Oilcloth starter-kit WINNERS

by Dana on December 8, 2014

Good morning friends!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend.
And I hope you’re ready for another week of Don’t Fear the Fabric: Oilcloth + Leather, here on MADE and on See Kate Sew.
We’re sharing tips for sewing with those two fabrics so you’ll jump in and try them out!

And today I had planned to show you…..drumroll…..my recovered barstools!  YES.
Remember when I asked for your advice on fabric choices and you left 300 comments-worth of input?
Well I was going to reveal the new chairs!….but then my body went and got sick on me this weekend.  So my post won’t quite be ready till tomorrow.  So I’ll just have to tease you for one more day.

In the meantime let’s talk about that fabulous giveaway you entered over the weekend, sponsored by Baby Lock sewing machines and Oilcloth By the Yard (my favorite online shop for all things Oilcloth).

These THREE winners will receive a Teflon presser foot, wonder clips, and 1 yard of Oilcloth from Oilclothbytheyard.com (winner’s choice):
#243 – Penny G who said “This is an amazing giveaway with such fun things and a plan”
#186 – Theresa who said “I love oilcloth, these colors are great!”
#274 – Ronda who said: “I have always wanted to sew with oilcloth but have been scared of it! This may cure me. :)This is an awesome giveaway. Thank you!”

Congrats! I’ll be contacting the winners via email.

And if you didn’t win, don’t forget to purchase your grab bag of oilcloth, which they created especially for MADE readers.  You’ll get a bag of oilcloth remnants for only $10!—that’s 2 yards of fabric for the price of 1.  And it’s the perfect variety and cuts of fabrics for small projects.  I just bought mine yesterday!  Thanks Oilcloth by the Yard!


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Now that you know the tricks for sewing with Oilcloth, let’s hook you up with the goods!
How about some Oilcloth + gadgets?

It’s an….

I just had to.
Here’s what I want YOU to have….


If you really want to sew with Oilcloth, you really want a teflon presser foot.  It will make the whole process so much easier, and enjoyable.  You’ll watch those pretty fabrics glide smoothly under your machine.  It’s so worth it!

And today Baby Lock is giving away THREE teflon feet.
So three winners get to try it out!

These feet are meant to fit on Baby Lock sewing machines, which are wonderful and fantastic (read about my new fun machine here).  Of course if you have another brand, you can always try snapping it on…cause it just might fit!

And now that you’re a “foot” ahead of the rest (heh heh), you definitely need….


Some of you asked where I find such fun selections of oilcloth and I can answer that in one run-on word:

I love this shop!   So much.
If there’s an oilcloth out there, they have it.  SERIOUSLY.
Just click on the about page to see their warehouse.  I want to have a party in there…. maybe with my oilcloth coasters and drinks?

Oilcloth by Yard is filled with so many pretty oilcloth prints.
And they ship their fabric in rolls, which I love.

If you’re not a sewer but still love Oilcloth….they even sell handmade items!  Check out their shop called Freckled Sage.
Today for our giveaway they’re offering one yard of Oilcloth fabric to THREE winners.

And for anyone and everyone, they’re offering grab bags of Oilcloth for only $10!….which is a fantastic idea.  For many of these sewing projects, all you need is a bit of fabric.  And these bags are filled with 2 yards worth of oilcloth remnants for 1/2 of the normal price.  They’ve created this special listing just for you guys!   So go grab your bag.

And finally you need…

3.  Wonder Clips
Now you can set your pin cushion aside, and sew like a pro.
You’ll love them.

So to sum it all up—

THREE winners will each receive:
• Teflon Presser Foot by Baby Lock 
• One yard of Oilcloth from Oilcloth by the Yard
Wonder Clips

• Leave a comment, that’s it.
• Only one entry per person.
• Open to US residents only.
• THREE winners will be picked via random.org
• Giveaway ends Sunday 12/7/14 at 10pm Central time.

Happy Oilclothing and grab bagging!


Now head over to See Kate Sew to win some leather from the Leather Hide Store.


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simple handmade gifts: Oilcloth Coasters

by Dana on December 4, 2014

Back for more oilcloth fun?
Today I’ve got a simple gift idea for a friend or teacher.
And it maximizes the cute factor of oilcloth with all those bright colors.

I mean, Oilcloth is just screaming to have a party, right?
Let’s help throw one!

If you’re new to our series, I’m sharing a week of projects using Oilcloth fabric—and Kate is tackling Leather.  (Yesterday I shared a very detailed post about How to Sew with Oilcloth.  This is a continuation…)

Something I love about Oilcloth is how unique the prints are, and what the designs have to offer.
The doily fabric on the left is adorable on it’s own, but what if you cut out the doily shapes?  Twice as many projects!  And the fabric on the right is full of hidden images.  I’ve had it for years and only today did I notice that there’s a skeleton riding on bicycle!….and wearing a sombrero with fruit.  YES.  I love it even more now.

So when you’re thinking of project ideas for your oilcloth, use the unique features that the fabric has to offer.
For this project we’re going to make drink coasters.
Because everyone needs a coaster to protect their table.
And even if they don’t….a drink can always use an accessory this cute.

So let’s start with square coasters:
• Cut 5×5 squares of fabric using a rotary cutter and mat.
• Place two squares together, with right sides of the fabric together, and sew around 3 of the sides using about a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Leave the 4th side open.

(Note: if you’ve never sewn with oilcloth refer to my detailed post How to Sew with Oilcloth)
• When you’re done sewing, trim the corners.  The more fabric you can trim off, the easier it will be to poke out those corners.

• Turn the coaster right-side out.   This will feel awkward and stiff, because oilcloth is stiff.  But just be firm and work it out.  It’s okay to wrinkle and squish the fabric.  It will smooth back out when you’re done.
• Really try your best to poke out all the corners so they look square.
• Fold the opening under and hold it in place with wonder clips or binder clips—remember that you don’t want to place pins in the fabric because they’ll leave holes behind.
• Sew a topstitch around the entire coaster, sewing the opening closed.

And you’re done!

Now repeat that 3 more times.
Tie them all up into a little bundle.
Throw in some of your favorite drink items (and maybe a recipe or two?  Delia’s got a bunch of good ones)

And you’ve got a simple gift for a simple celebration.

Now if you’re a bit more girly, and frilly, and lemonade is more your flavor….
Here’s another coaster idea.

Cut a few doilies from your oilcloth fabric (btw, this doily fabric comes in a variety of colors.  How fun would it be to use them all in a set of coasters??)

And this time around, we’ll make the sewing even easier.  We’ll leave the the edges raw because oilcloth doesn’t fray.
• Cut loosely around your doily (don’t worry about trimming perfectly, we’ll do that after we sew)
• Cut another piece of oilcloth for the bottom of the coaster.   This makes the coaster reversible!  I used solid white oilcloth for the bottom of mine.

• Place the two fabrics together, with wrong sides of the fabric together and sew in a circle around the two layers.
• When you’re done, trim the edges in a scalloped pattern around the doily.

And you’re done!

Now place them in a mason jar mug with straws and lemondae…and your gift is ready!
When life gives you lemons….

Make doily coasters.



Now head over to See Kate Sew where she’ll show you how to make the most darling leather + smashed fabric pouches.  Clever!  I love that Kate.


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How to Sew with Oilcloth + mini project

by Dana on December 3, 2014

It’s the first day of our Don’t Fear the Fabric series!
I’m tackling Oilcloth and Kate’s talking about Leather.  So make sure you hop over to her blog when you’re done drooling over these happy fabrics.
(don’t worry, it’s all water-proof. We can wipe up any messes)

Seriously though, doesn’t the look of Oilcloth just make you….happy?

It’s bright and colorful, cheerful and peppy, and the slick/plasticy finish feels a bit retro—maybe it reminds you of a fun pastime or a great restaurant you once ate at?
Oilcloth fabric just evokes happy emotions.
At least that’s how it makes me feel.
I guess that’s why I want to blog about it…and buy it in every print design!  Yikes. I might have an oilcloth problem.

Of course buying fabric is never a problem, as long as you actually do something with it.
That’s how I see it.
So let’s talk about Oilcloth and get you sewing some projects!

• What is Oilcloth?
It’s a vinyl fabric, with a woven cotton mesh backing.  So it’s shiny and plastic-like on one side, and slightly rough on the other side.  It was originally used in the fishing and sailing industry and was once made of oil-infused canvas fabric—which is where the name Oilcloth comes from.

• Uses
The beauty of Oilcloth is that it’s water resistant!….which means it can be wiped clean.
So it’s fantastic for a variety of projects: tablecloths, beach bags, chair coverings,  aprons, crafts, etc.

• Sourcing and Purchasing
Oilcloth comes in many colors and prints.  And the prints are kinda of what gives it that old vintage vibe.  With funky fruit designs, bold color combos, stripes and dots….there’s something for everyone.

You can purchase Oilcloth in some fabric stores, but online selections are best.
My two favorite stores are:
Oilcloth by the yard
Oilcloth Addict

• Oilcloth vs Laminated Cotton
Some online stores sell both Oilcloth and Laminated Cotton….which are similar in theory but have their differences.

–Oilcloth is a man-made vinyl fabric, it’s slightly stiff, and water-resistant on both sides.  When you look up close on the back side of oilcloth you’ll see that stiff mesh backing.

–Laminated cotton is actually part of the cotton fabric family. It’s basically quilting cotton with a thin layer of transparent vinyl over the top. If you look close at the back you’ll see that basic cotton weave.

Laminated cotton is softer and more pliable than oilcloth, but it’s also more expensive and potentially less durable.  I’ve never done real research on that, but it seems easier to tear and weaken over time.  Now you can actually make your own laminated cotton, which is really fun and pretty easy to do!  But I’ll have to save that for another post.
The upside to laminated cotton is that there are more print options than oilcloth.  AND it’s a great fabric for baby bibs and baby toys.

A while back people used oilcloth for baby bibs, but it should be noted that in the US, the Consumer Product Safety Act prohibits the use of Oilcloth for bibs and toys for children, due to high levels of phthalate
softener in the fabric.  This means it shouldn’t be used for items that will go directly in someone’s mouth.  But there are still plenty of uses for the fun fabric.

• Storing
At first glance these pretty rolls might look like wrapping paper.  But there’s actually a reason behind the rolls!

Because oilcloth is a stiff fabric and will crease easily, it’s best to keep it rolled, rather than folded.

When you purchase Oilcloth online, it will be shipped either rolled or folded.  If it was folded, you’ll want to open it up and place it on the floor near a window where the sun can warm it a bit (to get some of the wrinkles out), and then roll it up for storing.

The best method for storing is to layer a few fabrics on top of each other and roll them all up together with a wrapping paper roll inside (I guess it is like wrapping paper!)  I like to store the rolled fabric on the floor under my bed, rather than standing up in the corner of my sewing room because gravity starts to pull the oilcloth layers down, and they become smashed at the bottom of the roll.

• Pressing
Now here’s the part where I’m supposed to tell you to never iron Oilcloth, because it’s plastic!….and it will melt!
That’s totally true.
A hot iron should never directly touch the fabric.
But now I’m going to tell you that you can iron oilcloth if you’re careful.  Because let’s be honest, a warm room will never get hard creases out of the fabric no matter how hard the sun tries.

So. First try this out on a sample piece of fabric and set your ion on a lower heat setting till you see how the fabric reacts.
Place a dishcloth or press cloth over the top of the fabric.
Press for a few seconds at a time on the creased areas.
When you lift the iron, the fabric will be warm and pliable….and the creases will be gone!

Now when it comes to pressing seams, finger pressing works great—just use your fingers press down at the seam, like you’re folding a piece of paper.

• Cutting
You can cut oilcloth just as you do other fabrics—either with a rotary cutter and mat, or with scissors.
And maybe this is just me….but whenever I use scissors to cut through that smooth fabric, it sorta feels like I’m cutting through butter.  I love this fabric!

• Sewing with Oilcloth
At some point we’re actually going to start sewing.  PROMISE.
But first let me share a few more tips.

Sewing on the wrong side of oilcloth is easy.  And sewing on the right side of the fabric is easy as well….but because it’s vinyl, the fabric has the tendency to stick under your presser foot as you sew on the right side.  Now don’t let that stop you!  You can always use the strength of both hands to help feed the fabric through your machine as it sews.
But here are 3 better ideas:

1. Transparent Tape
You can place a bit of tape on the bottom of your presser foot to make it more “slippery”.  You’ll want to poke out the tape from the presser foot openings, where the needle passes through.  This is a good trick, but it’s not a permanent solution.

2.  Tissue Paper
Sandwich the area you’re sewing with a piece of tissue paper on top and bottom and sew.  The stitches help to perforate the paper and you can tear it away when you’re done.  The downside to this method is that small pieces of paper tend to stick under the thread, so it can be annoying to get the seam really clean.

3.  Teflon Presser Foot
This is my preferred method.  A plastic teflon foot just snaps on to your machine and glides smoothly with your fabric.  You can purchase it for most machine brands for fairly inexpensive.  And it looks like a little tooth.  That’s gotta make you smile!

You can see in the photos below how the fabric looks, sewing on the wrong side and sewing on the right side.  As you sew, the needle pierces the fabric and will leave holes behind.   So it’s best to use a slightly longer stitch since small stitches tend to perforate the fabric and may cause the seam to tear over time.

Also, after “finger pressing” your fabric, a topstitch is a really nice way to get your seam to lay flat.

• Pinning
Just as the machine needle will pierce through the fabric, pins will too.  So don’t use them to hold your project together.  Of course the nice thing about oilcloth is that when right sides of the fabric are together, the plastic layers kind of “stick” to each other, holding your project in place.

But when you do need to hold things together, use binder clips or these fantastic wonder clips.  Oh I love these!  They’re inexpensive and really work wonders!  Go buy a pack.  They’ll make you happy too.

Enough talking.  Let’s start sewing!
Pick out a few of your favorite prints and let’s make a geo garland…..or a geoilcloth garland??
Too much?
Yea.  Too much.

Okay.  You can cut your fabric into any shape.  I cut squares of fabric and then cut them into triangles.
And another great thing about oilcloth is that the edges don’t fray.  So we’re just going to sew single layers of fabric together.  This means you will see the backside of the fabric if the garland spins.  So if that bothers you, you can always sew two layers of each shape together (with wrong sides of the fabric together)

Okay, leave a tail of thread on the end before you sew, do a little backstitch, and then start sewing right down the middle of the first triangle.  Then place the next piece under your presser foot and sew down the middle.  I left a small space between each triangle and continued sewing the “blank space” as I went.  This will create a little chain in between each triangle.  When you’re done sewing all your pieces together, leave another thread tail at the end and hang it up!

This is a fantastic project for outdoor parties, since oilcloth can get wet.

Rain or shine, the party is ready!

Okay.  Feel more confident sewing with Oilcloth?
Tomorrow we’ll take it a step further and make a simple gift you can giveaway….or keep for yourself.

Now head over to See Kate Sew because she’s got 6 tips for sewing with Leather!

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