WWWIP 2019 Week 6: Kyle
Hello everyone! Things are progressing smoothly for our Chromawing: Delta outfits. This past week I sewed the outer jackets together for Madi and myself. I also began sewing Eric's jacket together and realized this would be a great opportunity to share some tips and tricks for working with vinyl!
The first step is buying your fabric. Most fabric stores carry vinyls and pleather. Oftentimes the stretch vinyls will be grouped with fashion or special occasion fabric sections. Upholstery sections also carry vinyls and microsuede, but they are much heavier and usually don't have as much stretch. Vinyl can be pretty expensive, so usually it is a good idea to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to wait for a sale or coupon to use on your fabric purchase. If you are shopping online, be sure to order samples of your fabrics before making a big purchase, and be sure to check the return policy.
Most vinyls can melt when ironing directly, so a good trick to use on this or any other delicate fabric is to put a barrier in between. Some people use wax paper, but depending on the heat setting, there is a small chance the wax residue could transfer to the fabric. I personally like to use the same heavy drafting paper that I pattern with. You can find rolls for cheap in the painting section of most hardware retailers such as Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Whatever material you decide to use, be sure to test ironing on scraps of your vinyl at various heat settings to find the optimal configuration before you start ironing your cut pieces.
When pinning or sewing a vinyl keep in mind that, unlike woven fabrics, all punctures in the material will remain forever. This can be intimidating because any mistakes may result in you having to recut your pieces. And since we all know how expensive vinyl can be, the first and most important step is to make a mockup of your outfit before even cutting out your vinyl pieces. Try to use a material that is cheap but has a similar thickness and stretch as the vinyl so you can have an accurate idea of how well your pattern will apply to your vinyl.
When pinning your vinyl pieces together, pin only in the seam allowance and not on your planned seamline. Fabric clips are a great investment, as they won't puncture your vinyl and are strong enough to hold most seams together until sewn.
Vinyl will want to grab your presser foot as you sew, causing the stitches to become uneven. There are specialized presser feet for use with vinyl that have less grip to them. You can alternatively apply scotch tape to the underside of your presser foot for similar results.
Some sewing machines will have specific stitch settings for vinyl to help with even stitches, but if yours doesn't, you can lightly pull your fabric from behind the machine with one hand as you sew to keep a steady traction. You should practice sewing on some scraps to get a handle on your specific vinyl before sewing the final garment.
Sometimes you may find yourself using stretch vinyl for parts of a project that don't require stretch. Let’s say the texture/color vinyl you need only comes in a stretch variety, or your project requires the same fabric to stretch in some places and not in others. The easy solution for any stretch fabric is interfacing. Most fabric stores carry a variety of interfacing, from lightweight to extremely sturdy, and with both iron-on adhesive or non-iron-on options. When purchasing interfacing be sure to consider what the combined thickness of the interfacing and your fabric will be once combined, as this could affect the drape and function of your finished garment.
If you choose an iron-on interfacing then have the interfacing on top to act as your barrier between the iron and vinyl (and again remember to test on a scrap first). If you choose a sew-on interfacing, you will want to cut your pieces out and carefully pin the interfacing to your vinyl while both are lined up flat on a table. You will sew the two together with a topstitch in your seam allowance. This way it won't be visible once the outfit is sewn together.