A photo of a PVC bag.

From the day the very first roll of wipe clean fabric arrived with us, we have been busy making and designing new products for our show stand. We still have a lot of ideas to put into production and I can see us being busy through the winter, foot hard on the machine pedal. I want to share some of the things that I have discovered either by accident, or out of necessity, when sewing the coated fabric.

A photo of a PVC bag.

My first observation is that sewing with the acrylic coated fabric is no problem at all. No special needles needed, there is no sticking or dragging of the fabric and it is generally an easy operation, just like any non-coated fabric.  My second observation is that sewing with a PVC coated fabric has little to recommend it. It sticks together, it sticks to the foot of the machine and it sticks to the base of the machine. In general it is very sticky, tricky stuff. All that said, you get some great results if you persevere and some of our best selling bags are made from our range of PVC coated fabrics. Here are some tips that I have found useful.

You do not need a special needle unless you are sewing more than two layers of fabric and even then a denim needle works just fine. PVC is easy to sew when it is the right side facing the right side. The problems only start to occur when the front side of the fabric is outward. For example, on a simple tote bag you would have no problem running up the side seams and turning it, but folding and finishing the top and handles may be a bit more challenging.

A photo of a PVC bag.

Here are some tips to stop it sticking and help it glide more easily under the sewing foot.

Apply moleskin to the bottom of the sewing foot. You will need to cut it to shape then peel off the paper backing and carefully apply it to the bottom of the foot. You could do the same with decorators tape or similar. Just check before you cut it out and apply it to the bottom of the foot that it will slide across the PVC surface.

Try using a fine tissue paper. The type that is used for gift wrap is helpful. Make sure it is light and fine and ideally see through. You then place it either side of the seam, sewing as normal and then tear off the tissue paper afterwards. It may take a few minutes to pick out all the tissue from the seam but it does make sewing it a whole lot easier.

A light dusting of talcum powder can help, but don't use too much as it will get everywhere and ruin the look of the finished item.

Last but not least - if you have a folding attachment for your machine, consider applying a bias binding finish. Not only does it make a great contrast but it also makes sewing the PVC coated fabric nice and easy.

All I can say now is Good Luck! Like I said, you can get some great results once you work out the best way to stop it sticking.