Sewing with PVC

95% of my sewing is for my children's label where most items have a PVC component.
Adding PVC to your project can be a little tricky at the start but if you take your time and try a few of these tips you will be amazed at how simple it really is. PVC makes items more durable, easy to clean and also weather/water proof. It will add a whole new dimension to your sewing.

PVC is available in a few different weights. 8 gauge is generally the thinnest. This thickness is used mostly for adding to fabric items such as aprons, bags, bibs etc. A heavier thickness such as 20 gauge can be added to make wallets or table/floor covers, items that will need to be a little more durable.

Most of the larger fabric retailers or Clark Rubber styled stores stock clear PVC by the roll. It comes in clear, printed or flannel backed. It's very reasonable priced.

My number one tip for sewing with PVC is to use a walking foot (even feed foot), without the guiding arm, on your sewing machine. As fabric and PVC are two different mediums, PVC can tend to get pushed along and pucker with a normal sewing foot. Any sized machine is capable of sewing basic, light weight PVC projects.

Secondly, work with the fabric as your top layer. Working with stretch/knit fabrics and PVC are extremely difficult so try to use non stretch fabrics cut with the grain.

Remember when cutting out your PVC pattern , only use pins within the seam allowance (it will leave pin holes) Try a paper clip wher you can't use pins.

Thirdly, the choice of machine needle is also really important. Generally I use a size 14 Denim needle with a normal good quality thread but if you are using a heavy PVC weight then try a leather needle. It will puncture the PVC so it is best to use a heavier thread. Also when using a leather needle don't back sew as you will get holes everywhere, tie threads off.

If I was making an apron as pictured with a PVC outer layer, I would sew the two pieces together with a large straight stitch and trim the seam before adding the bias. Zig Zag stitch also works well on PVC and has a great effect. Some other basic tips not to forget.
  1. A light weight PVC can stretch (and stick) when warm. Try to keep the room temperature that you are working in as cool as possible.
  2. PVC & Fabric can also be overlocked. Again be aware of the needles you are using and have fabric as your top layer.
  3. When PVC is added to fabric it can be machine washed in some cases. use a laundry bag and gentle cycle. If the PVC is light weight, machine washing tends to crease PVC. It cannot be ironed. Best to wipe over with a damp cloth. Sponge any bias.
  4. When purchasing PVC, ask that it be rolled and not folled.


Unknown said...

I was trying to find the right needle size for denim and other thick fabrics for some time. I even broke a few recently! I also did not know that PVC can be so handy. Thanks for the tips.

Unknown said...

Gee that post was full of great tips , you've made it really clear , thanks for that .