11 Tips for Embroidery on Oilcloth, plus a Free Tote Bag Project!

oilcloth2 300x272 11 Tips for Embroidery on Oilcloth, plus a Free Tote Bag Project!

With April showers soon headed our way, oilcloth is a great fabric option for creating weather-resistant projects, such as raincoats, hats and tote bags. However, with its extra slippery, shiny texture, you might be wary to try machine embroidering on it. Have no fear! Click here for the FREE instructions to make the cute oilcloth tote bag above, and try these tips and techniques to successfully embroider it:

  • Oilcloth is similar to vinyl in that pins and needles create permanent holes. Be careful to pin only within the seam allowances, or use transparent tape or paper or binder clips to secure oilcloth layers.
  • Choose a lighter, more open design because overly dense designs can cause oilcloth to tear during embroidery.
  • Test-stitch the hooping method and chosen design on an oilcloth scrap to make sure the design, stabilizer and fabric work well together.
  • Use tear-away stabilizer in a weight that’s compatible with the oilcloth weight. Secure the stabilizer to the oilcloth using temporary spray adhesive. Or use sticky paper-release stabilizer. Any adhesive residue can be wiped away with a damp cloth after stitching.
  • Keep in mind that oilcloth will dull needles more quickly than regular fabric. Use a sharp size 75/11 or 90/14 needle to embroider and sew oilcloth.
  • Use 40-wt. polyester embroidery thread, which is strong enough to stitch through the tough oilcloth surface.
  • Direct heat from an iron will melt the oilcloth. Rather than pressing, use warm air from a blowdryer to remove creases and wrinkles.
  • Hoop the oilcloth with stabilizer, or try floating it over the stabilizer to prevent difficult-to-remove creases. To hoop it, secure the oilcloth to the tear-away stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive, and then smooth away all bubbles and wrinkles. Hoop both layers as smoothly and evenly as possible. Or use adhesive paper-release stabilizer in the hoop and adhere the oilcloth to the sticky surface without hooping it.
  • Pay close attention while the design is stitching out to make sure the oilcloth doesn’t detach from the stabilizer.
  • Advance through any basting stitches included in the design, if applicable, to prevent unnecessary permanent holes and needle perforations.
  • After embroidering the design, carefully tear away the stabilizer from the fabric wrong side.

Have you ever embroidered oilcloth or vinyl? Share your tips in the comments section below!

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One Response to 11 Tips for Embroidery on Oilcloth, plus a Free Tote Bag Project!

  1. Myrna Goddard says:

    Never sewn on oil cloth however I have wanted to for a long time. Want to make rain coats for the dolls. Now embroidery – I had never thought of trying that but I am up for it. I am going to give it a shot. Thanks for the hints.

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