Tips for Sewing with Vinyl

Tips for Sewing with Vinyl

Our resident bag-making expert, Starr, has all the tips for sewing with vinyl!  With all the purses and bags CKC Patterns has, its only a matter of time before you become addicted to making them, like all of us!

Hi everyone!  With so many new bag patterns, I thought I would create a list for some of the tips I have learned working with vinyl!  All CKC bags can be made with woven fabric as well, but with vinyl becoming increasingly popular and more durable, I wanted to share some knowledge!

  • First, let's talk needles.  Vinyl is stiffer and thicker than what a typical sewing machine needle is used to sewing,  To prevent breakage, Microtex needles are best. However, leather needles or non-stick needles also work well. And in a pinch, jean needles may work out okay!  Basically, you want a larger needle for vinyl.  More info on needles here:
  • When holding your vinyl in place in preparation to sew, use clips instead of pins. Pins will leave permanent holes in your vinyl (yikes!). If you must use pins, pin within the seam allowance.
  • Use a larger weight thread.  This will ensure you are not busting any seams as you use it!
  • For vinyl, using the right presser foot makes all the difference!  A Teflon foot is recommended, but a walking foot is good too. If you don’t have either of those you can put tissue paper under your vinyl to help it glide easier across the feed dogs. And it will tear right out when you are done. 
    •  Super secret extra hint:  No Teflon foot? You can add a drop of sewing machine oil on your vinyl on the path of your pressure foot to help it glide along. Placing a piece of Scotch tape to the underside of your pressure foot can help, too, if you feel out of options!
  • Now that we have our machine all set up, we are ready to sew!  Increase your stitch length and reduce your pressure foot tension.

  • Vinyl creates pretty thick seams.  For the most part, your heavy-duty needle (see above) can handle a few layers.  But when in doubt, you may also find it helpful to hand crank over thick seams.
  • Some vinyl stretches. Do not pull your vinyl through as you sew! It could stretch out!
  • Do not iron directly on vinyl. You can use a seam roller to help ‘press’ your seams or use a press cloth between your iron and your vinyl and use a lower heat setting. To make your vinyl more pliable, you can heat the vinyl with a hairdryer, this is helpful when turning out a bag for instance.

Okay, we think you are ready!  We cannot WAIT to see what you create!