Laminate Fabrics & Fusible Vinyl // Try It Tuesday

Try_It_Tuesday_Laminates_SwimBikeQuilt

Have you ever sewn with laminated fabric? Laminates are 100% cotton and covered with a polyurethane coating.  They are usually 54” wide instead of the normal 42” of 44”. Several years ago, Westminster/Free Spirit Fabrics started  offering laminate fabrics with many of their lines, and now many other manufacturers do as well. [This is Anna Maria Horner’s Summer Totem print–a favorite!]

I have primarily used laminate fabric for simple projects–splat mats, bibs, and summer cell phone pouches that can be tossed in my pool back. The laminate fabric is water resistant and easy to wipe clean, but I probably wouldn’t throw it in the pool. Still, it keeps my phone and keys dry during the summer. Additionally, laminated fabric is a safer alternative to traditional oilcloth, which isn’t recommended for use in anything that comes in contact with kids or food (as far as I understand). Laminate fabrics don’t contain pthalates, vinyl, or PVC.

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A few weeks ago, I tried out Fusible Vinyl–this particular brand (Vinyl Fuse) is made by Pellon.  It is SUCH a great concept–fuse vinyl to your favorite fabric and voila! Your favorite fabric is now a laminate-like fabric.  I made a zipper pouch as a test project, and made sure to cut my pieces of fabric and vinyl bigger than I actually wanted them, so I could trim them to exact size later.

Laminate_and_Fusible_Vinyl_Pouches_SwimBikeQuilt

I was disappointed in the results–the vinyl fuses nicely, the product instructions are well written, but at least in my opinion, the finished coated fabric feels cheap. It doesn’t drape well, it wrinkles really easily (and stays wrinkled), and the pouch I made makes a crackling sound when you touch it. Perhaps it would work well in a project that isn’t going to be wrinkled/folded/bent/used heavily.  Linsday Rhodes has a great tutorial for a Cosmetics Case using Vinyl Fuse — it would work well with laminates, too.

Sewing Tips when working with laminates

Laminates drape nicely, but choose projects with simple lines.  Pleats, ruffles, and other small details (mostly) get lost in the laminate.

Pins and needles leave holes in the fabric that don’t “heal” like traditional cotton. Pin in the seam allowances, and try to sew straight the first time 😉  Alternately, I’ve used wonder clips to hold layers together.

Experiment on a sample project first– a zipper pouch is a great first project

Use a walking foot if you have one. Alternately, I put a piece of wax paper on top of the laminate fabric, just to the right of my needle. It helped my regular piecing foot glide across the fabric, but I didn’t have to sew through the paper (and remove it later).

Store the fabric on a roll instead of folding it–it will prevent creasing.

You can iron laminated fabric on the WRONG side and a low setting; I finger press my seams and have been satisfied with the results, knowing that the coated fabric doesn’t lay quite as flat as cotton.

Some people recommend washing and drying laminated fabric–so far, I have been able to get my projects clean wiping the fabric with soap and water. [Kathy from Pink Chalk has tips for sewing laminated cotton, including thoughts on washing and drying the fabric.]

Additional Resources & Tutorials for Laminated Cotton

Amy Butler’s Tips for Laminated Cotton
Retro Travel Bag Tutorial by Polka Dot Chair
Umbrella Tutorial by Patty Young
Laminated Toiletry Bag at Sew 4 Home
Laminate Sewing Tips with Sew 4 Home

Do you have any other tips? Or favorite projects you have made with laminate? I’d love to see them!

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Posted July 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the post Katie! Last summer, my Sister in Law and I stitched up some aprons with the Vinyl Fuse. It worked really well. I didn’t notice the problem you mentioned here. I’ve never actually used laminated fabric before though. I wonder if that is the difference? Comparing the two? Either way, it is fun to try something new. I love your idea to made a little carrier for your phone for pool days.

    • Posted July 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      That’s good to know… I know lots of people like the fusible. You will have to try laminated fabric and see what you think!

  2. Posted July 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I made a bag recently using PUL as the lining, and I love it. I can carry home my damp swimsuit from the pool without the water seeping through and leaving me damp. And With this bag, I use wonder clips almost exclusively to make sure I didn’t puncture the bag where I didn’t want to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68991152@N03/9202917969/

  3. Angela Bowman (@angelabdotme)
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    I haven’t made anything with laminated fabric, but I have a yard of it, and recently started a Pinterest board to gather some ideas :) http://pinterest.com/angelabdotme/laminated-cotton/

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted July 18, 2013 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      My favorite is the cover up for books and magazines. Such a great idea! And prettier than my normal ziploc bag…

  4. Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering if you could get rid of most of the wrinkles in the finished bag by heating it with a hair dryer. This has worked for me when I’ve waned to use clear vinyl in a project and my supply at home is all folded and wrinkled but I don’t want to go buy more. I just lay it out on a flat surface and heat it up with a hair dryer and the wrinkles disappear. I leave it to sit until cool before picking it up.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted July 18, 2013 at 2:09 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the suggestion, Linda. I’ll have to try that. I think I’ve been spoiled by the texture of the laminate–its so smooth and non-plasticy feeling.

  5. Sandi
    Posted October 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, very helpful. It’s the information, I have been searching for.

  6. Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering how it would work if I wanted to use it for drawer or shelf lining. What would your option be on that?

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted April 3, 2015 at 1:14 am | Permalink

      Hi- I have used laminated fabric for shelf lining, but it might be a bit pricier than other options!

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