Sunday, May 29, 2011

If you want to sew vinyl...

Last night, I finally finished the sewing for my daughter's teacher. Hey, she only asked me to do it about two months ago. No problem, right? (avert face in shame...)

In my defense, this was quite a fiddly project. She wanted clear folders with three pockets. She had an example made of vinyl that only had two pockets and didn't quite do the job. She was quite insistent on the vinyl (which sticks to itself and to the sewing machine). She also wanted the pockets rimmed with a variety of fabrics (which cannot be pinned as part of the sewing process). Did I mention she doesn't sew? She didn't know what a project this would become (neither did I!).

Luckily for me, I had a fabulous experience buying the vinyl. At the local big box craft store, I bought a meter of the clear vinyl used for table cover. The girl who cut it for me was not the typical big box store employee (truth be told, she looked a little scary). She was a gold mine! It turns out she regularly sews vinyl. She had two different ways to thwart the sticking problem:

sew through tissue paper
spray silicone spray

She prefers silicone spray, though it does coat everything in the immediate vicinity (I opted for tissue paper). She also advised on a long stitch-length (I used 4.5 instead of the machine-setting of 2), because the stitches easily rip through the vinyl, especially when the holes are close together. Are you curious to know why she was such an experienced vinyl seamstress? Because she makes Gothic fantasy wear (this made my day!). Apparently, there is a major market in Perth and Melbourne. So, there you go.

For the fabric, I cheated and used bias tape bought from a small local fabric store. Again, lucky me found 10 different patterns there, so I was able to make the 20 pockets with the variety requested. Without a deadline, the project sat nagging me, untouched, for over a month before I finally buckled down and committed the time to finish. Last night was it! The school requires parents to commit to 6 hours of school help per semester. These pockets took an average of 1.5 hours each, and there are 20 of them. I think I'm done for the year.

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