In this post, I’m sharing tips on how to sew vinyl. Read on for lots of cheats on sewing vinyl the easy way.
Let’s see if you can get this one right.
What’s one thing that you can do to your bags that will INSTANTLY make them look store-bought rather than homemade?
Think hard. And no cheating!
The answer is……
Add some vinyl to it! Yep.
10 points if you got that one right.
Believe it or not, vinyl can instantly boost the look of your bags by 100x.
And you know what’s the best part? You don’t need a super heavy duty sewing machine to do that. You can even sew with vinyl on your basic domestic sewing machine and I will tell you how in just a bit.
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Choosing the Right Vinyl
Before you purchase vinyl, it’s crucial to understand what type of vinyl works best for bag making.
You want to avoid any vinyl with a woolen backing as it will make sewing harder. Instead, opt for vinyl with plain paper like backing which is thin and much easier to handle. This is the one I purchased a few days ago and I just LOVE it. It feels luxurious on the outside and the backing is plain which is ideal for sewing.
Where to Buy Sewing Vinyl?
- Fabric.com has a HUGE range of vinyl fabric that can be bought online. Click here to check them all out.
- Aliexpress – I purchase ALL my vinyl from Aliexpress. This store is my favorite. Their vinyl is inexpensive and the shipping is really fast. Here’s a shot of my recent purchase.
How to Sew Vinyl?
To sew perfectly with a vinyl, you would need some special tools and notions.
1. Sewing Machine Walking Foot
The first most important tool, is a walking sewing machine foot. This helps in effortlessly pusing the fabric through the feed dogs making it wayyyy easier to sew with tricky fabrics.
Since vinyl has this rubbery kind of texture, the machine finds it really difficult to push the fabric back. Enter a walking foot and ALL’S WELL.
Not only that, a walking foot will help in sewing through thick layers like a butter!
My sewing life has completely CHANGED since the time I purchased a walking foot and I HIGHLY recommend it for EVERY beginner sewist. Although it seems a bit pricier than other sewing machine feet, trust me, it will pay for itself and is a long-term investment that you will NEVER regret. CLICK HERE to get one now.
However, if you don’t want to invest in a new foot, you can always get away by just applying a layer of scotch tape UNDER your regular foot to allow the vinyl to feed in smoothly through your machine. If this tip doesn’t work out, just go ahead and order a walking foot. Okay?
2. Clover clips
The second most important notion is CLOVER CLIP. Remember, you can NEVER ever pin vinyl like you pin your fabrics because it will leave holes in the vinyl. Instead, you use clover clips to do the job of holding two pieces of vinyl together. They are super handy also super inexpensive.
So, get a jar of clover clips and keep it by your side when sewing with vinyl.
3. Fabric Glue
Another thing you will super useful while sewing with vinyl is fabric glue. Using fabric glue to sew bag straps and accent has made my life SO MUCH EASIER. It’s like eating ice cream where you don’t have to put ANY effort. Really.
And if you use a super strong glue like Gorilla Glue, you can make your bags sturdier and long lasting.
Additional Vinyl Sewing Tips
- Increase your stitch length. If you use small stitch length your thread will be invisible and you will only get a set of tiny holes bunched together. Not pretty at all.
- You can also use tissue papers while sewing vinyl to prevent the foot from sticking to the vinyl.
- First test out a scrap of vinyl. Adjust your thread tension to make sure your thread doesn’t break or bunch up under the machine.
How to Iron on Vinyl?
Since vinyl is completely different from other fabrics, you CANNOT iron it the same way either.
You should either iron on JUST the back side of the vinyl or you can use a press cloth to iron on it.
NEVER keep a hot iron directly ON TOP of vinyl as it will cause the vinyl to melt and stick to your iron.
To remove the crease that you get from folding the vinyl, you can also spread it out in the sun for a while or keep it under a hot shower, you can also use heavy books or weights on the crease to flatten it out.
To flatten a seam, you can use a rubber mallet instead of an iron.
Needle for Sewing Vinyl
If you’re wondering what needle to use for vinyl, then the answer is leather or jeans needle. These needles are thick and can stand the pressure of sewing with thickly layered fabrics.
It’s also important to buy these needles from good companies because cheap needles create too much problem and break easily. I have experienced this first hand.
The needles that I usually use and really like are leather needles by Schmetz and Klasse. Both Schmetz and Klasse are German brands which make really high-quality needles so I highly recommend buying a leather needle from them.
So, the best needle for sewing vinyl are leather needles from Schmetz and Klasse.
Vinyl Sewing Machine
A lot of people ask the question: can I sew vinyl with a regular sewing machine?
The answer is, YES, you can if you use the right tools as mentioned above.
However, if you want to sew 10 vinyl bags in a row, I recommend that you invest in a basic industrial sewing machine which is faster and can work more smoothly when it comes to sewing with vinyl.
But if you want to just purchase one machine that would last forever and help you in sewing vinyl bags, then I suggest you go for a cylinder arm industrial machine which is THE best sewing machine for sewing vinyl bags.
Best Thread for Sewing Vinyl
The best threads for sewing with vinyl are all-purpose polyester threads. However, if you would like your top-stitches to be prominent, you can use a heavy-duty thick thread, like this one.
Vinyl Bags Sewing Tip
When sewing bags that are all vinyl, follow all the tips mentioned above as well as add fusible fleece to the back as you would do on a normal fabric bag but you can skip medium weight interfacing.
Vinyl is just like a quilting cotton fabric fused to medium weight interfacing.
Storing Vinyl Fabric
Since folding vinyl fabric adds crease lines to it, you cannot fold it the same way as you fold other fabrics. Instead, you should store vinyl by rolling it on cardboard rolls and securing with a rubber band or a ribbon.
I use a large basket, something like this in the corner of my room to keep all my vinyl rolls together which prevents them from getting creased.
Leather Bag Making Class
If you really want to learn to sew leather bags in depth, you might like this leather bag making class. Click the image for details.
With that, we have reached the end of the post where I shared with you how to sew vinyl and some other vinyl sewing tips.
If you want to learn how exactly I use vinyl to make bags, sign up for the FREE Beginner Bag Making Course by entering your name and address below and I’ll see you inside the course!
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Also, check out 9 Beginner Bag Making Tips for Professional Bags
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