Tips & Techniques

Laminate/Oilcloth Tips

There are so many great laminated fabrics available now and many of our customers are asking us for reassurance when considering working with them.  Today’s laminates are NOT thick, crackly, subject-to-sticking to your machine bed like their predecessors in times past.  You’ll love them!  

Some folks have reported back that they didn’t do anything any differently than working with regular cotton fabrics and their project turned out great.  

We offer the following tips to insure you have success:

  1. Start with a good quality laminate/oilcloth.  Several well-known quilt fabric manufacturers are now making gorgeous laminates.  We carry about a dozen or more bolts at any given time, in various designs.
  2. Change the needle in your machine.  A fresh Universal Size 12 should be just right.  
  3. Consider using your walking foot for your machine if you have one.  Some of us did and some of us didn’t, so if you don’t have one, by all means experiment before worrying about it.
  4. Most pin holes will remain in the laminate, so if you use pins, use them sparingly and wisely.  The best pins to leave the tiniest hole are the Swiss Blue Tin Silk Iris Pins.  They are very fine yet strong.  It’s best to pin only in the seam allowance, that way your pin holes won’t matter.  Alternative ways to hold your fabrics while sewing are plastic-coated paper clips, blue painter’s tape or scotch tape.  Amy also used the blue painter’s tape as a sewing guide for topstitching.
  5. If you experience “sticking” when sewing, as in feed dogs not advancing the fabric properly, try these tactics:  
  • Have the uncoated side of the fabric against the machine bed if possible.  You may have to flip your project over and sew from the other side.  Again, experiment.
  • Lightly lift the fabric on either side as it feeds through under your presser foot to help it through.
  • Use a Teflon foot on your machine if you have one.
  • Stick your tongue out slightly as you sew.  (Hey, it worked for Michael Jordan in basketball!).

Ironing:  Most of the time heat and laminates are not good together.  We used finger pressing and a wooden seam pressing bar for general pressing. The Little Duffle has a laminate interior that was fused to the cotton exterior, using an applique pressing sheet under and over while fusing.  If you really need to press for any other reasons, press from the wrong side with medium heat.

Hoodwinks Rain Jacket

Hoodwinks Rain Jacket is by Morning Glory Designs.  Thanks to Sharon Boysen for loaning us the sample.  This fresh-looking jacket would be perfect for those rainy days when you have to run errands.  It has a hood and comes in Misses sizes 4-22.

Hoodwinks Detail:  See how nice you can topstitch on this fabric?  Even putting in zippers is no problem.  


Amy’s Bicycle Bag

Amy's Bicycle Bag
Our Amy got a recumbent bicycle and needed a bag to hold necessities while biking, so she designed and made this one.  It has Velcro closures and lots of pockets on the insides, as well as a webbing strap with buckle and cute flower cut-out closure.

Amy says she “really was pleased that it was not difficult to sew this laminate.”


A Little Duffle Do It

A Little Duffle Do It pattern by For The Love of Fabric, comes in 4 small sizes, perfect for sewing tools, travel items, cosmetics or craft supplies.  We made the medium size, using cotton on the exterior and laminate inside to wipe clean easily.  

This well-written pattern makes installing a zipper painless and even the interior seam allowances are enclosed…makes you look like a professional sewist.

The Market Tote

The Market Tote can be made in about an hour.  It would be a great beach tote, weekend travel tote, or grocery store tote upgrade.





Our Messy Kid Bib

Our Messy Kid Bib, from the book “Little Things To Sew” by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + s, uses cute Monkey laminate with an accent pocket made from regular cotton that was made into laminate by using Iron-on Vinyl.  Seems like magic, right?  Like, how can it not melt?  But it didn’t!  Think of the possibilities!  


Wine and Dine

Wine and Dine, by Atkinson Designs, is perfect for a lunch bag, or hostess gift, or college toiletries tote. 

We lined ours with PUL cloth, a pliable wipe-off polyurethane.  Once again, Terry Atkinson has designed an exceptional pattern.