6 Tips for Sewing with Clear Vinyl by The Crafty Gemini

Vinyl fabrics are used in envelope fabrics, zipper projects, or other bag organizer projects. Sewing with clear vinyl can be tricky when you don’t know exactly what to do with it- the kind of supply and tools you need, and how you’re going to set up the sewing machine to make things easier for you. In this tutorial, I will share with you 6 tips on how to work with and sew with clear vinyl.

Tip #1: How thick is your vinyl fabric? Of course, the thicker the better. How do you know thickness? You read the gauge. The lower the gauge number, the thinner the vinyl. 8 gauge has a great kind of thickness and it doesn’t stick to itself too much. On the other hand, 4 gauge vinyl is thinner but can also be used with zipper pouch projects.

Tip #2: How do you cut vinyl? If you can still see through your vinyl, you can hold it down on your cutting mat using your low tack tape. Avoid using a clear tape because it tends to leave marks. You can cut your vinyl using a ruler and rotary cutter. I wouldn’t recommend using a pair of scissors unless you know you can cut straight. How about when you can’t see through your vinyl? Tape the vinyl on the paper tissue that came with it and use the measurement on your ruler. Another way would be cutting the paper first to the size you want. Then, tape the vinyl over the paper, in this way you could use the paper as a template.

Tip #3: How to remove wrinkles? When working with thinner types of vinyl like, you can use a hairdryer on medium heat by blowing through the vinyl, but remember not to get it too close because the thinner the type of vinyl, the easier it could melt. There is also another way to get rid of wrinkles. You can place the vinyl in between two regular cloth fabrics, then iron it slowly on medium heat. Remember not to hold it on one spot for too long and careful to not iron the vinyl without the fabric. Lastly, you can pre-heat your iron board. Not too much though. Place the vinyl on the iron board, smooth it out, and the wrinkles will automatically straighten.

Tip #4: When to use pins and clips. When working on a project that would expose a certain part of your vinyl, using pins to hold down a vinyl would result in noticeable holes. What you could do instead is to fold a fabric cloth and place the clean edge of the vinyl in between, then use your clips. On the other hand, you can use pins if the holes would not show on the final product. 

Tip# 5: Sewing machine settings when sewing with clear vinyl. I would usually straight stitch my vinyl fabric at almost 3.0. If you sew the vinyl fabric with small stitches and are so close to each other, you will end up perforating the fabric. I also find that a hundred percent cotton and a hundred percent polyester threads work just fine. I would suggest 8012 universal needles, it works great for my projects.

Tip #6: Using a buffer or Teflon foot. Even though your vinyl fabric is in between fabric cloths, the case here would be a stuck vinyl fabric, and the sewing machine will keep sewing in place. There is a way to avoid this. Remember the tissue paper that came with the vinyl fabric, you can have it as a buffer on the base of your sewing machine. This will help feed the fabric through. However, if you have a non-stick or Teflon foot. It will be so much easier for you to sew a vinyl even without a fabric cloth, but you will still need the buffer. You can also make your own non-stick presser foot, just apply some kind of tape that has a smooth finish.

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