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I am a sewing designer by trade. If you have ever sewn vinyl material, you know how difficult it is, because it is very slippery. In the past when I have sewn vinyl, my stitching has looked very unprofessional.
I have just figured out a wonderful trick to sew vinyl with beautiful stitching. Lay a piece of wax paper over your vinyl and stitch your project. When you are finished just tear the wax paper away. Beautiful stitching every time!
By Dee Blucher from Dunedin, FL
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I am trying to sew a piece of vinyl. When I sew on one piece it is okay. When I try to put two pieces together it will not pull up the bottom thread. What do I need to do?
They sell a special needle for this purpose, coated with Teflon. It will also help to put a little strip of tissue paper under the sewing foot over the vinyl and sew right through the paper. It will tear away easily when you're done stitching.
Definitely have the "RIGHT" needle. These days, they make a different needle for every type fabric, and if your sewing machine is fairly new (10yrs old or less) then your machine will need the proper type of needle to sew the vinyl as well as light, medium, or heavy weights, knits (stretchy) or woven fabrics, etc. It's amazing how many types of needles there are now. Also, you may need to adjust the bobbin tension as well as the upper tension. You might try a needle for sewing leather. Hope this is helpful.
Pat T in Ocala, FL
I need to sew a strip of vinyl to a one-stoke brush holder so the brushes will not fall out. I have a Singer sewing machine about 40 years old. I would like to know what size needle and thread I need to use. Any suggestion?
you use a size 16 sewing needle as if your doing denim etc, the vinyl will stick to the feeddogs so you layer a piece of tissue paper on top of the vinyl, do your sewing stitches and when done tear the tissue away ....if this doesn't make sense to you repost back, sam
I also paint and have made my own brush holders. I used a bamboo placemat, sewed a length of elastic midway and attached a pretty silk ribbon to one end and added a pretty button to its end, and just tuck it under the silk ribbon after rolling up. As for dividing the elastic, I hand sewed every 3/4" to the bamboo.
artist AT isp.com
Where can I find see-through vinyl for sewing, in different colors? I would like to buy it online if possible.
By Donna from Belleville, IL
Joann Fabrics sell this online.
You can find it here:
Hope this helps.
When sewing on vinyl I use a walking foot. The top stitches are fine, but the bottom stitches are long and loose. What do I need to do to fix this?
You may have to adjust the bobbin tension. Your owner's manual will tell you how. You can also download the manual if you have lost it. It is a good idea to put a piece of tissue paper (the kind they use for gift bags) underneath the vinyl to help it feed through better. The tissue paper will rip right off.
The reason that vinyl is so difficult is that it has a sticky surface and doesn't always feed under the pressure foot of the sewing machine. I think that is why your stitches are loose on the bottom. I agree with putting tissue paper under the vinyl to feed it better, and to help it not to get stuck and pull the thread on the bottom stitches.
Have a great day!
there's a dial inside the machine that adjusts the thread at the bottom. It is very important to adjust this properly so as to have the correct tension.
What machine are you running?
Generally three things to try are:
1. Try a sharper needle designed for vinyl
2. Try reseating the bobbin into the machine
3. Try another bobbin (with brand new thread) preferably thread marked bonded nylon or bonded polyester
I tried making blinds a few years ago and my issue was the thread (old thread and not the bonded kind--the bonded kind, wound slightly loose worked fine).
The project failed--not because of the thread issue, but because I did not buy enough(it was a remnant and I thought it would be enough) and when I went back I could not find a color match or a matching remnant. Oh well....I ended up selling the fabric at my yard sale last summer and got more than I paid, so I was happy.
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Here are some tips for sewing vinyl shared by ThriftyFun readers.
I sew a lot of vinyl that I applique on to clothes. I find that having the correct tension and using an appropriate needle are the two key things to do. Also, If you're sewing something like nylon onto the vinyl, sew it together with the nylon on the top because you'll tend to find that the feed dogs will pull the weaker/thinner material harder than the vinyl.
The majority of machines will not sew vinyl well at all. If you loosen your tension and basically pull the vinyl from both ends of the item in an even manner, it might work better. Also, use a thicker vinyl, I find that is easier for the machine to handle. You can also use a tissue paper under the fabric, this will help your feed dogs pull it better. When you are done sewing, you can rip off the tissue paper and pick out the little extras.
By Kim Reynolds
I made my own crib set and changing pad which was vinyl, kind of like a picnic table cloth. I used a bigger needle and went really slow. Also make sure that you don't pull on it at all because it will rip it. I used nylon thread. It was time consuming and the tread was a really challenge (it was clear) but it got the job done and I was really happy with my results.
You can put tissue (gift type) on the feed dog side of the plastic. It works well.
I solved the problem by using a so called needle feed sewer. It's industrial but it was well worth the money. I got mine here at http://westchestersewing.com/highlead/gc0518/
I just made a stuffed animal with recycled vinyl (an old raincoat) and I used strips of interfacing on each side of the seam and left it in. I tried tissue paper, but it tore, the lightweight interfacing worked like a charm.
You can use waxed paper as a liner, as well. This will also smooth the sewing needle while it cuts through both the paper and vinyl.
There is a special sewing machine foot for sewing vinyl. It glides without puckering. Ask at your sewing centre.
You can also get a teflon foot, which is much cheaper than going the whole needle feed sewer, or walking foot route.
I want to thank you all for the paper under the vinyl trick. The welting on a cushion I'm doing was just about to drive me insane. Right after reading these posts, I went to try it out. SUCCESS! So a heart felt thanks, not only for saving my cushion (which would have ended up in the yard), but for saving my machine (for which I would have practiced my shot-putting with) and lastly my sanity(for which I would have surely lost)
I'm making a tote bag and using vinyl for the handles and bottom corners. My machine will not sew the vinyl. I knew there had to be a way to do this and you've helped me immensely. I will try the tissue paper solution and also check with Joann Fabrics about a special foot to sew vinyl.
I wanted to use vinyl for appliques and jackets. I found that the vinyl sticks to the machine and presser foot. I was about to give up but have found some good ideas here that I will try. Thank you. (04/17/2007)
There is a foot with rollers that works very well with vinyl. (07/09/2007)
I needed to sew vinyl for a pencil case I was making and asked a friend about it, she said just to use a leather needle so thanks what I'm gonna do!
I found this nifty tip on the internet I forget where.
Put "gift wrap" tape (you know the tape that looks frosted or has a matte finish) on the bottom of any sewing foot and TA DA instant vinyl sewing foot.
The vinyl will not pucker under it and it is so much cheaper! The tape eventually wears out (after two bags for me) but it is is easy and cheap to replace. Great tips everyone! (11/28/2007)
I am sewing a vinyl motorcycle seat I have an old industrial viking sewing machine. I have the vinyl sides together but the bottom thread just loops and makes a big mess. I am using a leather needle but that doiesn't seem to do the trick. What am I doing wrong? (01/02/2008)
I use a cardboard (like the instructions inside a zipper package) or pretty postcard under the presser foot on just one side of the needle ---- and I make great STRAIGHT seams this way. I did lots of clear "windows" on projects last summer with the clear stuff and a teflon foot wasn't enough.
I like the frosted tape on the underside of a presserfoot too--- if it works that will give me an open toe slippery foot.
I would suggest using baby powder, it helps the vinyl glide through, or using some sort of oil on the needle and a little on the area your sewing, it seems to work pretty well. (06/06/2008)
I found the information on wax paper for sewing vinyl here. I use a walking foot, but the wax paper makes the process smooth and lubricates the needle thus saving the needle. (06/19/2008)
I work with vinyl all the time. I usually use 30 to 36 ounce vinyl for commercial work such as barber chairs, restaurant booths etc... You need a heavy duty walking foot industrial sewing machine such as the old Singer 111 or wht I recommend as the best machine a Consew 206RB. You will need specialized welting feet to sew welting. As most of the previous tips indicate, you should sew with large stitches. I sew vinyl with no more than 4 to 5 stitches per inch. I assure you with the correct equipment you will enjoy vinyl and leather upholstery. (10/24/2009)
There is a product called Silicone Spray. This is a great product and it makes sewing vinyl a breeze. You can also spray your metallic thread. When using metallic thread on vinyl there is no breakage. Your vinyl fabric will glide thru your machine with no sticking. (02/28/2010)
When sewing Vinyl a needle feed (needle bar moves with feed dog) machine is recommended.
This allows for a beautiful bottom stitch. Not like plain machines that gather the up the bottom stitch when sewing Vinyl.The next step up for sewing heavy (multiple layers of Vinyl) would be the walking foot. This has the needle feed feature but with an extra outside foot for more pulling power. Thanks Dave Moore at Westchester Sewing Machine for steering me in purchasing the Highlead GC20618-2 double needle for sewing our banners. (05/22/2010)