Today I’m talking all things laminated fabric. Laminated fabrics are a nice thing to use whenever you want to build in some wipeability and water resistance into your projects.
And while you can certainly buy yardage of laminated cotton and oilcloth (laminated cotton’s thicker cousin), it’s really simple to make your own laminated fabric.
Plus, when you’re make your own, um, you can do cool things like add glitter!!
I’ll show you the easy process it takes to make laminated fabric, we’ll talk about some sewing projects it’s great for, and we’ll throw some glitter at it, literally!
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Supplies to make your own laminated fabric
Sewing projects for laminates
Laminated fabrics are great for any kinds of sewing projects where you need some water protection. Or maybe mess prevention.
My dining room chairs are actually reupholstered in some fancy pants Marimekko oilcloth. It’s turned out to be one of the smartest upholstery projects my hubby and I have ever done. 4 kids + dinner + dining chairs =big mess. Ah, but the oilcloth sees that mess and you just wipe it away!
One thing to keep in mind is that iron-on vinyl is pretty narrow. 15″-20″ is pretty common. So, when you want to make laminated fabric, it’s best to stick to smaller projects that don’t need a lot of width. (no super DIY raincoats!! [insert sad face here]) Stuff like:
Getting your fabric ready for making laminated fabric
The first thing you want to do is cut your fabric. Don’t get fancy here. We’re going to be essentially melting the vinyl onto the fabric. Because of this, it’s better to cut plain old rectangles instead of fancy shapes. Any leftover vinyl around a weird-shaped pattern piece is going to be a bit of a mess to clean up.
You can always cut out pattern pieces later.
Cut a piece of the iron-on vinyl the same size or maybe a tiny bit smaller than your fabric. Use paper scissors and the grid on the backing paper or an old rotary blade. I had great results cutting it with a rotary cutter.
Definitely, use some pattern weights to weigh down the edge of the vinyl as you’re cutting it. The paper wants to curl something fierce!
Peel off the paper backing
Next, lay out your fabric right side up on your ironing board. Iron it if it’s a little wrinkled. If there’s any lint or threads on the surface, remove them now otherwise they’ll be stuck, literally!
After that, peel off the paper backing from the vinyl. Save the paper backing! We’ll need it in a second.
Sticky side of vinyl to right side of fabric
Press the sticky side of the iron-on vinyl (the side that was stuck to the paper backing) lightly to the fabric.
Smooth out the vinyl with your hand. You’ll notice it’s not ultra sticky, so if you need to reposition a corner that went a little weird on you, it’s no problem to fix.
Fuse the vinyl to the fabric
First, heat up your iron to medium and no steam.
Place the shiny side of the backing paper over the fabric. If you threw away your backing paper or want to fuse it all in one go, cut a piece of freezer paper. Put the shiny side of the freezer paper over the fabric.
Press the fabric to the vinyl with the paper as your press cloth. Let the iron sit in one spot for 8 seconds before moving to the next section.
Continue to move the iron on the paper only across the whole piece of fabric. Be careful not to let the iron touch the vinyl because plastic messes on metal are no fun to clean. At this point, it’s looking promising!
Finishing up pressing
When you’re done fusing the vinyl to your fabric, flip the fabric to the wrong side.
Press the iron on the backside of the fabric. Just like when you fuse interfacing, this will help the vinyl to really get stuck in place.
At this point, you’re ready to go, and you can sew up your new laminated fabric.
On to throwing a glitter wrench into the works…
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.