Have you ever seen those rolls of beautiful, plasticy fabric and wondered how in the world you could incorporate them into your life?
Oilcloth, or laminated fabric, is a cotton fabric with a clear vinyl layer on top that makes it water-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. Plus, it comes in a variety of super cute prints.
Today, we’re bringing you all our tips and tricks for sewing with oilcloth and laminated fabric, plus our favorite 25 projects you to make!
Tips for Sewing with Laminated Fabrics
Oilcloth and laminated cotton can be used to make some really fun projects, but they can be a little tricky to work with at first. No worries! We’re gonna break it down with a couple tips and tricks to make sewing a breeze.
First, what’s the difference between oilcloth and laminated fabric?
- Oilcloth is a stiff, vinyl fabric that is water resistant on both sides. The wrong side (back side) of the fabric includes a stiff mesh. Oilcloth is best used for things like tablecloths, bags, aprons, etc.
>>Note: Because oilcloth contains phthalates, the Consumer Product Safety Act prohibits the use of Oilcloth for bibs and toys for children under the age of 12, and shouldn’t be used for anything that will go in someone’s mouth.
- Laminated cotton has a vinyl, water-resistant coating on top with a cotton backing. It’s softer and more pliable, and the cotton backing is more comfortable against the skin, so it’s good for things like raincoats and bibs. Plus, many laminated cottons are phthalate and BPA free, so they can be used for items like lunch bags, changing pads, tablecloths, etc.
Sewing with Laminated Fabric
1. Avoid the Stick
Sewing oilcloth or laminated cotton is easy if you’re sewing with the sticky/vinyl (right sides) facing each other so your presser foot is touching the cotton or wrong side.
But, if you’re presser foot or feed dogs are touching the vinyl side, your fabric can stick and get bunched up in your machine.
There are a couple ways to avoid this sticky situation:
- Teflon Presser Foot – A teflon presser foot is coated so it provides a smooth, non-stick surface to allow sticky fabrics like vinyl, laminated cotton, and oilcloth to pass through easily.
- Tissue Paper – Cut a strip of tissue paper or wax paper about 1 inch wide. Place it between your presser foot and vinyl fabric and sew as you normally would. When you’re done, the stitch will have perforated the paper making it easy to tear away.
- Scotch Tape – This is a very temporary fix. In a pinch, you can use a small piece of matte scotch tape on the bottom of your presser foot. Just make sure you cut out any openings in your presser foot to allow your needle to move easily. Also, make sure and clean the bottom of your presser foot after removing the tape so you don’t get any gummy, sticky stuff on your next sewing project.
2. Seams Easy
The great thing about sewing with oilcloth and laminated fabrics is that they don’t fray so you don’t have to finish your seams. The fabric is easy to cut, and you can leave seams exposed or cut them with pinking shears to make edges cute.
3. Pins and Clips
Using pins and sewing through coated fabrics will leave tiny holes. (Keep this in mind if you make a mistake and have to rip out your stitches.) If you don’t want to use pins to keep your pieces together while you sew, use binder clips, bobby pins, or some of these handy Wonder Clips.
4. Iron with Caution
NEVER EVER use your iron on the coated/vinyl side of the fabric. It will melt your fabric and leave a nasty layer on your iron. If you have to iron your coated fabric, use your iron on the lowest setting, iron on the wrong side (or backside) of the fabric, and place a piece of cotton fabric or a dishtowel between your coated fabric and your iron.
Now that we’ve got the business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff and find out what you can make with these coated fabrics!
25 Projects to Make with Oilcloth and Laminated Cottons
Make wiping up drips and spills a cinch with some super stylish laminated fabric placemats. This tutorial will show you how to make them reversible so you can flip them over to match your mood.
2. Cornered Tablecloth
You can make a regular tablecloth with laminated fabric by simply cutting a rectangle slightly larger than your table surface. But, you can also make one of these fancy cornered tablecloths that fits neatly over your table top like an easy-to-clean lid or buy custom tablecloths made in any size or shape that you need from thousands of fabric/color/print combinations.
3. Round Scallop Edged Table Cover
Don’t settle for a regular circle table cloth for your round table (or trying to make a square one work). You can easily make one of these scallop edged table covers that will make it look like you stole your table from the cutest vintage cafe on earth.
Imagine a world where you can just wipe splashes and spills off your apron instead of constantly tossing it in the laundry. This world is real, friends, and Sew 4 Home will show you how to make it happen with their tutorial for an oilcloth apron.
5. Lunch Bag
Cut down on waste and step up your style by taking your lunch in one of these reusable lunch bags. They’re also super easy to wash out, which is handy when your container lids decide to take the day off and leak everywhere.
6. Snack Bags
While you’re making a lunch bag, go ahead and sew some of these handy snack bags. They’re reusable, so you don’t have keep buying little plastic baggies, washable, and will keep your snacks and sandwiches secure.
7. Tote Bag
What could be better than a big tote bag to carry all your goods that’s also easy to clean? Make one of your own laminated fabric tote bags, and you can make it any size you want, add pockets, or customize it with cute fabrics.
8. Beach Bag
While we’re on the subject of bags, it seems like a no-brainer to make one of these oilcloth beach bags that will allow you to shake out sand, wipe out water, and tote all your towels, sandals, snacks and sunblock with ease.
9. Zipper Purse
If you’ve got some small oilcloth pieces, stitch up a handy little zipper purse to store your makeup, art supplies, or tiny odds and ends in one convenient place.
10. Zipper Box Pouch
Need just a little more room in your zipper pouch? This DIY has got you covered with step-by-step instructions on how to make your own zipper box pouch to give you some more storage real estate.
11. Water Resistant Phone Pouch
Summer is right around the corner. Keep your phone protected from splashes while you’re kickin’ it poolside with a water resistant pouch. The Brassy Apple will give you the rundown on how to create one.
12. Brush Roll
If you’re traveling with makeup brushes, don’t subject them to the dirt and damage they can encounter in your makeup bag. Keep those bad boys clean and organized with one of these brush rolls that stows away and wipes down easily.
13. Luggage Tag
Use up those little scraps of oilcloth by making one of these luggage tags. Make a few for different suitcases. Bonus: your luggage will be easier to spot on the baggage carousel to avoid that old, “Is that my nondescript black bag or yours?” back and forth.
14. Notebook Cover
Plain ol’ notebooks? Boo! Keep notebooks stylish (and protected!) with an oilcloth notebook cover. It will immediately step up your notebook game, and you even get a little pocket to keep pens and pencils at the ready to take down all your genius ideas.
15. Seat Cushions
Turn some old chairs into upcycled goodness with this tutorial from Vickie Howell. She’ll show you how to give those sad, cracking, faded chair cushions an oilcloth makeover.
16. Oilcloth Bunting
Tired of buying decorations every time you have a party? Make some that you can reuse, like this simple and cute oilcloth bunting. The oilcloth makes it durable so it will hang around (hee hee) for a while. Plus, you can use these little flags outside without the weather messing them up. Win, win!
17. Umbrella Makeover
If you have an umbrella that’s seen better days, don’t banish it to the trash! You can save it with this umbrella redo that will show you how to use laminated fabric to create a new umbrella.
18. Bike Seat Cover
Few things in this world are more uncomfortable than riding on an old cracked bike seat. Or one that’s soaking wet from a stay out in the rain. Save your seat and keep it protected with a waterproof bike seat cover.
19. Backyard Pillows
If you have outdoor furniture, we’ve all had that moment where we forget to bring them in from the rain and are left with a soggy, soppy, cushion mess. No more! Grab some of that cute oilcloth and make yourself some of these backyard pillows. It’s still a good idea to store them away from sun and moisture, but they’ll at least give you a little more protection in those sudden downpours!
20. Grill Cover
Keep your BBQ beautiful for years to come with a DIY grill cover to protect it from the elements. Apartment Therapy will show you how to make one easily with some oilcloth or laminated fabric.
21. Car Waste Basket
Your car doesn’t have to look like you live in it just because it’s hard to find a place to stash trash while you’re driving. Keep things neat and tidy by making one of these easy-to-clean car waste baskets. They can hang on your gear shift, or off the back of a passenger seat, so they’re always within reach.
22. Car Mat
Did you know that you can actually customize you car mats with a pop of cute fabric? You totally can! Crafty Chica shows you this ingenious way to use oilcloth to turn plain ol’ vinyl car mats into a beautiful accent piece for your ride.
23. Laminated Bib
Bibs are essential for little ones, and you might as well have one that cleans up easily. This instructional includes a pattern to make your own laminated bibs that even feature a crumb catcher pocket!
24. Changing Mat
Speaking of easy clean-up, nowhere is that more appreciated than a changing mat! See Kate Sew shows you how to make one that wipes down and folds up in a snap. You can also experiment with including some pockets on the outside to hold diapers and wipes.
25. Art Smock
Keep your little crafter or artist neat and tidy with a cleanable artist smock. This simple pattern will ensure that any glitter, glue and paint that doesn’t stay on the page won’t end up on clothes.
Your life just got a lot easier with all these reusable, water-resistant, easily-cleanable projects!
Your toughest challenge now is deciding which adorable laminated fabric you’ll use. Or, buy a few and mix it up!
Have you sewn with oilcloth or laminated fabrics before? Are you excited to try it for the first time? Share your thoughts or questions with us in the comments section!