12/2019 UPDATE: A PDF Printable Guide for this post is now available here.
Sewing vinyl is so fun -- just check out these colors!
I carry these gorgeous vinyls here and here, but let's talk first before you click over. My goal is to make YOU successful in what you decide to make. If I'm selling something, it has to be LEGIT. It has to work. It can't be too fussy or complicated, period.
I've had some real winners and some real losers at the end of it all, so I'd like to take a minute and let you in on what I've learned.
These are tips I use daily.
#1You MUST use a teflon foot for the best sewing experience.
Tape underneath a normal foot is ok if you're making one thing, but not if you're planning on making two or more. No -- for real. .....and please for the love of all that is natural in this world, buy a quality foot meant for your machine NOT an impostor. (I did it thinking I was being rebellious --- it did not go well. Much the same as my teen years.)
#2: USE A HAIR DRYER or warm the vinyl in some manner before trying to turn it right side out.
This also pertains to your vinyl if it has wrinkles upon shipment--just heat it up a few seconds and the wrinkles come right out! No need to freak. If it's your first time using vinyl, use it as a feature. For example the pockets on front and back of my Essentials Tote:
It's not magic keeping those sunglasses in- it's clear vinyl!
The pattern "Coffee House bag" features a vinyl flap --no turning out. It would be PERFECT for iridescent or colorful vinyl.
#3 Use tools that HELP YOU.
---Wonder clips are meant for vinyl -- not pins. Those holes are forever Yo! ---Use quality thread that doesn't break -I prefer Gutermann all purpose thread (not 100% cotton it will break easily).
---You may need to use a CHROME microtex needle.They make a huge difference just because they are stronger. I usually just use what's in my machine because I'm lazy, but if I'm making a bag - by the end of it, I will change to a Universal Chrome size 90 or 80 - depending on thickness.
#4 Use a longer stitch length. I tend to normally sew at 2.5 - 3 mm so when I sew VINYL I use a 3.5mm stitch. Sometimes I will go around the corners of a bag twice, not too close though, don't want to perf the seams! Play around and see what works for you.
Walk away and call me if you are frustrated. LOL! You can do this I promise. Sometimes new things feel difficult only because we are so hard on ourselves.
#6 SOMETIMES people complain the throat of their machine sticks to the vinyl. Simply tape a teflon baking sheet to the throat of your machine if this is happening. Tissue paper can work in a bind too. This has never been an issue for me however.
--If all of the above fails, and you've done your meditation and said your positive vibes mantras and it's still going to sh*t, ---grab your credit card and run to the nearest sewing machine dealer to test out quality heavy metal (not plastic machines). I use an old refurbished Bernina 1008 and I swear it's amazing and sews anything.
You will never look back once you invest in quality tools, promise.