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Sewing Coated Fabrics

Sewing Coated Fabrics

We've created limited edition Boulder Duffle kits in luxe gold and silver metallic fabric. And while we are all in agreement that the bags are fabulous (who doesn't want bling-y bag?), we are also in agreement that sewing fabrics that have a coating on them such as faux leather, oilcloth, and laminated fabrics can be tricky. Sometimes the fabric doesn't move through the sewing machine well because the fabric is sticky so the stitch lengths are uneven and skipped. Most times, they are almost impossible to press without melting or crinkling the surface. And if you make a mistake and need to remove stitches, holes appear, so you want to try to get it right the first time. Because we want you to have your kit and make it too, we've pulled some of our fabric sewing tricks from our Sewing Faux Fashion Leather Sew Confident! tutorial to help you create your own metallic Boulder Duffle

Needles & Thread

Use good quality polyester thread such as Mettler Metrosene, cross wound on the spool. The most common problem when sewing is skipped stitches. Have a variety of needles on hand so you can test your stitching before starting your project. Universal, denim, leather and topstitching needles in various sizes are your best choices. If things don't behave for you, try changing the needle type and size and even the brand of thread. And don't start the project until you have perfected the stitch!

Sewing Aids

Whenever the coated surface is next to the throat plate of your machine, use a layer of paper under your work as you sew. It peels off easily after stitching. Medical exam paper or the extra tissue from your patterns are good choices.

  • Use a glue stick or double-sided craft tape to hold layers together before stitching.
  • Pins usually don't work, so use Wonder Clips or hair clips to hold the layers together while sewing. 
  • A small wooden wallpaper roller helps to flatten seams and edges that are glued before stitching.
  • To mark stitching lines and other important reference points, use tailor's chalk or a Chakoner.

Presser Feet

To help keep the fabric moving along smoothly for even stitch lengths, try these specialty presser feet for better results.

  • A Teflon-coated presser foot and a roller foot are common recommendations. If you don't have a Teflon foot, apply scotch tape to the underside of a regular presser foot so the foot can slide more easily over the fabric.
  • Using a walking foot or engaging the even feed feature on your sewing machine may be the most useful. 
  • Buy a walking foot that has an interchangeable sole plate with a guide bar for even edge stitching and topstitching.

Stitching Seams

Most coated fabrics can't be pressed with an iron on the right side of the fabric. Some have a fabric backing which might be able to be lightly pressed, but it's doubtful that you will ever be able to get a good crease, so topstitching regular seams or using the overlapping seam technique are your best solutions for keeping seams flat.

Topstitched Seams

  • When sewing a seam, adjust the stitch length to 3mm, use Wonder Clips, and sew the recommended seam allowance with right sides together.
  • Apply strips of Sewing & Craft Tape to the outside edges of both seam allowances. Remove the paper covering to expose the glue strip. Open the seam allowance and finger press both sides to the wrong side of the fabric. Use a wooden wallpaper roller to flatten and secure the seam in place.
  • Utilizing the paper underlayment and one of the specialty presser feet, topstitch along both sides of the seam.
  • Check out the what happens when paper underlayment and the right foot weren't used!

Overlapping Seams

  • Creating overlapping seams is another solution for flatter seam finishes. Begin by chalk marking the seam allowance on the right side of the underlapping seam. Apply a strip of Sewing & Craft Tape within the seam allowance. Remove the paper covering.
  • Cut away the seam allowance of the corresponding overlapping piece and place that cut edge along the chalk marked line of the underlap piece. Finger press in place and then use the wooden wallpaper roller to secure it for stitching.
  • Using a walking foot with the sole pate and guide, sew the first line of stitching along the cut edge. Change to a walking foot without the guide and topstitch ¼" from the previous stitching. If skipped stitches occur, try a different needle type or size. The left seam was sewn with a jeans needle, the right with a leather needle. 

For even more great tips on sewing coated fabrics, as well as other tricky fabrics like velvet, silk, faux fur, activewear and sequined fabric sign up for Linda's Craftsy class Taming Tricky Fabrics. In this class Linda will help you master simple techniques to transform almost any material into garments that get noticed. The best part? After these video lessons, you'll finally be able to achieve beautiful results with fabrics that seemed daunting before. Follow our link to get 50% off the class! 

We paired our Boulder Duffle Bag pattern with an embossed coated fabric in gold, black or silver. The duffle is a roomy 20" wide, 11" high and 8" deep. It's big enough to take for a weekend away, or to carry your workout wear plus a change of clothes to the gym. Inside the bag you will find a zippered pocket, so you can always find your keys. 

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