The type of cork you use really depends on your project and availability to your region. The beauty of cork is that it is naturally a stiff material so interfacing will not be needed. You may find that a non stick foot will help sewing go smoother, especially if you have a shiny metallic kind. When it comes to fleece or foam, it’s best to baste it on rather than fuse it!

Cork Stitching - Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics Part 2
Needles used Left to right: Denim, Leather, Microtex, Denim, Microtex

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Odicoat and Self Coated Fabrics

Odicoat Glue Gel is a product that you apply to the right side of almost any fabric to create your very own soft and pliable, waterproof, fabric! Before you apply Odicoat to your fabric, fuse your interfacing to the backside of your fabric if you’re including interfacing. This prevents from damaging the coating after it has been applied! You want to treat the coated fabric the same way you would for vinyl. Use a non stick foot and a Leather or Microtex needle! Coated fabric can be used for a variety of projects and is excellent for the lining of swim bags or even lunch bags!

If you want to learn more about the process of applying Odicoat Glue Gel to your fabric, check out Lisa’s review on YouTube!

Pink and purple lining for the Tula Pink De La Luna Bree's Box Toiletry Caddy! - Andrie Designs
Photo Courtesy S’more House

Iron On Vinyl

Iron On Vinyl is exactly as it sounds, a vinyl product with a “glue” backside that you can press onto any type of fabric and instantly make it wipe-able. Sewing iron on vinyl is similar to sewing Oilcloth. You definitely want to use a non stick foot! The beauty of iron on vinyl is that you can always add it AFTER you have fused your interfacing to your fabric! The downside to iron on vinyl is that it wrinkles, and wrinkles well! Those can be tough to get out so I suggest sticking to it for smaller projects or the lining of bags so that the wrinkles are hidden inside.

Iron On Vinyl Stitching - Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics Part 2
Photo Courtesy Uh Oh Creations

Canvas

Canvas is an excellent and durable fabric for sewing large bags and totes. It can withstand heavy use and takes much longer to wear out. When sewing canvas fabric you want to use a denim or Microtex needle and a longer stitch length. If you struggle with your top stitching looking a little wonky, lengthen your stitch and use a thread in a similar colour. It is tempting to use a contrast thread but matching will give you better results. Canvas comes in a variety of thicknesses so use your best judgement when it comes to interfacing, heavier canvas wont need any interfacing at all. I do find that canvas can be stubborn occasionally when it comes to fusing fleece or foam to it so I prefer to baste it instead!

Canvas Stitching - Sewing Difficult and Unique Fabrics Part 2
Needles left to right: Denim, Microtex, Microtex, Denim

Did we cover them all? I love working with unique fabrics, in fact, I started bag making with upholstery weight canvas! Which material are you most excited to try next? I’m about to hop right into sewing ALL THE THINGS with that gorgeous rose gold cork pictured above! I’m so excited to make myself a new Cleo Everyday Wallet and possibly a Roll With it Tote!

Happy Bag Making!

-Aimee
The Little Bird Designs

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