Tip Jar: Sewing with coated fabric…

I do enjoy a good, basic tote bag – preferably one particular that won’t get stained and can withstand a little rain.  And of course it has to be pretty.

So when I saw that four of our Spring collections would have coated fabrics, I was entirely on board.

With a single clear hitch… I hadn’t sewn on this sort of fabric in years and I wasn’t certain if I remembered some of the tricks.  A bit of practice, some experimenting, and a small analysis helped make this a whole lot of enjoyable.  It’s not hard, even though it can be a tiny bit messy… a lot more on that in a moment.

Very first – what do I mean by “coated” fabric?  Take a woven, printed cotton fabric and add a thin PVC layer to it, creating it water-resistant and really sturdy.  It’s excellent for bags, tablecloths and mats and even a straightforward rain jacket.  While it isn’t suitable for children’s clothes, it can be employed for children’s book bags, lunch bags and toy bags.

Cutting.  Cutting the coated fabrics just requires a rotary cutter and ruler.  I commence by folding the fabric – incorrect side out.  I favor cutting with the coated side on the inside due to the fact the two coated layers won’t slide when laid against each and every other.  The wrong side often does – at least that is been my encounter.

To make the bags shown above, you will need to have 5/8 yard of 45″ wide coated fabric.

Fold the fabric in half, aligning the selvages.  Make a straightening cut on a single side, then reduce a strip that is 14″ wide by the 45″ width of the fabric.  From that piece, trim the selvage and cut two rectangles – 14″ x 16″.  Save the piece on the fold for now.  Then cut two strips – 2 1/2″ x 45″ wof.  Trim the strips to measure 2 1/2″ x 27″ – these are the straps/handles.

For a diagram of the cutting – Coated Cotton Tote Bag Cutting.

Sewing. The very first issue to know about sewing with coated fabrics is that professionals use a specific presser foot – one particular that is Teflon coated or made for sewing with plastic or coated fabrics.  The coating on the fabric likes to stick to our typical metal or plastic presser feet truth be told, it also likes to stick to the throat plate on the base of the sewing machine, which is why a Teflon coated foot never seemed to operate all that properly for me.  The other drawback to them is that the Teflon presser feet can be expensive.  Thankfully, there are options.

No. 1 – Tissue paper.  Wrapping tissue or the thin tissue utilized for sewing patterns is layered amongst the fabric and the presser foot/throat plate.  Advantage – it does perform.  Disadvantage – the tissue slides and then has to be removed from the stitches.

No. two – Infant powder.  I wrote that it may get messy.  The benefit is that it performs, it is price range-friendly and your sewing area will smell baby-fresh.  The disadvantage is that it will make a bit of a mess, but it’s easily cleaned up.  If you are worried about what it may well do to your sewing machine, I can tell you that soon after generating four tote bags and a couple of zipper bags, there wasn’t any obvious powder residue in the base of my sewing machine.

Pins.  Put them away.  Clips – like Wonder Clips – perform very best, even though paperclips will work in a pinch.  Glue pens – like my favorites from Sewline – can aid but actually, clips worked ideal for me.

Pressing.  This coated fabric can be pressed on the wrong side with a slightly warm iron only.  Anything hotter than that will alter the way the fabric feels – ask me how I know.  (I did write that I was experimenting…)

Have you ever floured a surface prior to rolling out pie or cookie dough?  If you have, you will know what to do right here.  Lightly sprinkle the baby powder on the coated surface and then use your fingers to cover the entire surface.  Shake off the excess.  Do both rectangles – and the straps.

Thread. While normal 50 wt. thread will function, I found that the stitching looked best with a thicker thread, especially the leading-stitching.  I utilised a 28 wt. Aurifil on the best and a 40 wt. Aurifil in the bobbin.  While the 28 wt. works beautifully in the bobbin, employing the 40 wt. meant that I didn’t have to do much to adjust the tension.  I also changed my needle to a 90/14.  If all you have is 50 wt., it does function but the thread basically disappears.

Stitch length. I lengthened my stitch length to eight to 10 stitches per inch.  The seams on the inside of the bag can be stitched with a slightly shorter length – 10 to 12 stitches per inch – but the best-stitching looked ideal at the longer length.

Stitching itself… Even with the powder, the coated fabric is not going to feed itself beneath the needle with the very same ease that your standard cotton quilting fabrics do.  I discovered that I required to hold my hands on the fabric and “help” hold it moving smoothly – specifically more than seams.

Assembling the bag. With the powdered, coated sides of the 14″ x 16″ rectangles with each other, stitch a 1/2″ seam allowance about three sides – leaving a 14″ wide open.  This will be the top of the bag.

Fold down 1 1/2″ on the top opening of the bag and safe with huge clips – I utilized Jumbo Wonder Clips – or big paperclips.  Prime-stitch the folded edge of the bag initial – 1/8″ away from the fold.

Then fold beneath the bottom edge to complete the hem and use the clips to hold the edge in place whilst stitching.  I stitched from the prime side with my seam allowance marked with a piece of tape – it was a 1″ hem.

For the straps, fold the 2 1/2″ x 27″ length in half and best-stitch 1/8″ from the fold – turn the two ends beneath 1/4″ before stitching.

Then fold the two edges inside approx. 1/4″ and secure with a clip – I utilized these Wonder Clips – or a paperclip. Producing a tube and turning it appropriate side out did not function for me – not for a finished width of 1″.  Top-stitch the two folded edges as close to the edge as achievable.  Because it cannot be pinned, glued or fused, keeping the two folded edges perfectly matched up can be a challenge.

Placement of the straps on the outdoors of the bag – the bottom edge of the strap is 2″ from the leading edge of the bag – and 2″ from the center.  I matched the two seams to discover the center of every side of the bag and measured from the fold.  To make it safe, I borrowed the stitching pattern from a equivalent style tote I own.  I also double-stitched the prime – as they had completed.

Wouldn’t you know, the only photo I have with a close-up is probably the messiest of the sixteen strap-attachments I did. Of course, I believe it also shows why I preferred making use of the 28 wt. thread for the stitching that would show. The tag?  That’s just a piece of Moda measuring tape from a pre-cut – pinked and best-stitched on the outdoors of the bag.

When I finished, my friends asked if I would sew with this coated fabric once more and my answer is “absolutely!”  I like playing with distinct projects and trying new tactics, they’re all “tools for the toolbox”, in that one thing I learned undertaking this will most likely come in beneficial for anything else.  And I know I will use these bags – although one particular of two have currently been claimed by others.  I also have a grocery-shopping bag reduce out, waiting to be assembled.

From left to proper, the collections with coated fabrics are:

So there you have it – sewing with coated fabrics.  You required a new project to play with this weekend, didn’t you?

Content Friday!




Taking Care Of Your Sewing Self


Do you believe in all-natural remedies? I treated myself to this reasonably priced bottle of Treatments To Roll for pulse points, in the hope of encouraging a studious nature at the desk and sewing machine. I really like the scent and undoubtedly my senses are woken. May well be worth ensuring there are no smears of oil left on your wrists to contaminate fabric.


Good light is important at this time of year and my sewing area has an arrangement of lamps. It really does make all the distinction. Even then, you may well want to judge what sewing steps you take and when. Hand sewing by lamplight in the evening? Neglect it!


And while we’re being all holistic, I’d truly suggest an air humidifier for your sewing space. My skin is already dry and itchy from the central heating pumping out warm air. Plus, quite!

At this time of year, it is effortless to place every person else very first. Take some time and present getting for yourself!

Did You Make That?

The Rise And Rise Of Sewing Vloggers


Nicely! I’ve been definitely fascinated by the newest social media turn of events, namely the rise and rise of sewing vloggers. I Adore sewing vlogs. When I’m as well tired to do something other than loll in bed, I watch an episode from one particular of my ‘friends’ as I gently fall asleep, my laptop propped open.

For me, sewing vlogs trump podcasts. I need to have to feel halfway clever when listening to a podcast. They all – not just sewing – look to be so earnest.


Book and Television industries are obsessed with Youtube. Some of its stars carry a lot more clout than Hollywood actors, these days. I’m not saying that Leonardo DiCaprio should buy himself a sewing machine (though maybe he must) but I am intrigued that where the likes of Zoella lead, sewing follows. These vlogs are not about on the web tutorials per se they’re much more about an on the internet conversation.

Our sewing vlogs would possibly be described as niche – I can not see anyone yet hitting Zoella’s 11 million subscribers – but I always think niche is excellent. Niche means passion. What’s subsequent? I have no concept. Some readers have suggested I join in the vlogging enjoyable, but I really take pleasure in leaving this location to other men and women who are carving out their personal community niche. Plus, we currently have at least two dog-owning sewing vloggers!

Do you have any favourite sewing vlogs you can suggest to me? And what do you believe to this newest phenomenon?

Did You Make That?

Strictly Come Dancing – Sewing The Dresses


Each and every year when Strictly Come Dancing arrives on Tv I say to myself, I really need to organise a sewing interview. And every single year I fail. Till today! The great Gerald of DSI London allowed me to visit the thumping heart of the Strictly costume department. Turns out it’s in Surrey.

Inventive director, Vicki Gill (as noticed on It Takes Two), pattern cutters, seamstresses, diamante experts and a new apprentice turn round outfits in – gulp – 3 days. Tired just reading this? You need to attempt attaching 8,000 diamante stones to a dress. And, oh, the dresses…



I spent an afternoon with Gerald and his team, understanding all about the garments. Did you know that they source their two-way stretch lycra from Italy, that the laces come from Austria and the polyester is flown from Japan? That every little thing is bespoke dyed so that each detail in an outfit is properly colour matched?


It takes a 60-powerful group to turn these outfits round week on week and they have over 400 components in stock at any given time. That is some stash!

I asked the chief pattern cutter, Teresa, what her most challenging brief was. A rip off! When 1 outfit is hidden beneath one more, to be revealed in the course of the dance.


Their head of mens’ outfits, Mike Delicata, told me that he’s often in the building at 7am. These guys perform hard, but the outcomes are exquisite.


When producing outfits for Strictly Come Dancing, DSI operate with a variety of mannequins adjusted and padded to the dimensions of each dancer. The dresses are constructed in Surrey, then any final fitting adjustments take spot at Elstree.

Fortunately, their higher-top quality lycra is forgiving so even if contestants shed weight, the dresses remain impressively fitted.


In the course of my check out, there were shelves and shelves of beautiful supplies to drool more than.



It was my privilege to peer behind the velvet curtain of the Strictly Come Dancing costume group and see initial hand what goes into these outfits. This is haute couture meeting functionality wear in the most glamorous and sensible techniques achievable. I’m practically tempted to start off hand sewing feathers to Italian lycra. Almost…

Are you a fan of the show, and has it inspired your sewing? Who do you want to win in 2016?

With thanks to Gerald and DSI for their generosity and kindness.


Did You Make That?

Little Sewing Storage


Sewing storage comes in all shapes and sizes. Often, it is the tiny issues that make a planet of difference. So, here are some of my favourite miniature storage solutions!

I purchased this plastic bobbin box off eBay ages ago. It often lives in hand’s attain of my sewing machine.


If you haven’t currently discovered Flying Tiger, you’re going to enjoy them. Be warned, though – you will find out lots of products you just have to have. Like these pink storage boxes. So cute!


My Bernina accessory box came with my machine. I really like it so!


I bought my art deco wooden button box from an antiques fair – this 1, to be exact.

And if the above looks too darn organised for your taste, below is my Things That Require A Home, er, residence. All these highly meltable items live on prime of the microwave.

We all have a single of these, right?


Did You Make That?

How Do You Use Sewing Books?

sewing books

I enjoy my sewing books. Really like seeing them sat together on a shelf. (Oddly, in the kitchen!) They variety among:

  • Reference Guides
  • Strategy Bibles
  • Brand Sewing – acquiring into a life style with Liberty, Sew Over It, Tilly And The Buttons, DIY Couture

And, of course, there’s a lot of crossover in among. 1 book can be all 3 of the above. The books often come with added extras. Pattern packs, accompanying DVDs, ring bound spines, slip cases, expandable pockets. Buyers get a lot of bang for their book buck, specially if they take up a deeply discounted offer from an on the internet website.

So, how frequently do I use these guys? To check a technique – often. The New Comprehensive Reader’s Digest Guide To Sewing remains my definitive technique bible. To sew projects from? Hardly ever – this dress getting a joyous exception.

flicking through sewing book

I can appreciate the massive undertaking that each single 1 of these books represents, but I still go automatically to my bulging pattern drawers when I’m seeking for project inspiration. Why? Honestly, I’m not certain I entirely know. Assortment of range? A much more accessible package? Level of instructions? No need to have to trace from nested patterns? Greater access to on-line testimonials? Brand familiarity? Or all of the above?

books and sewing patterns

I’m not going to stop acquiring or cherishing sewing books. Heck, I also have a lot of cookery books, city guides and hardback novels on my shelves that I barely choose up. I nevertheless like obtaining them there. I cannot envision a home where there aren’t any books on display. Books are covetable objects that we like to stroke and gaze on. Use? Perhaps much less so. The large query is, if they nevertheless handle to inspire does it matter how frequently we choose them up?

Newbie Tip: support your regional library by checking out reference supplies if you’re unsure whether or not or not to invest in a book at the start off of your sewing career.

Did You Make That?

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